Book Series Studies in the History of Daily Life (AD 800-1600), vol. 5

Intricate Interfaith Networks in the Middle Ages

Quotidian Jewish-Christian Contacts

Ephraim Shoham-Steiner (ed)

  • Pages: xii + 352 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:21 b/w, 6 col.
  • Language(s):English, Hebrew, Latin
  • Publication Year:2016

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-54429-8
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-54483-0
  • E-book
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The book explores the extraordinarily intricate network of connections between Christians and Jews in the medieval urban sphere.


Readers' gratitude must go to the editor of the volume and to the individual authors of the essays--and, finally, to the CEU for helping to make the whole project possible.” (William Chester Jordan, in The Medieval Review, 2017.12.03)

“A volume on this would be valuable.” (Sybil M. Jack, in Parergon, 34/2, 2017 p. 255)

“Each of these chapters provides a useful and readable entrée into a unique component of Jewish life in medieval Europe as it was shaped by the reality of Jews living as minority communities among an overwhelmingly Christian majority.” (Rena N. Lauer, in Speculum, 97/3, 2022, p. 893)


Recent scholarship has suggested that the religious divide between Jews and Christians in the Middle Ages, although ever-present (and at times even violently so), did not stop individuals and groups from forming ties and expanding them in more intricate ways than previously thought. Moreover, these networks appear to have functioned with an apparent disregard towards any confessional and religious differences. Nevertheless, this was by no means a straightforward or simple situation; both the theological background to how each faith viewed ‘other’ beliefs, as well as the strong social, religious, and authoritative circles that at the least critiqued, even if they did not entirely discourage such contacts, created a formidable opposition to these networks. The articles in this book were presented as papers during an international workshop at the Central European University in Budapest in February 2010. In these presentations and discussions, the premise of interfaith relations and networks was thoroughly explored across Europe from the Iberian Peninsula to the eastern Hungarian frontier, and from England to Italy throughout the high and later medieval period. In this volume, the contributors explore a number of phenomena through different disciplinary approaches. Ties of an economic and cultural nature are examined, and attention is paid to social contacts and networks in the fields of art and the sciences, and matters of daily life. The picture that emerges is altogether more nuanced and diverse than the bipolar paradigm that has dominated previous scholarship.


‘For in Every City and Town the manner of behaviour of the Jews resembles that of their non-Jewish neighbours’: The Intricate Network of Interfaith Connections — A Brief Introduction — EPHRAIM SHOHAM-STEINER

Jewish Converts in Jewish-Christian Intellectual Polemics in the Middle Ages — PIERO CAPELLI

Plague, Persecution, and Philosophy: Avigdor Kara and the Consequences of the Black Death — TAMÁS VISI

Traders, ‘Court Jews’, Town Jews: The Changing Roles of Hungary’s Jewish Population in the Light of Royal Policy between the Eleventh and Fourteenth Centuries — KATALIN SZENDE

Jewish Neighbourhoods in Christian Towns (Catalonia, Late Middle Ages) — FLOCEL SABATÉ

Jewish Erotic Encounters with Christians and Muslims in Late Medieval Iberia: Testing Ibn Verga’s Hypothesis — CARSTEN L. WILKE

Lovely Women and Sweet Men: Gendering the Name and Naming Practices in German Jewish Communities (Thirteenth to Fourteenth Centuries) — LILACH ASSAF

Christian and Jewish Sumptuary Laws — GERHARD JARITZ

Neighbours, Business Partners, Victims: Jewish-Christian Interaction in Austrian Towns during the Persecutions of the Fourteenth Century — EVELINE BRUGGER

Joel ben Simeon: Looking at the Margins of Society — KATRIN KOGMAN-APPEL

Jewish Sentences in Christian Words: Christian Iconographical Motifs in the Hamburg Miscellany — Zsofia Buda