Book Series Medieval Identities: Socio-Cultural Spaces, vol. 11

Perception and Awareness: Artefacts and Imageries in Medieval European Jewish Cultures

Katrin Kogman-Appel, Elisheva Baumgarten, Elisabeth Hollender, Ephraim Shoham-Steiner (eds)

  • Pages: 360 p.
  • Size:216 x 280 mm
  • Illustrations:57 b/w, 65 col., 1 tables b/w.
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2024

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-58394-5
  • Paperback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-58395-2
  • E-book
  • Available


Elisheva Baumgarten is a social historian of the Jews of medieval northern Europe at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Elisabeth Hollender is a Professor of Jewish Studies at the Goethe University Frankfurt specializing in medieval Jewish religious culture.

Katrin Kogman-Appel is a Professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Münster with an expertise on medieval Jewish visual culture.

Ephraim Shoham-Steiner is a historian specializing in the History of Jews in Medieval Europe at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer Sheva


What did the world look like for Jews living in medieval Europe? How did they perceive and make use of the elements of their daily life, from items on the street to religious iconography within holy spaces — in particular synagogues and at the exterior of churches — and profane elements from the home? And how did they experience the visual and material cultures of their non-Jewish neighbours?

These questions form the core of this volume, which explores pre-modern Jewish approaches to images and material objects from a variety of perspectives. From clothing to manuscripts, and from lighting devices to the understanding of the invisible, the chapters gathered together in this multifaceted volume combine analyses of images and artefacts together with in-depth analyses of texts to offer fresh insights into the visual cultures that informed the world of European Jews in the Middle Ages.


Preface and Acknowledgements

List of Illustrations

Elisheva Baumgarten, Elisabeth Hollender, Katrin Kogman-Appel, and Ephraim Shoham-Steiner

Part One: The Perception of the Visual, the Material, and the Tangible in Shared Public Spaces

1. The Writing on the Wall A Mahzor, a Bimah, and a Privilege.
A Look at Social Processes in the 13th-Century Jewish Community of Cologne

Ephraim Shoham-Steiner

2. Illuminations: Lights, Identities, and the Society of Spectacle in the Late Middle Ages
Eleazar Gutwirth

3. Materialization of Memoria
Memory and Remembrance of Benefactors in Building Inscriptions in Medieval Ashkenaz
Rainer Josef Barzen

4. Differing Perceptions of Church Garments and Worship Implements in the Writings and Thought of the Tosafists
Ephraim Kanarfogel

5. Not Black and White
Clothes and Difference in Medieval Ashkenaz
Elisheva Baumgarten

Part Two: Utilizing the Faculties of Visual Means

6. Jewish Chivalry in Late Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts
Sara Offenberg

7. The Handling of Diagrams in Medieval Scientific Manuscript Transmission
Sefer ha-marʾim le-Eqlides and its First Proposition
Sabine Arndt

8. Non-Verbal Aspects of Astrolabe Knowledge (Fifteenth- to Eighteenth-Century Hebrew Manuscripts)
Josefina Rodríguez-Arribas

9. Artifacts that Desire
Medieval Perspectives
Kalman P. Bland (OBM)

10.The Agency of Images
The Temple Vessels in Hebrew Bibles from Roussillon (c. 1300)
Katrin Kogman-Appel

11.Visualizing the Invisible: Portrayals of Elijah the Prophet in Fifteenth-Century Ashkenazi Haggadot
Chana Shaham-Rosby

12.Visualizing Divine Communication in Medieval Jewish Art
Shulamit Laderman


About the Authors