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Cultural ExchangeJews, Christians, and Art in the Medieval Marketplace$

Joseph Shatzmiller

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691156996

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691156996.001.0001

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Security for Loans

Security for Loans

Church Liturgical Objects

(p.22) Chapter Two Security for Loans
Cultural Exchange

Joseph Shatzmiller

Princeton University Press

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter exposes members of the clergy in need of credit for their monasteries and churches. They were prepared to give as securities objects that were considered sacred. By relinquishing such objects they ignored papal and ecclesiastical councils' prohibitions. The chapter looks at how the emerging credit economy in the High Middle Ages required solid assurance and at times collaterals of great value. Church property comes immediately to mind because most artistic creativity was commissioned by ecclesiastics and religious institutions, right up to the High Renaissance period and even beyond. Despite the ire and unhappiness that occurred between the Jewish and Christian financiers, the necessities of life had the upper hand, and protesting voices were calmed.

Keywords:   clergymen, sacred objects, monasteries, ecclesiastical councils, credit economy, High Middle Ages, Jewish financiers, Christian financiers

The emerging credit economy in the High Middle Ages required solid assurance and at times collaterals of great value. Church property comes immediately to mind, since most artistic creativity was commissioned by ecclesiastics and religious institutions, right up to the High Renaissance period and even beyond. In many cases Jewish and Christian financiers about to strike a deal would look at sacred objects and assess their value before reaching an agreement. Needless to say, ire and unhappiness occurred in both camps, but the necessities of life had the upper hand, and protesting voices were calmed.

Books in manuscript form often served as collateral for loans. Many of them were expensive, and moneylenders were quite prepared to accept them as surety for loans. Notarized agreements sealed in the south of France even reveal the titles of manuscripts that changed hands as part of financial transactions. In the archives of Manosque, for instance, there is a contract from around mid-September 1291(56H954, 62v.o; 13.9.1291) in which Johannes Boneti, a jurist, handed over a small collection of legal (p.23) manuscripts to a Florentine moneylender as security for a loan of six pounds.1 The list included classics of the Corpus juris civilis—namely, the “old” and “new” digests (but not, it would seem, the Infortiatum), as well as the two codices of Theodosius and Justinianus. The Institutes of Justinian also formed part of the deal. In addition, the jurist handed over two tracts concerning feudal jurisprudence, one a summa authored by Jean Blanost in 1256 known as the Summa super feudis et homagiis and the other a treatise referred to as Usus feodorum, which was probably the Summa super usibus feodorum written by the Marseille advocatus Jean Blanc around 1259. (In the 1260s, incidentally, Jean Blanc spent some years in Manosque as a political refugee.)

Some thirty years later a notary of Marseille helped to conclude a similar transaction. This time a book known then as the Volumen (quondam librum legalem vocatum volumen) was redeemed by its owner, who paid his creditor the sum of close to 115 shillings (six pounds). In medieval jurisprudence the Volumen referred to a codex in which a series of ninety-six new laws (Novellae) of Justinian’s legislation, the last three books of his Code, and the above-mentioned Institutes were all bound together.2

Of course, Jews saw no harm in accepting books of the technical Corpus juris civilis. They went even a step further and were ready to extend loans that were secured by codes of church legislation. Examples of this may be found in the archives of Marseille and Montpellier. For instance, in April 1394, Senhoret of Lunel had in his possession in Marseille a copy of the Decretales, the well-known collection of papal letters and instructions assembled and issued in the year 1234 by Pope Gregory IX. Senhoret also held a copy of the statutes of the city. The value of the Decretales was then assessed as worth no less than twenty-five florins. One hundred years earlier a copy of the Decretales had also been in the hands of Jewish moneylenders in the university city of Montpellier. Two brothers, Jacob and Vives, who carried the name of the neighboring locality Nosserian, had in their possession a copy that belonged to the judge Pontius de Sancto Romano, and a second copy that belonged to a student (p.24) named Guillelmus Arnaudi. While Pontius recovered his pledge when the redemption date arrived, the young student appears to have been unable to do so.3

The archives of several municipalities in Umbria reveal exciting information relating to the movement of books, which can be found in Ariel Toaff’s three-volume collection The Jews in Umbria (Leiden, Netherlands, 1993–94).4 Document number 1117, for example, shows a student of the University of Perugia selling “a book” to a Jew by the name of Abramo, son of Ventura, in May 1449, while twenty years later (doc. no. 1360) a student at the same university had to hand over two books as collateral in order to get a loan of six golden ducates from Musetto, son of Moses of Bevagna. Document number 1144, of June 1450, deals with a treatise by the famous mid-fourteenth-century jurisconsult Bartolo de Sassoferato, adding that the book was richly illuminated. In June 1446 (doc. no. 1081) Bartolo’s commentary on the Old Digesta was redeemed by the Bishop of Frigento in the district of Avelino. A similar act of retrieval took place in Umbria nineteen years earlier (doc. no. 1003).

The holding of a book occasionally created unpleasant complications. Document number 124 of Toaff’s Umbrian collection reports that a Jewish pawnbroker of Assisi by the name of Vitale, son of Mele, was charged in 1334 with illegally holding a legal codex. The same Jew (doc. no. 119) was held responsible in the same year for the fact that the condition of a codex of the Decretales deteriorated while the manuscript was in his possession. Document number 69 describes the concerns of Abramo, son of Vitale, who obtained a Bible from an Umbrian ecclesiastical institution in October of 1308. He asked for assurances that if a church court annulled the transaction he would get his money back. This may have been a case where exceptional precautions were taken, as other Jews did not shy away from receiving sacred objects as pledges (as we shall see), and certainly not “Christian books.” Indeed, sacred Christian books held by English Jews of the thirteenth century are mentioned in inventories from the south of the island, as will be discussed in chapter 3. Salomon of Hammerstein and Salum of Chippenham each kept no less than fifty-four (p.25) Latin books as pawns. While none of these 108 is actually named, this is not the case with Salum of Wilton; he kept three volumes of the Decretales, three Psalters, two Books of Hours, and one Bible, all “Christian.”

