Violence and Forced Conversion in Medieval Europe. ~ Dr. Jacob Lackner

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11m Oct 26, 2020

In this lecture by Dr. Jacob Lackner we are taken into the very heart of violence, martyrdom and intolerance within Medieval Europe.

We explore Christian and Jewish reactions to forced conversion and baptism with the sword as we enter into a controversial subject that split the church and society of the Medieval world.

From seeing different stances within the church and the head of the papacy to watching as Christians attempt to defend their Jewish neighbors from radical crusaders an intense and bitter image develops as we watch an older society attempt to discover what it believes about a minority within that society.

What I found most interesting is that in this world of child abduction, forced conversion, mass murder and martyrdom we watch as the Jewish faith evolves into three forms of martyrdom which will include those who go humbly to the slaughter, suicides often including entire families who rather than being forced to convert to what they viewed as idolatry chose to die righteously and finally we come to my personal favorite and that is the Jewish Martyrs who decided to make a stand and meet violence with violence, armor with armor and sword with sword.

From powerful stories to tragedy and triumph, once again the superb Dr. Lackner makes the already complicated medieval world even more complicated.

Below is a list of reading materials recommended by Dr. Lackner and I actually own a few of these myself.

On Medieval Anti-Semitism more broadly:
Robert Chazan. Medieval Stereotypes and Modern Anti-Semitism. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997.
Gavin Langmuir. Toward a Definition of Anti-Semitism. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990.
Gavin Langmuir. History, Religion, and Anti-Semitism. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990.

For more on Jews as Christ-Killers:
Jeremy Cohen. Christ-Killers: The Jews and the Passion from the Bible to the Big Screen. 2007.

For more on the Rhineland Massacres (1096):
Robert Chazan. European Jewry and the First Crusade. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987
Robert Chazan. God, Humanity, and History: The Hebrew First Crusade Narratives. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000.

For more on ritual murder/blood libel:
Hannah Johnson. Blood Libel: The Ritual Murder Accusation at the Limit of Jewish History.
E.M. Rose. The Murder of William of Norwich: The Origins of the Blood Libel in Medieval Europe.

For more on host desecration:
Miri Rubin. Gentile Tales: The Narrative Assault on Late Medieval Jews. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004.
Michael B. Merback. Pilgrimage and Pogrom: Violence, Memory, and Visual Culture at the Host-Miracle Shrines of Germany and Austria. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2012.

Jacob Lackner completed both his History MA in 2012 and a PhD in History at the University of Oklahoma in 2018. His research focuses on medieval Jewish-Christian relations, more specifically the way medieval Christians thought about medieval Jews. Currently he serves a visiting lecturer, teaching Judaic Studies course such as The History of Heaven and Hell.



And Jews through Christian Eyes: The Jewish Other in Thirteenth-Century Papal Policy, Artwork, and Sermon Exempla


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