HUMS 443, Medieval Jews, Christians, and Muslims in Conversation

Meeting Time: 
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

Course Description:

How members of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim communities thought of and interacted with members of the other two cultures during the Middle Ages. Cultural grids and expectations each imposed on the other; the rhetoric of otherness—humans or devils, purity or impurity, and animal imagery; and models of religious community and power in dealing with the other when confronted with cultural differences. 

Led by:

Professor Ivan Marcus

Ivan Marcus received his BA from Yale University, his MA from Columbia University, and his MHL and PhD from The Jewish Theological Seminary of America. He is Frederick P. Rose Professor of Jewish History, Professor of History and of Religious Studies, and Chair of Yale’s Program in Judaic Studies. He teaches Jewish history from late antiquity through the early modern period. He has offered courses on the history of Jews in Muslim Lands, Jewish-Christian relations, and the Jews in medieval and early modern Europe and the Muslim Mediterranean. His specializations include the history of Jewish-Christian representations of each other, and the history of childhood and other life cycle rites of passage.

He has written Piety and Society: The Jewish Pietists of Medieval Germany (E. J. Brill, 1981), which was a finalist for a National Jewish Book Award, Rituals of Childhood: Jewish Culture and Acculturation in Medieval Europe, which was published by Yale University Press in 1996. A paperback edition and a Hebrew edition appeared in 1998. His most recent book is The Jewish Life Cycle: Rites of Passage from Biblical to Modern Times (University of Washington Press, 2004) in paperback and cloth editions. It is based on the 1998 Samuel and Althea Stroum Lectures.

In addition to writing numerous articles and book chapters, he as written a long essay, “A Jewish-Christian Symbiosis: The Early Culture of Ashkenaz,” that appeared in Cultures of the Jews: A New History, edited by David Biale (Schocken Books, 2002). He has also edited the following works: A Facsimile Edition of Sefer Hasidim, MS Parma H 3280The Religious and Social Ideas of German-Jewish Pietism (Hebrew); Medieval Jewish Civilization, A Multi-Disciplinary Curriculum, Bibliographies, and Selected Syllabi. He also co-edits Texts and Studies in medieval and early Modern Judaism for J. C. B. Mohr in Tübingen with Peter Schaefer.