We may safely assume that most Jews did not read Latin at that time. In order to identify these books and avoid confusion they would in many instances write a short note on one of the pages of the book in Hebrew, identifying it and adding information about its owner and about the conditions under which the transaction took place. Recent research has led to an amazing discovery of this practice: dozens of the books that were placed in Jewish hands as pledges, among them “sacred” ones, still exist in some European libraries. Cambridge University, for example, has a Gospel of Matthew and Mark that may originally have been the property of the Augustinian friars of Canterbury. It has a short, three-line Hebrew inscription in it, no doubt written by the moneylender himself. The complicated script suggests that it served as a pawn, was redeemed, and then given as a pledge once more. Line number 1, deciphered by Cecil Roth, reads in translation, “Four shillings on this [add, probably, ‘as well as’] on two rings and a [holy?] (one word is not decipherable) to Adam de Sangis of Monigham. On line number 2 we have, “[Hugh?] of Canterbury on this and on [Markus?].” Line number 3 states, “Half a mark on this and on other epistles [probably, ‘Gospels’] on Mark, on the warranty of Adam of Sangis.” I have added the word “warranty” (Hebrew: be-aharaiut) to Roth’s deciphering but was unable to do better with the rest of the inscription.

Another manuscript, which can be seen today in the Austrian National Library in Vienna (Cod. Ser. Nov. 2701) is a “giant Bible” that is known in Austria as the Admonter Bible and in Hungary as the Gutkeled Bible. It was copied and illuminated in Salzburg for the Csatar monastery in Veszprem, Hungary. Sometime before the year 1263 it was handed over to a Jew of Burgenland named Farkas (Farcasius) as a pledge. A Latin inscription on the manuscript itself specifies the arrangements for the redemption of the book by its owners that both sides agreed to follow.5

A much greater number of Latin books with similar short Hebrew inscriptions can be seen in the Libraries of France. Colette Sirat, who discovered these treasures, published just a mere fraction (ninety-eight items) of her findings. As in the case of the Cambridge Gospel of Matthew, (p.26) the short Hebrew notes are often difficult to understand, but, on the other hand, most of the Latin books are readily identifiable. Sirat’s discoveries are breathtaking. An early-thirteenth-century copy of the Historia Scholastica by Petrus Comestor has a Latin (not Hebrew!) note that reads, “I Radulfus owe Vivant the Jew eight pounds less four shillings. … That is for principal and interest.” Folio 162 of this manuscript has a Hebrew note, almost certainly written by Vivant. Another manuscript marked with a note in Hebrew and including the texts of the Acts of the Apostles, the Apocalypse, and parts of the Bible is presently in the Bibliothèque Mazarine, also in Paris. Even more exciting, if possible, is a manuscript of 142 folios containing the prophecies of Hildegard von Bingen that was copied no later than the year 1323. Plutarch’s De viris illustris has on folio 168 an inscription in a typical Provençal Hebrew cursive script that reads, “Six of Plutarch’s illustrious men.”

Although the Parisian project is not yet completed, Sirat has already drawn some conclusions that are pertinent to the present discussion about external influences on the books created by medieval Jews and why they have so much in common with the works of non-Jewish artisans. The fact that Jews had access to Latin books, even if temporarily, may explain the ways in which their fabrication techniques evolved. This explains the architecture of the pages, the density of the black letters, and the choice of what is known as the Gothic style of writing. The Latin books left a most enduring impression on the Jewish books of the period. In the words of Sirat, “The traditional Hebrew text acquired the mantle of the Latin book.”6

Some of the leading rabbinic authorities of the time, like their Christian counterparts, were unhappy about this state of affairs. R. Jacob Tam (p.27) (Rabbenu Tam, d. 1171), the leader of the Jews of northern France, issued decrees forbidding dealings (“purchasing” is the term he used) in “Prayer books of the Church,”7 while the German Pietists (the Hasidim of Ashkenaz) tried to curb the practice by preaching about the right course of action. In Sefer Hasidim, a collection of more than two thousand exempla compiled around the year 1200, a Christian book was labeled a Sefer passul, which may be understood as a “disqualified” book or perhaps as one tainted by idolatry (pessel = “statue” = idol).8 The German Hasidim knew, for example, about a Jew who sinfully accepted “Christian books” as collateral. When his son looked for a way to sell them to a priest, he was punished by Heaven. On another occasion, a person who inherited an unredeemed Sefer passul did not wish to make any profit by selling the book. Rather than do so, “he burned it” (exempla nos. 1350–51). As far as these pietists were concerned, dealing with any articles relating to the Christian religion—not just books—was to be forbidden. Exemplum number 1349 states clearly that “most persons who deal with priests do not stay rich to the end of their days.” The reason? “Because they [the Jews] provide them [the priests] with articles for [the practice of their] idolatry.” The pious narrator then tells the story of a Jew “who lent money on pawns (like) crosses and other objects of cult.” Upon his death another Jew who knew where the objects were hidden refused to disclose their whereabouts to the heirs for fear that they “will go ahead and sell them to priests and monks.” This righteous man added that should he disclose the information he would find himself in a state of sin. Another Jew who used to sell to priests ornaments and decorations for their churches was, in the Hasidim’s opinion, sinful. Divine retribution did indeed strike him upon his death and he was subjected to a shameful humiliation on the occasion of his burial (exemplum no. 1359).

While these pious exempla did not offer more than moral guidance, the decrees issued by Rabbenu Tam’s synods some fifty years earlier were expected to impose binding rules of behavior. The dignitaries who assembled in these synods did not raise any theological reasons for the prohibition, but they did express concerns about safety and harm. They warned Jews “not to accept church vessels as pledges for debt” and “not to buy a chalice or the cross or holy vestments or prayer books of a church or its vessels.” More severely they warned “not to buy a stolen chalice or cross or holy vestments … because of the peril” and “not to (p.28) buy stolen things such as images … or vessels of worship, because of the danger.”9

