Living Letters of the Law: Ideas of the Jew in Medieval Christianity
In Living Letters of the Law, Jeremy Cohen investigates the images of Jews and Judaism in the works of medieval Christian theologians from Augustine to Thomas Aquinas. He reveals how—and why—medieval Christianity fashioned a Jew on the basis of its reading of the Bible, and how this hermeneutically crafted Jew assumed distinctive character and power in Christian thought and culture.
Augustine's doctrine of Jewish witness, which constructed the Jews so as to mandate their survival in a properly ordered Christian world, is the starting point for this illuminating study. Cohen demonstrates how adaptations of this doctrine reflected change in the self-consciousness of early medieval civilization. After exploring the effect of twelfth-century Europe's encounter with Islam on the value of Augustine's Jewish witnesses, he concludes with a new assessment of the reception of Augustine's ideas among thirteenth-century popes and friars.
Consistently linking the medieval idea of the Jew with broader issues of textual criticism, anthropology, and the philosophy of history, this book demonstrates the complex significance of Christianity's "hermeneutical Jew" not only in the history of antisemitism but also in the broad scope of Western intellectual history.
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Abelard Abulafia Adversus ludaeorum Adversus ludaeos Agobard Alfonsi Anselm anti-Jewish polemic anti-Judaism Aquinas arguments Augustine Augustine's Augustinian believe Bernard of Clairvaux Bible biblical Blumenkranz Capistrum carnal CCCM CCSL century chap Chris Christ Christendom Christian Christian society church churchmen concerning condemnation contemporary conversion Crusade Cur Deus homo Dialogus disbelief divine doctrine of Jewish early medieval exegesis faith Friar Genesi Gentiles Gilbert Crispin God's Gregory Gregory's Guibert Guibert of Nogent Hebrew heresy heretics Hermann hermeneutic holy human Ibid incarnation infidels interpretation Isidore Isidore's Islam Israel Jeremy Cohen Jesus Jewish Jewish witness Jewish-Christian Jews Jews and Judaism Leclercq letter literal sense Louis the Pious medieval Christian Middle Ages Moses Muslims Old Testament Opusculum pagans Paris patristic Peter Alfonsi Peter the Venerable Pope postbiblical Pugio rabbinic rational Raymond religious salvation Scripture Simonsohn Sisebut spiritual Studies Talmud theology Thomas tian traditions trans treatise twelfth twelfth-century Visigothic