The 2004 workshop’s goal was to look broadly at the early modern period, and develop a number of themes that might be pursued at subsequent workshops. At the workshop, a number of scholars worked together for three days trying to define the parameters of this chronological period in Jewish history. Participants have covered a broad, if still necessarily limited, range of geographic, thematic, and disciplinary topics, resulting in the first collection of impressive texts on early modern Jewish history. They include privileges granted by monarchs and lords to Jews (privileges granted to Jews of Great Poland in 1453, to a Jewish community in Jampol in 1711, to Jews in Trieste in 1771), various expressions of intellectual creativity of Jews (Ets Hayyim by Hayyim Vital, work of an east European Baal Shem, Sefer Marekhet ha-Elohut by Yehuda Hayat, Yakov Emden’s Mitpahat Sefarim, Keshet u-Magen by Zemah Duran, Kol Sakhal), halakhic materials (registers of a Bet Din, a rabbinic court, in Metz, France; Seder Mitzvot Nashim, a book of women’s commandments), Jewish travelers accounts (Obadiah of Bertinoro), materials concerning Jewish-Christian relations (Yosef Ha-Kohen’s `Emek ha-Bakha, Bull of Pope Sixtus IV, an 1700 court account of church robbery, Process Kryminalny—an example of anti-Jewish polemic from Poland, and Elias Schadeus’ account of preaching to Jews in Strasbourg), texts concerning women (Seder Mizvot Nashim, and letters of Bella Perlhefter), and an account of Jewish social discipline (Samuel Aboab).
These texts, many inaccessible or available only in languages not shared by all, have been translated and equipped with annotations, and introductory essays by scholars who presented them.