« From Status to Contract ? Commerce, Jews, and Europe's Transition to Modernity (17th and 18 th Centuries) ».

Intervention de Francesca Trivellato (Yale University) intitulée:

« From Status to Contract ? Commerce, Jews, and Europe's Transition to Modernity (17th and 18 th Centuries) ».

ce jeudi 18 mai de 17h à 19h (salle 5 du 105 bd Raspail), dans le cadre du séminaire «  Les diasporas : échelles d’intégration et modes d’appartenance (16e-19e s.) ».

La conférence sera en anglais mais les discussions pourront être en français. Vous en trouverez ci-dessous le résumé.

Vous y êtes cordialement invités,

Mathilde Monge (UT2J)
Natalia Muchnik (EHESS)
Marie-Carmen Smyrnelis (FASSE)

NB : le séminaire a lieu les 1er, 3e et 5e jeudi du mois, de 17 h à 19 h en salle 5 (105 bd Raspail, 75006 Paris) jusqu'au 1er juin 2017.


The inspiration for this essay comes from a passing remark in An Alternative Path to Modernity, in which Yosef Kaplan maintains that the Spanish and Portuguese Jewish community in seventeenth-century Amsterdam did not pass any regulations about financial dealings and “conferred almost full autonomy of values” to the economic sphere, although for pragmatic rather than ideological reasons. Borrowing from Kaplan’s own research as well as a variety of other sources, I challenge this thesis and argue instead that a religious logic (orthodoxy), a class-bound social logic (bon Judesmo), and an economic logic (collective reputation) reinforced one another among Dutch Sephardim. I use my case study to challenge more linear accounts of the rise of impersonal markets in early modern Europe, and in Amsterdam in particular. I conclude by reinterpreting a famous passage in Spinoza’s Theological-Political Treatise (XX.15) in light of the evidence presented in the essay. In spite of Spinoza’s emphasis on indifference towards religion and the impartiality of tribunals as the hallmarks of Amsterdam economic life, modern historians can recognize the role of information networks, peer pressure, and corporate institutions in guiding and monitoring the behavior of economic actors.