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Sacred communities : Jewish and Christian identities in fifteenth-century Germany /
Dean Phillip Bell.
imprint
Boston : Brill Academic Publishers, 2001.
description
xi, 301 p. : map ; 23 cm.
ISBN
0391041029
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Boston : Brill Academic Publishers, 2001.
isbn
0391041029
catalogue key
4703970
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 261-283) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2002-10-01:
A classic example of the sprawling doctoral dissertation insufficiently revised to become the book it might be, this tremendously ambitious study focuses on changing late medieval conceptions of community among Christians and Jews, primarily in the cities of southern and central Germany. Guiding Bell's approach is the notion of a deep shift away from a priestly, sacramental order toward a moral and spiritual communal ideal, whereby Christians moved to take control of their own lives. This ideal increasingly marginalized and isolated Jews, who were expelled from city after city. Dispersed in many smaller settlements, Jews developed a sense of regional, rather than local, identity and witnessed a parallel decline in rabbinical influence and growing lay authority. Bell advances sophisticated historical insights into the dynamics of, tensions within, and interactions between Jewish and Christian communities (with greater emphasis on the former); he also offers sweeping and provocative arguments about the Reformation as a culmination of the developments he has traced. But the presentation is marred by a choppy, disorganized writing style and tedious theoretical excursions. Despite partial redemption by a concise conclusion, this book will be accessible to none but experts. Graduate libraries and collections specializing in Judaica. R. B. Barnes Davidson College
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Bell, Dozent am Spertus College of Jewish studies an der Universität Chicago legt die wohl wichtigste Arbeiten der letzten Jahre über Juden und Christen im deutschen Spätmittelalter vor."Helmrath, Gender Studies
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, October 2002
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Summaries
Main Description
This book examines the nature and extent of changes in communal structures and self-definition among Jews and Christians in Germany during the century before the Reformation. It argues that Christian community was restructured along civic and religious lines resulting in the development of a local "sacred society" that integrated material and spiritual well being into a moral and legal society, stressing the common good and internal peace, while Jewish community, given a variety of factors, came to be defined through regional communal structures and moral and legal discourse that allowed for broader geographical communal identity. Bell draws from a variety of German, Latin, and Hebrew sources and takes into consideration several methods and viewpoints of studying history.
Main Description
We all live in a community, and it was no different for the Jews and Christians of medieval Germany or was it? This book draws together disparate threads of Christian and Jewish communal development in an effort to give a deeper understanding to the complex tapestry of Jewish and Christian interaction. In the broad examination presented herein, it is possible to compare the general transformations that affected Jews and Christians both as residents of a shared German society and as residents of their own separate communities. Jews and Christians interacted in a variety of ways, in numerous settings, and at a multitude of levels that defy simple categorization. To label late medieval Germany a period of crisis is too simplisitc, the Reformation should not categorically be viewed as the central development in the shift between medieval and early modern times. This book seeks to recontextualize the world of Jewish and Christian relations by bringing together divergent sources not often taken together, but equally important, to inform one another and offer a fuller picture of Jewish and Christian notions of each other and themselves than has been possible up to this point.
Unpaid Annotation
We all live in a community, and it was no different for the Jews and Christians of medieval Germany -- or was it? This book draws together disparate threads of Christian and Jewish communal development in an effort to give a deeper understanding to the complex tapestry of Jewish and Christian interaction. In the broad examination presented herein, it is possible to compare the general transformations that affected Jews and Christians both as residents of a shared German society and as residents of their own separate communities. Jews and Christians interacted in a variety of ways, in numerous settings, and at a multitude of levels that defy simple categorization. To label late medieval Germany a period of crisis is too simplisitc, the "Reformation" should not categorically be viewed as the central development in the shift between medieval and early modern times. This book seeks to recontextualize the world of Jewish and Christian relations by bringing together divergent sources not often taken together, but,equally important, to inform one another and offer a fuller picture of Jewish and Christian notions of each other and themselves than has been possible up to this point.
Table of Contents
Foreword
Acknowledgments
Map
Introductionp. 1
Christian Community
Between Community and Crisis: The Late Medieval Urban Landscape in Germanyp. 25
Religion, Church, and Communityp. 50
Language(s) of Communityp. 74
Anti-Judaism: Between Religion and Communityp. 99
Jewish Community
The Development of Jewish Communities and Settlements in Late Medieval Germanyp. 126
Toward a Definition of Late Medieval German Jewish Communityp. 149
Communal Conflictp. 171
Jewish and Christian Relationsp. 195
Comparison and Conclusion
Comparative Perspectivesp. 226
Conclusionp. 246
Glossaryp. 252
Appendicesp. 255
Bibliographyp. 261
Indexp. 285
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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