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Jews, Ethnicity and Identity in Early Modern Hamburg

Abstract

During the seventeenth century a vibrant and complex Jewish community developed in Hamburg and its surrounding areas. This community was comprised of several sub-communities that varied because of social and economic factors, ethnic differences and external political pressures. Utilizing the protocol books of the Portuguese Jewish community in Hamburg, Bell examines the nature and scope of this community by considering the relations between Sephardic (Portuguese) and Ashkenazic (Tudesco) Jews. He concludes that ethnicity could be an important factor, but that ethnicity was only one in a range of factors that helped to shape early modern Jewish communal identity.

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