Jews and the Mediterranean

Publication Year



Jessica M. Marglin, Ph.D. 2020

What does an understanding of Jewish history contribute to the study of the Mediterranean, and what can Mediterranean studies contribute to our knowledge of Jewish history? Jews and the Mediterranean considers the historical potency and uniqueness of what happens when Sephardi, Mizrahi, and Ashkenazi Jews meet in the Mediterranean region. By focusing on the specificity of the Jewish experience, the essays gathered in this volume emphasize human agency and culture over the length of Mediterranean history. This collection draws attention to what made Jewish people distinctive and warns against facile notions of Mediterranean connectivity, diversity, fluidity, and hybridity, presenting a new assessment of the Jewish experience in the Mediterranean.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Jewish History in the Mediterranean, the Mediterranean in Jewish History / Jessica Marglin and Matthias Lehmann

1. Globalization or Culture: The Ancient Jews and the Mediterranean / Seth Schwartz

2. The New Melting Pot? Mediterraneanism and the Study of Jewish History / Jonathan Ray

3. Can we Speak of a Geographical Axis in Medieval Jewish Culture? / Andrew Berns

4. Jews and the Early Modern Mediterranean Slave Trade / Daniel Hershenzon

5. Religious Boundaries in Italy during an Era of Free Trade, 1550-1750: The Case of Livorno / Corey Tazzara

6. A Father's Consolation: Intra-Cultural Ties and Religion in a Trans-Mediterranean Jewish Commercial Network / Francesca Bregoli

7. Soap and the Making of a Short Distance Network in the Nineteenth-Century Adriatic / Constanze Kolbe

8. A Guide to the Jewish Mediterranean: Le Guide Sam and the Shaping of an Interwar Mediterranean Diaspora / Devi Mays

9. A New Myth of Coexistence? The Jewish Mediterranean Dream and the Three Ages of Nostalgia / Clémence Boulouque


Reviews and endorsements

There is a large body of work done that addresses Jewish history in the Mediterranean frame, either directly or in passing, most of which is article or chapter form. This is the first book I think that takes on the topic per se. As such it is an original contribution.

~Brian Catlos, author of Infidel Kings and Unholy Warriors

This volume offers a healthy amount of skepticism toward what might be termed the new Mediterranean Studies, a field that frequently pronounces the pluralistic integration of minorities while ultimately paying them relatively little attention. Under particular scrutiny are terms that recur in the scholarly discourse: fluidity, hybridity, and cosmopolitanism.

~Jonathan Decter, author of Iberian Jewish Literature

Indiana University Press
Bloomington, IN
Cloth: 9780253047939; paper: 9780253047984; ebook: 9780253048004