Alterity and Self-Legitimation: The Jew as Other in Classical and Medieval Christianity

Jeremy Cohen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Reflecting on the Augustinian notion of Jewish witness and its historical legacy, Cohen reviews and expands upon the findings of his earlier studies and reacts to developments in subsequent scholarly research. This essay first summarizes Augustine’s singular contribution to the classical Christian Adversus Judaeos tradition: his doctrine of Jewish witness, the metaphors he and later churchmen used to elucidate that doctrine, its novelty when compared to the teachings of Paul and earlier church fathers, and, by way of example, their impact as expressed visually in a late ninth-century ivory representation of the crucifixion. The essay then considers how reverberations of the Augustinian doctrine occasionally extended into Jewish sources as well. Finally, Cohen relates selectively to the work of other investigators who have contributed to this discussion since the publication of his previous studies.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Jew as Legitimation
Subtitle of host publicationJewish-Gentile Relations Beyond Antisemitism and Philosemitism
EditorsDavid J. Wertheim
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9783319426013
ISBN (Print)9783319426006, 3319426001, 9783319426020, 3319426028, 9783319826172
StatePublished - 2017


  • Thirteenth Century
  • Divine Command
  • Christian Doctrine
  • Christian Identity
  • Jewish Source

RAMBI Publications

  • rambi
  • Augustine -- of Hippo, Saint -- 354-430
  • Bible -- Criticism, interpretation, etc., Christian
  • Christianity and other religions -- Judaism -- History -- Middle Ages, 600-1500
  • Judaism -- Relations -- Christianity -- History -- Middle Ages, 500-1500


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