God, Humanity, and History: The Hebrew First Crusade Narratives / Edition 1

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Although closely focused on the remarkable Hebrew First-Crusade narratives, Robert Chazan's new interpretation of these texts is anything but narrow, as his title, God, Humanity, and History, strongly suggests. The three surviving Hebrew accounts of the crusaders' devastating assaults on Rhineland Jewish communities during the spring of 1096 have been examined at length, but only now can we appreciate the extent to which they represent their turbulent times.

After a close analysis of the texts themselves, Chazan addresses the objectives of the three narratives. He compares these accounts with earlier Jewish history writing and with contemporary crusade historiography. It is in their disjuncture with past forms of Jewish historical narration and their amazing parallels with Latin crusade narratives that the Hebrew narratives are most revealing. We see how they reflect the embeddedness of early Ashkenazic Jewry in the vibrant atmosphere of late-eleventh- and early-twelfth-century northern Europe.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520221277
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 8/9/2000
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 281
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Chazan, winner of the National Foundation for Jewish Culture Career Achievement Award in Jewish History, is Scheuer Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University. Among his previous books are four published by California: Medieval Stereotypes and Modern Antisemitism (1997), Barcelona and Beyond (1992), Daggers of Faith (1989), and European Jewry and the First Crusade (1987).

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Table of Contents

Prologue: The Time-Bound and the Timeless in Medieval Ashkenazic Narrative 1
1 The Hebrew First Crusade Narratives 19
2 The Mainz Anonymous: Structure, Authorship, Dating, and Objectives 28
3 The Solomon bar Simson Chronicle: The Editorial Prologue and Epilogue 52
4 The Solomon bar Simson Chronicle: The Speyer-Worms-Mainz Unit 70
5 The Solomon bar Simson Chronicle: The Trier and Cologne Units 83
6 The Eliezer bar Nathan Chronicle 100
7 The Hebrew First Crusade Narratives: Time-Bound Objectives 112
8 The Historicity of the Hebrew Narratives 124
9 The Hebrew First Crusade Narratives: The Timeless 140
10 God, Humanity, and History 157
11 Comparative Dimensions: The 1096 Narratives and Classical Jewish Tradition 175
12 Comparative Dimensions: The 1096 Narratives and Their Medieval Setting 191
Epilogue 211
Appendix The Hebrew First Crusade Narratives: Prior Studies on Relationships and Dating 217
Abbreviations 223
Notes 225
Bibliography 257
Index 263
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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2000

    On Robert Chazan's 'God, Humanity, and History.'

    An interesting study of the three surviving Hebrew documents narrating the massacre of the Jewish community of the Rhineland in the year 1096. Chazan not only provides the reader with an analysis of each of the narratives, but also attempts the objectives of each of them (time-bound and timeless objectives). According to Chazan, a new for of narrative developed in order to respond to the Christian belief of divine punishment of the Jews, a form of narrative that focused more in the actions of the Jews living in 1096 and less in the participation of God in the shaping of history. Like most of Chazan's books, this book seems to be small, but the amount of information provided is extensive. The book also provides information concerning the various forms of Christians behavior positive and negative.

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