New Perspectives on Jewish-Christian Relations


The delicate balance between toleration and repulsion of the Jews, a tiny minority living within the Christian world, stands at the center of studies of religion and society. The development of this difficult relationship on many levels, theological, institutional, and individual, is a matter of continuing relevance in religious history from ancient to contemporary contexts. This volume, written by the leading scholars of Jewish-Christian engagement, seeks to revisit the question in light of new sources and re-readings of older sources. The old view of two implacable enemies battling for their version of truth, of Jews living as insular pariahs within a hostile world, the tale of persecution by the mighty of the weak, has given way to a much more nuanced understanding of areas of congruence, of cultural, economic, and social interchange. The volume examines changes in the Christian posture toward the Jews occurring in a time and place of tremendous cultural and religious creativity in Western European society. It seeks to understand how Jews integrated elements of Christian culture into their own. The volume spans some of the key turning points in the Jewish-Christian relationship and re-examines critical texts, religious disputations, and cultural interactions.
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Biographical Note

Elisheva Carlebach is Salo Baron Professor of Jewish History, Culture and Society at Columbia University.

Jacob J. Schacter is University Professor of Jewish History and Jewish Thought at Yeshiva University.

Review Quotes

"...a book filled with valuable new contributions to the field of Jewish-Christian relations. It is recommended for all research collections in Judaica, as well as those in Jewish-Christian relations."

James P. Rosenbloom, Judaica Librarian, Brandeis University, AJL Reviews September/October 2012

Table of contents

Introduction Elisheva Carlebach and Jacob J. Schacter
Christian Triumphalism and Anti-Jewish Violence
On the Authenticity of the Testimonium Flavianum Attributed to Josephus Louis H. Feldman
The Menorah and the Cross: Historiographical Reflections on a Recent Discovery from Laodicea on the Lycus Steven Fine
Judaizing the Passion: The Case of the Crown of Thorns in the Middle Ages William Chester Jordan
“Unless the Lord Watches Over the City . . .”: Joan of Aragon and His Jews, June–October 1391 Benjamin R. Gampel
Christian Mission and Jewish Conversion
Genesis 49:10 in Thirteenth-Century Christian Missionizing Robert Chazan
The Different Hebrew Versions of the “Talmud Trial” of 1240 in Paris Judah Galinsky
An Infant’s Missionary Sermon Addressed to the Jews of Rome in 1553 Robert Bonfil
Rabbi Jonathan Eibeschuetz and the Alleged Jewish-Christian Sect in Eighteenth-Century Amsterdam Sid Z. Leiman
The Imprint of Christian Society on Internal Jewish Cultural Patterns
Seeking Signs? Jews, Christians, and Proof by Fire in Medieval Germany and Northern France Elisheva Baumgarten
A Medieval Judeo-Spanish Poem on the Complementarity of Faith and Works and Its Intellectual Roots Bernard Septimus
“Because Our Wives Trade and Do Business with Our Goods”: Gender, Work, and Jewish-Christian Relations Debra Kaplan
Jewish Evaluations of Christianity
Meiri and the Non-Jew: A Comparative Investigation Yaakov Elman
Changing Attitudes toward Apostates in Tosafist Literature, Late Twelfth–Early Thirteenth Centuries Ephraim Kanarfogel
The Portuguese Jews of Amsterdam and the Status of Christians Miriam Bodian
Rabbi Jacob Emden, Sabbatianism, and Frankism: Attitudes toward Christianity in the Eighteenth Century Jacob J. Schacter
Jewish Polemical Strategies in Light of Christianity and Islam
Rashi’s Position on Prophecy among the Nations and the Jewish-Christian Polemic Avraham Grossman
Isaiah’s Suffering Servant and the Jews: From the Nineteenth Century to the Ninth Elliott Horowitz
Peshat or Polemics: The Case of Genesis 36 Martin I. Lockshin
Maimonides’ Attitude toward Christian Biblical Hermeneutics in Light of Earlier Jewish Sources Mordechai Z. Cohen
Karaism and Christianity: An Evolving Relationship Daniel J. Lasker
Contemporary Jewish-Christian Relations
Morality, Liberalism, and Interfaith Dialogue David Shatz
The Jewish People and Their Sacred Scriptures in the Christian Bible, by the Pontifical Biblical Commission (Rome, 2001) Michael Wyschogrod


This book will be welcomed by students of medieval European history, religious studies, Jewish history, and Jewish-Christian relations.


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