The Jew, the cathedral, and the medieval city

Jew-cathedral064ROWE Nina

The Jew, the cathedral and the medieval city : synagoga and ecclesia in the thirteenth century

Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2011, XVII-326 p.

ISBN 978-0-521-19744-1

EUR 841

Résumé éditeur :

In the thirteenth century, sculptures of Synagoga and Ecclesia – paired female personifications of the Synagogue defeated and the Church triumphant – became a favored motif on cathedral façades in France and Germany. Throughout the centuries leading up to this era, the Jews of northern Europe prospered financially and intellectually, a trend that ran counter to the long-standing Christian conception of Jews as relics of the pre-history of the Church. In The Jew, the Cathedral and the Medieval City, Nina Rowe examines the sculptures as defining elements in the urban Jewish-Christian encounter. She locates the roots of the Synagoga-Ecclesia motif in antiquity and explores the theme’s public manifestations at the cathedrals of Reims, Bamberg and Strasbourg, considering each example in relation to local politics and culture. Ultimately, she demonstrates that royal and ecclesiastical policies to restrain the religious, social and economic lives of Jews in the early thirteenth century found a material analog in lovely renderings of a downtrodden Synagoga, placed in the public arena of the city square.

Nina Rowe is an associate professor of art history at Fordham University. She coauthored (with Sandra Hindman, Michael Camille, and Rowan Watson) Manuscript illumination in the modern age : recovery and reconstruction and coedited (with David Areford) Excavating the medieval image : manuscript, artists, audiences – essays in honor of Sandra Hindman. She has published articles in the journals Gesta and Studies in iconography, as well as in various edited volumes.

Axe de recherches :

  • Équipe 1 : Histoire de l’art : formes, dynamiques, interprétation

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