Jewish Politics in Spinoza's Amsterdam (Littman Library of Jewish Civilization) (Hardcover)

Jewish Politics in Spinoza's Amsterdam (Littman Library of Jewish Civilization) By Anne O. Albert Cover Image

Jewish Politics in Spinoza's Amsterdam (Littman Library of Jewish Civilization) (Hardcover)


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Finalist for Jordan Schnitzer Book Award for Philosophy and Jewish Thought 2023.

This book untangles a web of ideas about politics, religion, exile, and community that emerged at a key moment in Jewish history and left a lasting mark on Jewish ideas. In the shadow of their former member Baruch Spinoza's notoriety, and amid the aftermath of the Sabbatian messianic movement, the Spanish and Portuguese Jews of seventeenth-century Amsterdam underwent a conceptual shift that led them to treat their self-governed diaspora community as a commonwealth. Preoccupied by the question of why and how Jews should rule themselves in the absence of a biblical or messianic sovereign state or king, they forged a creative synthesis of insights from early modern Christian politics and Jewish law and traditions to assess and argue over their formidable communal government. In so doing they shaped a proud new theopolitical self-understanding of their community as analogous to a Christian state.

Through readings of rarely studied sermons, commentaries, polemics, administrative records, and architecture, Anne Albert shows that a concentrated period of public Jewish political discourse among the community's leaders and thinkers led to the formation of a strong image of itself as a totalizing, state-like entity--an image that eventually came to define its portrayal by twentieth-century historians. Her study presents a new perspective on a Jewish population that has long fascinated readers, as well as new evidence of Jewish reactions to Spinoza and Sabbatianism, and analyses the first Jewish reckoning with modern western political concepts.

Anne Oravetz Albert is the Klatt Family Director for Public Programs at the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.
Product Details ISBN: 9781789622294
ISBN-10: 1789622298
Publisher: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization
Publication Date: February 1st, 2023
Pages: 400
Language: English
Series: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization