Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Reassessing Jewish Life in Medieval Europe


  • Date Published: November 2010
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521145435

£ 21.99

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, eBook

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • This book re-evaluates the prevailing notion that Jews in medieval Christian Europe lived under an appalling regime of ecclesiastical limitation, governmental exploitation and expropriation, and unceasing popular violence. Robert Chazan argues that, while Jewish life in medieval Western Christendom was indeed beset with grave difficulties, it was nevertheless an environment rich in opportunities; the Jews of medieval Europe overcame obstacles, grew in number, explored innovative economic options, and fashioned enduring new forms of Jewish living. His research also provides a reconsideration of the legacy of medieval Jewish life, which is often depicted as equally destructive and projected as the underpinning of the twentieth-century catastrophes of antisemitism and the Holocaust. Dr Chazan's research proves that, although Jewish life in the medieval West laid the foundation for much Jewish suffering in the post-medieval world, it also stimulated considerable Jewish ingenuity, which lies at the root of impressive Jewish successes in the modern West.

    • Provides an important re-evaluation of current thought on the role of Jews in medieval Christian Europe
    • Important reconsideration of how the medieval experiences of Jews in Europe shaped later events critical to Jewish history, providing a new perspective
    • Provides a nuanced discussion of the interaction between two cultures, considering the perspectives of both
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    'A thought-provoking assessment of Jewish life in the Middle Ages that eschews persecutions and expulsions to concentrate on the remarkable growth in the number of Jews living under Christian rule between 1000 and 1500.' Anna Sapir Abulafia, Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge

    'Was there any place for Jews in medieval Europe after western Christianity reconceptualized itself as Christendom, thereby excluding all non-Christian 'others'? Were they just 'outsiders', the product of Christian 'Judeophobia'? In Reassessing Jewish Life in Medieval Europe, Robert Chazan provides a fascinating overview of Jewish life in medieval Western Christendom. He argues that although Jewish communities had to face grave difficulties, they were nevertheless successful in adapting themselves in an environment rich in opportunities, growing in number and wealth, and fashioning new forms of life and culture. A stimulating book, extremely useful for reconsidering the Jewish legacy in the post-medieval world.' Dominique Iogna-Prat, CNRS, University of Paris 1- Panthéon Sorbonne

    'This study provides an intriguing interpretation of Jewish history in the Middle Ages and across the divide between the medieval and the modern. Writing with great authority and building on his own invaluable studies and a magisterial knowledge of others' scholarship, Robert Chazan argues that the negative experience of Jewish life in medieval Christian Europe was alloyed with much more that was positive, though traditionally undervalued by scholars. Together, they informed a broad set of practices and beliefs that were instrumental in the Jews' survival and prosperity long into the present. No student of medieval Jewish history or of the medieval legacy of Jewish life can ignore this wide-ranging and vigorous study.' William Chester Jordan, Princeton University

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2010
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521145435
    • length: 292 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.4kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Prologue: group narratives: tenacity and accuracy
    Introduction: the emergence of medieval European Jewry
    Part I. Historical Schemes:
    1. The Jewish middle age: the Jewish view
    2. The Jewish middle age: the Christian view
    3. The European middle ages
    4. The European Jewish middle ages
    Part II. Historical Themes:
    5. Demographic movement and change
    6. Economic activity
    7. Status
    8. Relocations within the Christian populace
    9. Identity

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Christians, Jews, and Muslims in Medieval Europe
    • History of the Middle Ages (focus on medieval Jewish life)
    • Jewish History I: The Ancient and Medieval Experience
    • Jewish-Christian relations in the Middle Ages
    • Persecution, Tolerance, and Violence in Medieval Europe
    • Persecution, Tolerance, and Violence: Minorities in Medieval Europe
    • Reading Seminar: The Dark Ages
    • The Blood Libel
    • World History to 1500
  • Author

    Robert Chazan, New York University
    Robert Chazan is S. H. and Helen R. Scheuer Professor of Jewish History in the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University. His most recent books are God, Humanity, and History: The Hebrew First Crusade Narratives (2000), Fashioning Jewish Identity in Medieval Western Christendom (Cambridge University Press, 2004), and The Jews of Medieval Western Christendom (Cambridge University Press, 2006).

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.