Imagining the Jew  in Anglo-Saxon Literature and Culture

Imagining the Jew in Anglo-Saxon Literature and Culture

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Edited by Samantha Zacher
Toronto Anglo-Saxon Series
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2016
World Rights
376 Pages 28 Images
ISBN 9781442646674
Published Jul 2016
Online discount: 25%
 $80.00    $60.00
ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781442666290
Published Aug 2016
Online discount: 25%
Full purchase $80.00

Most studies of Jews in medieval England begin with the year 1066, when Jews first arrived on English soil. Yet the absence of Jews in England before the conquest did not prevent early English authors from writing obsessively about them. Using material from the writings of the Church Fathers, contemporary continental sources, widespread cultural stereotypes, and their own imaginations, their depictions of Jews reflected their own politico-theological experiences.

The thirteen essays in Imagining the Jew in Anglo-Saxon Literature and Culture examine visual and textual representations of Jews, the translation and interpretation of Scripture, the use of Hebrew words and etymologies, and the treatment of Jewish spaces and landmarks. By studying the “imaginary Jews” of Anglo-Saxon England, they offer new perspectives on the treatment of race, religion, and ethnicity in pre- and post-conquest literature and culture.

Samantha Zacher is a professor of English and medieval studies at Cornell University.

Samantha Zacher, “Introduction: The Jew in the Anglo-Saxon Imagination”


Defining the Jew: A Question of Race, Ethnicity, or Religion?

Stephen J. Harris, “Anglo-Saxons, Israelites, Hebrews and Jews”

Thomas N. Hall, “Nathan the Jew in the Old English Vindicta Salvatoris


The Jew in Anglo-Saxon Theology and Liturgy

Damian Fleming, “Hebraeam scire linguam: Bede’s Rhetoric of the Hebrew Truth”

Kathy Lavezzo, “Building Anti-Semitism in Bede”

Andrew P. Scheil, “Transition and Renewal: Jews and the Church Year in Anglo-Saxon England”


Literary Types and Anglo-Saxon Audiences

Daniel Anlezark, “Abraham’s Children: Jewish Promise and Christian Fulfillment”

Thomas D. Hill, “Time, Liturgy and History in the Old English Elene

Charles D. Wright, “Jewish Magic and Christian Miracle in the Old English Andreas


Visual Media: Representations of Jews and Jewish Spaces

Catherine Karkov, “Hagar and Ishmael: the Uncanny and the Exile”

Adam Cohen, “King Edgar Leaping and Dancing Before the Lord”

Asa Mittman, “‘In those days’: Giants and the Giant Moses in the Old English Illustrated Hexateuch”


Epilogue: Pre- and Post-Conquest Identifications: Continuity and Difference

Heide Estes, “Reading Ælfric in the Twelfth Century: Anti-Judaic Doctrine Becomes Anti-Judaic Rhetoric”

“Samantha Zacher has assembled an array of solidly researched and enlightening essays from an impressive range of scholars. This collection maps out new territory in our study of the representation of Jews in Anglo-Saxon England. It is a serious advancement in state-of-the-art research.”

Mary Clayton, School of English, Drama and Film, University College Dublin