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Divided SoulsConverts from Judaism in Germany, 1500-1750$
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Elisheva Carlebach

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780300084108

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300084108.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM YALE SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.yale.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Yale University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in YSO for personal use.date: 15 June 2021

The Medieval Legacy

The Medieval Legacy

Converts in the Culture of Ashkenaz

Chapter:
(p.11) Chapter 1 The Medieval Legacy
Source:
Divided Souls
Author(s):

Elisheva Carlebach

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300084108.003.0002

This chapter is concerned with the image of Jewish converts within the medieval Ashkenazic tradition. It shows that the main difference between the conversion experience of the Jews of Sepharad and the Jews of Ashkenaz was their reactions to coerced conversion. The first section revolves around the literary sources that showed the arrival of the conversion to Christianity and described it as a wicked archetype within the medieval Ashkenazic culture, before zooming in to the Chronicle of Le Mans, a narrative that communicates the image of a convert to Christianity. The next literary source is the Hebrew Chronicles, which showed that martyrdom was the best response to the issue of the Crusaders' coerced conversion. This chapter also looks at the stories of Rabbi Amnon and R. Meir, Josel of Rosheim's chronicle on the Ashkenazic tendency to expand the nasty image of the convert, apostates, and the liturgy. It ends by considering the possible threats that voluntary conversion might have on the Jewish community and its internal functions.

Keywords:   coerced conversion, Ashkenazic culture, Chronicle of Le Mans, Hebrew Chronicles, Rabbi Amnon, R. Meir, martyrdom, apostates, liturgy

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