“Do not kill them, lest my people forget”: Changes in Attitudes Towards Jews in Twelfth- and Thirteenth-Century England
This essay supports Paul Hyams’ thesis that while attitudes toward Jews over the twelfth and thirteenth centuries certainly cooled, they did so less dramatically or inevitably than the 1290 expulsion might suggest if imagined as a culmination of policy. Chronicled hostility, alongside which the Jewish ‘blood libel’ myth developed as justification, appears to have increased with perceived Jewish economic status. Their status after their impoverishment decreased as royal policy perpetuated longstanding social divisions that largely originated from neither religious nor economic cleavages, only cultural ones. The treatment of the Jews in the period may simultaneously be understood as one of English identity consolidation in the post-Conquest period, as Jews first coexisted with Anglo-Saxons after the Norman invasion. Since economic reasoning alone does not explain the treatment of the Jews in the latter half of the thirteenth century, this essay also examines instances of anti-Jewish violence and successive Plantagenet king’s policies targeting the Jews and understands them as indicators or constructions of religious and national alterity.
Abulafia, Anna Sapir. “Jewish-Christian disputations and the twelfth-century renaissance.” Journal of Medieval History 15 (1989): 105-125. https://doi.org/10.1016/0304-4181(89)90012-2.
Brand, Paul. “Jews and the Law in England, 1275-1290.” English Historical Review 115 no. 464 (2000): 1138–1158.
Cohen, Jeffrey J. “The Flow of Blood in Medieval Norwich.” Speculum 79 no. 1 (2004): 26-65. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0038713400094720.
Huscroft, Richard. Expulsion: England’s Jewish Solution. Gloucestershire: The History Press, 2013.
Hyams, Paul. “The Jewish Minority in Mediaeval England, 1066-1290.” Journal of Jewish Studies 27 (1974): 270-293. https://doi.org/10.18647/682/JJS-1974.
Jones, Sarah Rees and Sethina Watson (eds.). Christians and Jews in Angevin England: the York Massacre of 1190, Narratives and Contexts. York: York Medieval Press, 2013.
McCulloh, John M. “Jewish Ritual Murder: William of Norwich, Thomas of Monmouth, and the Early Dissemination of the Myth.” Speculum 72 no. 3 (1997): 698-740. https://doi.org/10.2307/3040759.
Moore, R.I. The Formation of a Persecuting Society. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2007.
Rokéah, Zefira Entin. Medieval English Jews and Royal Officials. Jerusalem: The Hebrew University Magnes Press, 2000.
Skinner, Patricia. “Viewpoint: Confronting the Medieval in Medieval History: The Jewish Example.” Past & Present 181 (2003): 219-247.
Stacey, Robert C. “Anti-Semitism and the Medieval English State.” The Medieval State, ed. J.R. Maddicott and D.M. Palliser. London: Hambledon, 2000.
Thomas, Hugh M. “Portrait of a Medieval Anti-Semite: Richard Malebisse,” Haskins Society Journal 5 (1993): 1-16.
Copyright (c) Rebecca Colleen Reilly
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).
- Authors are required to agree to the following license terms:
I grant to Boston College the right to include and publish the above-described submission in both the print and online versions of the journal, Elements. I will retain copyright ownership but hereby grant to Boston College the non-exclusive, world-wide, royalty-free right to use, copy, distribute, and display my submission in any format or medium for any educational, non-commercial purposes, including as part of the online and print journals. Boston College will apply the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License to all works published in Elements.
These rights include, without limitation, the right to maintain one or more copies of the submission in multiple formats for security, back-up, and preservation purposes, and to allow a third party to hold one or more copies solely for such purposes.
I represent and warrant that the submission is my/our original work, that I have the right to grant the permission in this agreement and that, to the best of my knowledge, the submission will not infringe upon anyone’s intellectual property rights. I represent and warrant and that the work is not libelous, does not violate any right of privacy or contain otherwise unlawful matter. I have obtained all necessary permissions to include in my/our submission any materials created or owned by third parties and any such third party material is clearly identified and acknowledged within the content of the submission. I agree to submit a copy of each such permission to the editors of Elements upon submission of the finalized version of the work for publication.
If the submission is based upon work that has been sponsored or supported by an organization or agency other than Boston College, I certify that I have fulfilled any right of review or other obligations required by any contract or agreement with such agency or organization.
I agree that others may review the work and that editors of Elements may edit the work, as they deem necessary after reviewing proposed revisions with me. Boston College will clearly identify my/our name(s) as the author(s) or owner(s) of the submission.
Nothing in this agreement shall be deemed to obligate Boston College to publish the submission.