The Jews, Instructions for Use: Four Eighteenth-Century Projects for the Emancipation of European Jews

The Jews, Instructions for Use: Four Eighteenth-Century Projects for the Emancipation of European Jews


Paolo Bernardini & Diego Lucci

ISBN: 9781936235742 (hardcover)
Pages: 216 pp.
Publication Date: January 2012

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This book examines the four most important projects for Jewish emancipation in eighteenth-century Europe. The essays presented analyze the proposal advanced by the freethinker John Toland in 1714 and three projects of the 1780s, formulated by the state official Christian Wilhelm von Dohm in Frederick the Great’s Prussia, the economist Count D’Arco in Mantua under Habsburg rule, and the Abbe Henri Gregoire in France on the eve of the Revolution. Focusing on the combination of humanitarian and utilitarian arguments and objectives in the proposals to redefine the legal and social status of the Jews, this book is a particularly useful resource for scholars and students interested in the history of Jewish-Gentile relations and the Age of Enlightenment.

Paolo Bernardini is professor of Modern European History at the University of Insubria in Como, Italy. He is the author or editor of 35 books in Italian and English, including Le rive fatali di Keos. Il suicidio nella storia intellettuale europea da Montaigne a Kant (2009), Fragments From a Land of Freedom: Essays in American Culture and Civilization Around the Year 2000 (2010), and Di qua e di la del mare. Venezia e il mondo universo (2010).

Diego Lucci is associate professor of History and Philosophy at the American University in Bulgaria. His research focuses on the English Enlightenment, the history of Jewish-Gentile relations, and cultural intermediaries and travelers in the long eighteenth century. He is the author of the volume Scripture and Deism: The Biblical Criticism of the Eighteenth-Century British Deists (2008), and has published numerous articles.

Table of Contents



 Allo-Semitism and Jewish Emancipation
 Four Eighteenth-Century Projects
Chapter 1: From Toleration to Naturalization: John Toland and the Jews
 The Jews in England
 The “Hebrew Revival” in England: The Cultural Background of Toland’s Reasons
 Toleration of the Jews: The Models and Sources of Toland’s Reasons
 Toland on Judaism: From Demystification to Re-Mystification
 The Contents and Structure of Toland’s Reasons
 The Naturalization Process in England
Chapter 2: “More Useful and Happier Members of Society”: Christian Wilhelm von Dohm and the Amelioration of the Civil Status of the Jews
 The Debate on the Jews in Eighteenth-Century Germany
 Dohm’s Treatise on the Jews
 The Debate on Dohm’s Project
 The 1783 Edition of Dohm’s Treatise
 The Legacy of Dohm’s Treatise
Chapter 3: On the Influence of the Ghetto in the State: Count D’Arco and the Jews of Mantua
 The Jews in Mantua
 D’Arco’s Economic Thought
 Jewish Customs and Beliefs in D’Arco’s Work
 The Jews’ Economic Activities in D’Arco’s Work
 Benedetto Frizzi’s Defense of the Jewish Nation
 D’Arco and the Habsburg Policies Concerning the Jews
Chapter 4: Degeneration and Regeneration of the Jews in Henri Grégoire’s Work
 An Enlightenment Project: The Structure of the Essai
 Jewish History, Feudalism, and Modern Government
 From Moral Degeneration to Physical Degeneration, from History to the Present
 Unconscious Racism?
 From Emancipation to Racial Anti-Semitism
 The Enlightenment Projects and the Implications and Side Effects of Emancipation