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Jewish Life In The Middle Ages

by Israel Abrahams

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TitleJewish Life In The Middle Ages
AuthorIsrael Abrahams
PublisherVarda Books
Publication Date2009


The impact of medievalism on Jewish life had far less to do with altering the inner life of the Jews and far more to do with recreating their place in European society. At the close of the middle ages, Jews no longer became part of general European society, but rather, existed in a distinct category outside of the general population. Their inner life remained rich and independent of the effects of medievalism in the outer world. Communal organization, social morality, home life, customs, and the role of the synagogue are explored thoroughly in this work as are the effects of the ghetto on creating a Jewish nationalism'.

About the Author 

Israel Abrahams ---

Israel Abrahams, M.A. is the author of Jewish Life in the Middle Ages, Chapters on Jewish Literature, The Foundation of Jewish Life Three Studies, and By-Paths in Hebraic Bookland.


Thus Jewish life was not narrow, though its locale was limited. As a legalized institution the ghetto itself was unknown till the beginning of the sixteenth century, the Venetian and Roman ghettos being erected almost contemporaneously at that period. Hence the predominance of the synagogue in medieval Judaism cannot be altogether attributed to the isolation of Jews from the social life of their contemporaries. There were, indeed, influences enough at work to drive the Jews from the world. For centuries they were legally barred from professional careers and honourable trades, though individual Jews contrived to overleap the barriers; they were forced to become usurers, though at first fully conscious of the obloquy attaching to a traffic banned by the Church and despised by the men of honour of all peoples in all ages. The cruellest result which persecution worked was to produce insensibility to this obloquy on the part of many Israelites. But all these attempts to isolate the Jews from the rest of mankind only partially succeeded. << Chapter >> Home | TOC | Index

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