Jews and Christians in Twelfth-Century Europe
402 pages, 6.00 x 9.00 , 11 halftones, 1 map
Paperback | 9780268032548 | December 2001
Hardcover | 9780268032531 | December 2001
In the summer of 1096, marauding crusaders attacked Jewish communities in three Rhineland cities. These violent episodes disrupted what had been a fairly peaceful history of coexistence between Jews and Christians for more than two centuries. Although the two groups inhabited fundamentally different religious universes, Jews and Christians lived in the same towns, on the same streets, and pursued their lives with minimal interference, often with considerable cooperation. However, the events of 1096 caused relations between the two communities to deteriorate, with Jewish communities suffering as a result.
The careful analyses of people, events, and texts provide a balanced perspective on the fate of twelfth-century Jewish communities. The contributors reveal considerable evidence that old routines and interactions between Christians and Jews persisted throughout this volatile period. The essays intentionally highlight areas of common or parallel activity: in vernacular literature, in biblical exegesis, in piety and mysticism, in the social context of conversion, in relations with prelates and monarchs, in coping in a time of change, renewal, and upheaval. Most importantly, the contributors insist on integrating both Jewish and Christian perspectives into the larger history of a very complex and increasingly urban twelfth-century Europe.
Contributors: John Van Engen, Jeremy Cohen, Ivan G. Marcus, Robert Chazan, Jonathan M. Elukin, William Chester Jordan, Walter Cahn, Jan M. Ziolkowski, Michael A. Signer, Elliott R. Wolfson, Susan Einbinder, Maureen Boulton, Alfred Haverkamp, Gérard Nahon, and Robert C. Stacey.
Michael A. Signer is Abrams Professor of Jewish Thought and Culture in the Department of Theology at the University of Notre Dame.
John Van Engen is Andrew V. Tackes Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame, editor of The Past and Future of Medieval Studies (Notre Dame Press, 1994), and author of Devotio Moderna: Basic Writings.
“Essays on interactions between the two groups in northwestern Europe, with a focus on the changes that occurred after a series of pogroms by Crusaders in the Rhineland cities of Mainz, Speyer, and Worms in 1096.” —The Chronicle of Higher Education
“All of these papers make a contribution to the editors’ effort to redirect medieval historiography. [T]he most impressive contribution is Alfred Haverkamp’s extraordinarily detailed study exploring perceptions of baptized Jews among both Christians and Jews. [T]hese papers present a variegated portrait of Jewish-Christian relations, yet all agree on the decisive influence of twelfth-century developments for the remainder of the Middle Ages.” —Journal of the History of Philosophy
“[T]hese essays infuse the process of historiography with an excitement and relevance that can become lost in the details of arcane antiquities. By demonstrating what is vital and best in the research being done in medieval studies these essays remind us of how history informs us and how we form history.” —Comitatus
“...a fascinating and highly significant book for anyone with a serious interest in the study of the relations between Jews and Christians.” —Theological Book Review
“... the editors, whose own contributions to the volume are among the best, are to be congratulated on producing a volume that integrates the history of medieval Jews into the history of twelfth-century north-western Europe.” —Journal of Ecclesiastical History
“The fifteen contributors... include some of the most eminent scholars practicing in the fields of Jewish history and thought, general medieval history, romance literature, Hebrew literature, medieval art, and comparative literature. All of the essays are solid and impressive pieces of scholarship, many are highly persuasive, and some are truly exciting and thought provoking. [T]his is undoubtedly an impressive and important collection, which should be read by anyone interested in medieval religion and society, both for what it has to tell us about Jewish-Christian relations and for what it prompts us to continue to ask.” —Speculum
“...a particularly interesting and useful set of... essays.... ... it is not often that one wishes a 360-page book were longer. As it is, this collection leaves its readers with a springboard for further reading and thinking; a very good addition to the shelves.” —Journal of Theological Studies