A Convert's Tale: Art, Crime, and Jewish Apostasy in Renaissance Italy

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Product Details

Harvard University Press
Publish Date
6.3 X 9.3 X 1.4 inches | 1.65 pounds

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About the Author

Tamar Herzig is Director of the Morris E. Curiel Institute for European Studies and Professor of History at Tel Aviv University. She has published extensively on various aspects of the Italian Renaissance, gender history, and religious history. Her books include Savonarola's Women and Christ Transformed into a Virgin Woman: Lucia Brocadelli, Heinrich Institoris, and the Defense of the Faith.


Reconstructs the complex relations between Christians and Jews in the Renaissance, highlighting a darker side of an era often seen as enlightened.--Ariel David"Haaretz" (11/30/2019)
A thoroughly researched investigation of the life of one of the most celebrated Renaissance goldsmiths, A Convert's Tale offers a vivid, layered portrayal of the ambiguities inherent in both Jewish-Christian and patron-client relations in Renaissance Italy. Herzig's book is exemplary in its insightful treatment of the familial and gendered implications of conversion to Christianity. Its impressive reconstruction of the often unglamorous vicissitudes of a busy artisan's existence, and its masterful presentation of the complex power dynamics that marked the uneven relations between Jews/Jewish converts and their princely protectors, make A Convert's Tale an unmissable read for Renaissance and Jewish Studies scholars alike.--Francesca Bregoli, author of Mediterranean Enlightenment: Livornese Jews, Tuscan Culture, and Eighteenth-Century Reform
Herzig's brilliant case study offers captivating new perspectives, not just for the glance it casts on Salomone's apostasy, but also on the profound effects, both negative and positive, his adherence to Christianity had on his family over the long term. A Convert's Tale will increase our understanding of conversion in early modern Italy and move scholarship on Jewish-Christian relations in fascinating new directions.--Konrad Eisenbichler, author of The Sword and the Pen: Women, Politics, and Poetry in Sixteenth-Century Siena
A Convert's Tale is an incisive book that with impressive sophistication blends archival research with cultural and social history. Herzig employs a microhistorical approach to thoroughly examine the life of a noted virtuoso goldsmith as a Jew and later as a convert in Renaissance Italy. In so doing she shines a light on the life of converts from Judaism to Christianity, Jewish-Christian relations, patronage, and homosexuality in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Italian cities with her usual, admirable command of primary sources and scholarship.--Federica Francesconi, University at Albany, State University of New York