Download and read online Living Letters of the Law in PDF and EPUB "Well, clearly, and articulately written, Living Letters of the Law is among the most important books in medieval European history generally, as well as in its particular field."--Edward Peters, author of The First Crusade
Download and read online Sanctifying the Name of God in PDF and EPUB How are martyrs made, and how do the memories of martyrs express, nourish, and mold the ideals of the community? Sanctifying the Name of God wrestles with these questions against the background of the massacres of Jews in the Rhineland during the outbreak of the First Crusade. Marking the first extensive wave of anti-Jewish violence in medieval Christian Europe, these "Persecutions of 1096" exerted a profound influence on the course of European Jewish history. When the crusaders demanded that Jews choose between Christianity and death, many opted for baptism. Many others, however, chose to die as Jews rather than to live as Christians, and of these, many actually inflicted death upon themselves and their loved ones. Stories of their self-sacrifice ushered the Jewish ideal of martyrdom—kiddush ha-Shem, the sanctification of God's holy name—into a new phase, conditioning the collective memory and mindset of Ashkenazic Jewry for centuries to come, during the Holocaust, and even today. The Jewish survivors of 1096 memorialized the victims as martyrs as they rebuilt their communities during the decades following the Crusade. Three twelfth-century Hebrew chronicles of the persecutions preserve their memories of martyrdom and self-sacrifice, tales fraught with symbolic meaning that constitute one of the earliest Jewish attempts at local, contemporary historiography. Reading and analyzing these stories through the prism of Jewish and Christian religious and literary traditions, Jeremy Cohen shows how these persecution chronicles reveal much more about the storytellers, the martyrologists, than about the martyrs themselves. While they extol the glorious heroism of the martyrs, they also air the doubts, guilt, and conflicts of those who, by submitting temporarily to the Christian crusaders, survived.
Download and read online Letters of Light in PDF and EPUB How the 22 letters of the Hebrew Alphabet, the alef-beis, (the construction materials with which G-d built our earthly and spiritual existence) continue as a source of creation, reflection, prayer and inspiration in our everyday lives.
Download and read online Constantine s Sword in PDF and EPUB Examines the two-thousand-year relationship between Christianity and Judaism, examining the long entrenched tradition of anti-Semitism that culminated in the Church's failure to protest the Holocaust during World War II.
Download and read online New Perspectives on Jewish Christian Relations in PDF and EPUB This work revisits the millennia-old Jewish-Christian encounter by providing a nuanced understanding of its challenges as well as presenting new perspectives on hitherto neglected areas of cultural, religious, and social interchange and influence.
Download and read online Augustine and the Jews in PDF and EPUB In Augustine and the Jews, Fredriksen draws us into the life, times, and thought of Augustine of Hippo (396–430). Focusing on the period of astounding creativity that led to his new understanding of Paul and to his great classic, The Confessions, she shows how Augustine’s struggle to read the Bible led him to a new theological vision, one that countered the anti-Judaism not only of his Manichaean opponents but also of his own church. The Christian Empire, Augustine held, was right to ban paganism and to coerce heretics. But the source of ancient Jewish scripture and current Jewish practice, he argued, was the very same as that of the New Testament and of the church—namely, God himself. Accordingly, he urged, Jews were to be left alone. Conceived as a vividly original way to defend Christian ideas about Jesus and about the Old Testament, Augustine’s theological innovation survived the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, and it ultimately served to protect Jewish lives against the brutality of medieval crusades. Augustine and the Jews sheds new light on the origins of Christian anti-Semitism and, through Augustine, opens a path toward better understanding between two of the world’s great religions.
Download and read online Hebraica Veritas in PDF and EPUB In the early modern period, the religious fervor of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, social unrest, and millenarianism all seemed to foster greater anti-Judaism in Christian Europe, yet the increased intolerance was also accompanied by more intimate and complex forms of interaction between Christians and Jews. Printing, trade, and travel combined to bring those from both sides of the religious divide into closer contact than ever before, while growing interest in magic and the Kabbalah encouraged Christians to study Hebrew in addition to Latin and Greek. In Hebraica Veritas? Christian Hebraists and the Study of Judaism in Early Modern Europe, noted scholars trace how these early modern encounters played key roles in defining attitudes toward personal, national, and religious identity in Western culture. As Christians increasingly patronized Jewish scholars, in person and in print, Christian Hebraism flourished. The twelve essays assembled here address the important but often neglected subject of the early modern encounter between Christians and Jews. They illustrate how this envolvement shaped each group's self-perception and sense of otherness and contributed to the emergence of the modern study of cultural anthropology, comparative religion, and Jewish studies. But the chapters also reveal how the encounter challenged traditional religious beliefs, fostering the skepticism, toleration, and irreligion conventionally associated with the Enlightenment. Many of the Christian Hebraists described in these essays were linguists and textual critics, and their work highlights the ambiguous role played by language and texts in transmitting natural and divine truth. It was during the early modern period that numerous concepts underpinning modern Western secular society came into existence, and as Hebraica Veritas? shows, the subject of Christian Hebraism has direct relevance to understanding the intellectual changes and challenges characterizing the transition from the ancient to the modern world.