Christian theologians and canon lawyers quite naturally also expressed serious reservations in the face of this turn of events. In all probability they did not mind that the classics of civil jurisprudence changed hands as part of financial transactions. But the use of articles pertaining to Christian cult and liturgy as collaterals raised their ire. They considered having missals, Gospels, Psalters, or the Book of Revelation in Jewish premises unacceptable and even humiliating. Around the year 1140, Peter of Cluny “The Venerable,” one of the two major Christian spokesmen of his time, expressed his anger in explosive rhetoric: “The sacred vessels are held captive among them … as in olden time other sacred vessels were held captive among the Chaldeans, (and) suffer shame even though they are inanimate. Indeed Christ feels the Jewish abuse in the insensate vessels sacred to him.” The Abbot of Cluny then shared with his flock some alarming information: “I have often heard from truthful men … [that the Jews] direct such wickedness against those celestial vessels as is horrifying to think and detestable to say.”10 The listeners had to work out for themselves what this allusion was all about. A slightly more explicit account of such “horrors” is given by the monk Rigord (d. c. 1207), the biographer of Philip Augustus King of France (1165–1223). According to Rigord, the expulsion of the Jews from the royal domain in 1182 was the result of the severe “atrocities” they had committed. As the chronicler related in chapter 12 of his biography, “As the culmination of their [the Jews’] wickedness, certain ecclesiastical vessels, consecrated to God, the chalices and crosses of gold and silver bearing the image of our Lord Jesus Christ crucified—had been pledged to the Jews by way of security. … These they used so vilely in their impunity and scorn of the Christian religion that from the cups in which the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ was consecrated they gave their children cakes soaked with wine (infantes eorum offas in vino factas comedebant).”11 A much more (p.29) repulsive allegation had been in circulation for centuries. The subject of this story was an unnamed Jew of Constantinople who managed to steal an image of the Virgin Mary, threw it into the privy, and then desecrated it shamefully. Rigord also knew this story, which he describes in chapter 13 of his book. He knew that the defiled objects also included a gold cross adorned with gems, a book of the Gospels (Liber Evangeliorum) beautifully decorated with gold and precious stones as well as “silver cups and other vases.” The Marian story caught the imagination of King Alfonso “The Wise” of Castile (1221–84), who included it in his Cantigas (no. 34). Contemporary illuminators and glass painters used their brushes and colors to spread the allegation further.12 It is not impossible at all that Peter the Venerable already had this story in mind.

In their synods and councils, the ecclesiastical prelates legislated in the same vein. The assembly convened in Paris by Odo of Sully (fl. 1197–1208) decreed, “No cleric … shall … pledge to a Jew in any manner books or ornaments of a church.”13 In 1278, the prelates attending a convention in Trier established that the clergy “shall never let out of their possession any of the church ornaments, nor shall they dare to give up to Jews any religious article without special permission from us.”14 In 1229 the Bishop of Worcester, England, forbade Jews “to receive ecclesiastical books, vestments or other ornaments as pledges or for any other reason,” threatening them with “excision from all intercourse with Christians.”15 Other thirteenth-century assemblies repeated these interdictions.16 The papacy, too, made its voice heard. Pope Innocent I (c. 1160–1216), no friend of the Jews, proclaims that they “perform detestable and unheard-of things against the Catholic faith.” In a letter of January 16, 1205, addressed to King Philip Augustus, the pope complained that “they appropriate (p.30) ecclesiastical goods and Christian possessions.”17 A papal bull issued by Alexander IV on August 23, 1258, is even more clearly worded. Writing about his expectation that the clergy would show reverence to the “vestments of their ministry [and to] the sacred ornaments, the chalices, and the ecclesiastical vessels” he did not hide his disappointment: “We heard and we speak of it not without bitterness of heart that some clergy make no distinction between the sacred and the profane and they dare leave such vestments, ornaments and vessels as loan-pledges with Jews.” Alexander then repeated what had become a commonly held opinion in these circles, that the Jews were desecrating these objects: “And they, the Jews, like ingrate enemies of the cross and the Christian faith … treat these pledges with irreverence, to the disgrace of the Christian religion. And [they] act so nefariously towards them as is shameful to speak and horrible to hear.”18

The bark of the rhetoric heard in the two camps was more frightening than its bite. Most Jews seem to have turned a deaf ear to it, even if some faint voices that emerged from their camp may have been related to R. Jacob Tam’s legislation. For instance, in thirteenth-century England, Christian church robbers were unable to pledge their booty of two chalices “because no Jew wants to receive them or to lend money against them.”19 In Zurich in 1272, a thief had to face a similar handicap when no Jew was ready to receive a chalice worth seventy marks.20 In both instances, however, the Jews’ refusal may have been motivated by particular or local circumstances that are not accounted for in the sources. This is not the message found in a third document, written in Hebrew, probably around this time. It is an aide-mémoire written on the back of a book in which an anonymous Jew records the special conditions he should put forward to the authorities of a place before agreeing to settle there. Today the document is kept in the library of the city of Bern in Switzerland, and it is not impossible that the man intended to establish himself in this region. Particularly worried about the rules concerning pledges and collaterals, he reminds himself in this precious and short memorandum that he should ask the local authorities for permission to receive whatever pawns may come his way “with the exception of vessels (p.31) of the church, because of the danger.” This is probably the only Hebrew retort we have of Rabbenu Tam’s synod’s decree.21

More than that: not all scholars shared Rabbenu Tam’s fears. The leader of the Rhine communities, Rabbi Eliezer ben Nathan of Mainz (Ra’avan) (c. 1090–1170), who maintained cordial relations with his great French colleague, did not raise any concerns about “peril” or “danger.” He certainly did not share the theological sensibilities of the German Hasidim; in his opinion the Christians of his day were not by any means to be treated as inveterate idolaters. In this he was following the teaching of the great Gershom “Glory of the Diaspora” (c. 960–1028), the founder of German Jewish rabbinic tradition. Ra’avan also maintained that Christians did not make much of their Holy Days and that when they visited the church they did so for enjoyment, not out of devotional commitment. Christians should simply be considered as followers of their own ancestral traditions, he noted. In consequence, Jews could sell clerical vestments and coats (dosales) to priests, as these objects possessed no holiness in themselves and were used by the clerics for their personal needs. And, “the same way one [i.e., a Jew] is permitted to sell he is allowed to extend loans against securities of priestly vessels and ‘dosales’ for the same reason I have mentioned,” said the rabbi. He concludes, “As well, one may extend loans against the security of [churches’] vessels as they are there for the priests to drink from while praying.” Still, there were limits to Ra’avan’s flexibility: like other contemporary authorities he had to make case-by-case decisions. Thus he decided that incense (Hebrew: levonah), statues, icons, and censer bearers were in the domain of the forbidden.22

