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Shylock's ChildrenEconomics and Jewish Identity in Modern Europe$
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Derek Penslar

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780520225909

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520225909.001.0001

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The Origins of Jewish Political Economy, 1648–1848

The Origins of Jewish Political Economy, 1648–1848

Chapter:
Chapter 2 (p.50) The Origins of Jewish Political Economy, 1648–1848
Source:
Shylock's Children
Author(s):

Derek J. Penslar

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520225909.003.0002

This chapter discusses premodern Jewish thinking, religion, and economics, which are inextricably linked. During the heyday of rabbinic Judaism, the economic life of the Jewish community was no less subject to halakhic authority than any other aspect of Jewish life. From the mid-seventeenth century, economic life in western Europe began to remove itself from the sphere of Jewish religious authority. This separation of the religious and economic spheres was an important harbinger of Jewish modernity, because it marked the diminution of communal authority and a secularization of Jewish consciousness. The period from the radical German Haskalah of the late 1700s to the Revolution of 1848 witnessed the forging among certain influential Jewish intellectuals of an identity that fused the religious and economic spheres. This fusion no longer took place, as in previous centuries, within the framework of the autonomous community, which regulated all aspects of its member's lives.

Keywords:   rabbinic Judaism, Jewish community, halakhic authority, Europe, German Haskalah

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