This book explores two themes in the history of Barcelona's Jewish community in its formative years, from the middle of the eleventh century to the end of the thirteenth. First, Klein examines the relationship of the Jewish community in Barcelona to Catalan society. She traces the development of the intra-Jewish community as well as the changing relationship of this community to their rulers during a time when Jewish governance shifted from autonomy by default, to autonomy by design. Secondly, Klein complicates the popular historical view of the Jewish Community as firmly resistant to assimilation, presenting a fresh analysis of the cultural relationship between the Jews of Barcelona and the Christians among whom they lived. She most notably highlights the often overlooked existence of a cultural common ground between the two groups. Klein's work will be of great interest to medieval scholars and those in the field of Judaic studies.
The late Elka Klein was Assistant Professor of Judaic Studies at the University of Cincinnati and author of Hebrew Deeds of Catalan Jews 1117-1316. Thomas N. Bisson is the Henry Charles Lea Professor of Medieval History, Emeritus at Harvard University.