Daily Life of the Jews in the Middle Ages

Overview

Though certainly not untouched by tragedy, the historical period of the Middle Ages was a dynamic and prosperous time for Jewish civilization; for despite the mass expulsions and periodic attacks that the Jews of the time suffered, they also managed prolonged periods of at least civil relations with the Christian and Muslim cultures that surrounded them, periods in which the Jewish culture at large produced great poetry and important philosophical and theological works, and made inspired contributions to ...

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Daily Life of the Jews in the Middle Ages

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Overview

Though certainly not untouched by tragedy, the historical period of the Middle Ages was a dynamic and prosperous time for Jewish civilization; for despite the mass expulsions and periodic attacks that the Jews of the time suffered, they also managed prolonged periods of at least civil relations with the Christian and Muslim cultures that surrounded them, periods in which the Jewish culture at large produced great poetry and important philosophical and theological works, and made inspired contributions to mathematics and the sciences. Accessible to the general reader but enlightening also to the scholar, Norman Roth's account of the diverse and diffuse culture of Jewish daily life in the medieval world offers a direct look on this profoundly historical people, who through their unique relationship with the cultures that surrounded them touched obliquely on so much else in the world of the Middle Ages—as well as on that of the present day.

For ease of use by students, the work is organized into chapters covering all aspects of daily life: education, marriage and family life, the Jewish community at large, religious customs and observances, work, medicine, literature and the arts, the dangers of being Jewish, and the relationship between Jews and Gentiles. It includes a historical timeline of the critical events in the Jewish experience of the middle ages, a glossary of terms, and a bibliography for further reading. Throughout the work Roth shows the circumstances surrounding and at times invading Jewish life at the time, and paints a picture that is at once intimate and also comprehensive. This work will provide school and public librarians with a resource on Jewish culture that is unique, highly informative, historically accurate, and compelling to a high degree.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"[P]resents a comprehensive and well researched picture of the daily life of Jews during the Middle Ages…."

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Reference & Research Book News/Art Book News Annual

"Chapters cover everything from the Jewish community to the interactions of Jews in other societies, providing a strong overview of the politics, economics, and history surrounding early Jewish daily life."

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MBR Bookwatch

"[D]esigned for high schoolers, undergraduates, and general readers whol have little background in Jewish culture or Jews in the Middle Ages. This book is not a history of Jews in the medieval period but instead focuses on aspects of Jewish culture and daily life, such as how the Jews lived and what was important to them as individuals and communities during this period."

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MultiCultural Review

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Norman Roth is Professor of Jewish History, Hebrew literature, and Jewish Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Over his long and productive career he has written and edited many books, including Maimonides, Essays and Texts (1985), Jews, Visigoths, and Muslims in Medieval Spain (1994), Conversos, Inquisitions, and the Expulsion of the Jews from Spain (1995), and Encyclopedia of Medieval Jewish Civilization.

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Table of Contents

1 Defining the medieval Jew 1
2 Education 23
3 Marriage and family life 43
4 The community 73
5 Synagogues, customs, and observances 93
6 Occupations and professions 117
7 Medicine 133
8 Literature and the arts 147
9 The dangers of being Jewish 173
10 Relations between Jews and Gentiles : living with, if not loving, your neighbor 199
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