During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, there appeared in Hebrew, addressed to a specifically Jewish audience, a number of unprecedented works in genres identical to those that non-Jewish Italian Humanists were cultivating at the time. Through a close study of these Jewish works, we will consider whether this Hebrew literature was a reflexive imitation of what was going on in the rest of Italy? If so, why? We will also pay attention to the development of Jewish Kabbalah and Messianism, and the strange occurrence of Jewish false messiahs in the Renaissance period.
What did the Renaissance mean to the Italian Jews of the time?
Lectures in this series will examine the internal structure of the Jewish community and the selective adoption of Renaissance intellectual development, culture and visual art. They will also show how Italian Jews were willing to share their own educational developments with the non-Jewish world and question whether Jewish women at the time were affected by the Renaissance or experienced some level of emancipation themselves.