The Unconverted Self

Jews, Indians, and the Identity of Christian Europe

Jonathan Boyarin

Jonathan Boyarin

208 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2009
Cloth $35.00 ISBN: 9780226069197 Published December 2009
E-book $7.00 to $30.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226069142 Published December 2009

Europe’s formative encounter with its “others” is still widely assumed to have come with its discovery of the peoples of the New World. But, as Jonathan Boyarin argues, long before 1492 Christian Europe imagined itself in distinction to the Jewish difference within. The presence and image of Jews in Europe afforded the Christian majority a foil against which it could refine and maintain its own identity. In fundamental ways this experience, along with the ongoing contest between Christianity and Islam, shaped the rhetoric, attitudes, and policies of Christian colonizers in the New World.

The Unconverted Self proposes that questions of difference inside Christian Europe not only are inseparable from the painful legacy of colonialism but also reveal Christian domination to be a fragile construct. Boyarin compares the Christian efforts aimed toward European Jews and toward indigenous peoples of the New World, bringing into focus the intersection of colonial expansion with the Inquisition and adding significant nuance to the entire question of the colonial encounter.

Revealing the crucial tension between the Jews as “others within” and the Indians as “others without,” The Unconverted Self is a major reassessment of early modern European identity.

Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments

 

Introduction

 

Chapter 1:  Until the Conversion of the Self

 

Chapter 2:  Muslims

 

Chapter 3:  Christendom

 

Chapter 4:  The Universe of the Human

 

Chapter 5:  Text and Translation

 

Conclusion:  The Christian Dimension

 

Notes

 

Bibliography

 

Index
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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