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Francesca Trivellato

8 Podcast Episodes

Latest 28 Aug 2021 | Updated Daily

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57: Jews and the History of Finance with Francesca Trivellato

Jewish History Matters

Join our community on Facebook | Join our mailing list Francesca Trivellato joins us to discuss her book The Promise and Peril of Credit, and the longstanding legend that Jews invented bills of exchange. Listen in to our wide-ranging conversation about the history of Jews and finance in early modern Europe and its ramifications for today. The Promise and Peril of Credit offers a fascinating account of the history of bills of exchange in early modern Europe, which were a mechanism for merchants to exchange goods, services, and money over long distances, and specifically the myth that Jews invented them. And this might seem like a fascinating but niche topic, but it really isn’t: It provides a way to talk about economic history and what it teaches us in the biggest terms, about the relationship between the nuts and bolts of the economy and the myths that surround these often opaque processes, and about the staying power of such myths that resonate from the seventeenth century to the 2008 financial crisis. And then, of course, there’s the question of what all this means when we throw the Jews into the equation: The fact that Jews were associated with financial instruments like bills of exchange is part of a much longer history about the place of Jews in European culture, antisemitism and anti-Judaism, and the role of myths in society. Francesca Trivellato is a historian of early modern Italy and continental Europe, focusing of the organization and culture of the marketplace in the pre-industrial world. She is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, and her books include The Familiarity of Strangers: The Sephardic Diaspora, Livorno, and Cross-cultural Trade in the Early Modern Period, which appeared in 2009, and her 2019 book which we are discussing today, The Promise and Peril of Credit, which was awarded the 2020 Jacques Barzun Book Prize in Cultural History by the American Philosophical Society.

1hr 10mins

22 Nov 2020

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Francesca Trivellato, "The Promise and Peril of Credit" (Princeton UP, 2019)

New Books in Economics

In 1647, the French author Étienne Cleirac asserted in his book Les us, et coustumes de la mer that the credit instruments known as bills of exchange had been invented by Jews. In The Promise and Peril of Credit: What a Forgotten Legend about Jews and Finance Tells Us about the Making of European Commercial Society (Princeton University Press, 2019), Francesca Trivellato draws upon the economic, cultural, intellectual, and business history of the period to trace the origin of this myth and what its usage in early modern Europe reveals about contemporary views of both commerce and Judaism. Trivellato begins by explaining the development of bills of exchange in the Middle Ages as a means of transferring funds across long distances, ones which helped the expansion of international trade. Though used by both Christians and Jews, concerns about crypto-Judaism among converted Christians in the town of Bordeaux where Cleirac lived may have been key to his belief in their association with the bills. From Cheirac’s book the myth then spread throughout much of western and central Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries, where it was used both to support anti-Semitic views and as examples by philo-Semitic writers such as Montesquieu of the superior commercial ability of Jews. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/economics

1hr 1min

7 Jun 2019

Similar People

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Francesca Trivellato, "The Promise and Peril of Credit" (Princeton UP, 2019)

New Books in Jewish Studies

In 1647, the French author Étienne Cleirac asserted in his book Les us, et coustumes de la mer that the credit instruments known as bills of exchange had been invented by Jews. In The Promise and Peril of Credit: What a Forgotten Legend about Jews and Finance Tells Us about the Making of European Commercial Society (Princeton University Press, 2019), Francesca Trivellato draws upon the economic, cultural, intellectual, and business history of the period to trace the origin of this myth and what its usage in early modern Europe reveals about contemporary views of both commerce and Judaism. Trivellato begins by explaining the development of bills of exchange in the Middle Ages as a means of transferring funds across long distances, ones which helped the expansion of international trade. Though used by both Christians and Jews, concerns about crypto-Judaism among converted Christians in the town of Bordeaux where Cleirac lived may have been key to his belief in their association with the bills. From Cheirac’s book the myth then spread throughout much of western and central Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries, where it was used both to support anti-Semitic views and as examples by philo-Semitic writers such as Montesquieu of the superior commercial ability of Jews. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/jewish-studies

1hr 1min

7 Jun 2019

Episode artwork

Francesca Trivellato, "The Promise and Peril of Credit" (Princeton UP, 2019)

New Books in Finance

In 1647, the French author Étienne Cleirac asserted in his book Les us, et coustumes de la mer that the credit instruments known as bills of exchange had been invented by Jews. In The Promise and Peril of Credit: What a Forgotten Legend about Jews and Finance Tells Us about the Making of European Commercial Society (Princeton University Press, 2019), Francesca Trivellato draws upon the economic, cultural, intellectual, and business history of the period to trace the origin of this myth and what its usage in early modern Europe reveals about contemporary views of both commerce and Judaism. Trivellato begins by explaining the development of bills of exchange in the Middle Ages as a means of transferring funds across long distances, ones which helped the expansion of international trade. Though used by both Christians and Jews, concerns about crypto-Judaism among converted Christians in the town of Bordeaux where Cleirac lived may have been key to his belief in their association with the bills. From Cheirac’s book the myth then spread throughout much of western and central Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries, where it was used both to support anti-Semitic views and as examples by philo-Semitic writers such as Montesquieu of the superior commercial ability of Jews. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/finance

