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  • Author or Editor: Ruth Mazo Karras x
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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.

In: The Character of David in Judaism, Christianity and Islam
In: Critical Readings on Global Slavery


Thomas Ebendorfer’s fifteenth-century Latin translation of a Hebrew Toledot Yeshu text is the earliest extant Latin version to include a full narrative from the birth of Jesus to the events following the crucifixion, and predates existing Hebrew versions. After reviewing the place of Ebendorfer’s work in the textual tradition of the Toledot, the article examines carefully the work’s account of the aerial battle between Jesus and Judas, in comparison to other versions. Ebendorfer includes the detail of sexual intercourse between the two, which is absent in many later versions. In the context of a discussion of Christian and Jewish attitudes toward male–male sexual activity in the Middle Ages, the article concludes that while this detail was in Ebendorfer’s exemplar, he could have elaborated on it in a way that indicates this was a particularly Christian concern.

In: Medieval Encounters