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Messianism, Secrecy, & Mysticism: A New Interpretation

of Early American Jewish Life


Outstanding Academic Title for 2013; Winner of the 2012 Jordan Schnitzer Book Award in Cultural Studies and Media Studies and the 2012 National Jewish Book Award in American Jewish Studies:


"In a book that offers a dramatic new interpretation of early American Jewish life Laura Arnold Leibman introduces us to the culture, beliefs, spaces and objects embraced by the Jewish men and women of the Atlantic world in the port towns of Newport, Rhode Island, Suriname, Curacao, and Barbados, among others. She brilliantly weaves together Conversos’ ideas about redemption, Kabbalah, and messianism while resuming their lives as Jews as they build economic and religious worlds. She offers a dynamic vision of the dreams, hopes and ordinary lives of colonial Jews. Leibman helps to rewrite the history of early American Jews by focusing on their work, their ideas and their material world, which created a rich, textured, and committed Jewish life. Leibman’s surprising and complex portrait of Jewish life enlarges the history of early American religion, restores the importance of mysticism to American Jewish history, and offers a more thoroughly complex understanding of the lives of Jews in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in the Atlantic." (National Jewish Book Awards)


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