Avinoam Naeh (University of Wisconsin) will discuss his recent project on usury in Early Modern England. Avinoam is a History PhD candidate in the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and a Mosse Fellow in UW-‐Madison. He is interested mainly in early modern English and Jewish cultural history, especially in questions pertaining to different conceptions of “economy” -‐ both normative and perverse -‐ and their relations with “identity.” His current project deals with changing conceptions of credit and Jewishness and the relations between them in 17th and 18th century England. His past projects dealt with early modern English popular crime literature and with representations of Jewishness in that corpus (he previously published on both the general subject and on the Jewish angle). This talk seeks to discern changing conceptions of usury in the discourse of English Bible exegesis of the 17th and 18th century, and to point to an exegetical shift which occurred in the second half of the 17th century. This shift, he argues, draws on a new anthropological imagery of the ancient Israelites. He also argues that this shift was uniquely English and draws on a brief comparison to French contemporary discourse on biblical Jews to highlight this point.
Location: English Building, Room 109
Date: 2/24/15, 4 pm