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Author Resnick, Irven M., author

Title Marks of distinction : Christian perceptions of Jews in the high Middle Ages / Irven M. Resnick
Published Washington, D.C. : Catholic University of America Press, ©2012


Description 1 online resource (xi, 385 pages) : illustrations
Contents Introduction to medieval physiognomy -- Physical deformities and circumcision -- The Jews and leprosy -- The dietary laws, food, and illicit sexuality -- The Jews and melancholy -- Planetary influences; or, The Jews and Saturn -- Case studies revealing a Jewish physiognomy
Summary For medieval Latin Christendom, texts such as the Bible and the writings of the Fathers of the Church gave form to Christian perceptions of Jews and Judaism. Eye-witness testimony, hearsay, reports of converts from Judaism, and the testimony of dreams, visions, and miraculous events helped fill in the details. The author explores the additional support drawn from medieval science by studying long-held medieval scientific theories that predisposed Jews to certain types of offensive behavior or even to communicate certain illnesses and disease. By arguing for a Jewish "nature" dictated by specific physical characteristics, medieval scientific authorities contributed to growing fears of a Jewish threat. Externally, these differences were evidenced by marks that physically distinguished Jews, for example circumcision. Internally, their melancholy humoral complexion, further weakened by the Jews' dietary restrictions, was thought to dictate their temperament and sexual mores, and to incline them toward leprosy, bleeding hemorrhoids, and other infirmities. These differences were viewed by some as ineradicable, even following religious conversion; or, at best, erasable with only the greatest difficulty over several generations
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages 325-378) and index
Subject Judaism -- Relations -- Christianity.
Christianity and other religions -- Judaism.
Physiognomy -- Religious aspects -- Christianity.
Human body -- Social aspects -- Europe
Human body -- Religious aspects -- Christianity.
Church history -- Middle Ages, 600-1500.
SOCIAL SCIENCE -- Anthropology -- Cultural.
SOCIAL SCIENCE -- Discrimination & Race Relations.
SOCIAL SCIENCE -- Ethnic Studies -- General.
SOCIAL SCIENCE -- Minority Studies.
RELIGION -- Christianity -- Catholic.
Physiognomy -- Religious aspects -- Christianity.
Church history -- Middle Ages.
Human body -- Religious aspects -- Christianity.
Human body -- Social aspects.
Interfaith relations.
Form Electronic book
ISBN 0813219701