The Jews of France by Esther Benbassa
A History from Antiquity to the Present

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In the first English-language edition of a general, synthetic history of French Jewry from antiquity to the present, Esther Benbassa tells the intriguing tale of the social, economic, and cultural vicissitudes of a people in diaspora. With verve and insight, she reveals the diversity of Jewish life throughout France's regions, while showing how Jewish identity has constantly redefined itself in a country known for both the Rights of Man and the Dreyfus affair. Beginning with late antiquity, she charts the migrations of Jews into France and traces their fortunes through the making of the French kingdom, the Revolution, the rise of modern anti-Semitism, and the current renewal of interest in Judaism.

As early as the fourth century, Jews inhabited Roman Gaul, and by the reign of Charlemagne, some figured prominently at court. The perception of Jewish influence on France's rulers contributed to a clash between church and monarchy that would culminate in the mass expulsion of Jews in the fourteenth century. The book examines the re-entry of small numbers of Jews as New Christians in the Southwest and the emergence of a new French Jewish population with the country's acquisition of Alsace and Lorraine.

The saga of modernity comes next, beginning with the French Revolution and the granting of citizenship to French Jews. Detailed yet quick-paced discussions of key episodes follow: progress made toward social and political integration, the shifting social and demographic profiles of Jews in the 1800s, Jewish participation in the economy and the arts, the mass migrations from Eastern Europe at the turn of the twentieth century, the Dreyfus affair, persecution under Vichy, the Holocaust, and the postwar arrival of North African Jews.

Reinterpreting such themes as assimilation, acculturation, and pluralism, Benbassa finds that French Jews have integrated successfully without always risking loss of identity. Published to great acclaim in France, this book brings important current issues to bear on the study of Judaism in general, while making for dramatic reading.

 

About Esther Benbassa

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Esther Benbassa is Professor of Jewish History at the UniverEsther Benbassa is Professor of Jewish History at the Universit de Paris IV, Sorbonne, and Director of Research at the Csit de Paris IV, Sorbonne, and Director of Research at the Centre National de Recherche Scientifique. Her books "Jews inentre National de Recherche Scientifique. Her books "Jews in France" (1999) and "Haim Nahum" (1995) are available in Eng France" (1999) and "Haim Nahum" (1995) are available in English. Aron Rodrigue is Eva Chernov Lokey Professor in Jewishlish. Aron Rodrigue is Eva Chernov Lokey Professor in Jewish Studies and Professor of History at Stanford University and Studies and Professor of History at Stanford University and the author of "Images of Sephardi and Eastern Jewries in Tr the author of "Images of Sephardi and Eastern Jewries in Transition "(1993) and "French Jews, Turkish Jews" (1990). ansition "(1993) and "French Jews, Turkish Jews" (1990).
 
Published September 7, 1999 by Princeton University Press. 304 pages
Genres: History, Religion & Spirituality, Travel. Non-fiction

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For example, although Benbassa devotes several pages to Jews active in the Left during the late 1960s, there is only one sentence on the great Jewish philosopher Emanuel Levinas, perhaps the most influential Jewish thinker of the post-Holocaust period.

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