Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 29 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The Jewish presence in Europe dates back to the second or third centuries BCE. Between the twelfth and the twentieth centuries, the overall course of the European Jewish community can be summarized as one of demographic rise, hegemony, and decline. During the Middle Ages, the number of Jews in Europe increased substantially. So did their share of a global Jewish population that previously was mainly concentrated in the Middle East and neighboring areas. The major exodus from Spanish and Portuguese domains between the end of the fifteenth century and the first half of the sixteenth, and the conversion of many Jews who chose not to leave their countries, caused a significant downturn in the Jewish presence in Europe, although many of those who left the Iberian peninsula eventually resettled in other parts of the continent. The cultural contributions of Jews to Europe's history and culture cannot be reduced to a single pattern, but rather reflect the widely contrasting range of different options and constraints that characterized the Jewish experience in the continent. Paradoxically, modern antisemitism rose along with the process of emancipation of the Jews allowed by a liberalization of European politics.

Keywords: Jews, Europe, conversion, Iberian peninsula, politics, antisemitism

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.