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Mediterranean EnlightenmentLivornese Jews, Tuscan Culture, and Eighteenth-Century Reform$
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Francesca Bregoli

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780804786508

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804786508.001.0001

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Eight Economic Utility and Political Reforms The “Jewish Question” in Livorno

Eight Economic Utility and Political Reforms The “Jewish Question” in Livorno

(p.208) Eight Economic Utility and Political Reforms The “Jewish Question” in Livorno
Mediterranean Enlightenment

Francesca Bregoli

Stanford University Press

This chapter takes a comparative look at processes of Jewish integration in the 1780s, suggesting that the Livornese case provides an alternative to Prussian, French, and Russian examples and a corrective to the "port Jew" model. The first part claims that the diffused perception of the nazione ebrea's utility prevented the emergence of a discussion over the Jewish status in the port and that the "regenerationist" attitude informing the bulk of the debates in western and central Europe did not strike roots in Tuscany. The second part addresses the concrete obstacles that the Jewish elite, despite its socioeconomic integration, encountered along the path of inclusion. While both Jewish and non-Jewish observers did not consider the nazione ebrea in need of improvement or further integration into society, the notion of commercial utility justifying its existence bolstered its corporatist understanding and hindered the political emancipation of its individual members.

Keywords:   Enlightenment, Lessing, Les Juifs, reforming absolutism, emancipation, citizenship

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