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Jews in Medieval ChristendomNovember 6, 2012I. Legacy of Late Antiquitya. Rabbinic texts and rabbinic law (possible rabbinization in communities previously not influenced?)b. Prayer liturgy (as specified especially by Rabbis)c. Under Roman Christian rule: a new consensus of marginalityi. Jews in society, not of society, which is Christian society later becomes Muslimii. Protected Jews were the most reliable “other” in Christian kingdomsiii. Necessarily subordinateiv. Could be restrictive/oppressive Jews are not supposed to hold positions of power over Christian, but they do have their own rights stillv. Also empowered limited Jewish autonomy under “traditional” leaders helps to shape the Jewish identityII. Women in Judaism in Late Antiquitya. “Rabbis are not Judaism”b. Rabbinic Corpusi. Like Bible, a literature that talks about women, reflects largely male concernsii. Wegner: Mishnah tendency to limit women’s sexual, reproductive function, while retaining other areas of autonomyregulate their jobs, but they DON’T want to leave them in the house or de-economize them, they ARE concerned with areas to handle the ownership of women’s sexualityiii. Can refine Wegner’s treatment of Talmud and Midrash: Babylonian texts more likely to reflect view of women as bizarre “other”c. Diaspora Evidencei. Much more variedii. Public role of women in some contextsiii. Evidence (limited) for women as property owners, donors, etc. possibilities of women of a social status how much mobility and ability they had for prominent social personasIII. A Political Sketcha. Zones of Medieval Jewish Culturei. Northern, Central, Eastern European Ashkenazicii. Islamic landsiii. Byzantineiv. Spanish Sephardicb. Jews in Christian Landsi. Old Roman areas: Turkey, Greece, Italyii. Developing medieval areas: France, German, EasternIV. Legal Statusa. Legacy of Late Antiquei. Jews as witness protected and restrictedii. A body of law that in practice restricted and protected (Justinian intervention into Jewish practices is exceptional)iii. In Western Eurppe: Main heirs is the Catholic Churchb. In the States of Medieval Europe:i. Charters (first for individuals, then cities) then kingdomsii. Jews as serfs of the royal chamberiii. Protective, but put Jews at riskV. Economy (Northern Europe)a. “Jews and Money”i. In developing states of Northern and Central Europe, Jewish merchants invited to settle.ii. With the rise of merchant class in merdieval towns, prohibitions, restrictions on owning land, Jews increasingly pushed into lendingiii. In princedoms with striong states, served as money lenders forprinces as well, a source of revenue for kingsiv. A similar process ongoing in the flow of Jews o eastern Europe as wellb. Where there was no such selection of Jews there was greater economic diversityi. Byzantine empireii. Islamic


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UMD JWST 234 - Jews in Medieval Christendom

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