Download and read online Islam Through Western Eyes in PDF and EPUB Despite the West's growing involvement in Muslim societies, conflicts, and cultures, its inability to understand or analyze the Islamic world threatens any prospect for East–West rapprochement. Impelled by one thousand years of anti-Muslim ideas and images, the West has failed to engage in any meaningful or productive way with the world of Islam. Formulated in the medieval halls of the Roman Curia and courts of the European Crusaders and perfected in the newsrooms of Fox News and CNN, this anti-Islamic discourse determines what can and cannot be said about Muslims and their religion, trapping the West in a dangerous, dead-end politics that it cannot afford. In Islam Through Western Eyes, Jonathan Lyons unpacks Western habits of thinking and writing about Islam, conducting a careful analysis of the West's grand totalizing narrative across one thousand years of history. He observes the discourse’s corrosive effects on the social sciences, including sociology, politics, philosophy, theology, international relations, security studies, and human rights scholarship. He follows its influence on research, speeches, political strategy, and government policy, preventing the West from responding effectively to its most significant twenty-first-century challenges: the rise of Islamic power, the emergence of religious violence, and the growing tension between established social values and multicultural rights among Muslim immigrant populations. Through the intellectual "archaeology" of Michel Foucault, Lyons reveals the workings of this discourse and its underlying impact on our social, intellectual, and political lives. He then addresses issues of deep concern to Western readers—Islam and modernity, Islam and violence, and Islam and women—and proposes new ways of thinking about the Western relationship to the Islamic world.
Download and read online Creating Judaism in PDF and EPUB How can we define "Judaism," and what are the common threads uniting ancient rabbis, Maimonides, the authors of the Zohar, and modern secular Jews in Israel? Michael L. Satlow offers a fresh perspective on Judaism that recognizes both its similarities and its immense diversity. Presenting snapshots of Judaism from around the globe and throughout history, Satlow explores the links between vastly different communities and their Jewish traditions. He studies the geonim, rabbinical scholars who lived in Iraq from the ninth to twelfth centuries; the intellectual flourishing of Jews in medieval Spain; how the Hasidim of nineteenth-century Eastern Europe confronted modernity; and the post-World War II development of distinct American and Israeli Jewish identities. Satlow pays close attention to how communities define themselves, their relationship to biblical and rabbinic texts, and their ritual practices. His fascinating portraits reveal the amazingly creative ways Jews have adapted over time to social and political challenges and continue to remain a "Jewish family."
Download and read online The Conversion of Herman the Jew in PDF and EPUB Sometime toward the middle of the twelfth century, it is supposed, an otherwise obscure figure, born a Jew in Cologne and later ordained as a priest in Cappenberg in Westphalia, wrote a Latin account of his conversion to Christianity. Known as the Opusculum, this book purportedly by "Herman, the former Jew" may well be the first autobiography to be written in the West after the Confessions of Saint Augustine. It may also be something else entirely. In The Conversion of Herman the Jew the eminent French historian Jean-Claude Schmitt examines this singular text and the ways in which it has divided its readers. Where some have seen it as an authentic conversion narrative, others have asked whether it is not a complete fabrication forged by Christian clerics. For Schmitt the question is poorly posed. The work is at once true and fictional, and the search for its lone author—whether converted Jew or not—fruitless. Herman may well have existed and contributed to the writing of his life, but the Opusculum is a collective work, perhaps framed to meet a specific institutional agenda. With agility and erudition, Schmitt examines the text to explore its meaning within the society and culture of its period and its participation in both a Christian and Jewish imaginary. What can it tell us about autobiography and subjectivity, about the function of dreams and the legitimacy of religious images, about individual and collective conversion, and about names and identities? In The Conversion of Herman the Jew Schmitt masterfully seizes upon the debates surrounding the Opusculum (the text of which is newly translated for this volume) to ponder more fundamentally the ways in which historians think and write.
