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The Jew in the Medieval Book
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  • Page extent: 284 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.59 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: n/a
  • Dewey version: n/a
  • LC Classification: In Process
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Jews in literature
    • English literature--Middle English, 1100-10--History and criticism
    • Antisemitism--England--History--To 10

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521863544)

This interdisciplinary study explores images of Jews and Judaism in late medieval English literature and culture. Using four main categories - history, miracle, cult and Passion - Anthony Bale demonstrates how varied and changing ideas of Judaism coexisted within well-known anti-semitic literary and visual models, depending on context, authorship and audience. He examines the ways in which English writers, artists and readers used and abused the Jewish image in the period following the Jews' expulsion from England in 1290. The texts are analysed in their manuscript and print contexts in order to show local responses and changing meanings. This important work opens up fresh texts, sources and approaches for understanding medieval anti-semitism and shows how anti-semitic stereotypes came to be such potent images which would endure far beyond the Middle Ages.

• Provides a fresh generic framework for medieval texts representing Jews and Judaism • Uses manuscript and archive sources to uncover the culture of antisemitism • Includes appendices providing hard-to-find primary texts


List of illustrations; Acknowledgement; Conventions; List of abbreviations; 1. Introduction; 2. History: time, nationhood and the Jew of Tewkesbury; 3. Miracle: shifting definitions in 'The miracle of the boy singer'; 4. Cult: the resurrections of Robert of Bury; 5. Passion: the Arma Christi in medieval culture; Appendix 1: Versions of 'The miracle of the boy singer'; Appendix 2: John Lydgate, 'Praier to St Robert'; Appendix 3: Vernacular English Arma Christi image-text rolls and codices; Appendix 4: Verses on the Arma Christi; Notes; Bibliographies; Index.


Review of the hardback: '… a tremendous book … meticulously researched and lucidly composed …' Studies in the Age of Chaucer

Review of the hardback: '… outstanding … nuanced and historically grounded … [offering] a contextualized and scholarly approach to the subject.' The Times Literary Supplement

Review of the hardback: '… an important contribution …' Journal of Interdisciplinary History

Review of the hardback: '… wide-ranging … subtle … valuable.' The Year's Work in English Studies

Review of the hardback: 'Bale ably combines capacious palaeographical study, insightful multidisciplinary readings, and fully documented and beautifully written prose. … This book is an important critical resource and will find a place on bookshelves now and for years to come. Even more, Bale's The Jew in the Medieval Book is a pleasure to read.' Medium Aevum

Review of the hardback: 'The Jew in the Medieval Book is an outstanding contribution … Bale is fluent in the latest theoretical innovations and very much engaged with confronting the ugly role that antisemitism continues to play on the world stage. What is so impressive about this volume is the way that Bale manages to weave this theoretical sophistication together with his smart and learned understandings of these medieval objects … This volume is essential reading for anyone interested in medieval representations of Jews, but its deep engagement with history and with manuscript culture should make this book important to many other scholars as well … I strongly recommend it to anyone with interests in medieval spirituality, manuscript studies, and questions of gender and sexuality.' Speculum

Review of the hardback: 'Bale's research, detailing the representation of the Jew in the words and images of medieval manuscripts, simultaneously marks a particularly necessary intervention into, and departure from the established conversation about the Jew in medieval England. … This book is an important critical resource and will find a place on bookshelves now and for years to come. Even more, Bale's The Jew in the Medieval Book is a pleasure to read …' Miriamne Ara Krummel, University of Dayton

Review of the hardback: '… offers new and insightful analyses of the Jew in the medieval book …' Anglia Newspaper for English Philology

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