Jewish Thought and Scientific Discovery in Early Modern Europe
This book is the first to examine closely the interaction between Jewish culture, medicine, and science during Europe's age of "scientific revolution." Most students of Jewish history have treated the period from the late sixteenth to the late eighteenth centuries as a mere extension of the Jewish Middle Ages, a time when the Jewish world was cut off from intellectual developments in the Christian world. The eminent scholar David Ruderman here argues, however, that during this era Jewish culture and society became increasingly aware of medical and scientific advances, and that a new Jewish scientific discourse evolved that had significant repercussions for Jewish religious concerns.Ruderman discusses the intellectual and social factors shaping Jewish cultural development. He then focuses on three distinct but interrelated groups: converso physicians and other university-trained intellectuals who fled Spain and Portugal in the seventeenth century and served as doctors and purveyors of scientific learning throughout the Jewish communities of Europe; circles of Jewish scholars in Central and Eastern Europe who pursued scientific learning (especially astronomy) as a desirable supplement to their own rabbinic study; and the hundreds of Jews who graduated from Italian medical schools. Ruderman shows how these thinkers formed an international community of Jewish intellectuals knowledgeable about modern scientific developments.
Subjects: Health Sciences
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