The history of rapports between Jews and Christians is but a single chapter in the large-scale and cumbersome story of coexistence between different cultures and religions. In the Italian historiography a poor and rare confrontation and exchange between the history of Jews and the general history of Italy swept away the subject from the historical literature: Jewish people became <<invisible>>. This approach has largely neglected the insights stemming from a thorough analysis of the institutions and norms that presided over Jewish life, as well as the behaviors of Christians and Jews. These factors are essential to write a more comprehensive and accurate European history. This book tackles the changing interactions between Jews and Christians during the Modern Age to place conflicts and quarrels against the backdrop of such tangle of uninterrupted mutual relations between the two parties. Along this lines, this study calls into question a well-established and misleading interpretative path making a case for a history of separation and lack of communication between the two worlds. This books critically examines a wide range of topics: the definition of heresy and heretics, the banned books hunt, the all-out conviction of witchcraft and the total banning of relationships and sexual intercourses between Jewish people and Christians, the very lexicon of prejudice and segregation, the stake of rights and citizenship: through an all-inclusive examination of these problems, this study offers a new interpretative path useful to re-write the history of each of these issues. What comes to light is a history of uninterrupted interactions and mutual exchanges among groupings and individuals frequently working together. Why were Jews viewed as heretics to take before the Inquisition? What about the origins and development of the image of Jewish people as sorcerers? Why did the authorities go for a total prohibition of any sexual intercourse between Jews and Christians? Over the centuries, the diversity of Jews stirred a string of anxieties and frights leading Christians to view them as a threat: to tame them, Christians devised a number of devices and ways aimed at either identifying and segregating them, or eventually expelling some of them. During the Modern Age, more precisely from the sixteenth century through to the eighteenth century, Christianity was a much more resilient society than what historians usually think. The history of rapports between Jews and Christians is a story of scattered and daily interactions, exchanges, institutional and social bonds as frequently reported to the authorities as diffused among people from both sides. Despite a strand of bans and sequestrations, a wide range of issues pinpointed in this book help to sense out the great distance between compelling norms and unscrupulous daily practices and ways of living: chapter by chapter, the author props up this argument by examining the reading of banned books, the complicity and empathy between Jews and Christians in magic and witchcraft, a common belief in superstitions as dreams, demons and amulets, the much-disputed scandal stemming from their reciprocal discussion about their respective faiths; yet again, the utmost prohibited love affairs of mixed couples, not to mention the accuses to Jews of poisoning Christians and the role of Christian lawyers in representing Jewish defendants, or the gradual rise of a racial discourse.
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