1hr 1min

7 Jun 2019

Most Popular

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Francesca Trivellato, "The Promise and Peril of Credit" (Princeton UP, 2019)

New Books in Intellectual History

In 1647, the French author Étienne Cleirac asserted in his book Les us, et coustumes de la mer that the credit instruments known as bills of exchange had been invented by Jews. In The Promise and Peril of Credit: What a Forgotten Legend about Jews and Finance Tells Us about the Making of European Commercial Society (Princeton University Press, 2019), Francesca Trivellato draws upon the economic, cultural, intellectual, and business history of the period to trace the origin of this myth and what its usage in early modern Europe reveals about contemporary views of both commerce and Judaism. Trivellato begins by explaining the development of bills of exchange in the Middle Ages as a means of transferring funds across long distances, ones which helped the expansion of international trade. Though used by both Christians and Jews, concerns about crypto-Judaism among converted Christians in the town of Bordeaux where Cleirac lived may have been key to his belief in their association with the bills. From Cheirac’s book the myth then spread throughout much of western and central Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries, where it was used both to support anti-Semitic views and as examples by philo-Semitic writers such as Montesquieu of the superior commercial ability of Jews. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

1hr 1min

7 Jun 2019

Episode artwork

Francesca Trivellato, "The Promise and Peril of Credit" (Princeton UP, 2019)

New Books in European Studies

In 1647, the French author Étienne Cleirac asserted in his book Les us, et coustumes de la mer that the credit instruments known as bills of exchange had been invented by Jews. In The Promise and Peril of Credit: What a Forgotten Legend about Jews and Finance Tells Us about the Making of European Commercial Society (Princeton University Press, 2019), Francesca Trivellato draws upon the economic, cultural, intellectual, and business history of the period to trace the origin of this myth and what its usage in early modern Europe reveals about contemporary views of both commerce and Judaism. Trivellato begins by explaining the development of bills of exchange in the Middle Ages as a means of transferring funds across long distances, ones which helped the expansion of international trade. Though used by both Christians and Jews, concerns about crypto-Judaism among converted Christians in the town of Bordeaux where Cleirac lived may have been key to his belief in their association with the bills. From Cheirac’s book the myth then spread throughout much of western and central Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries, where it was used both to support anti-Semitic views and as examples by philo-Semitic writers such as Montesquieu of the superior commercial ability of Jews. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/european-studies

1hr 1min

7 Jun 2019

Episode artwork

Francesca Trivellato, "The Promise and Peril of Credit" (Princeton UP, 2019)

New Books in History

In 1647, the French author Étienne Cleirac asserted in his book Les us, et coustumes de la mer that the credit instruments known as bills of exchange had been invented by Jews. In The Promise and Peril of Credit: What a Forgotten Legend about Jews and Finance Tells Us about the Making of European Commercial Society (Princeton University Press, 2019), Francesca Trivellato draws upon the economic, cultural, intellectual, and business history of the period to trace the origin of this myth and what its usage in early modern Europe reveals about contemporary views of both commerce and Judaism. Trivellato begins by explaining the development of bills of exchange in the Middle Ages as a means of transferring funds across long distances, ones which helped the expansion of international trade. Though used by both Christians and Jews, concerns about crypto-Judaism among converted Christians in the town of Bordeaux where Cleirac lived may have been key to his belief in their association with the bills. From Cheirac’s book the myth then spread throughout much of western and central Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries, where it was used both to support anti-Semitic views and as examples by philo-Semitic writers such as Montesquieu of the superior commercial ability of Jews. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/history

1hr 1min

7 Jun 2019

Episode artwork

Francesca Trivellato, "The Promise and Peril of Credit" (Princeton UP, 2019)

New Books in French Studies

In 1647, the French author Étienne Cleirac asserted in his book Les us, et coustumes de la mer that the credit instruments known as bills of exchange had been invented by Jews. In The Promise and Peril of Credit: What a Forgotten Legend about Jews and Finance Tells Us about the Making of European Commercial Society (Princeton University Press, 2019), Francesca Trivellato draws upon the economic, cultural, intellectual, and business history of the period to trace the origin of this myth and what its usage in early modern Europe reveals about contemporary views of both commerce and Judaism. Trivellato begins by explaining the development of bills of exchange in the Middle Ages as a means of transferring funds across long distances, ones which helped the expansion of international trade. Though used by both Christians and Jews, concerns about crypto-Judaism among converted Christians in the town of Bordeaux where Cleirac lived may have been key to his belief in their association with the bills. From Cheirac’s book the myth then spread throughout much of western and central Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries, where it was used both to support anti-Semitic views and as examples by philo-Semitic writers such as Montesquieu of the superior commercial ability of Jews. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/french-studies

1hr 1min

7 Jun 2019