Jews, Medicine, and Medieval Society

Univ of California Press
Free sample

Jews were excluded from most professions in medieval, predominantly Christian Europe. Bigotry was widespread, yet Jews were accepted as doctors and surgeons, administering not only to other Jews but to Christians as well. Why did medieval Christians suspend their fear and suspicion of the Jews, allowing them to inspect their bodies, and even, at times, to determine their survival? What was the nature of the doctor-patient relationship? Did the law protect Jewish doctors in disputes over care and treatment?

Joseph Shatzmiller explores these and other intriguing questions in the first full social history of the medieval Jewish doctor. Based on extensive archival research in Provence, Spain, and Italy, and a deep reading of the widely scattered literature, Shatzmiller examines the social and economic forces that allowed Jewish medical professionals to survive and thrive in thirteenth- and fourteenth-century Europe. His insights will prove fascinating to scholars and students of Judaica, medieval history, and the history of medicine.
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About the author

Joseph Shatzmiller is Professor of History at the University of Toronto and author of Shylock Reconsidered: Jews, Moneylending and Medieval Society (California, 1990).

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Additional Information

Publisher
Univ of California Press
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Published on
Jan 10, 1995
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Pages
241
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ISBN
9780520913226
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Europe / Medieval
Medical / History
Religion / Judaism / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Demonstrating that similarities between Jewish and Christian art in the Middle Ages were more than coincidental, Cultural Exchange meticulously combines a wide range of sources to show how Jews and Christians exchanged artistic and material culture. Joseph Shatzmiller focuses on communities in northern Europe, Iberia, and other Mediterranean societies where Jews and Christians coexisted for centuries, and he synthesizes the most current research to describe the daily encounters that enabled both societies to appreciate common artistic values.

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.

In the wake of modern genocide, we tend to think of violence against minorities as a sign of intolerance, or, even worse, a prelude to extermination. Violence in the Middle Ages, however, functioned differently, according to David Nirenberg. In this provocative book, he focuses on specific attacks against minorities in fourteenth-century France and the Crown of Aragon (Aragon, Catalonia, and Valencia). He argues that these attacks--ranging from massacres to verbal assaults against Jews, Muslims, lepers, and prostitutes--were often perpetrated not by irrational masses laboring under inherited ideologies and prejudices, but by groups that manipulated and reshaped the available discourses on minorities. Nirenberg shows that their use of violence expressed complex beliefs about topics as diverse as divine history, kinship, sex, money, and disease, and that their actions were frequently contested by competing groups within their own society.

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.

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and now a documentary from Ken Burns on PBS, The Emperor of All Maladies is a magnificent, profoundly humane “biography” of cancer—from its first documented appearances thousands of years ago through the epic battles in the twentieth century to cure, control, and conquer it to a radical new understanding of its essence.

Physician, researcher, and award-winning science writer, Siddhartha Mukherjee examines cancer with a cellular biologist’s precision, a historian’s perspective, and a biographer’s passion. The result is an astonishingly lucid and eloquent chronicle of a disease humans have lived with—and perished from—for more than five thousand years.

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From the Persian Queen Atossa, whose Greek slave may have cut off her diseased breast, to the nineteenth-century recipients of primitive radiation and chemotherapy to Mukherjee’s own leukemia patient, Carla, The Emperor of All Maladies is about the people who have soldiered through fiercely demanding regimens in order to survive—and to increase our understanding of this iconic disease.

Riveting, urgent, and surprising, The Emperor of All Maladies provides a fascinating glimpse into the future of cancer treatments. It is an illuminating book that provides hope and clarity to those seeking to demystify cancer.
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