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Identity formation in the polish–lithuanian Commonwealth

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Chapter Summary

This chapter illustrates the contention that one can see in the relations between the Church and Jews in eighteenth-century Poland-Lithuania an aspect of the beginnings of what Karin Friedrich, in her book, called the transition from a constitutional and political concept of the nation to an ethnic and linguistic one. Yet, in the lands of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth there were hundreds of thousands of Jews who frequently did not appear to be suffering on the scale that the teachings of the Church required. In the eighteenth century, however, Jews and Christians were deeply entangled. If we are correct in insisting that the thrust of the activities of the Church regarding Jews was to exclude them from Polish national identity as it was crystallising, then presumably Jews responded in kind, widening in their own minds the distance between them and their Christian countrymen.

Keywords: Christian poles; identity formation; Karin Friedrich; Lithuanian Jews; Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth



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