The second volume of Shmuel Feiner’s The Jewish Eighteenth Century covers the period from 1750 to 1800, a time of even greater upheavals, tensions, and challenges. The changes that began to emerge at the beginning of the eighteenth century matured in the second half.
Feiner explores how political considerations of the Jewish minority throughout Europe began to expand. From the “Jew Bill” of 1753 in Britain, to the surprising series of decrees issued by Joseph II of Austria that expanded tolerance in Austria, to the debate over emancipation in revolutionary France, the lives of the Jews of Europe became ever more intertwined with the political, social, economic, and cultural fabric of the continent.
The Jewish Eighteenth Century, Volume 2: A European Biography, 1750 – 1800 concludes Feiner’s landmark study of the history of Jewish populations in the period. By combining an examination of the broad and profound processes that changed the familiar world from the ground up with personal experiences of those who lived through them, it allows for a unique explanation of these momentous events.