Jews and Judaism in the Mid­dle Ages

Theodore L. Steinberg
  • Review
By – January 30, 2012

This book is meant to pro­vide an intro­duc­tion to medieval Judaism for non- Jew­ish stu­dents. Stu­dents of medieval Chris­t­ian Europe are prob­a­bly the spe­cif­ic audi­ence that the author had in mind, and he address­es them by adding many casu­al ref­er­ences to fig­ures and texts well-known in that field. To a Jew­ish read­er who is famil­iar with the details of Judaism, these throw-away com­ments add live­li­ness and food for thought. 

The pri­ma­ry focus is on the intel­lec­tu­al her­itage of medieval Judaism, the dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories and gen­res of books that were writ­ten by Jews. To set the stage, the author sketch­es the devel­op­ment of Judaism from Late Antiq­ui­ty, and the broad strokes of Jew­ish his­to­ry. The sur­vey is some­times con­fus­ing, jump­ing between his­tor­i­cal peri­ods and geo­graph­i­cal areas. But it is pleas­ant read­ing, and the author pro­vides insights from the lat­est research in a vari­ety of fields. Bib­li­og­ra­phy, index, notes.

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