Living letters of the law: ideas of the Jew in medieval Christianity

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Discusses anti-Judaism and Christian theology, specifically the Jew in Christian interpretation, especially of the Scriptures, in the medieval period. Shows how the ambivalence of Paul continued to be reflected, along with Augustine's doctrine of Jewish witness, in key aspects of Christianity. The ambivalence of leading clerics is epitomized by Bernard of Clairvaux; considered by some Jews "a decent priest, " he added a new, economic and even racist dimension to the hatred of the Jews. While Gregory the Great, Isidore of Seville, and Agobard of Lyons disagreed on the role of Jews in Christian society, they agreed on the necessity of converting the Jews. Peter the Venerable was noteworthy for his anti-Jewish polemics, which he linked with Christianity's struggle against Muslim "infidels." The 13th century saw the demonization of the Jews, but Thomas Aquinas and others continued to reflect a more ambivalent theological heritage. Growing deligitimation of post-biblical Judaism coexisted with Augustine's legacy, whereby Jews continued to be viewed as a "unique textual community" whose relation to the Bible had direct bearing on the meaning of Christianity.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBerkeley, Calif
PublisherUniversity of California Press
Number of pages451
ISBN (Electronic)0520922913, 0585370087, 9780520218703, 9780520922914, 9780585370088
ISBN (Print)0520216806, 0520218701
StatePublished - 1999

Publication series

NameS. Mark Taper Foundation imprint in Jewish studies
PublisherUniversity of California Press

ULI Keywords

  • uli
  • Judaism (Christian theology) -- History of doctrines -- Middle Ages, 600-1500


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