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?

Big Love in the Middle Ages: Adjudicating Jewish Bigamy in Venetian Crete’s Secular Court

Big Love in the Middle Ages

What happened when Catholic doctrine, secular law, and minority religious difference met in that crucible of cultural decision making: the courtroom?

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.

The Daily Life of Slavery and the Global Reach of Slavery in Medieval Egypt, 969-1250 CE

18th century map of Egypt

This dissertation examines the geography of the slave trade, the role of slavery in the household, and the lives of domestic slave women in the Egyptian Jewish community under the rule of the Fatimid caliphate and Ayyubid sultanate

Intermarriage Between Christians and Jews in Medieval Canon Law

The Law’s Violence against Medieval and Early Modern Jews

Restrictions on contact between Christians and Jews appeared early in Christian history and remained a prominent feature of ecclesiastical law throughout the Middle Ages.

Religion and Economy in Pre-Modern Europe: The Medieval Commercial Revolution and the Jews

Jewish Moneylending

Jews have often been described as the moneylenders for medieval Europe and considered central in Europe’s shift from a barter economy to a profit economy. This dissertation challenges that narrative historiographically and empirically.

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.

Enemies of the Faith: Western Christian Views of Jews and Muslims in the Middle Ages

Mark Meyerson

When we deal with this kind of question it is easy to simply fall into the trap of regarding Muslims and Jews as simply others in the views of Western Europeans. But if you look at things more closely you realize that Western European Christians viewed Muslims and Jews rather differently

Dietary Laws in Medieval Christian-Jewish Polemics: A Survey

Medieval Jewish Sukkah

In the religious debate between Jews and Christians, the biblical dietary laws come to illustrate important assumptions concerning the “other.”

Discrimination Against the Jewish Population in Medieval Castile and León

Map of Spain from 1700

I have tried to show the degree of discrimination suffered by the Jewish community in these two kingdoms in the Middle Ages through a deep analysis of the legal sources, lay as much as ecclesiastical, and also through documentary collections reflecting their practical application

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

BOOKS: Daily Life in the Middle Ages


Ever wonder how monks, women and Vikings lived their day to day lives in the Middle Ages? These books will give you a glimpse into their world.

Traditional Jewish Sexual Practices and Their Possible Impact on Jewish Fertility and Demography

A Jewish couple from Worms, Germany, with the obligatory yellow badge on their clothes. The man holds a moneybag and bulbs of garlic, both often used in the portrayal of Jews.

Why do Jews have such a low reproduction rate? And is this something that also characterized them in earlier periods?

Christian Iberia: A Society Religiously Organized for War

Spanish Reconquista

Reconquista society in medieval Christian Spain is all too often considered through only economic and martial eyes. In this study of the prevelant cult of Santiago de Compostela (or St. James the Greater) I will demonstrate how medieval society meshed both war and religion.

Bright Beginnings: Jewish Christian Relations in the Holy Land, AD 400-700

Christian Jewish Conversion scene

This paper shows that Christian and Jewish relations in the Holy Land between the fourth and seventh centuries, according to the archaeological evidence, were characterized by peaceful co-existence.

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.

Menstruation in Sacred Places. Medieval and Early-Modern Jewish Women in the Synagogue

Jewish Women of Aragon dancing

How sacred is the Synagogue? Can a woman enter this holy place while menstruating? What is more sacred: the space, or the Holy objects within it?

Between Official and Private Dispute: The Case of Christian Spain and Provence in the Late Middle Ages

Christian and Jewish disputes

Literary and historical evidence of religious disputes that took place between Jews and Christians during the Middle Ages exists in a varietyof sources.

From Triumphant to Suffering Jesus: Visual and Literary Depictions of the Crucifixion, 300-1200

Images of Christ  - 12th c.

By the twelfth century in both literature and art the form of the suffering Christ was supplanting the form of the conquering Christ.

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