The Chosen People

Samantha Zacher

in The Oxford Handbook of Medieval Literature in English

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780199229123
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

The Chosen People

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  • Literary Studies (Early and Medieval)



This article examines writing about spiritual identities in England during the medieval period. It is striking that the majority of literature produced on the subject of Jews in medieval England survives from those periods where there were no Jews living in the British Isles. The authors culled their ideas from a host of sources including the writings of the Church Fathers, from contemporary continental materials, from widespread cultural stereotypes. It explains the theme of special election in the Old and New Testaments and analyses Bede's Historia ecclesiastica that uses a densely layered comparison to highlight both the positive and negative options for the representation of the chosen Israelites.

Keywords: spiritual identities; England; medieval period; Jews; special election; Bede; Historia ecclesiastica; British Isles; Church Fathers; cultural stereotypes

Article.  11015 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (Early and Medieval)

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