By Roni Weinstein

This paintings goals to provide the wealth of fundamental records elating to marriage rituals in Jewish Italian groups - reaction, deepest letters, courtroom protocols, defamating books, love tales, fabric items - and position them in historic context.

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Additional resources for Marriage Rituals Italian Style: A Historical Anthropological Perspective on Early Modern Italian Jews

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18  wish. The literary and halakhic metaphors describe the family relationships, the endogamic ideal of hierarchy, and the new group identity that the bride acquires. The complicated status of the rabbi as an authority ruling and interfering in family issues is also implicitly considered in this responsum. The retreat from accepted halakhic precedent in favor of reliance on biblical verses raises doubts as to whether the rabbi wields the required authority to enforce his ruling, or his decision is only a recommendation.

Did the people of these times distinguish “high” from “low” culture? The jury is still out on this question, but all contenders implicitly assume that European culture during and after the Middle Ages was not of one cloth. It includes diverse voices and varied cultural layers stemming from different ethnic traditions, from attempts within the Church or the government to create new political institutions, from a pagan legacy that had not completely disappeared from also Edward M. Peters, “Religion and Culture, Popular and Unpopular, 1500–1800,” Journal of Modern History 59 (1987): 317–330.

Choosing a methodology is as meaningful a research declaration as were the two previous ones, concerning the elements included in the marriage ritual and the scope of the relevant documentation. My discussion of the marriage rituals of Italian Jews relies on several research traditions: the Annales, the discussion of “popular cultures,” Bourdieu’s studies, and the anthropological interpretation of socio-cultural phenomena. Although these research traditions developed at different times and out of different motivations, several basic assumptions draw them closer together: the assumption that culture is a diversified phenomenon that cannot be described in uniform terms; the emphasis on the interpretation of symbolic and ritual elements in the culture, and the stress on the importance of imagination, feelings, and consciousness as real data that must be included in historical research.

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