By Susan L. Einbinder
When Crusader armies on their technique to the Holy Land attacked Jewish groups within the Rhine Valley, many Jews selected suicide over dying by the hands of Christian mobs. With their defiant deaths, the medieval Jewish martyr was once born. With the literary commemoration of the sufferers, Jewish martyrology undefined. Beautiful Death examines the evolution of a long-neglected corpus of Hebrew poetry, the laments reflecting the categorical stipulations of Jewish lifestyles in northern France. The poems supply perception into way of life and into the methods medieval French Jews spoke back to persecution. in addition they recommend that poetry was once used to inspire resistance to intensifying pressures to convert.
The trained Jewish elite in northern France used to be hugely acculturated. Their poetry--particularly that rising from the leading edge Tosafist schools--reflects their engagement with the vernacular renaissance unfolding round them, in addition to awake and subconscious absorption of Christian well known ideals and hagiographical conventions. while, their outstanding poems sign an more and more harsh repudiation of Christianity's sacred symbols and ideology. They exhibit a fancy dating to Christian tradition as Jews internalized parts of medieval tradition even whereas expressing a robust revulsion opposed to the types and ideology of Christian life.
This gracefully written examine crosses conventional barriers of heritage and literature and of Jewish and basic medieval scholarship. concentrating on particular incidents of persecution and the literary commemorations they produced, it bargains special insights into the old stipulations during which those poems have been written and performed.
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