Understanding the processes of cultural change in early modern history as a process of creating and negotiating social, cultural, and religious borders has become a commonplace in the last generation of research. This perspective has great validity for Jewish history, too: early modern Jews also found themselves in a range of new settings, which allowed a considerably greater range of interactions with their non-Jewish neighbors than had previously been the case. It was not only geographical dispersion that broadened their social, economic, cultural and religious contacts with their non-Jewish surroundings: new ideas and ideologies deriving from the thought of the renaissance, the enlightenment, mercantilism, as well as the Protestant and Catholic reformations opened up new horizons for cross-cultural contacts, too.

Though the phenomenon of Jewish cultural contacts with surrounding cultures has been noted and examined in many of the contexts in which it occurred, there has as yet been little attempt to examine the mechanisms through which these cultural exchanges took place. It is becoming increasingly clear that this kind of contact is a cultural phenomenon which needs to be understood in its own terms. The goal of this workshop examined a range of early modern Jewish cross-cultural contacts in order to discover not only how each one worked, but also to see commonalities and differences between them. Such cross-cultural contacts might include a direct person-to-person contact, an epistolary exchange, an intellectual contact - or any other form about which there is evidence. The idea of the workshop is not to show how any single exchange altered the course of Jewish (or non-Jewish) cultural development, but rather what those exchanges can teach us about the ways in which Jews and non-Jews interacted, learned about each other's culture, and were changed as a result.


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Sunday, February 26th
10:30 AM

Keynote: "Entanglements" Tom Cohen, York University, Toronto

Tom Cohen, York University

Brown University, Providence, RI

10:30 AM - 12:00 PM

1:00 PM

Real or Virtual Contact? Johannes Buxtorf's Reading of Jewish Literature

Joanna Weinberg, Oxford University, UK

1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

3:30 PM

Finding Common Ground: The Metz Beit Din and the French Judicial System

Jay R. Berkovitz, University of Massachusetts - Amherst

Brown University, Providence, RI

3:30 PM - 4:30 PM

4:30 PM

Medicine as a Cultural Connection Between Jews and Christians in Early Modern Italy

Berns Andrew, UCLA

4:30 PM - 5:30 PM

5:45 PM

A Jewish-Christian Commentary on Luke

Yaacov Deutsch, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

5:45 PM - 6:45 PM

Monday, February 27th
9:00 AM

A Jewish Merchant Family and a Moroccan Ruler

Daniel Schroeter, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

10:00 AM

EMW 2012: Cross-Cultural Connections in the Early Modern Jewish World

EMW 2012

Brown University

10:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Jailhouse Encounter: A Sixteenth-Century Jewish-Christian Tale and its Historiographical Ramifications

Daniel Jütte, Harvard University

Brown University, Providence, RI

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

1:00 PM

The Early Modern Inn as a Space for Religious and Cultural Exchange

Magda Teter, Wesleyan University

Brown University, Providence, RI

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

2:00 PM

Cultural Transmission and Assimilation in a Quotidian Key: The Conversion of Two Jews in Spain, 1790- 1792

David Graizbord, University of Arizona

Brown University, Providence, RI

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM