Slaves, Money Lenders, and Prisoner Guards: The Jews and the Trade in Slaves and Captives in the Crimean Khanate

Jewish Slave Trader being presented to Boleslav of Bohemia

Trade in slaves and captives was one of the most important (if not the most important) sources of income of the Crimean Khanate in the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries.

‘That melodious linguist’: Birds in Medieval Christian and Islamic Cosmography

Medieval Birds

“Birds,” writes Albertus Magnus, “generally call more than other animals. This is due to the lightness of their spirits.”

Venetian Trading Networks in the Medieval Mediterranean


To understand the system of business relations within the commercial network of the Republic of Venice, this article adopts a network analysis that differs from a standard narrative based on a privileged subset of actors or relations. It allows us to examine the socially mixed group of entrepreneurs, brokers, and shippers at the heart of Venice’s economic system.

Jews in the First Crusade: Culpability, Martyrdom, and Blood Vengeance

Massacre of the Jews of Metz

In medieval Europe, Jewish writers struggled to make sense of Crusaders’ violence and the Jewish response. Zohar Atkins argues that Jews conceived of theology as a weapon.

The Unwritten Chapter: Notes towards a Social and Religious History of Geniza Magic

Officina magica  essays on the practice of magic in antiquity

How might the historian of religions write a social and religious history of Jewish magic in the medieval Islamicate world?

The Khazars did not convert to Judaism, historian finds


It has long been believed that the Khazars, a central Asian people, converted to Judaism in the ninth or tenth century. However, a new article concludes that the conversion never took place.

The Influence of Humanist Culture on Sephardi Scholars Active in Medieval Italy

The Influence of Humanist Culture on Sephardi Scholars Active in Medieval Italy

This talk will set the context by introducing three generations of the Iberian Shohams, a late 14th-mid-15th century Sephardic family moving from Sicily to Apulia and Calabria.

Two Rabbinic Views of Christianity in the Middle Ages

Picture of Medieval Jews

In the sessions of our section over the past decade, I introduced a significant distinction between two rabbinic attitudes in the Mediterranean countries during the Middle Ages of 12th and 13th centuries as to their view of Christianity.

Jewish Shock-Troops of the Apocalypse

Picture of Medieval Jews

It would not be difficult to dismiss the legend of the Antichrist in its medieval manifestations as pure fantasy—analogous to such entertaining motifs as fire-breathing dragons, unicorns, enchantments and the like.

Setting Boundaries: Early Medieval Reflections on Religious Toleration and Their Jewish Roots

The hospitality of Abraham: Abraham hosting the three angels, with Sarah peeping out of the house, detail of a miniature depicting scenes from Genesis.

This paper explores particular ways in which Judaism’s approach to the problem of tolerating those with whom it could not comfortably live a shared life influenced its daughter faiths, especially Christianity.

The ‘Wiles of Women’ Motif in the Medieval Hebrew Literature of Spain

Jewish Women of Aragon dancing

Most famous of all, perhaps is the tale of the woman whose husband leaves for battle. Her lover then sends his boy to tell her he is coming to her, and she seduces the boy.

Jews Have the Best Sex: The Hollywood Adventures of a Peculiar Medieval Jewish Text on Sexuality

A Stranger among us (Film)

According to quite a few books and films produced in the last few decades in Europe and North America, sex is widely celebrated in Jewish sources

Whose Golden Age? Some Thoughts on Jewish-Christian in Medieval Iberia

Christian and Jewish disputes

The medieval period in Spanish history has alternately been cast as a Golden Age of interfaith harmony and an example of the ultimate incompatibility of Muslim, Christian, and Jewish communities.

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