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Sacred Communities

Jewish and Christian Identities in Fifteenth-Century Germany

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Dean Phillip Bell

We all live in a community, and it was no different for the Jews and Christians of medieval Germany—or was it? This book draws together disparate threads of Christian and Jewish communal development in an effort to give a deeper understanding to the complex tapestry of Jewish and Christian interaction. In the broad examination presented herein, it is possible to compare the general transformations that affected Jews and Christians both as residents of a shared German society and as residents of their own separate communities. Jews and Christians interacted in a variety of ways, in numerous settings, and at a multitude of levels that defy simple categorization. To label late medieval Germany a period of crisis is too simplisitc, the “Reformation” should not categorically be viewed as the central development in the shift between medieval and early modern times. This book seeks to recontextualize the world of Jewish and Christian relations by bringing together divergent sources not often taken together, but equally important, to inform one another and offer a fuller picture of Jewish and Christian notions of each other and themselves than has been possible up to this point.

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Edited by Dean Phillip Bell and Stephen G. Burnett

This book represents a multi-disciplinary approach to the problem of the Jews and the German Reformation. The contributions come from both senior and emerging scholars, from North America, Israel, and Europe, to ensure a breadth in perspective. The essays in this volume are arranged under four broad headings: 1. The Road to the Reformation (late medieval theology and the humanists and the Jews), 2. The Reformers and the Jews (essays on Luther, Melanchthon, Bucer, Zwingli, Calvin, Osiander, the Catholic Reformers, and the Radical Reformers), 3. Representations of Jews and Judaism (the portrayal of Judaism as a religion, images of the Jews in the visual arts, and in sixteenth-century German literature), and 4. Jewish Responses to the Reformation.

Contributors include: Dean Phillip Bell, Jay Berkovitz, Robert Bireley, Stephen G. Burnett, Elisheva Carlebach, Achim Detmers, Yaacov Deutsch, Maria Diemling, Michael Driedger, R. Gerald Hobbs, Joy Kammerling, Thomas Kaufmann, Hans-Martin Kirn, Christopher Ocker, Erika Rummel, Petra Schöner, Timothy J. Wengert, and Edith Wenzel.