Eliezer ben Nathan was perfectly aware of the particular political and social conditions under which Jews had to conduct their economic activities. He realized that at times there existed “a glaring contradiction … between [rabbinic] jurisprudence and reality of circumstances” (the language is that of the well-known social historian Jacob Katz).23 Ra’avan’s (p.32) responsibility was to find a way that would enable Jews to gain a livelihood in the Christian environment. He had to find ways to temper the tone of the (Jewish) critics and to provide a less offensive image of Christianity. In this he was followed by his grandson Rabbi Eliezer ben Joel ha-Levi, known by the name Ra’avyah (c. 1140–1225), who in his turn also became a master of Halakha (Jewish law). Ra’avyah did not develop any systematic teaching in this respect, but his short statements are clear and unequivocal. Like his famous grandfather, whom he quoted frequently, his views were rooted in an old Talmudic statement (Hulin 13b), according to which, “Gentiles of our times are not to be considered idol worshippers.”24 He shared with his grandfather the observation that Christians were not exceedingly devoted to the practices of their religion. For these reasons, to give one example, Jews could mention without hesitation the names of Christian saints. In former times, he reasoned, idolatry attained the status of divinity, while in his time Christian saints had common human names. There was therefore nothing wrong in pronouncing them.25 Even the crosses that gentiles wore around their necks were no more than ornaments. Indeed, none of the Christian figures engraved on gold and silver were to be considered as sacred; they were there only for their beauty. Like his grandfather, Ra’avyah also regarded the clergy’s robes as bereft of any sanctity; the priests wore them for the sake of elegance when meeting princes and kings. Indeed, he maintained, secular rulers considered these costumes as decorations and hung them on the walls of their castles.26

Even Rabbenu Tam’s nephew, Isaac of Dampierre (known as Ri; c. 1120–85) distanced himself from his uncle’s rulings. He did not follow the teaching of the German Hasidim in this matter either, although he was sympathetic to their other doctrines. Ri distinguished between things (p.33) that belonged to the heart of Christianity and items that were no more than paraphernalia. Thus, for example, the stubs of wax candles put away by a priest became a legitimate object of commerce for a Jew. The same was true, he said, for loaves of bread: people brought them for personal consumption by the clergy and no Christian would consider them as a sacrifice to God. Priestly vestments carried no holiness and were no more than ornaments (Hebrew: noy). Jews could buy and sell them and use them as collateral without hesitation. Ri even went a step further: Jews might handle chalices, since to his knowledge these did not form a part of Christian rituals. However, like Eliezer ben Nathan, Ri thought that censer bearers should be excluded, as they were genuine articles of Christian worship.27

Ecclesiastics of all levels were handing over sacred articles to moneylenders. Abundant evidence of this can be found in documents from almost all regions of the medieval West. The data assembled from English sources is of a relatively early age. Thus, one of the pipe rolls from the reign of King Henry I (fl. 1152–89) reveals that Santo, a Jew of Edmundsburry, held “vessels appointed for the service of the altar,” while in 1170, Benedict, a Jew of Norwich, held similar articles in his possession left as collateral by Nigel, Bishop of Ely.28 Bishop Chesney of Lincoln (fl. 1143–66) pledged church ornaments with the magnate Aaron of Lincoln, the wealthiest Jew of the twelfth century, who conducted many transactions with ecclesiastic institutions of his time.29 Some exciting information is available about the pledges given by William Waterville, the Abbot of Peterborough (c. 1155–75). The abbot pledged the relics of St. Oswald while his Bishop handed over “to a certain Jew of Cambridge” the gold crucifix of King Edgar (r. 959–75). The hagiography, which is the source of this piece of (p.34) information, then tells the story of a miracle the crucifix produced when it was in Jewish possession.30

The English clergy were not exceptional in this respect, as evidence from Germanic lands shows. In 1213, Bishop Lutold of Basel had to redeem his ring and a silk robe reimbursing the Jew Meir six marks. Ten years later the entire treasury of the church was given as a pledge. Farther north, in Bamberg, sometime before 1257, to give yet another example, a Jew by the name of Joseph received an assortment of vessels of a monastery—including, notably, a book bound with gold (liber aureum)—as sureties. In 1272–73, a ministral of St. Gallen handed over a chalice to a Zurich Jew, while in 1295 in Bern some books, including an antiphonary, changed hands. In 1275 the famous monastery of St. Emmeran in Regensburg deposited a gold censer bearer, a silver lamp, a liturgical book and two sacramental gowns into the hands of a Jew. Also in southern Germany in 1344, Bishop Nicolaus of Constance pledged his clothes and probably a precious silver vessel and used the money for charity. A most uncertain piece of information concerns the Verdun Altar (a tourist attraction today) in Klosterneuburg Abbey in Lower Austria, close to Vienna. A sixteenth-century chronicle notes that after a disaster caused by a fire in 1329, the abbot Stephan of Sierndorf was forced to hand over to a Jew, presumably against a loan, the very famous enameled biblical panels attached to the altar. These panels, the work of the famous French artist Nicholas of Verdun, were created in 1181 and considered one of the greatest achievements of pre-Gothic art. Even though the chronicle reporting this event is not dependable and its dates are certainly truncated, the fact that sacred objects were given as pledges is not impossible in itself. The abbot would simply have been doing the same as other prelates both before and after him.31

(p.35) As already noted, the archives of the province of Umbria contain dozens of documents dealing with pawnbroking. As we might expect, we find there information about Jews being custodians of Christian sacred articles. A record from the year 1304, for example, describes a canon of the Church of Santa Maria della Pieve in Cascia giving an embossed silver chalice to a local Jew.32 The most detailed list was drawn up in March 1385 (no. 363), when the city of Assisi asked for a loan of the considerable amount of 1,200 florins. The Jew Anselmo and his associates evidently demanded securities corresponding in value to the sum they were to risk, and the leaders of the commune persuaded the Church of St. Francis to provide them with a great number of sacred articles. The list included twenty-one objects, most of them made of silver, and weighing a total of sixty-three pounds. Among the liturgical vessels the church lent to the municipality, of particular interest are two statues of the Virgin Mary, one of which weighed ten pounds and the other more than five. There were also two silver censers (thuribules), a pedestal for a standing cross, and four silver candelabra. Six silver chalices were accompanied by a gold one weighing almost four pounds. Embroidery also formed part of the deal: one piece, decorated with pearls, served as a cover for Mary’s altar. Two other tapestries had gold embroidered on them, one in the form of a griffin. There was also a priest’s robe of red cloth decorated on each side with a cross made out of pearls. Finally, the Jewish moneylenders of Assisi kept an object that belonged to the Franciscan pope Nicholas the Fourth (1288–92) as a pledge—a cape for wet weather decorated with pearls. Considering the importance of these articles, it was no surprise that the Church of St. Francis insisted that they must all be returned to its treasury within two months.

