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The Middle Ages

The Middle Ages

Prof. Jeremy Cohen

In the centuries leading into the Middle Ages, attitudes toward Jews and Judaism became increasingly hostile and brutal. The roots of many of the antisemitic stereotypes and tropes still familiar to us today can be found in Christian Medieval Europe.

How did early Christian thought and perceptions of the Jews, and especially the Augustinian legacy calling for the safekeeping of Jews, morph into violent, and often murderous, actions and rhetoric?

For additional visual material please see “downloads” below.


  • Biale, David , Blood and Belief: The Circulation of a Symbol Between Jews and Christians (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007).

  • Berger, David, “From Crusades to Blood Libels to Expulsions: Some New Approaches to Medieval Anti-Semitism,” in David Berger, ed., Persecution, Polemic, and Dialogue: Essays in Jewish Christian Relations (Boston: Academic Studies Press, 2010), pp. 15 – 39.

  • Chazan, Robert, Medieval Stereotypes and Modern Antisemitism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997).

  • Cohen, Jeremy, The Friars and the Jews: The Evolution of Medieval Anti-Judaism (Ithaca, N.Y., Cornell University Press, 1982).

  • Lipton, Sara, “The Root of All Evil: Jews, Money and Metaphor in the Bible moralisée,” Medieval Encounters, vol. 1, no. 3 (1995), pp. 301 – 322.

  • Nirenberg, David, Communities of Violence: Persecution of Minorities in the Middle Ages (Princeton, N.J : Princeton University Press, 1996).

  • Stowe, Kenneth R., Alienated Minority: The Jews of Medieval Latin Europe (Cambridge, M.A: Harvard University Press, 1992).

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Antisemitism: From Its Origins to the Present

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