Jewish Life in The Middle Ages: In the Worlds Of the Cross and the Crescent

For a thousand years in Diaspora, from about 500 C.E, Jews lived under the domination of the Cross and the Crescent. The focus of this course is the social, religious, economic, political and cultural conditions of life for Jews under Muslim and Christian rule and how they navigated a world that challenged them both internally and externally. Among the topics to be studied are:

  • Jewish Life under the Muslim caliphate and life in the Genizah world
  • The medieval Christian Church and the Jews (theological tensions, inter-religious polemic, disputation and dialogue as well as ecclesiastical measures focused on Jews)
  • The impact of the Crusades on the Jews of the Rhine district of Germany
  • The development of internal Jewish communal and intellectual life in medieval Europe
  • Jewish life in medieval Islamic Spain (living as a ‘dhimmi’ or ‘protected’ people; the deep cultural interchange between Muslims and Jews, and the ‘golden age’ of medieval Jewry under Muslim rule)
  • Myths and stereotypes of medieval Jewish women and family life
Course Type: 
Rabbinic: Content Required
Track (term):