Katherine Aron-Beller
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The pingolo
A locus for fantasy

Like many micro-histories, this chapter, which studies the tension between Jews and Christians during the frequent clash of Passover and Easter, is based on one processo in 1604, which uncovers the boisterous and intrusive actions of a group of Jews in the home of Davide de Norsa, a Jewish banker in the small town of Soliera. The chapter provides a description of the various testimonies in the processo, provided in response to leading questions of the Inquisitor, and in addition an interpretation of the Jews' noise, defiance and commedia dell'arte during the clash of Easter and Passover in 1604. Christians were also likely to take offence at any noise made by Jews at a time when they were supposed to be silent. This explains why there was no clear understanding by the Christian witnesses whether what they heard was the recitation of the Haggadah or the swinging on the pingolo.

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Jews on trial

The Papal Inquisition in Modena, 1598–1638


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