Translated by Jody Gladding
Gilbert Dahan offers a compact overview of Jewish conditions in medieval Western Christendom, then moves to a discussion of the changing patterns of Christian-Jewish polemical confrontation. Dahan lays particular emphasis on the shift during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries from a fairly open exchange of views to a concerted Christian effort to convert the Jews. After establishing this context, Dahan analyzes the most common literary genres (including disputatio) in which these arguments were couched, their underlying structures and the most important recurring themes. This volume is particularly useful for its clear delineation of the historical phases of Christian polemicizing, its cogent analysis of key aspects of Christian polemical literature, and its rich citation of illustrative texts.
Whether it be shared examination of the sacred texts or impassioned discussion over the theses belonging to each of the two religions, the Judeo-Christian “dispute” continued throughout the Middle Ages, and seems to be carried on in some way even in the Judeo-Christian dialogue of today.
“Dahan’s study affords us the best available introduction to medieval Christian anti-Jewish polemics and…would serve as a very valuable resource for many graduate courses in medieval studies.”
-Robert Chazen, New York University, Speculum