Jewish Exhibition - Queens' Old Library

The Rabbi and the English scholar

This is an online version of our Old Library exhibition, 'The Rabbi and the English Scholar: An Exhibition of Jewish Thought in Renaissance Cambridge in Queens’ College Library', which ran from 22 Feb to 24 March 2016. This exhibition forms part of our Heritage Lottery Fund project, 'Renaissance Queens’: Discovering Cambridge’s Unique Tudor Past in the Old Library of Queens’ College Cambridge.'

'The Rabbi and the English Scholar: An Exhibition of Jewish Thought in Renaissance Cambridge in Queens’ College Library' In the 16th and early 17th centuries, Cambridge, Oxford, and London became flourishing centres of Hebrew study. This is remarkable for the fact that in 1290 the Jews of England were expelled after anti-Jewish violence. Jews would not be readmitted to England until 1655 under Oliver Cromwell. The Middle Ages and Renaissance were for most Jews years of persecution, exploitative taxation, expulsions, forced conversions, and ghettoization. At the same time, the Renaissance created more positive attitudes towards engagement with Jewish thought and Hebrew study. The question then, is how did the English encounter Hebrew and Jewish thought between those years from 1290 to 1655?

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