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Yearning to Become a Jew: Donato Manduzio's Conversion


Abstract


Donato Manduzio was a Southern Italian peasant who only learned how to read and write in his early thirties, while convalescing in a military hospital during the First World War. Upon his return to San Nicandro Garganico, his reading of the Bible and the visions he experienced led him to believe that Judaism surpassed all other religions. As he was convinced that the Jewish people had disappeared from earth, he thought God had given him the mission of recreating His people. After chancing to discover the existence of organized Jewish communities in Italy, Manduzio set about obtaining an official conversion for himself and about seventy of his followers. This paper endeavors to shed light on the circumstances of this collective conversion and to elucidate its causes by examining its historical and sociological contexts.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22808949a7n1p93

Keywords: Donato Manduzio; San Nicandro Garganico; Religion; Judaism; Zionism; Bible; Conversion; Visions; Faith healing

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