Church vessels and “Christian books” also served as pawns in Alsace, Savoy, and Burgundy, all regions that form part of present-day France. In the town of Rosheim in Alsace the pledges made in 1215 included, besides books and church vessels, a gilded cross that belonged to the Benedictine abbey of St. Leonard.33 In 1390, a Jew of Mainz received a Bishop’s miter among other articles from the chapter of the cathedral.34 In 1404, Josson Aaron of Chambery in Savoy had in his possession a richly (p.36) decorated gold reliquary with bells attached to it.35 But it is the region of Burgundy that deserves special consideration in this context. The inventory of Joseph of Saint Mihiel of Dijon, mentioned in chapter 1, included a Christian book (I livre escript en loy crestienne). The partners of Vesoul received, among other pledges, two cups, a goblet, and a crown—“all silver.”36 However, anticipation reaches a particularly high level when we consider the possibility that none other than the famous Abbey of Cluny was indebted to Jews as early as the mid-twelfth century. Present-day historians debate whether this indebtedness really existed and whether Cluny’s most famous abbot, Peter the Venerable, actually redeemed holy articles from his Jewish creditors. The late Georges Duby answered both questions in the affirmative and it seems that there is enough evidence to support his opinion.37 Peter’s indignation over the fact that monks borrowed from Jews can be easily discerned from words he put into the mouth of another admired abbot, the then already deceased Matthew of Albano: “What agreement could there be between Christ and Belial?” exclaimed Matthew (though in reality probably Peter). He called on the friars of SaintMartin des Champs to settle their debts and then sever their commerce with the enemy of Christ “and his sweet Mother.”38 Matthew’s sermon, which might have been delivered in 1117, certainly reflects Cluny’s situation in 1144, when Peter wrote of it as part of his treatise About Miracles. By that date, and in fact since 1125, the Abbey’s finances were in trouble because of a reduction in external contributions that was coupled with irresponsible expenditures and an increase in the price of agricultural products.39 Having no other way out, Peter turned for help to Jews in the neighboring city of Mâcon and handed over the gold plaques (p.37) that covered the abbey’s crucifix. In the year 1135 he thanked the Bishop of Winchester, Henry of Blois, an ardent supporter of the abbey, for (in his words) returning to Christ his “vestments, which the Jews of our time did spoil.” A younger contemporary of Henry of Blois, Prince Geoffrey, son of King Henry I of England, redeemed a minster plate some forty years later (in 1173) that the above mentioned Aaron of Lincoln got as a pledge from Bishop Chesney. He was ready to invest no less than three hundred pounds in this demonstration of Christian piety.40

A recovery of sacred objects is recorded also in a document from the end of May 1313 from southern Germany. Its subject was the Ottakar Cross, a magnificent piece of art ordered by King Ottakar the Second of Bohemia some time between 1261 and 1278. It was also a reliquary, as it allegedly housed a fragment of the cross from Christ’s crucifixion. And yet, just a few years after its creation it was used to secure a loan extended by a powerful financier of Prague, Nikolaus of Turri, a Christian. This man then passed the cross to a Jew in Regensburg with whom he must have maintained business relations. When the prelate Nikolaus of Ybbs (1313–40) became bishop of the city he considered it his most urgent task to redeem the sacred object. He reasoned that to leave it in the possession of the Jews would cause derision and injury to the Lord Jesus Christ (in subsannationem et opprobrium domini Jesu Christi). The bishop was successful in his pursuit. Today the cross is exhibited in the museum of the Cathedral of Regensburg.41

Four illustrations in painted codices from the High Middle Ages help us to visualize the danger that the Jewish documents tried to convey. They are illuminated manuscripts of the well-known law book The Saxon Mirror (Sachsenspiegel; composed c. 1220–25). The paragraph they illustrate reads, “If a Jew buys or accepts in pawn chalices, books or priest-clothing, for which he has no warrantor, and if it is found in his possession, he shall be tried as a thief.” Three of these four illustrations date from the fourteenth century and describe a trial concerning a chalice found in the possession of a Jew. Today, one of these codices is kept in the library of the University of Heidelberg (Cod. Pal. Germ. 164, fol. 13v). The other three are in Saxony. One is in the State Library in Dresden (Ms. Dres. M. 32.) (p.38)

Security for LoansChurch Liturgical Objects

Figure 1. The trial and execution of a Jewish pawnbroker portrayed in the early-thirteenth-century German law book the Sachsenspiegel. This illustration can be found in four codices in German libraries.

Herzog August Library, Wolfenbuttel, Germany. Cod. Guelf. 3.1 Aug.2, folio 43v.

and another in the Herzog August collection in Wolfenbüttel, Lower Saxony (Cod. Guelf. 3.1.Aug). The illustrations of the Wolfenbuttel (see fig. 1) and Dresden codices (fols. 43v and 36v, respectively) are probably copies of the same model, or imitate one another.42 On the right side of each folio the judge is seated and the denouncer stands. In the middle of the illustration we see a table on which the holy object (the chalice) is placed. On the left can be seen the executioner and the hanged Jew. The fourth codex of the illustrated Sachsenspiegel is found at the State Library of Oldenburg in Lower Saxony (Cim I 410), dated 1336, but is incomplete. Only 12 of its 135 folios are fully colored. They are followed, as of folio 21, by dozens of rough drafts, and after folio 88 there are no illustrations whatsoever. The work of the illuminator seems to have been abandoned in the middle or even close to the beginning. Folio 66r, in which the trial is taking place, shows the judge on the left and the hanged Jew on the right. The faces of the participants are blank. The lines of the drawing, however, are clear and strong. We notice that the Jew’s hands, while he is still alive, are cuffed and that the chalice in question stands not in the center but rather on a small box, as if it was included in the picture at the last moment. The message the painting wished to convey, like the three previous ones, was that a Jew would not escape the horrific verdict of the court. The worries raised in Rabbi Tam’s synods are now better understood.

