Prologue: The Time-Bound and the Timeless in Medieval Ashkenazic Narrative

Robert Chazan

in God, Humanity, and History

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 2000 | ISBN: 9780520221277
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520923959 | DOI:
Prologue: The Time-Bound and the Timeless in Medieval Ashkenazic Narrative

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This chapter looks at the communication between the Jews during the medieval period. It begins by introducing the medieval Ashkenazic—or northern European—Jews, who were relatively recent immigrants. It goes on to show the resistance they met, which was mostly due to the belief that they were the descendants of those who had rejected Jesus and were responsible for his death. Due to the animosity and dangers they faced, the Jews were forced to communicate regularly among themselves about the developments in their society. However, the discussion shows that only a few of their time-bound communications were preserved. The chapter examines one example of these time-bound communications, namely the three letters written in the wake of the 1171 Blois tragedy. It also takes a look at the Orléans letter, which is a complicated composition that begins with a prologue on the reluctance of the Orléans Jewry to carry the burden of memorializing the heroic martyrs of neighboring Blois.

Keywords: communication; Jews; Ashkenazic Jews; resistance; 1171 Blois tragedy; Orléans letter

Chapter.  7175 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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