Refugees or Migrants

Pre-Modern Jewish Population Movement

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Robert Chazan
  • New Haven, CT: 
    Yale University Press
    , January
     272 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.


A leading historian argues that historically Jews were more often voluntary migrants than involuntary refugees?

For millennia, Jews and non-Jews alike have viewed forced population movement as a core aspect of the Jewish experience. This involuntary Jewish wandering has been explained by pre-modern Jews and Christians as divine punishment, by some modern non-Jews as the result of Jewish harmfulness, by some modern Jews as fostered by Christian anti-Jewish imagery, and by other modern Jews as caused by misguided Jewish acceptance of minority status.
In this absorbing book, Robert Chazan explores these various perspectives and argues that pre-modern Jewish population movement was in most cases voluntary, the result of a sense among Jews that there were alternatives available for making a better life elsewhere.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Robert Chazan is S.H. and Helen R. Scheuer Professor of Modern Jewish History and Professor of History at New York University. He is the author of Anti-Judaism to Anti-Semitism: Ancient and Medieval Christian Constructions of Jewish History.


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