An additional five illustrated pieces that concern sacred Christian objects in Jewish hands are all of Catalan origin. The message of the first of the five, the most interesting one, is not easy to interpret. It is part of the richly decorated manuscript of the Feudal Customs of Aragon, known also as the Vidal Mayor, a legal treatise compiled between 1247 and 1252 by the Bishop of Huesca and possibly decorated by a certain Michael Lupi Candiu. Today it is the property of the Getty Museum in Malibu, (p.39)

Security for LoansChurch Liturgical Objects

Figure 2. The money market: activity in a pawnbroker’s shop in Catalonia. Illumination in the The Feudal Customs of Aragon (composed at the second half of the thirteenth century).

The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. Ms. Ludwig XIV6, fol. 114. Artist: possibly Michael Lupi de Candiu; Title: Vidal Mayor; Date: about 1290–1310; Size: leaf 36.5 x 24 cm; Medium: Tempera colors, gold leaf, and ink on parchment.

California (call number 83.MQ; Ms. Ludwig XIV-6). Among the 156 miniatures painted by Michael, five deal with the exchange of items of gold. Most relevant to the present discussion is that of folio 114v, which illustrates a transaction between two entering Christians and three Jews(see fig. 2).43 A gilded goblet and a small sack of money change hands; a Christian layman, accompanied by a cleric, still holds the two items in his hands. The other three persons, all Jews, are seated. Two of the three seem to be running the shop while the third, busy recording the transaction, is obviously a professional scribe. The scribe receives all the attention from the original compilers of the code. According to them the miniature (p.40) is intended to indicate that a shop’s scribe must always be of the same religion as its owners. A distinguished medievalist, Father Robert Ignatius Burns of Los Angeles, looked at the painting with different eyes. For him the two Jews are simply in the process of selling the gilded goblet to the two Christians.44 As I see it, the layperson is actually receiving, not giving away, the sack of coins. Looking closely at his hands we notice that he holds the sack in his right fist, which is firmly closed, while he has lost almost all contact with the chalice; in fact, he directs the object with the forefinger of his left hand toward the Jews. Thus our illustration shows a layman obtaining a loan in return for collateral, a gilded goblet (chalice). In doing so he is probably acting on behalf of the clergyman who stands beside him and whose presence in the scene would otherwise have been unnecessary. The illumination may refer therefore to the prevailing church legislation according to which a cleric should never act in person in defiance of ecclesiastical councils’ interdictions. A cleric could however circumvent the ruling by employing a layperson as a “straw man.”

Much agitation marks the second piece of this small portfolio.45 It comes from a Hebrew manuscript dating from the first quarter of the fourteenth century. Known as the Golden Haggadah, it is of Catalan origin and is today in the British Library, London (Add. Ms. 27210). On the lower left side corner of folio 13r, a miniature (H: 2.5 cm; W: 5 cm.) tells the story of the first stage of the Jewish exodus from Egypt, once Pharaoh had finally agreed to let them go (see fig. 3). “The children of Israel,” states the Bible, “asked of the Egyptians jewels of silver and jewels of gold and garments: and the Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians so that they gave them such things as they required. And they despoiled Egypt” (Exod. 12.35–36). As its caption confirms, this despoiling is the subject of the miniature. The event takes place in a treasury of a church. Four Israelites are present; one of them is adolescent, and other two are engaged in the act of plundering. The open doors of a cupboard reveal articles that the two adult Israelites are about to grab, while the youngster already holds what appears to be a sack of coins. The cupboard’s articles include a chalice, a ciborium (eucharistic container), and a small plate (a paten). Unrelated to these sacred articles is a long box that a third, bearded, man is carrying on his back without (it would seem) much difficulty. It is in all probability Moses, carrying Joseph’s bones, “for he (Joseph) had laid an oath on the children of Israel saying … you (p.41)

Security for LoansChurch Liturgical Objects

Figure 3. Israelites looting Egypt on the eve of the exodus. Illustration from a Spanish Codex of c. 1320 known as the Golden Haggadah.

The British Library Board. Ms. Add. 27210, fol. 13r. The illustrations follow the biblical verses from Exodus (12:35–36) and also an ancient rabbinic legend in the Mekhilta According to Rabbi Ishmael (“Beshallaḥ,” chap. 1.)

shall carry up my bones away from here with you” (Exod. 13:19). The Jewish ancient sages maintained that while all the people were busy plundering, Moses fulfilled Joseph’s wish.

The third visual piece, another Hebrew Haggadah, is also a mid-fourteenth-century Catalan work of art (Manchester, John Rylands Library, Ms. 6). In contrast to the previous illustration, this one shows the peaceful way in which the Israelites got their “spoil.” On folio 18r they are still in the land of the Nile, receiving the gifts (obviously church objects) handed to them amicably by the Egyptians (see fig. 4). Then, on folios 18v and 19r in their march to the desert, several persons have in their hands the sacred objects already mentioned. The forth document, in the Kaufmann Haggadah (Budapest, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Ms. 422, fol. 4r) also shows the Israelites on their way out of Egypt in an orderly manner, carrying the vessels of silver and gold. The fifth illustration (British Library, Or. Ms. 1404) is also a Hebrew Catalonian manuscript of the fourteenth century, and conveys a different dynamic altogether. It is also known as the “brother” of the John Rylands Haggadah because of the resemblance between them. The items that the Israelites of this panel (fol. 6v) appear to share among themselves are indeed the same (p.42)

Security for LoansChurch Liturgical Objects

Figure 4. Egyptians presenting Israelites with gifts on the eve of the Exodus. The John Rayland Haggadah, fourteenth century. John Rayland Library, Manchester, England, Ms. 6, fol. 18r.

