Cover

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Title page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

List of Illustrations

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pp. vii-x

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Preface

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pp. xi-xii

In writing this book I have tried to simplify the narrative as much as possible in order to facilitate the reading of its seven chapters. For this reason I have tried to reduce the volume of scholarly apparatus, perhaps less successfully than anticipated. Footnotes have been shortened to the most essential elements, but will send the curious reader to a more...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-4

This book is about the cultural exchange between Jews and Christians in the High and Late Middle Ages (c. 1230–1450 CE). Members of each group contributed to the other’s culture, even to their religious practices. The Christian protagonists appear more frequently in most chapters, but Jews, too, are handsomely represented. My interest in these people...

Part One: Pawnbrokers: Agents of Cultural Transmission

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1. Financial Activities in the Medieval Marketplace

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pp. 7-21

The museologist Mordechai Narkiss has rightly pointed out that the business of pawnbroking constituted one of the most important avenues through which Christian artistic achievements found their way into the Jewish society. Yet he said nothing about the marketplace itself and its...

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2. Securities for Loans: Church Liturgical Objects

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pp. 22-44

The emerging credit economy in the High Middle Ages required solid assurance and at times collaterals of great value. Church property comes immediately to mind, since most artistic creativity was commissioned by ecclesiastics and religious institutions, right up to the High Renaissance...

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3. High Finance: Urban and Princely Pledges

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pp. 45-58

Monks and priests, monasteries and cathedrals were not the only ones to turn to Jews when in need of credit. Citizens of the flourishing urban centers, even the well off, found themselves in a similar quandary. The same was the case for members of the elite social circles, including nobles...

Part Two: Human Imagery in Medieval Ashkenaz

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4. The Decorated Home of the Rabbi of Zurich

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pp. 61-72

It would seem that some highly successful Jewish financiers were not content with just admiring the achievements of the host society; they allowed themselves to be influenced in their way of life by these achievements. A discovery made in an apartment of approximately seventy-five...

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5. German Jews and Figurative Art: Appreciation and Reservation

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pp. 73-110

The Jews of the High and Late Middle Ages were not the first of their people to enjoy art or to create works of lavish craftsmanship. Previous generations of Jews had similar experiences.1 To describe them all as belonging to a nation without art is a gross misrepresentation that certainly does not reflect historical reality. One has just to open the Bible to...

Part Three: At the Marketplace: Professionals in the Service of the “Other”

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6. Christian Artists and Jewish Patronage

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pp. 113-140

Cursory remarks in the previous chapters have already suggested that the artists who produced zoocephalic panels on Hebrew manuscripts were not necessarily Jewish. Rather, there is evidence that Christian artists contributed greatly to the creation of the corpus of decorated medieval Jewish...

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7. Jewish Craftsmanship at the Service of the Church

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pp. 141-157

There is another side to this story: Jewish professionals shared their expertise with members of the Christian society and with its religious institutions. Ample documentation points to Jewish silversmiths, bookbinders, painters, and coral craftsmen helping Christians decorate their...

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Conclusions

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pp. 158-161

When planning to study the role of the marketplace in the exchange of cultural values in the Middle Ages and the effects of external contribution on what we consider to be Jewish art, I did not envisage any revisionist perspectives. Scholars recognized the Gothic input into medieval Hebrew...

Appendix: Jewish Traditions and Ceremonies: How Original?

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pp. 162-166

Select Bibliography

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pp. 167-176

Index

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pp. 177-188