In Popes and Jews, 1095-1291, Rebecca Rist explores the nature and scope of the relationship of the medieval papacy to the Jewish communities of western Europe. Rist analyses papal pronouncements in the context of the substantial and on-going social, political, and economic changes of the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries, as well the characters and preoccupations of individual pontiffs and the development of Christian theology. She breaks new
ground in exploring the other side of the story - Jewish perceptions of both individual popes and the papacy as an institution - through analysis of a wide range of contemporary Hebrew and Latin documents. The author engages with the works of recent scholars in the field of Christian-Jewish relations to examine
the social and legal status of Jewish communities in light of the papacy's authorisation of crusading, prohibitions against money lending, and condemnation of the Talmud, as well as increasing charges of ritual murder and host desecration, the growth of both Christian and Jewish polemical literature, and the advent of the Mendicant Orders.
Popes and Jews, 1095-1291 is an important addition to recent work on medieval Christian-Jewish relations. Furthermore, its subject matter - religious and cultural exchange between Jews and Christians during a period crucial for our understanding of the growth of the Western world, the rise of nation states, and the development of relations between East and West - makes it extremely relevant to today's multi-cultural and multi-faith society.
Rebecca Rist's research interests include the history of crusading, Jewish-Christian relations, the medieval Church, the papacy, religious belief, and political ideas in the Central Middle Ages. Her book The Papacy and Crusading in Europe, 1198-1245 (2009) examined the papacy's authorisation of crusades against heretics and political enemies in Europe during the first half of the thirteenth century. Her co-authored book The Cathars and the Albigensian Crusade: A Sourcebook with C. Leglu and C. Taylor (2014) brought together a rich and diverse range of medieval sources to examine key aspects of the growth of heresy and dissent in southern France in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Recent articles have explored aspects of papal policy with regard to crusading and the papacy's treatment of heretics and Jews in the High Middle Ages.
Introduction ; 1. Jewish Ideas about the Papacy ; 2. The Papal Promise of Protection ; 3. The Impact of the Crusades ; 4. Jews and Money ; 5. Papal Claims to Authority over Judaism ; 6. The Papacy and the Place of Jews in Christian Society ; 7. The City of Rome ; 8. Papal Rhetoric: Heretics, Muslims, and Jews ; Conclusion