Gutmann, Joseph. Hebrew Manuscript Painting. Reprinted with permission from George Braziller, Inc.

church objects seen in the previous illustrations, but, unexpectedly, the ambience is altogether different. The outstanding feature of this scene is disarray, unexpected among “brothers.”46

It is my opinion that the painter who decorated the Golden Haggadah was a Christian. But even if he was not, a description of an interior of a church treasury would not necessarily have been beyond the reach of a medieval Jew; Jews of these centuries were often not strangers to the edifices of their rival religion. Evidence of such familiarity with the interior of churches comes first and foremost from England. In the twelfth century, the abbot of Bury St. Edmunds was reproached because “under the protection of the sacristan [the Jews] enjoyed not only free entry and exit to the monastery but walked around in it, wandering by the altar and around the effigies while solemn Mass was being celebrated.”47 The reason for such indiscretions had to do with the prevailing custom of the time, by which people stored valuables objects and business records in (p.43) ecclesiastic buildings for safekeeping. Bonds belonging to Jews that had been deposited in the Minster of York during the years that preceded the month of March 1190 were destroyed by the mob during the well-known massacre. In Bury St. Edmunds, the abbot continues, “their money was deposited in our treasury under the care of the sacristan, and [Jews] and their wives and children were hiding with us in time of War.”48 In 1222, unhappiness with this state of affairs drove the church council of Oxford to forbid Jews from entering their churches and in particular from storing goods there. “Jews shall not in future presume in any way to enter churches” decreed the council, led by Archbishop Stephan Langton. “And lest they have an excuse for entering, we strictly forbid any properties of theirs to be stored in churches.” Later thirteenth-century diocesan synods repeated these interdictions, while in 1253 King Henry I made it the law of the land.49

England, the “Land of the Island” as some Hebrew sources called it, was not the only region where such activities took place. The moralists of the Sefer Hasidim refer to such practices in several of their exempla in order, of course, to dissuade the faithful in Germany from following the same path. They tell a story about a Jew “who entered the court of a church. He heard a heavenly voice [Hebrew: Bat Kol] admonishing him, quoting 2 Kings 14:9 ‘And me they threw behind.’ The man subjected himself to doing penance for the rest of his life” (no. 1357). Another Jew who regretted having taken the same course accepted the instruction of a “sage” to mortify himself yearly, on the anniversary of the day he committed the transgression (no. 1358). In another example, the pious writers related the case of an indebted cleric who took refuge in a church, knowing very well that his creditor, a pious Jew, would not follow him (no. 1362). Another virtuous man made it a point never to enter a church. Deservedly, miracles happened on the day of his interment (no. 1356). Still, the pious authors instructed their followers that when in real danger of death one should not indulge in excessive righteousness: A Jew who exclaimed “I shall not enter this house” when compelled to do so by gentiles should have given in and saved his life (no. 1032). These last exempla (p.44) lead us to the conclusion that in German Jewish society around the year 1200, entering the churches was part of daily practice for some Jews but constituted a religious challenge for others. In any event, England was not the only region where Jews were familiar with the interiors of churches. We have yet to discover whether such practices existed in Catalonia, where the Golden Haggadah was painted.

To conclude, medieval Jews had more close and direct contact with churches and other Christian institutions than their modern descendents. Some of them entered almost daily to the buildings of the “rival religion.” Others kept in their own premises objects considered sacred by the members of the governing society. Christian authorities were furious about this state of affairs, which they considered humiliating. For the Jewish pietist movement in Germany this commerce in Christian objects of cult constituted Jewish support of idolatry. But the marketplace had its own needs and demands, which meant that both Jews and Christians ignored, on the whole, the orders of their religious leaders. While we do not find a Christian thinker who mitigated the ire of the prelates, some Jewish rabbis did so, insisting that Christianity should not be considered idolatry, that the objects were not considered sacred even by its adherents and that the commitment Christians had to their religion was quite superficial. Whether they really believed this must be left unanswered. What counts is the fact that this way of thinking permitted Jews to deal with objects considered sacred by members of the “rival religion.” This had been one of the venues through which Christian craftsmanship penetrated the Jewish world. It sounds paradoxical, but it is true that Christian holy objects must have taught medieval Jews about contemporary craftsmanship and about what was considered to be beautiful. This was, so to say, a “religious channel of transmission.” However, a nonreligious one existed as well, as we shall see in chapter 3, and it was no less important.


Parts of this chapter were included in a paper I presented at the Historisches Kolleg of Munich in June 2005. See Michael Toch (ed.), Wirtschaftsgeschichte der mittelalterlichen Juden (Munich, 2008), 93–102. I thank Oldenbourg Verlag, Munich, for permission to use these materials.

(1) For the identifications of these books and treatises, see Gérard Giordanengo, Le droit féodal dans les pays de droit écrit: l’exemple de la Provence et du Dauphiné, XIIe–début XIVe siècle (Rome, 1988), 141, 146; and Gérard Giordanengo, “Les feudistes (XIe–XIVes),” in Aquilino Iglesia Ferreriós (ed.), El dret comu: Catalunya, Actes del IIon simposi internacional, Barcelona 31 Maig–1 Juny del 1991 (Barcelona, 1991), 67–139, esp. 109, 112–13. About the “Digest,” see Lynn Thorndike, University Records and Life in the Middle Ages (New York, 1994), 66n1.

(2) See the Archives Départementales des Bouches-du-Rhône, Marseille, 381E23, fols. 67v–68r. For the identification of the “Volumen,” see James A. Brundage, Medieval Canon Law (London, 1995), 202, 204.

(3) I learned about the Marseille “Decretales” in Juliette Sibon, “Les Juifs de Marseille au XIVe siècle,” vol. 2 (PhD diss., Université Paris X Nanterre, 2006), 862. Sibon recently published a book by the same title (Paris, 2011), reworking volume 1 of her dissertation; in the present study I rely on volume 2 of the unpublished dissertation, and as such, references are to that version rather than Sibon’s new (and remarkable) book. The Marseille document is to be found in the departmental archives in register 3B122 fol. 204r; the Montpellier records are in that city’s municipal archives, register BB1, fols. 35v, 89r. For the brothers Jaco and Vivas of Nosserian, see Salomon Kahn, “Documents inédits sur les Juifs de Montpellier au Moyen Âge,” Revue des études juives 22 (1891): 264–79, esp. 277–78.