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Download and read online Christian Attitudes Toward the Jews in the Middle Ages in PDF and EPUB Drawing from an equally wide range of sources-sermons, polemical texts, theological treatises, hagiographical and devotional works, and histories-the volume demonstrates the emergence of a profoundly negative image of the Jews that established many of the stereotypes of classic Christian anti-Semitism. The volume, in particular, argues that the essential turning point in relations between Christians and Jews occurred in the eleventh century, especially the early eleventh century when the first wave of persecutions of the Jews took place.
Download and read online Inner Grace in PDF and EPUB This book is, along with Outward Signs (OUP 2008), a sequel to Phillip Cary's Augustine and the Invention of the Inner Self (OUP 2000). In this work, Cary traces the development of Augustine's epochal doctrine of grace, arguing that it does not represent a rejection of Platonism in favor of a more purely Christian point of view a turning from Plato to Paul, as it is often portrayed. Instead, Augustine reads Paul and other Biblical texts in light of his Christian Platonist inwardness, producing a new concept of grace as an essentially inward gift. For Augustine, grace is needed first of all to heal the mind so it may see God, but then also to help the will turn away from lower goods to love God as its eternal Good. Eventually, over the course of Augustine's career, the scope of the soul's need for grace expands outward to include not only the inner vision of the intellect and the power of love but even the initial gift of faith. At every stage, Augustine insists that divine grace does not compromise or coerce the human will but frees, heals, and helps it, precisely because grace is not an external force but an inner gift of delight leading to true happiness. As his polemic against the Pelagians develops, however, he does attribute more to grace and less to the power of free will. In the end, it is God's choice which makes the ultimate difference between the saved and the damned, and we cannot know why he chooses to save one person and not another. From this Augustinian doctrine of divine choice or election stem the characteristic pastoral problems of predestination, especially in Protestantism. A more external, indeed Jewish, doctrine of election would be more Biblical, Cary suggests, and would result in a less anxious experience of grace. Along with its companion work, Outward Signs, this careful and insightful book breaks new ground in the study of Augustine's theology of grace and sacraments.
Download and read online Before Orientalism in PDF and EPUB A distinct European perspective on Asia emerged in the late Middle Ages. Early reports of a homogeneous "India" of marvels and monsters gave way to accounts written by medieval travelers that indulged readers' curiosity about far-flung landscapes and cultures without exhibiting the attitudes evident in the later writings of aspiring imperialists. Mining the accounts of more than twenty Europeans who made—or claimed to have made—journeys to Mongolia, China, India, Sri Lanka, and Southeast Asia between the mid-thirteenth and early sixteenth centuries, Kim Phillips reconstructs a medieval European vision of Asia that was by turns critical, neutral, and admiring. In offering a cultural history of the encounter between medieval Latin Christians and the distant East, Before Orientalism reveals how Europeans' prevailing preoccupations with food and eating habits, gender roles, sexualities, civility, and the foreign body helped shape their perceptions of Asian peoples and societies. Phillips gives particular attention to the texts' known or likely audiences, the cultural settings within which they found a foothold, and the broader impact of their descriptions, while also considering the motivations of their writers. She reveals in rich detail responses from European travelers that ranged from pragmatism to wonder. Fear of military might, admiration for high standards of civic life and court culture, and even delight in foreign magnificence rarely assumed the kind of secular Eurocentric superiority that would later characterize Orientalism. Placing medieval writing on the East in the context of an emergent "Europe" whose explorers sought to learn more than to rule, Before Orientalism complicates our understanding of medieval attitudes toward the foreign.
Download and read online Judaism and Enlightenment in PDF and EPUB This study investigates the philosophical and political significance of Judaism in the intellectual life of seventeenth and eighteenth century Europe. Adam Sutcliffe shows how the widespread and enthusiastic fascination with Judaism prevalent around 1650 was largely eclipsed a century later by attitudes of dismissal and disdain. He argues that Judaism was uniquely difficult for Enlightenment thinkers to account for, and that their intense responses, both negative and positive, to Jewish topics are central to an understanding of the underlying ambiguities of the Enlightenment itself. Judaism and the Jews were a limit case, a destabilising challenge, and a constant test for Enlightenment rationalism. Erudite and highly broad-ranging in its sources, and yet extremely accessible in its argument, Judaism and Enlightenment is a major contribution to the history of European ideas, of interest to scholars of Jewish history and to those working on the Enlightenment, toleration and the emergence of modernity itself.