Fashioning Jewish Identity in Medieval Western Christendom

Fashioning Jewish Identity in Medieval Western Christendom

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Robert Chazan
Cambridge University Press, 11/27/2003
EAN 9780521831840, ISBN10: 0521831849

Hardcover, 396 pages, 22.9 x 15.2 x 2.5 cm
Language: English

During the course of the twelfth century, increasing numbers of Jews migrated into dynamically developing western Christendom from Islamic lands. The vitality that attracted them also presented a challenge: Christianity - from early in its history - had proclaimed itself heir to a failed Jewish community and thus the vitality of western Christendom was both appealing and threatening to the Jewish immigrants. Indeed, western Christendom was entering a phase of intense missionising activity, some of which was directed at the long-term Jewish residents of Europe and the Jewish newcomers. This 2003 study examines the techniques of persuasion adopted by the Jewish polemicists in order to reassure their Jewish readers of the truth of Judaism and the error of Christianity. At the very deepest level, these Jewish authors sketched out for their fellow Jews a comparative portrait of Christian and Jewish societies - the former powerful but irrational and morally debased, the latter the weak but reasonable and morally elevated - urging that the obvious and sensible choice was Judaism.

Short titles for frequently cited texts
Part I. Backdrop
1. Jesus and the Jews
the gospel accounts
2. Post-Gospel Christian argumentation
continuities and expansions
3. Pre-twelfth-century Jewish argumentation
Part II. Data and Foundations
4. The Jewish polemicists of southern France and northern Spain
5. Scriptural and alternative lines of argumentation
Part III. Jesus as Messiah
6. Biblical prophecy
messianic advent
7. Biblical prophecy
the Messiah reviled and vindicated
Part IV. Rejection of the Messiah and Rejection of the Jews
8. Biblical prophecy and empirical observation
displacement of the Jews
9. Biblical prophecy
redemption of the Jews
10. Biblical prophecy and empirical observation
Christian failures
Part V. The Messiah Human and Divine
11. Biblical prophecy
the Messiah human and divine
12. Human reason
the Messiah human and divine
Part VI. Jewish Polemicists on the Attack
13. Christian Scripture and Jesus
14. Comparative behaviors
Jewish achievement and Christian shortcoming
Part VII. Underlying Issues
15. Techniques of persuasion
16. Fashioning identities
other and self
Index of subjects and proper names
Scripture index.