An Excerpt from A Separate Republic
"A historical irony has opened the doors to study of Venetian Jewish self- government. An Italian translation of the community's record book for the years 1607- 1624, called the Libro Grande, has survived in the Venetian state archive. This translation was composed in 1632 at the order of the Venetian government, when a squabble within the community drew its attention, and brought the community under suspicion of lèse majesté. Thus, though the translation threatened the community's existence when it was composed, it now enables us to resurrect the community's political fabric.
The following discussion outlines forces and tensions that molded the structure and function of Venetian Jewish self- government, and how these are treated in the study. These kinds of tensions influenced and characterized Jewish self- government for centuries, in different lands, and the Venetian Jewish community serves as a paradigm for the ways in which these forces generally informed communal structure. "
Chapter One: Introduction, Page 12