Search results

You are looking at 1 - 9 of 9 items for :

  • Manchester Religious Studies x
  • Manchester Medieval Studies x
Clear All
‘Are you still my brother?’

In this study, the various aspects of the way the Jews regarded themselves in the context of the lapse into another religion will be researched fully for the first time. We will attempt to understand whether they regarded the issue of conversion with self-confidence or with suspicion, whether their attitude was based on a clear theological position or on doubt and the coping with the problem as part of the process of socialization will be fully analysed. In this way, we will better understand how the Jews saw their own identity whilst living as a minority among the Christian majority, whose own self-confidence was constantly becoming stronger from the 10th to the 14th century until they eventually ousted the Jews completely from the places they lived in, England, France and large parts of Germany. This aspect of Jewish self-identification, written by a person who converted to Christianity, can help clarify a number of

Open Access (free)
The change in mentality

8 Conclusions: The change in mentality Apostasy and Jewish identity Conclusions: The change in mentality J ewish self-definition in medieval Europe was based upon classical Jewish values: first, the eternal covenant between God and the Jewish people as the chosen people; second, an explicit Jewish identity deriving from the world of commandments unique to Judaism. As the Jewish group lived within Christian society, the essence of whose theological view was that Christians and Christianity had supplanted Jews and Judaism as God’s chosen people and religion

in Apostasy and Jewish identity in High Middle Ages Northern Europe
Open Access (free)

descendant of those who stood at Sinai and received that promise. This approach is closely related to the attitudes examined during the course of this study, according to which the nature of the Jew is not subject to change; hence, even if he converts to Christianity and is now immersed in the impurity of the Christian religion, which is seen as tantamount to idolatry, he still remains a ‘New Christian,’ a Jew in essence. We have seen above how this statement, applied to an apostate, changes due to the influence of historical events. Did the attitude concerning one who

in Apostasy and Jewish identity in High Middle Ages Northern Europe

, it also reflects changes in stance and in historical and sociological valuations, as well as reactions to popular views and feelings towards those who had abandoned the Jewish religion and chose to live within the Christian world. From the twelfth century on, there is substantive difficulty in arriving at a clear halakhic decision regarding the issue of those who became Christians. To people of that time, the earlier, inclusive approach of Rashi seemed excessive, but neither did they wish to explicitly state that they had given up hope of the apostates’ return to

in Apostasy and Jewish identity in High Middle Ages Northern Europe

2 Forced conversion during the First Crusade Apostasy and Jewish identity Forced conversion during the First Crusade T he tendency that emerges from Rashi’s words reflects a decisive leadership approach, establishing a clear direction of attempting to return converts to Christianity to Judaism. The self-definition of Judaism its leaders sought to establish was that of a religion that felt confident in its ability to deal with Christian theological claims and in its political ability to deal with the threat of forced conversion. This situation changed during

in Apostasy and Jewish identity in High Middle Ages Northern Europe
Open Access (free)

‘destroy.’ However, the earlier perception did not change much. The mumar is a person who continues to live within the framework of Jewish society, but no longer follows the meticulous observance commanded therein. Rather, he exchanges or substitutes that meticulousness for other practices. In a lengthy discussion in Tractate Hullin (pp. 2–6), it becomes clear that there are different kinds of mumarim or meshumadim, all of whom continued to live within the Jewish community. For example: there is a mumar la-’aralot, who does not wish to have himself circumcised; or a

in Apostasy and Jewish identity in High Middle Ages Northern Europe

because he was jealous of the beauty of the Christians. On the deeper level, we have here a complex psychological perception that suggests feelings of true inferiority in this area, for the author of the responsum accepts the statement of the apostate, which he interprets in various ways.29 Why did such an extreme attitude take hold in relation to the convert to Christianity? Were these merely theological conclusions in light of the growing phenomenon of conversion to Christianity? Towards the end of the twelfth century the attitude towards apostates changed

in Apostasy and Jewish identity in High Middle Ages Northern Europe
Open Access (free)
The literature of pietists (Ashkenazic hasidim)

ultimately become a righteous Jewish proselyte.10 In this manner, the process of change in the definition of consciousness and identity was completed: the Jew who became a Christian was not a Jew in his essence; rather, his soul was incarnated in a Jewish body by mistake, while in practice his soul was that of a Christian. Therefore, the fact that he abandoned his Judaism need not disturb us, as now the ‘error’ has been corrected and we may relate to him as he always was—namely, a Christian. Vice versa with regard to proselytes: the soul of the future convert to Judaism

in Apostasy and Jewish identity in High Middle Ages Northern Europe
Open Access (free)

converted their religion, even under duress, even more so than those women who voluntarily converted to the Christian religion, for specifically in the case of forcible attempts to change one’s religion one must be stubborn and die a martyr’s death.18 The problematic case reflects a state in which a woman who was taken captive by Christians refused to become integrated within the Christian world in which she was forced to live and, despite the temptations offered by Christian society, insisted upon returning to her Jewishness. But what if the woman forced to live within

in Apostasy and Jewish identity in High Middle Ages Northern Europe