Cover

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Title Page, Series Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. ii-v

CONTENTS

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pp. vii-vii

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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pp. ix-x

Unsurprisingly, the debts accrued in the making of this book are numerous. On several occasions, Heather Arden of the University of Cincinnati offered assistance and clarification with Old French texts, as did Adam Kamesar, Bill Jordan, and Hebrew Union College graduate students Charles Ramsey and Ting Wang with ...

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INTRODUCTION: The Medieval Poetry of Jewish Martyrdom

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pp. 1-16

This is a book about poetry and history, about what people did and how they wanted to remember doing it. It is about poems that turned to passion and polemic in the wake of violence, shaping people’s responses to the incidents they described in their own time and for generations to come. The events in question began in the ...

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ONE: Faith and Fury: Medieval Jewish Martyrological Poetry and Resistance to Conversion

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pp. 17-44

THE MEDIEVAL literature of Jewish martyrdom was born not long after the First Crusade attacks on Jewish communities along the Rhine—that is, not long after the deaths of the men, women, and children who became the subjects of its chronicles, lists, and laments. Jewish perspectives on their charged encounters with the crusaders ...

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TWO: “The Fire Does Not Burn”: The Emergence of a Martyrological Motif

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pp. 45-69

IN THE SPRING of 1171, the frightened (or scheming) Christian servant of a local Blois lord reported seeing a Jew toss a murdered child into the Loire River.1 No witnesses corroborated his testimony, no parents reported a missing child, and no corpse was ever produced. But the local lord to whom he told his tale had a score to settle with a ...

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THREE: Burning Jewish Books

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pp. 70-99

On a Friday in June of 1242, a young Jewish student in Paris watched the Talmud burn. Meir ben Baruch had recently come to Paris, probably from Mainz, to study with R. Yehiel. In Mainz he had studied with R. Judah b. Solomon haCohen, a rabbinical scholar and authority who was also related to Meir’s family.1 Since R. ...

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FOUR: Wheels within Wheels: Literature, History, and Methodology

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pp. 100-125

IN 1276, a Jew named Samson was broken on the wheel and burned alive in Metz. An imperial town, Metz was on the periphery of the centers of Jewish life in northern France.1 Evidence of the Jewish community disappears in the mid-1220s, and when signs of Jewish life reappear a few decades later, they indicate a community under great ...

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FIVE: Une Bele Qedushah: Troyes 1288

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pp. 126-154

On April 24, 1288, thirteen French Jews in Troyes joined the ranks of the qedoshim, the holy martyrs who died sanctifying God’s Name. Two were women, one of them pregnant. Of the eleven men, one was a child, burned with his brother, a newlywed whose bride was also among the victims. Atypically, several of the laments that ...

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SIX: Jonathan and His Magic Book: Paris 1290

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pp. 155-179

In Paris, in the year 1290, a struggling Jewish moneylender named Jonathan was accused of inflicting a series of tortures upon a communion wafer. A desperate and poverty-stricken client whose garment he held in pledge allegedly supplied the host. The Christian sources report that the wafer was boiled and stabbed, thrown in cold water and ...

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EPILOGUE

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pp. 180-188

In the late summer of 1306, Philip IV expelled the Jews of royal France. Perhaps 100,000 Jewish men, women, and children—arguably the same number banished in the Spanish expulsion of 1492—were ordered to depart the royal realm “on pain of death.”1 The numbers who chose baptism over exile were negligible, a final testimony ...

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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pp. 189-210

INDEX

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pp. 211-219