This introductory chapter first sets out the book's purpose: to elucidate the path of historical evolution of the Pinsk Jewish community from its establishment (sometime shortly before 1506) through the development that brought it, fifty years later, to being a leading Lithuanian community; and, during the period of the Lithuanian Jewish Council, to the status of one of the three chief communities (alongside Brest and Horodno; later Vilna and Sluck were added) ruling over its district. A further objective is to explain the historical factors that in the course of a two-hundred-year process contributed to imprinting on Pinsk the mark of a Jewish city. The chapter then traces the political history of Pinsk up to the mid-sixteenth century, and its transition from principality to royal domain.
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