The readmission of the Jews to England in 1656, in the context of English economic policy

Oliver Cromwell’s decision in 1656 to allow Jews to settle in England and to meet privately for prayer, marks the foundation of the modern Jewish community in this country. It was, therefore, a most important event in our history and one which has been fully researched and discussed. Yet even though the topic is not a new one, I feel it deserves further examination.

The development of English philo-Semitism, which made the idea of the readmission acceptable to Englishmen, has been investigated expertly and in great detail. Professor Theodore Rabb’s study of Richard Hooker’s Ecclesiastical Politie((‘The Stirrings of the 1590s and the Return of the Jews to England’ Trans JHSE (1979) XXVI.)) pinpointed a sixteenth-century Anglican theologian whose attitude towards Jews was unprejudiced and sympathetic and who influenced Anglican opinion. Dr David Katz’s book Philo-Semitism and the Readmission of the Jews to England 1603-1655 (Oxford 1982) is a thorough study

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