Jewish Studies

Yaron Ben-Naeh

Jews in the Realm of the Sultans

Ottoman Jewish Society in the Seventeenth Century

[Juden im Reich der Sultane. Osmanische jüdische Gesellschaft im 17. Jahrhundert.]

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ISBN 978-3-16-149523-6
Published in English.
Yaron Ben-Naeh describes and analyses the Jewish society in the Ottoman Empire, mainly in the formative seventeenth century. For Ottoman Jewry, this era resulted in gradual acculturation to changing reality, parallel to the changing character of the Ottoman state.
Jewish society in the Ottoman Empire has not been the subject of systematic research. The seventeenth century is the main object of this study, since it was a formative era. For Ottoman Jews, the 'Ottoman century' constituted an era of gradual acculturation to changing reality, parallel to the changing character of the Ottoman state. Continuous changes and developments shaped anew the character of this Jewry, the core of what would later become known as 'Sephardi Jewry'.
Yaron Ben-Naeh draws from primary and secondary Hebrew, Ottoman, and European sources, the image of Jewish society in the Ottoman Empire. In the chapters he leads the reader from the overall urban framework to individual aspects. Beginning with the physical environment, he moves on to discuss their relationships with the majority society, followed by a description and analysis of the congregation, its organization and structure, and from there to the character of Ottoman Jewish society and its nuclear cell – the family. Special emphasis is placed throughout the work on the interaction with Muslim society and the resulting acculturation that affected all aspects and all levels of Jewish life in the Empire. In this, the author challenges the widespread view that sees this community as being stagnant and self-segregated, as well as the accepted concept of a traditional Jewish society under Islam.

Yaron Ben-Naeh Born 1965; 2000 PhD; taught at the TelAviv University, 2002–2005 post-doctoral Mandel Scholar at the Scholion Interdisciplinary Center, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem; spring 2007 fellow in the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, Penn University, Philadelphia; currently tenured senior lecturer for the history of the Jews in Islamic countries in the early modern and modern period at The Hebrew University, Jerusalem.


The following reviews are known:

In: Jewish Historical Studies — 39 (2009), S. 307–310 (Jacob Barnai)
In: Journ.of Americ.Oriental -s.0666384 — 128 (2008), S. 773–776 (Marc Baer)