Chapter 8 David and Jonathan as a Paradigm of Male Friendship in Medieval Latin Literature

In: The Character of David in Judaism, Christianity and Islam

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Abstract

The article uses the story of David and Jonathan to examine how medieval Christian and Jewish traditions treated friendship between men in relation to marriage. It demonstrates that David and Jonathan friendship was most often invoked in the Christian Central Middle Ages in a monastic context, while in the Jewish tradition male friendship often occurred in commentaries on Pirqe Avot, where it was understood either as companionship in Torah study, or as a spiritual relationship. This second kind of friendship is contrasted with heterosexual love, despite that in both traditions the line between friendship and love is not sharp.

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