Archive for Februar, 2023


Montag, Februar 27th, 2023

Christoph Cluse, Alfred Haverkamp (†) & Jörg R. Müller (eds), Bishops and Jews in the Medieval Latin West / Bischöfe und Juden im lateinischen Mittelalter, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2023. ISBN 978-3-447-11770-8 . 468 Seiten, 78 €

The figure of the bishop plays a central role in medieval European society. While it is rarely useful to speak of “the Church” in general terms, the bishop comes near to representing the institutional church on the local, regional, and sometimes even European levels. In varying degrees and in changing emphases over time, it reflects the principles of hierarchy and collegiality that shaped the structure of the ecclesiastical world. Bishops headed the local Christian congregation and ruled over early and high medieval town communities; for long periods they were also the typical proponents of mission and preaching. At the same time, bishops assumed prominent roles at the royal courts of Europe. In the Holy Roman Empire in particular, they appear as secular barons in their own right. By networks of family ties they were connected with the nobility of their region and realm, while in office and within the career system of the Church they frequently met with men and women of the most various social backgrounds.

It is the peculiar blend of ecclesiastical functions and political roles that lends urgency to the theme of our book. Researchers have frequently deplored that whereas the political roles of bishops were often studied in great detail, their church functions were left for ecclesiastical historians to describe, so that an integrated picture of the bishop as bishop is rarely attained. By contrast, the attitudes of the institutional church towards the Jews in Latin Europe have commonly been studied in view of papal and conciliar legislation or with a focus on the anti-Jewish writings of individual clerics, many of whom were from the ranks of the religious orders. In as far as the relations between bishops and Jews are concerned, this situation appears rather unsatisfactory. It is acerbated by the fact that, notwithstanding a number of studies on individual figures, no sustained investigation on a comparative level has yet been undertaken. Looking at the situation in Northern and Central Italy, Michele Luzzati in 1990 marked some of the major deficits in the (mostly ecclesiastical) historiography on bishops, and demonstrated the potentials of an analysis taking into account the roles of bishops at the crossroads of the converging and conflicting interests in their cities. His analysis shows that similar problems could lead to widely different consequences according to local context. Taking a much broader perspective, the late Professor Alfred Haverkamp has elucidated the decisive role played by a network of tenth-century German bishops in the early settlement of Jews north of the Alps. The two approaches—the local and the general—are reflected in varying emphases in all of the contributions to the present collection.

Table of Contents / Inhaltsverzeichnis.