¶ 1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 The 1615 letter pays no attention to the internal organization of the Jewish community. The appointment of neither rabbis nor community trustees (Parnas) requires confirmation by the authorities. In fact, neither cantor nor beadle (Schulklopfer) were even mentioned. Thus, secular documents are relatively silent regarding internal aspects of Jewish community life.
¶ 2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 When compared to other seventeenth-century letters of protection, the 1615 Stühlingen Jews’ Privilege is relatively simplistic, lacking many elements found elsewhere, and rarely considers the law of unintended consequences. It is closer in character to the individual letters of protection from earlier periods. Terms of dismissal from protection are not discussed; wine and other alcoholic beverages are not mentioned. Usury is not defined. Timing and procedures for renewal of the letter are missing.
¶ 4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 In other words, a letter of protection does not exist in a vacuum. First, there is the intent or purpose for which the letter is issued, which determines the actual wording of the letter that defines privileges, limitations and taxes. These are then operationalized as written bylaw or regulations. And finally, officials have to implement the regulations. Problems can result from issues at any stage.18
¶ 5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 We know next to nothing about the intent of Maximilian von Pappenheim or about any negotiations with the targets of the letter. It makes sense that some kind of written regulations existed, but as yet they have not been found.. A bylaw requiring the recording of financial transactions probably did exist, for financial transactions are on record, and such records are not explicitly mandated by the letter proper.
¶ 6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 It does not appear as if the Jews had any control over who was to receive a letter of protection and could take residence in Stühlingen. These decisions were made by the rulers and officials .
¶ 7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 Overall, one does not get the impression that the 1615 letter of protection for the Jews of Stühlingen was the result of careful analysis and planning. This is not surprising. Its major goal was to retain the Jews as a valuable source of taxation and credit. In fact, Maximilian was in dire financial straits. The initial purchase of title and county through Maximilian’s father, Conrad, resulted in a considerable debt burden. The cost of maintaining a suitable lifestyle with two households, one local, the other in the imperial capital Vienna, added further to the problem. In 1613 he had to sell extensive landholdings in the Black Forest19 for 88,500 guilders, and in 1621 the Gräfenthal county in Thuringia, which he had inherited from his uncle Christoph Ulrich von Pappenheim in 1599 for the sum of 130,000 guilders.20
17Mordstein, Selbstbewusste Untertänigkeit, 257.
18Mauerer, Südwestdeutscher Reichsadel,