Review of Robert Bonfil, The Rabbinate in Renaissance Italy
European Languages and Societies
History of Religion
At least since the publication of Shlomo Simonsohn's comprehensive study of Mantuan Jewry, Italian Jewish history has emerged as a significant scholarly field for a growing number of researchers in Israel and abroad. Their numerous publications have considerably supplemented and refined the earlier attempts by Cecil Roth, Moses Avigdor Shulvass, Israel Zinberg and Attlilio Milano to chart the course of Italian Jewish history in the Renaissance period and before. They have also revealed all too glaringly the inadequacies of the edifice the earlier researchers had constructed. When Shulvass and Roth, in particular, wrote their popular surveys of Jewish life in the Renaissance, neither had sufficiently utilized the voluminous archival and manuscript resources now more readily available some twenty years later; nor did either of their works deeply penetrate the larger Christian cultural and social context of Jewish life on Italian soil.