Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version


Publication Source

Oxford Bibliographies Online - Jewish Studies




The term "early modernity" as the name of a period roughly extending from the end of the 15th to the end of the 18th century has only recently been employed by historians of Jewish culture and society. Despite a plethora of new studies in the last several decades, there have been few attempts to define the period as a whole as a distinct epoch in Jewish history, distinguishable from both the medieval and modern periods. Some historians have remained indifferent to demarcating the period, or have simply designated it as an extension of the Middle Ages, or have labeled it vaguely as a mere transitional stage between medievalism and modernity without properly describing its distinguishing characteristics. A few historians have used the term "Renaissance" to apply to the cultural ambiance of Jews living in Italy in the 15th and 16th centuries alone without delineating the larger period and the more comprehensive geographical area. The bibliographical survey that follows focuses on the entire period of three hundred years and attempts to provide a panoramic view of European and Ottoman Jewries both as distinct subcommunities and in their broader connections with each other.

Copyright/Permission Statement

Early Modern Jewish History by David B. Ruderman, 2015, reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780199840731-0011



Date Posted: 02 August 2017

This document has been peer reviewed.