The Chosen Few:
How Education Shaped Jewish History, 70-1492
Maristella Botticini & Zvi Eckstein

Book Description | Reviews
Introduction [in PDF format]


List of Illustrations xi
List of Tables xiii
Preface xv

Introduction 1

Chapter 1
70 CE-1492: How Many Jews Were There, and Where and How Did They Live? 11
     From Jesus to Muhammad (1 CE-622): A World of Farmers 15
     From Muhammad to Hulagu Khan (622-1258): Farmers to Merchants 31
     From Hulagu Khan to Tomás de Torquemada (1258-1492):
          The End of the Golden Age
     Jewish History, 70 CE-1492: Puzzles 51

Chapter 2
Were the Jews a Persecuted Minority? 52
     Restrictions on Jewish Economic Activities 52
     Taxation Discrimination 58
     Physical versus Portable Human Capital 59
     Religious Minority 61
     The Economics of Small Minorities 62
     Summary 65

Chapter 3
The People of the Book, 200 BCE-200 CE 66
     The Two Pillars of Judaism from Ezra to Hillel (500-50 BCE): The Temple and
          the Torah
     The Lever of Judaism: Education as a Religious Norm 69
     The Destruction of the Second Temple: From Ritual Sacrifices to Torah Reading
          and Study
     The Legacy of Rabbinic Judaism: The Mishna and Universal Primary Education,
          10 CE-200
     Judaism and Education: The Unique Link in the World of the Mishna 78

Chapter 4
The Economics of Hebrew Literacy in a World of Farmers 80
     Heterogeneity and the Choices Facing Jewish Farmers circa 200 82
     The Economic Theory: Basic Setup 84
     The Economic Theory: Predictions 87
     Life in a Village in the Galilee circa 200 through the Lens of the Theory 88
     Annex 4.A: Formal Model of Education and Conversion of Farmers 89

Chapter 5
Jews in the Talmud Era, 200-650:
     The Chosen Few 95
     An Increasingly Literate Farming Society 96
     Conversions of Jewish Farmers 111
     Summary 122

Chapter 6
From Farmers to Merchants, 750-1150 124
     The Economics of Hebrew Literacy in a World of Merchants 125
     The Golden Age of Literate Jews in the Muslim Caliphates 130
     Summary 150
     Annex 6.A: Formal Model of Education and Conversion of Merchants 150

Chapter 7
Educated Wandering Jews, 800-1250 153
     Wandering Jews before Marco Polo 154
     Jewish Migration within the Muslim Caliphates 163
     Migration of Byzantine Jewry 172
     Jewish Migration to and within Christian Europe 173
     Migration of the Jewish Religious Center 195
     Summary 200

Chapter 8
Segregation or Choice? From Merchants to Moneylenders, 1000-1500 201
     The Economics of Money and Credit in Medieval Europe 202
     Jewish Prominence in Moneylending: Hypotheses 209
     The Dynamics of Jewish Moneylending in Medieval Europe 212
     Jewish Moneylending in Medieval Italy: A Detailed Analysis 219
     Attitudes toward Moneylending 232
     Facts and Competing Hypotheses 237
     From Merchants to Moneylenders: Comparative Advantage in Complex
     Annex 8.A: The Charter to the Jews of Vienna 244

Chapter 9
The Mongol Shock: Can Judaism Survive When Trade and Urban Economies Collapse? 248
     The Mongol Conquest of the Muslim Middle East 249
     Socioeconomic Conditions in the Middle East under the Mongols 252
     Jewish Demography under Mongol and Mamluk Rule: An Experiment 254
     Why Judaism Cannot Survive When Trade and Urban Economies Collapse 258
     Summary 259

Chapter 10
1492 to Today: Open Questions 261
     Portrait of World Jewry circa 1492 261
     Jewish History, 70 CE-1492: Epilogue 264
     Trajectory of the Jewish People over the Past 500 Years 266
     Persistence of Jewish Occupational Structure 268

Appendix 274
Bibliography 287
Index 317

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File created: 4/27/2015

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