medieval Christian writers, Middle Eastern peoples, Jewish people
This paper assesses how medieval Christian writers transformed encounters with Middle Eastern peoples such as the Jews into a complex theological discourse via the medium used by Pope Urban II in 1095 to launch the First Crusade, the Latin sermon. It argues that a hitherto unnoted homiletic tradition about Jews originated in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages based (1) on exegetical polemics that stretched back centuries in Christian theology, and (2) on a discernible chronicle and sermon tradition that depicted Jews in varying degrees of apologia based on a prophesied role as “witnesses” to the eschatological expectations of Christian revelation. Further, it will present new sermon evidence that reveals the rise of a virulent type of rhetoric that both characterized Jews as responsible for a host of ills that ranged from irreligiosity to blood libel, and recast the Hebrews into what Richard of St. Victor called a “discredited” people that should be numbered among other Church enemies (pagans, Muslims, and heretics). The paper concludes that sermon writers’ depictions of peoples in Levantine Crusader territories were governed by the same kind of biblical typologies and exclusionary rhetoric that informed contemporaneous sermon presentations of Muslims, Jerusalem, loca sancta, and northern European and Scandinavian lands.
Upton, Todd P.
"De Syon exierit lex et verbum Domini de Iherusalem’: An Exegetical Discourse (c. 400-c. 1200) that Informed Crusaders’ Views of Jews,"
Quidditas: Vol. 36
, Article 5.
Available at: https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/rmmra/vol36/iss1/5