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Rabbinic and Popular Judaism in the Sixteenth-Century Mediterranean

Rabbinic and Popular Judaism in the Sixteenth-Century Mediterranean

Chapter:
(p.113) 6 Rabbinic and Popular Judaism in the Sixteenth-Century Mediterranean
Source:
After Expulsion
Author(s):
Jonathan Ray
Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814729113.003.0007

This chapter looks at Jewish religious identity. Religion operated as an organizing principle in Sephardic life. The key elements of this process included the adoption of local customs in new areas of settlement, the importance of public displays of piety and allotment of honors, and the different ways in which rabbis and average Jews dealt with the religious identity of the former Conversos who reverted to Judaism during this period. The shared set of religious values and legal tradition that had bound together Mediterranean Jewry for centuries continued to allow for mutual recognition, understanding, and support throughout the Jewish world. However, the divisions between rabbinic ideals and popular practice that had strained Jewish solidarity before 1492 remained a defining characteristic of Sephardic life.

Keywords:   Jewish religious identity, Judaism, Mediterranean Jewry, rabbinic ideals, Jewish solidarity

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