Institutionalization, Innovation, and Conflict in 13th-Century Judaism: A Comparative View



Though the Jewish Middle Ages was a time of persecutions and expulsions, it was as much a time of creativity and vibrancy in Judaism—from the proliferation of mystical (kabbalistic) texts and the composition of beautiful rhymed poems to the growth of scientific and medical knowledge and the appearance of new forms of piety. The fellowship year devoted intense study to this complex century, one in which the experience of medieval Jews was deeply entangled with that of Christians and Muslims. Fellows brought expertise about Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and this intellectual cross-semination was as exciting as it was fruitful. Projects ranged from the image of the Jew in legends of the Virgin Mary to the Jewish curriculum, childrearing and women’s practices, and the attitudes of Jews to war and worship. Methodologically, the scholars found ways to engage their materials and questions cooperatively from a range of intellectual perspectives and approaches, from intellectual to social history.

Elisheva Baumgarten, Ruth Mazo Karras, and Katelyn Mesler edited the year's volume, it is called Entangled Histories Knowledge, Authority, and Jewish Culture in the Thirteenth Century (2016).