Reviewed by: Cheryl LaGuardia, Research Librarian, Harvard University
Quest: Issues in Contemporary Jewish History is a Milan-based journal “devoted to the history and historiography of the Jews in modern times.” It was established to provide a public space “where scholars could publish and discuss the results of research published either in Italy or abroad and related to Italian Jewish history or Jewish history in general.” The scope of the journal covers “the Jewish enlightenment, the emancipation, the old “nation of the Jews” and the new “State of the Jews,” the traditional religious and the new secular identities, Jews as migrants, inter-ethnic Jewish life and solidarity as well as relations between the Jewish group and national societies.” Other included research is about “Zionism and anti-Zionism, Shoah and its memory, Jewish modernity and modern antisemitism. To sum up, Quest is open to the political, cultural, religious and institutional history of Jewish communities and societies, and to Jewish means of social, political and cultural expression, to be investigated in their specificities and in their relations with their non-Jewish counterparts.”
Issues of Quest are organized into three sections: Focus, Discussion, and Reviews. The Focus section, consisting of 5to 8 articles, is sometimes arranged around a particular subject selected by the journal’s editors. The Discussion section provides in-depth analysis of a recently published, significant scholarly volume. The Reviews section provides a variety of scholarly book reviews.
The latest available issue, Issue 7, consists of a Focus section that is not thematic in nature, but instead presents eight unrelated articles, including “In Search of Salonika’s Lost Synagogues. An Open Question Concerning Intangible Heritage,” “‘The Jews have got into trouble again…’: Responses to the Publication of “Cronaca Israelitica” and the Question of Jewish Emancipation in the Ionian Islands (1861-1863),” “The Jewish Conspiracy Revealed (1897): Adolf Stöcker and the 19th-Century Antisemitism in Finland,” “From “Court Jew” Origins to Civil-Servant Nationalism: Hajim S. Davičo (1854-1916),” “Early Identity-Politics: The Case of Cahan and Schiff (1915-1917),” “’He'll become an antisemite here anyway.’ Israel as Seen by Karl Hartl, the First Austrian Diplomat in Tel Aviv (1950–55),” “Did the Germans Do It All? The Italian Shoah in International Historiography (1946-1986),” and “Primo Levi and the Italian Memory of the Shoah.” The Discussion section, by Robert S.C. Gordon, is of Berel Lang’s Primo Levi: The Matter of a Life, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013, and the Reviews section holds reviews of four books: Adolphe Franck, Philosophe juif, spiritualiste et libérale dans la France du XIX siècle. Actes du colloque tenu à l'Institut de France le 31 mai 2010, Luca Fenoglio’s Angelo Donati e la “Questione Ebraica” nella Francia Occupata dall’Esercito Italiano, David Cesarani’s and Eric J. Sundquist’s After the Holocaust: Challenging the Myth of Silence, and Elissa Bemporad’s Becoming Soviet Jews: The Bolshevik Experiment in Minsk.
Content here is scholarly and varied across Jewish history; there is some focus on the history of the Jews in Italy, but as you can see Quest’s overall scope is broader than that, and this title will serve scholars of Jewish history around the globe. An important title for Jewish studies.