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Book Reviews 129 Mandate which allowed little scope for notable manipulation and where populist modes of operation had to compete with a better-organized Zionist movement. Although a rewarding one, Politics and Society in Ottoman Palestine is not an easy read. More systemic than historical in its approach, it offers a catalog of different kinds of change in which historical specifics are usually used to illustrate general observations rather than to provide a descriptive account. The work is sometimes maddeningly abstract-in several places I found myself hungering for a thicker description of the various changes being noted in general terms. Strongest on the evolution of Palestinian politics and economy, the book gives less attention to the intellectual and cultural dimensions of Palestinian history. By the later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, rapidly changing political and social conditions were generating newforms ofeducation and socialization as well as new ideas about community and identity among Palestinian Arabs. The existence of such educational and intellectual currents is briefly· noted in several places, but there is little extended discussion or illustration of these aspects ofthe Palestinian experience. The altered world-views produced by a century of change and "modernization" are not developed in any depth; Palestinian voices are largely absent from the text. Thus, whereas the book provides an excellent overview of central features of Palestinian history in the latter phases of Ottoman rule, there are other aspects of that history which merit the same kind of systematic and sympathetic analysis given here to Palestinian political and economic evolution. James Jankowski University of Colorado, Boulder Jewish Inscriptions of Western Europe, by David Noy. New York: Cambridge University Press. Vol. 1: Italy (excluding the City of Rome), Spain and Gaul, 1993. 385 pp., 32 plates. $99.95. Vol. 2: The City of Rome, 1995. 573 pp., 6 maps, 20 plates. $125.00. This two-volume title presents virtually the only primary source material for most of the initial millennium of the history of Western European Jewry. And this work is far more comprehensive than all its predecessors. People of Western societies who have traditionally traced the roots of their cultures to ancient Greece and Rome have at times regarded classical 130 SHOFAR Summer 1996 Vol. 14, No.4 societies as monolithic, not appreciating their diversity. In this failure, we are partly the victims and partly the unconscious followers of the ancient Roman writers, who refer to the Jews with only a few mostly hostile remarks. Hagiographic and even rabbinic sources contribute little of reliable historical value to our knowledge of the Jewish communities scattered in Italy, Sicily, Malta, Sardinia, Spain, and Gaul over a period of at least eight centuries. A Jewish population of considerable size lived in Western Europe from at least the first century B.C.E., but because of the scarcity of information in literary sources, present-day knowledge of these people from 100 B.C.E. to 700 C.E. derives almost exclusively from Jewish inscriptions. This work, complete in two volumes, is the most thorough and up-to-date treatment of those historically crucial inscriptions. Here they "are published with English translations and full commentary for the first time."1 The present work was undertaken as part of the Jewish Inscriptions Project being carried out in the Faculty of Divinity of the University of Cambridge. The Project began work in January 1989 ... [with funding from] the British Academy. . .. Its purpose is to revise and improve the presentation of jewish inscriptions from the Greco-Roman world in Corpus [nscriptionum judaicarum2 by providing reconsidered editions of the texts, up-to-date bibliography, collation of inscriptions published since C[J or omitted by it, and linguistic, theological and historical comments. Entries are held in a database and marked so that computer-generated indexes on a wide variety of subjects can be produced. . . . In the choice of regions to be given attention, it is hoped to avoid overlap with work in progress at Tiibingen.3 11, i. Although Noy applies this quoted remark only to the epitaphs, it applies to the work as a whole. (Much of the information in this paragraph appears on the book jacket.) 2Jean-Baptiste Frey, Corpus lnscriptionum judaicarum...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-5165
Print ISSN
0882-8539
Pages
pp. 129-133
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-03
Open Access
No
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