Joseph Shatzmiller is Professor of History at the University of Toronto and author of Shylock Reconsidered: Jews, Moneylending and Medieval Society (California, 1990).
Detailing the transmission of cultural sensibilities in the medieval money market and the world of Jewish money lenders, this book examines objects pawned by peasants and humble citizens, sacred relics exchanged by the clergy as security for loans, and aesthetic goods given up by the Christian well-to-do who required financial assistance. The work also explores frescoes and decorations likely painted by non-Jews in medieval and early modern Jewish homes located in Germanic lands, and the ways in which Jews hired Christian artists and craftsmen to decorate Hebrew prayer books and create liturgical objects. Conversely, Christians frequently hired Jewish craftsmen to produce liturgical objects used in Christian churches.
With rich archival documentation, Cultural Exchange sheds light on the social and economic history of the creation of Jewish and Christian art, and expands the general understanding of cultural exchange in brand-new ways.
Some images inside the book are unavailable due to digital copyright restrictions.
These questions are at the heart of Racial Fever: Freud and the Jewish Question. In his final book, Moses and Monotheism, Freud hinted at the complexities of Jewishness and insisted that Moses was really an Egyptian. Slavet moves far beyond debates about how Freud felt about Judaism; instead, she explores what he wrote about Jewishness: what it is, how it is transmitted, and how it has survived. Freud’s Moses emerges as the culmination of his work on transference, telepathy, and intergenerational transmission, and on the relationships between memory and its rivals: history, heredity, and fantasy. Writing on the eve of the Holocaust, Freud proposed that Jewishness is constituted by the inheritance of ancestral memories; thus, regardless of any attempts to repress, suppress, or repudiate Jewishness, Jews will remain Jewish and Judaism will survive, for better and for worse.
Nirenberg's readings of archival and literary sources demonstrates how violence set the terms and limits of coexistence for medieval minorities. The particular and contingent nature of this coexistence is underscored by the book's juxtapositions--some systematic (for example, that of the Crown of Aragon with France, Jew with Muslim, medieval with modern), and some suggestive (such as African ritual rebellion with Catalan riots). Throughout, the book questions the applicability of dichotomies like tolerance versus intolerance to the Middle Ages, and suggests the limitations of those analyses that look for the origins of modern European persecutory violence in the medieval past.