Catalogue

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Obstinate Hebrews : representations of Jews in France, 1715-1815 /
Ronald Schechter.
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c2003.
description
viii, 331 p.
ISBN
0520235576 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c2003.
isbn
0520235576 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
4794924
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Awards
This item was nominated for the following awards:
Koret Jewish Book Awards , USA, 2004 : Nominated
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"Obstinate Hebrews gives us a startling new look at both the Enlightenment and the Jewish presence in eighteenth-century France. Both sets of voices come through loud and clear: the Philosophes debating citizenship for the Jews with much more complexity than has been believed; Jews responding with their own self-perceptions, claiming they could be French patriots and practitioners of the Jewish religion at the same time. The universal and the particular are in constant interaction in Schechter's lively pages. His book, through its deep immersion in the eighteenth century, speaks to issues of our time."--Natalie Zemon Davis, author of Women on the Margins: Three Seventeenth Century Lives
Flap Copy
" Obstinate Hebrews gives us a startling new look at both the Enlightenment and the Jewish presence in eighteenth-century France. Both sets of voices come through loud and clear: the Philosophes debating citizenship for the Jews with much more complexity than has been believed; Jews responding with their own self-perceptions, claiming they could be French patriots and practitioners of the Jewish religion at the same time. The universal and the particular are in constant interaction in Schechter's lively pages. His book, through its deep immersion in the eighteenth century, speaks to issues of our time."--Natalie Zemon Davis, author of Women on the Margins: Three Seventeenth Century Lives
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2003-12-01:
Schechter's book represents a significant contribution to the history of French Jewry during the century connecting the French Enlightenment to the Napoleonic Empire. It also enhances our understanding of the French Jewish experience. Schechter (College of William and Mary) asks three main questions. First, to what degree did French thinkers and politicians discuss Jews during this period? Second, why was there so much interest in a politically weak and numerically insignificant minority? Finally, how did French Jews view themselves? The author explores these issues from a cultural standpoint, culling impressions of Jews from literary, political, and liturgical sources. He concludes that gentiles perceived Jews as obstinate and resistant to change, and employed these images as vehicles for discussing broader social, economic, and political issues. Consequently, in the fervor of the Revolution and its aftermath, efforts to assimilate French Jews became attempts to "convert" Jews to French civil religion rather than to Christianity. French Jews, however, interpreted their environment through a specifically Jewish lens, aligning perceptions of France with Jewish values and practices. They did not, Schechter writes, assimilate into France as much as they "assimilated France into themselves." ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Graduate students, researchers, and faculty. J. Haus University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, December 2003
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Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
This wide ranging study of representations of Jews in 18th century France - both by Gentiles and Jews themselves - offers fresh perspectives on the Enlightenment and French Revolution, on Jewish history, and on the nature of racism and intolerance.
Long Description
Enlightenment writers, revolutionaries, and even Napoleon discussed and wrote about France's tiny Jewish population at great length. Why was there so much thinking about Jews when they were a minority of less than one percent and had little economic and virtually no political power? In this unusually wide-ranging study of representations of Jews in eighteenth-century France--both by Gentiles and Jews themselves--Ronald Schechteroffers fresh perspectives on the Enlightenment and French Revolution, on Jewish history, and on the nature of racism and intolerance. Informed by the latest historical scholarship and by the insights of cultural theory,Obstinate Hebrewsis a fascinating tale of cultural appropriation cast in the light of modern society's preoccupation with the "other." Schechter argues that the French paid attention to the Jews because thinking about the Jews helped them reflect on general issues of the day. These included the role of tradition in religion, the perfectibility of human nature, national identity, and the nature of citizenship. In a conclusion comparing and contrasting the "Jewish question" in France with discourses about women, blacks, and Native Americans, Schechter provocatively widens his inquiry, calling for a more historically precise approach to these important questions of difference.
Main Description
Enlightenment writers, revolutionaries, and even Napoleon discussed and wrote about Frances tiny Jewish population at great length. Why was there so much thinking about Jews when they were a minority of less than one percent and had little economic and virtually no political power? In this unusually wide-ranging study of representations of Jews in eighteenth-century France-both by Gentiles and Jews themselves-Ronald Schechteroffers fresh perspectives on the Enlightenment and French Revolution, on Jewish history, and on the nature of racism and intolerance. Informed by the latest historical scholarship and by the insights of cultural theory, "Obstinate Hebrews "is a fascinating tale of cultural appropriation cast in the light of modern societys preoccupation with the "other." Schechter argues that the French paid attention to the Jews because thinking about the Jews helped them reflect on general issues of the day. These included the role of tradition in religion, the perfectibility of human nature, national identity, and the nature of citizenship. In a conclusion comparing and contrasting the "Jewish question" in France with discourses about women, blacks, and Native Americans, Schechter provocatively widens his inquiry, calling for a more historically precise approach to these important questions of difference.
Main Description
Enlightenment writers, revolutionaries, and even Napoleon discussed and wrote about France's tiny Jewish population at great length. Why was there so much thinking about Jews when they were a minority of less than one percent and had little economic and virtually no political power? In this unusually wide-ranging study of representations of Jews in eighteenth-century France--both by Gentiles and Jews themselves--Ronald Schechteroffers fresh perspectives on the Enlightenment and French Revolution, on Jewish history, and on the nature of racism and intolerance. Informed by the latest historical scholarship and by the insights of cultural theory, Obstinate Hebrews is a fascinating tale of cultural appropriation cast in the light of modern society's preoccupation with the "other." Schechter argues that the French paid attention to the Jews because thinking about the Jews helped them reflect on general issues of the day. These included the role of tradition in religion, the perfectibility of human nature, national identity, and the nature of citizenship. In a conclusion comparing and contrasting the "Jewish question" in France with discourses about women, blacks, and Native Americans, Schechter provocatively widens his inquiry, calling for a more historically precise approach to these important questions of difference.
Unpaid Annotation
A path-breaking study of the Jews in France from the time of the philosophies through the Revolution and up to Napoleon.Examines how Jews were thought of during this time, by both French writers and the Jews themselves.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments
Introduction
A Nation within the Nation? The Jews of Old Regime France
Jews and Philosophes
Jews and Citizens
Contrapuntal Readings: Jewish Self-Representation in Prerevolutionary France
Constituting Differences: The French Revolution and the Jews
Familiar Strangers: Napoleon and the Jews
Conclusion: Jews and Other "Others"
Epilogue
Notes
Bibliography
Index
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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