08 August 2010

Jewish History: Sephardic articles - Spain, Antwerp, Sicily

The "Jewish History" quarterly journal offers several articles and a book review of interest to Sephardic researchers.

"Jewish History" (Vol. 24, Issue 2 - June 2010) offers diverse content to researchers. Find it in local public and university libraries (more likely) as it is available online only to subscribers. Read more here.

Jewish History, the sole English language publication devoted exclusively to history and the Jews, expands the horizons of historical writing on the Jews. Not only does the journal publish contributions from the field of history, but also from the intersection of history with art, literature, sociology, and anthropology.

The diverse personal and professional backgrounds of the journal's contributors represent a truly international meeting of the minds and are reflected in the journal's innovative essays. Special issues have included women and Jewish inheritance, the Jews of Latin America, and Jewish self-imaging.
In the latest quarterly issue find three articles of interest:

-- Renee Levine Melammed: "Judeo-conversas and Moriscas in sixteenth-century Spain: a study of parallels." (pp. 155 - 168)

Though interesting research has been done on Jewish women conversas in Spain, as well as on Morisco women converts, no comparison of the activities of the two groups has been made. This paper comes to fill this lacuna, examining their commitment to Judaism and Islam and ritual practices, especially as reflected in Inquisitional records. Despite basic differences, a surprising number of parallels appear in the behavior of both groups, suggesting the importance of women in preserving ties to the past and maintaining the converso mentality.
-- Timothy De Paepe: "Diego Duarte ii (1612-1691): a converso's experience in seventeenth-century Antwerp." (pp. 169 - 193):

From the early sixteenth century onward, many conversos or New Christians left Spain and Portugal and went to Antwerp. One member of the converso community in Antwerp was Diego Duarte ii (1612–1691). Diego Duarte ran a thriving jewel business and had a large commercial network. He was also a highly cultured man, who forged many friendships through his love for music and paintings. Antwerp was, however, still off-limits for Jews. This article seeks to explore Diego’s professional, religious and, in particular, his artistic background seen against the place and time in which he lived.
-- and a book review. Lucia Finotto: Shlomo Simonsohn's "The Jews in Sicily" - Volume 15: Notaries of Trapani. A Documentary History of the Jews in Italy." (pp. 213-216) (Brill, $340, 746pgs). To see more about each volume in the series, click here.

Although there is no summary, the first page of the review is on view.

The review indicates that Simonsohn provides information on Palermo notarial deeds and legal documents from Trapani, the focus of this volume. There are administrative materials and court cases involving Jews. There is an index of people and geographic locations, a glossary of Sicilian terms, a bibliography and a subject index. Here's some of the index:
The volume demonstrates classes in the community - wealthy merchant families, financial and administrative elites, religious leaders, ordinary families and artisans. It includes cases of complaints against powerful family groups in the community.

As is the case with most of Brill's publications, they are beyond the economic reach of most Sephardic family history researchers, so do check your local public (less likely) and university libraries (more likely).

The journal's editorial board includes: editor Kenneth Stow, University of Haifa, Israel; co-editor Adam Teller University of Haifa, Israel; book review editor David Starr, Hebrew College, Newton, MA; with assistant editors and an editorial board based at Hebrew University, Princeton, Smith, Michigan, TAU, UCSan Diego, Yale, Penn, Brandeis, and UWashington and elsewhere.

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