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The City And The Ghetto: Simone Luzzatto And The Development Of Jewish Political Thought

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Chapter Summary

Simone Luzzatto was the first to define the role of the Jews on the basis of their economic and social functions, disregarding the classic categorization of Judaism's religious status in world history. With some noteworthy exceptions, there has been no notice paid to Luzzatto's political theories in twentieth-century Italian scholarship. This chapter explores the book Discorso, which has had a surprising fortune in the worlds of both Jewish and non-Jewish political thought. Luzzatto prefaces his treatise with an introduction, ostensibly intended to provide a theoretical outline of the political and economic aspects of his subject, a reflection also of his vision of the customs and ways of life followed by the Jews of the Diaspora. The purpose of his treatise is not to celebrate the antiquity of the Jews, but rather to present some of the advantages they bring to the state.

Keywords: Discorso; Jewish political thought; Jews; Simone Luzzatto



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