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Beautiful Death: Jewish Poetry and Martyrdom in Medieval France (review)

Beautiful Death: Jewish Poetry and Martyrdom in Medieval France (review) SHOFAR Winter 2005 Vol. 23, No. 2 Beautiful Death: Jewish Poetry and Martyrdom in Medieval France, by Susan L. Einbinder. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002. 219 pp. $35.00. Jews in twelfth- and thirteenth-century Northern France were a community in crisis, subject to escalating ecclesiastical and secular hostility. In her important book, Beautiful Death, Susan Einbinder analyzes the liturgical poetry that became the dominant medium to commemorate the victims of this onslaught against Jews and Jewish life and to interpret their suffering. She argues that the symbolic representations of martyrdom in these poems provided an idealized model of how Jews should live as well as a prescriptive vision of death in the face of persecution and conversionary inducements. Einbinder demonstrates, too, that these literary works drew on contemporary non-Jewish models as well as Jewish sources, an indication that, "Even when they might seem most to be at odds with it, medieval Jews were woven securely into the fabric of the institutional, intellectual, and social tapestry of Christian-dominated Europe" (p. 4). Einbinder's groundbreaking work introduces the reader to a large corpus of several hundred liturgical laments and penitential hymns; with the exception of one Old French elegy for the martyrs http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies Purdue University Press

Beautiful Death: Jewish Poetry and Martyrdom in Medieval France (review)

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Publisher
Purdue University Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2005 Purdue University.
ISSN
1534-5165
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

SHOFAR Winter 2005 Vol. 23, No. 2 Beautiful Death: Jewish Poetry and Martyrdom in Medieval France, by Susan L. Einbinder. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002. 219 pp. $35.00. Jews in twelfth- and thirteenth-century Northern France were a community in crisis, subject to escalating ecclesiastical and secular hostility. In her important book, Beautiful Death, Susan Einbinder analyzes the liturgical poetry that became the dominant medium to commemorate the victims of this onslaught against Jews and Jewish life and to interpret their suffering. She argues that the symbolic representations of martyrdom in these poems provided an idealized model of how Jews should live as well as a prescriptive vision of death in the face of persecution and conversionary inducements. Einbinder demonstrates, too, that these literary works drew on contemporary non-Jewish models as well as Jewish sources, an indication that, "Even when they might seem most to be at odds with it, medieval Jews were woven securely into the fabric of the institutional, intellectual, and social tapestry of Christian-dominated Europe" (p. 4). Einbinder's groundbreaking work introduces the reader to a large corpus of several hundred liturgical laments and penitential hymns; with the exception of one Old French elegy for the martyrs

Journal

Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish StudiesPurdue University Press

Published: Feb 24, 2005

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