Nancy Sinkoff: Rutgers Institute for High School Teachers
Friday, December 14, 2018, 09:00am - 02:30pm
Jewish History in Europe: Main Themes, Problems, and Questions
December 14, 2018, 9am-2:30pm
Nancy Sinkoff, Associate Professor, Departments of History and Jewish Studies, Rutgers University
This workshop will examine the long history of the Jews in Europe by focusing on the ways in which this distinct national-ethnic-religious-linguistic people has interacted with its host societies, both Christian and Moslem, for over two millennia. We will begin by examining the major themes of Jewish religious self-definition (Covenant, Exile, Redemption, Peoplehood) while tracing the lived history of the Jews from the Second Temple Period (6th century BCE-1st century CE) up until the Christianization of the Roman Empire (4th century CE), which set in motion the great contest between the "Old" and "New" Israel. We will then explore the long Jewish Middle Ages, which "ended" in the 18th century. Turning for most of the seminar to the modern period (from the Partitions of Poland and the French Revolution until the present) in Western Europe (with a nod to the New World), we will explore the interactions between the European State and the Jews, the rise of nationalism, religious denominationalism, and modern forms of Judeo-phobia. The workshop will examine the changes in Jewish life engendered by modernity and explore the Jews'--and their host societies'--responses to its challenges. Attention will be paid to the regional diversity of Jewish modernity and to the ways in which women's and gender history have challenged older narratives of the Jewish past.