Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Epigraph

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

During the seven years it took me to research and write this book, I received generous financial support from the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, as well as from Princeton’s History Department, the Class of 1942 Preceptorship in History, and the University Committee on Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences. In Germany, my research was facilitated by conversations with a series of...

Note to Readers

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pp. xi-xiv

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Introduction

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pp. 1-24

Joseph Süss Oppenheimer, better known as Jew Süss, is one of the most iconic figures in the history of anti-Semitism. Originally from the Jewish community in Heidelberg, in 1733 Oppenheimer became the court Jew (personal banker and advisor) of the duke of the small German state of Württemberg. When the duke died unexpectedly in 1737, the Württemberg authorities arrested Oppenheimer, put him on trial, and finally executed him for what...

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1. The Inquisitor

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pp. 25-102

Dr. Philipp Friedrich Jäger died in his Stuttgart home on Monday evening, August 2, 1745. He was only thirty-seven years old at the time, a man in the prime of life (see figure 4). Descended from a long line of provincial civil servants, Jäger had accumulated an impressive list of titles by the time of his death. He was doctor of both laws (civil and canon), governmental councilor to the duke of Württemberg, president of one of Württemberg’s...

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2. A Convert’s Tale

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pp. 103-176

A few weeks after Oppenheimer’s execution, University of Tübingen lecturer Christoph David Bernard wrote an account of his first visit with the condemned man. They had met on Saturday, February 1, 1738, three days before the public hanging. Also present in the room were the court secretary Johann Philipp Pregizer and a prominent member of the small Jewish community in Stuttgart, Marx Nathan (also known as Mordechai Schloss)....

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3. Joseph and His Brothers

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pp. 177-230

In the beginning was the ghetto. Joseph Oppenheimer’s relationship with other Jews is incomprehensible without it as both a physical place and a symbolic reference point. If this is true in general, it is particularly true in the case of the only eyewitness account of Oppenheimer’s trial to have been written by a Jew (figure 7).

The commissioner of the eyewitness account was Mordechai Schloss. Schloss was a native of the Frankfurt ghetto—the famous...

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4. In the Land of the Dead

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pp. 231-279

In a fictional account published about three months after Oppenheimer’s execution, the notorious court Jew, now a resident of the netherworld, tells the story of his own death. The account begins with a description of Oppenheimer’s spirit leaving its dead body near Stuttgart and traveling toward Acheron, the river that separates the land of the living from the realm of the dead. Then, crossing the river on Charon’s mythical boat, Oppenheimer meets...

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Afterword

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pp. 280-286

Composing this polyphonic history hasn’t been easy, and this concluding section is no exception. The reason is not hard to grasp. The book contains four quite different stories, and these, while they all circle the same theme, also follow their own individual trajectories. Can the historian resist their separate pulls? Can he hold the cords to the work’s different parts just tight enough so that they don’t fly in all directions but also don’t...

List of Illustrations

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pp. 287-288

List of Abbreviations

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pp. 289-290

Notes

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pp. 291-322

Index

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pp. 323-330