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To judge and to be judged': Jewish Communal Autonomy in Metz and the Struggle for Sovereignty in Eighteenth-Century France

Katz, Jordan

Historians have cast the story of Jewish communal autonomy in various lights. Once
regarded as the defining feature of early modern Jewish life in Europe, communal autonomy has
been viewed through the prism of a state within a state, or a nation within a nation. Within this
conception, Jews retained the right to be judged by their own laws, and the states which they
inhabited demarcated clear boundaries between secular and religious jurisdiction. French Jewish
emancipation following the French Revolution was, in this view, entirely transformative as the
pivotal moment when French Jewish society received equal status under the law. To quote Jacob
Katz, “the transformation of Jewish society from prerevolutionary state represents perhaps the
greatest upheaval of any sector of European society at that time.”

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Academic Units
History
Thesis Advisors
Winter, Emma L.
Degree
B.A., Columbia University
Published Here
May 6, 2011
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