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Representations of Jews in Late Medieval and Early Modern German Literature

Second Printing


John D. Martin

It is commonly held that medieval Christians viewed medieval Jews in exclusively negative terms. This is certainly the dominant opinion in much twentieth-century scholarship, and it is not wholly without justification. It is, however, an opinion that does not accurately reflect the breadth of medieval German Christian thinking about medieval German Jews. Drawing on Passion plays, hagiographical narratives and didactic literature, this monograph reveals a hitherto largely unacknowledged diversity in medieval German representations of Jews. In many of the best-attested texts from the late medieval and early modern periods, Jews appear in German literature as sympathetic, even morally exemplary figures.
Contents: The State of Contemporary Research – The Saint Gall Passion Play and the Frankfurter Dirigierrolle – The Tirol, Halle and Frankfurt Passion Plays – The Alsfeld Passion Play – The Legend of Saint Silvester in Medieval German-speaking Europe – Theophilus, «Der Judenknabe», and Saint Basil – Representations of Jews in Fables and Related Moral-Didactic Narratives in Late Medieval German-speaking Europe.