IMC 2004: Sessions

Session 1210: Christian Appropriations of Biblical and Jewish Personae

Wednesday 14 July 2004, 14.15-15.45

Moderator/Chair:Eva Frojmovic, Centre for Jewish Studies, University of Leeds
Paper 1210-aThe Imaginary Jew as Christian Tyro in the Middle English Patience
(Language: English)
Cynthia Kraman, Department of English, College of New Rochelle, New York
Index terms: Biblical Studies, Hebrew and Jewish Studies
Paper 1210-bDionysius the Carthusian on the Maccabean Martyrs
(Language: English)
Daniel Joslyn-Siemiatkoski, Department of Theology, Boston College, Massachusetts
Index terms: Hagiography, Hebrew and Jewish Studies
Paper 1210-cThe Romance of Eschatology: Asia and the 'Twelve Tribes' in 13th-Century England
(Language: English)
Ruth Nisse, Department of English, University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Index terms: Historiography - Medieval, Theology

grouped by Liz James 24-10-03; suggestion for chair required:
Abstract paper a
After 1290 the Jew was an imaginary, yet frequently imagined entity in England. As elsewhere, Jewish kings sat on the Wheel of Fortune, and Julian of Norwich envisioned salvation for righteous Jews. I will focus on the ME Patience which casts Jonah as homo vetus, a term I read as a late medieval conflation of the Jew and the retrograde or beginner Christian. My interpretation will highlight Jonah’s movement form enclosure to enclosure as he reenacts what exegetes such as Bernard of Clairvaux saw as Canticles’ narrative of rebirth to homo novus out of the hortus conclusus of Song 4:12 which here becomes shiphold, whale-belly and gourd-shaded bour.

Abstract paper b
This paper examines Dionysius the Carthusian’s commentary on II Maccabees 7, which contains the account of the Maccabean martyrs, the only set of Jewish holy people venerated in Western Christianity. Although the Maccabean martyrs were venerated as saints, Dionysius is one of the few medieval exegetes to write on this passage. One way Christians formed negative views of Judaism was by appropriating elements of Jewish identity. This paper shows how Dionysius used Jewish elements of the Maccabean martyrs as evidence for their ‘true’ Christian identity, thus leading to a denigration of the Jewish religious culture from which these martyrs emerged.

Abstract c
The relationship between Solomon and the Demons is described in early Eastern Jewish and Christian sources as well as in later Muslim traditions. In the West the magic aspects of Solomon found a different channel in profane parodies. Following the Christian theology, the Christian art presented Solomon as an archetype of Christ. However, the satirical relation found a special expression in an early 14th-century Hebrew illuminated manuscript from the Lake Constance region. The illustration depicting Solomon among a group of demonic players and a jongleur is a combination between the Eastern sources and the Western literature. Yet, the final result is similar to some later Muslim illustrations.