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Book Reviews 155 example of Renaissance syncretism at its most extreme: in reality Bruno is Bruno; he proselytizes his own philosophy" (p. 181). While de Leon-Jones certainly makes a case for kabbalistic elements in Bruno, she, like Frances Yates, stresses the mystical and magical side of Bruno's thought at the expense of the progressive scientific aspects that recent Bruno scholarship has increasingly stressed. Hilary Gatti describe this new approach: Some of the most recent work on Bruno shows a marked reaction against such a primary emphasis on his mysticism and magic. His Copemicanism has been reexamined and revalued. His interest in, and knowledge of the scientific enquiries of his times, such as the study of comets, has been underlined. In general, it is precisely where Bruno breaks away from the Neoplatonic magi to establish a new cosmic vision that he is attracting the attention of many scholars today. I This is not to dismiss the importance of interest of Leon-Jones's investigation of the kabbalistic elements in Bruno's philosophy, but to suggest that the next step in Bruno scholarship might be to integrate what modem scholars see as conflicting aspects ofhis thought. Leon-Jones is one of the increasing number of scholars who are uncovering the ways in which Jews influenced intellectual life in Renaissance and early modem Europe. In doing this she has enriched our understanding of the ways Jews and Christians interacted and the effects these interactions had in shaping the philosophical, religious, and scientific ideas of both communities. Allison P. Coudert Department of Religious Studies Arizona State University Jiidisches Leben aufdem Lande: Studien zur deutsch-jiidischen Geschichte, edited by Monika Richarz and Reinhard RUrup. Schriftenreihe wissenschaftlicher Abhandlungen des Leo-Baeck-Instituts, 56. TUbingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1997.456 pp. DM 98. This volume is an extensive and very useful exploration ofthe history ofrural Jewry in Germany since the sixteenth century. The essays have been written, by many of the leading scholars in German Jewish history and have been compiled from material first presented at a conference in 1992 at the Zentrum flir interdisziplinare Forschung ofthe Universitat Bielefeld. The volume reveals the diversity and complexity ofrural German Jewry through a number of periods and within a number of regions. IHilary Gatti, The Renaissance Drama ofKnowledge: Giordano Bruno in England (London & New York: Routledge, 1989), pp. 49-50. 156 SHOFAR Spring 2000 Vol. 18, No.3 As the editors make clear, research on rural Jewry is really only at its beginning. Until the sixties much ofthe research into German Jewish history focused upon urban Jewry, in part because ofthe large urban Jewish population particularly in the Weimar period and in part because of the historical emphasis on elite culture, which was typically urban. This study, however, emphasizes the importance of rural Jewry even into the twentieth century and demonstrates the significance ofrural Jewry particularly in the south and west of Germany. The essays in this volume cover a wide range oftopics, but can be divided roughly into the following themes: the early modem period; settlement and migration; emancipation and antisemitism; Jewish religious life and material culture; family; education and representation; Nazi persecution. Throughout, the essays follow in basically chronological order. Although it would be impossible to evaluate each essay individually, it is worth commenting upon a number of general observations gleaned from the volume taken as a whole. First, these essays demonstrate that there exists a remarkably broad array of sources and historical methods available for approaching this theme: from rabbinic responsa to material and ritual art, genizah documents, and statistical compilations of population and income, for example. The essays also betray the complexity and confusion in defining "rural" Jewry, and many essays assume a landed Jewry that includes village Jews as well as Jews in small cities. As already noted, several regions are singled out as particularly important and rich in materials. Many of the essays demonstrate the extent to which Jews were integrated within their non-Jewish rural communities at the same time that they explore the tensions within the Jewish communities themselves. Within the specific sections of the book a number of general notes should also be made. The contributors make clear that the...


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