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Jewish Money and the Image of the Jewish Body in the Middle Ages

Event Date & Time: 3rd July, 2019 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Location: Jewish Museum London, Raymond Burton House, 129-131 Albert St, Camden Town, London NW1 7NB
Speakers: Professor Sara Lipton, State University of New York at Stony Brook
Tags: Bible, Crucifixion, Durham Bible, Fagin, Jews in Polemic before 1070, Jews Money Myth, Jud Süß, Letters of Paul, Moralized Bible, No Jew on his oath, Second Gospel Book of Bernward of Hildesheim, Shylock, The Cloisters Collection, The Lobbes Bible
Theme: Antisemitism, Christianity, Economics, Jewish Identities, Jews, history of, Literature, Media, Medieval, Prejudice
Region / Country: Europe, Germany, Greece, Iran, Israel, Italy, Turkey, UK
Historical Period: 15th century and earlier


Through such vivid literary characters as Shylock, Fagin, and the notorious Jud Süß, the stereotype of the swarthy, hook-nosed, grasping Jewish moneylender has become a staple of western antisemitic discourse.  However, this ugly caricature was a relatively late development.  It was spurred not by actual Jews’ appearances or actions, but by the desire of medieval Christian clerics to warn against the seductions of their suddenly more prosperous world.

In this talk Professor Lipton traces the slowly evolving image of Jews in medieval art, depicted first as worldly and materialistic, and, ultimately, dangerous and demonic.

Sara Lipton is Professor of History, Stony Brook University.  She has been a Fellow at The Metropolitan Museum, Oxford University, and the EHESS (Paris).  Her most recent book is Dark Mirror: The Medieval Origins of Anti-Jewish Iconography (Metropolitan Books, 2014).

Professor David Feldman, Director – 1

The relationship between antisemitism and other forms of racism and exclusion is not only a historical question. It is an urgent issue for today.

Professor David Feldman, Director

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