Evelyne Oliel-Grausz

senior fellow
EURIAS cohort 2018/2019
discipline History
Associate Professor Early Modern History and Modern Jewish History, University Paris I-Panthéon Sorbonne

Research project

Embedded Justice ? Community, Conflict Resolution, and Legal Acculturation in the Early Modern Western Sephardi Diaspora


While it was not common practice for Sephardi Jews in London, Amsterdam, Bordeaux, to resort to local resources to resolve disputes between Jews, my project explores to what extent the communities of the western Sephardi Diaspora did function as a forum of dispute settlement, as a legal resource, and how these community fora, in their various forms and functions, were articulated to local legal resources. The novelty of this project, which is already very much in progress in terms of the archival research, is threefold: First it examines a poorly explored function of the early modern corporate body of the kehillah, the Jewish community considered as a potential forum for dispute settlement; secondly, it develops a contextualised comparative approach, and the need to elaborate an analytical toolkit that could at the same time embrace and differentiate kehillot developing within political and legal contexts as different as Amsterdam, Hamburg, London, Bordeaux, colonial settings or a fortiori Livorno where the community court functioned as a first instance Jewish court. By doing so, it calls for a new assessment of the notion of “autonomy”, commonly used by historians as defining early modern Jewries. Last, as this project is built around the use of judicial records, it allows for a study of the uses of justice “from below”, and a “hands-on”, approach to legal pluralism in action.

The detailed study of a selection of cases calls for a further reflection on the meaning of early modern legal pluralism applied to Jewish societies. It seems relevant to add already that this project is based essentially on thoroughly new archival records, whether community records, which include lay and rabbinical judicial records, or records from the local courts, in Amsterdam, Livorno, London and Bordeaux.




Evelyne Oliel-Grausz is Associate Professor (Maître de Conférences) of Early Modern History and Modern Jewish History at the University Paris I-Panthéon Sorbonne.

Her research interests are mainly the history of the Sephardic diaspora and the early modern Jewish world, conflict resolution, Jewish courts, Jewish mobility, circulation, intercommunal networks, merchant networks, communication channels in the Jewish world, Jews and the French Revolution. 


Selected publications


‘David Aboab, ou l’itinéraire frustré d’un converti juif au XVIIIe siècle, entre lacunes et certitudes’, Revue de l’Histoire des Religions, vol. 234, no. 1, 2017, pp. 89-118.


‘A Tale of Caribbean Deviance : David Aboab and Community Conflicts in Curaçao’, in Y. Kaplan & D. Michman (eds), The Religious Cultures of Dutch Jewry, E.J. Brill, Leiden/Boston, 2017, pp. 159-182.


‘Economie et judaïsme : normes et pratiques du prêt à intérêt’, Genèse des marchés, Comité pour l’histoire économique et financière de la France, IGPDE, Paris, 2015, pp. 156-170.


‘Résolution des litiges commerciaux et circulations transnationales au début du XVIIIe siècle: l’affaire Pimenta-Nunes Pereira’, Archives Juives, vol. 47, 2014, pp. 77-90.


‘Histoire économique des juifs de France : Institutions, communautés, marchés’, with L. Hilaire-Pérez, Archives Juives, vol. 47, 2014, pp. 4-9.



senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2013/2014
Israel Institute for Advanced Studies (IIAS)
discipline Archaeology
senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2016/2017
Israel Institute for Advanced Studies (IIAS)
discipline History
senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2018/2019
Israel Institute for Advanced Studies (IIAS)
discipline Southeast Asian Studies
senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2012/2013
Israel Institute for Advanced Studies (IIAS)
discipline Linguistics