Page 40 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 39

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
1952- ). Volume XV on Resettlement and Exploration (1973),
Volume XVI on Poland and L ithuania 1500-1650 (1976) and
Volume XVII on Jewish life und e r Byzantines, Mamelukes and
the Berber Kingdoms o f North Africa (1979) continue the com­
bination o f impeccable and encyclopedic scholarship with ongo ­
ing concern for the interaction o f social, intellectual and political
currents in the flow o f Jewish history.
Two specialized studies o f medieval Jewish history in France
have sparked considerable comment fo r the ir d if fe ring yet
equally creative utilization of scanty source material: A rthu r Zuck-
e rm an ’s ^
Jewish Princedom in Feudal France, 768-900
(New York,
1972) and Robert
Chazaris MedievalJewry in Northern France
(Bal­
timore, 1973). Both scholars have dealt with d ifferen t historical
challenges o f French Jewry, each revealing how daring recon ­
structions can be extracted from a paucity o f sources.
T h e la te r medieval pe riod has been en r ich ed by Yosef
Yerushalmi’s study o f the great Marrano Isaac Cardoso in
From
Spanish Court to Italian Ghetto
(Cambridge, 1971). The complex
ambiguities and pathos o f Marrano life, the rou te o f “r e tu rn ” to
Judaism and the world o f sixteenth century Iberian and Italian
Jewry are vividly depicted by Yerushalmi.
Whether or not the failure o f the messianic movement o f Sab-
batai Zvi marked the end o f the medieval period in Jewish life is
still a subject o f heated debate. T he re is no debate, however, tha t
Gershom Scholem’s
Sabbatai §evi: The Mystical Messiah
(Princeton,
1973) constitutes a classic in Jewish historical writing. A b iog raph ­
ical study illuminating an entire age,
Sabbatai Sevi
incorporates
vital information on the hopes, traumas and ultimate despair o f
the seventeenth century Jew and typologies o f “believers” and
“nonbelievers.”
MODERN JEW ISH HISTORY
While the medieval and ancient periods o f Jewish historical
writing are still heavily dependen t upon so-called traditional
sources, the modern period of Jewish history has been the area o f
innovative research approaches through the utilization o f newer
methodologies and d ifferen t sorts o f data. T he work o f Jacob
Katz has continued in the past decade to question what constitutes
modernity and when the phenom enon o f modernity began for