(4) Toaff calendared many of his documents and gave numbers to all of them. In the following pages I shall refer to these numbers in parentheses.

(5) Cecil Roth, “Pledging a Book in Medieval England,” in Studies in Books and Booklore (London, 1972), 36–41. For the Admonter Riesenbibel, see Eveline Brugger and Birgit Wiedl, Regesten zur Geschichte der Juden in Österreich im Mittelalter, vol. 1 (Innsbruck, Austria, 2005), 55–58; and Hans Wagner, Urkundenbuch des Burgenlandes, vol. 1 (Graz, Austria, 1955), 282.

(6) See Colette Sirat, “Notes sur la circulation de livres entre Juifs et Chrétiens au Moyen Âge,” in Donatella Nebbiai-Dalla Guarda and Jean-François Genest (eds.), Du copiste au collectionneur: Mélanges d’histoire des textes et des bibliothèques en l’honneur d’André Vernet, Bibliologia 18 (Turnhout, Belgium, 1999), 383–403. See also Colette Sirat, “En vision globale: les Juifs médiévaux et les livres latins,” in Pierre Lardet (ed.), La tradition vive: Mélanges d’histoire des textes en l’honneur de Louis Holtz, Bibliologia 20 (Turnhout, Belgium, 2003), 19–23; and Colette Sirat, “Le livre hébreu: rencontre de la tradition juive et de l’esthétique française,” in Gilbert Dahan, Gerard Nahan, and Elie Nicholas (eds.), Rashi et la culture juive en France du Nord au Moyen Âge (Paris, 1997), 243–59, and esp. 248 for the quotation “Le texte hébreu traditionnel a pris la robe du livre latin.” Four similar inscriptions were discovered by Judith Olszowy-Schlanger in the collegiate church of Saint-Étienne in Troyes (Champagne). See Judith Olszowy-Schlanger, “Juifs et Chrétiens à Troyes au Moyen Âge: la pratique du prêt sur gages à travers les manuscrits de Saint-Étienne,” Rachi de Troyes, La vie en Champagne, May 2009, 44–49.

(7) See Louis Finkelstein, Jewish Self-Government in the Middle Ages, 2nd ed. (New York, 1964), 188.

(8) Jehuda Wistinetzki (ed.), Das Buch der Frommen (Sefer Hasidim), 2nd ed. (Frankfurt am Main, 1924; in Hebrew). In the following pages, references will be provided in parentheses for the numbers of the exempla referred to in this publication.

(9) For the three first quotations see Finkelstein, Jewish Self-Government, 188–89, 201. Finkelstein’s rendering of these paragraphs into English has the character of an interpretation rather than a close translation. The Hebrew original employs coarse language; see Finkelstein, Jewish Self-Government, 178, 195, 211.

(10) Quoted as translated in Robert Chazan, Medieval Stereotypes and Modern Antisemitism (Berkeley, 1997), 52; see also 38, 53, 60.

(11) See Elisabeth Carpentier, Georges Pon, and Yves Chauvin (eds. and trans.), Rigord, Histoire de Philippe Auguste (Paris, 2006), 146–49. The translation offered herein is that of Jacob R. Marcus, The Jew in the Medieval World: A Source Book, 315–1791 (New York, 1938), 26.

(12) Alexandre Laborde, Les miracles de Nostre Dame, compilés par Jehan Mielot (Paris, 1929), 102 and plate xi. The legend itself has indeed a Byzantine origin and had been known already in the seventh century, as I have learned from Peter Schäfer, Mirror of His Beauty: Feminine Images of God from the Bible to the Early Kabbalah (Princeton, NJ, 2002), 191–97. For an English translation of Cantiga number 34, see Kathleen Kulp-Hill, Songs of Holy Mary of Alfonso the Wise (Tempe, AZ, 2000), 45. For a painting of the incident, see also Kulp-Hill, Songs of Holy Mary, panel no 2. In Aragon of the 1320s a series of laws forbade Jews to deal in Christian books, images, and other symbols. See Yom Tov Assis, Jewish Economy in the Medieval Crown of Aragon 1213–1327 (Leiden, Netherlands, 1997), 85.

(13) See Solomon Grayzel, The Church and the Jews in the XIIIth Century, vol. 1, rev. ed. (New York, 1966), 300–301.

(14) Ibid., 318–19. The dating of this synod is controversial. For the date 1278 I am relying on the judgment of my friend Alfred Haverkamp of Trier University.

(16) Salomon Grayzel, The Church and the Jews in the XIIIth Century, vol. 2, ed. Kenneth R. Stow (New York, 1989), 278, 280.

(18) Grayzel, The Church and the Jews, vol. 2, 62–64. See also Shlomo Simonsohn, The Apostolic See and the Jews, vol. 1, Documents: 492–1404 (Toronto, 1988), 214–15.

(19) See Zefira Entin Rokeah, “Crime and Jews in Late Thirteenth Century England: Some Cases and Comments,” Hebrew Union College Annual 55 (1984): 95–157, esp. 136n132.

(20) See Gerd Mentgen, Studien zur Geschichte der Juden im mittelalterlichen Elsaß (Hannover, Germany, 1995), 441.

(21) This short and precious document was published in Ben-Zion Dinur, Israel in the Diaspora, vol. B.1 (Tel Aviv, 1964), 278–79 (in Hebrew). The manuscript is kept in the Burgenbibliothek in the city of Bern, Switzerland; call number Ms 200, fol. 2586.

(22) See Eliezer bar Nathan, Sefer Ra’avan, That Is the Book of Evan ha-Ezer (Jerusalem, 1984) responsa nos. 288–89 (in Hebrew). See also Shlomo Eidelberg (ed.), The Responsa of Rabbenu Gershom Meor Hagolah (New York, 1955), no. 21 (in Hebrew).

(23) Jacob Katz, Exclusiveness and Tolerance: Studies in Jewish Christian Relations in Medieval and Modern Times (New York, 1969), 24–36; Ephraim E. Urbach, “Rabbi Menahem Ha Meiri’s Theory of Tolerance: Its Origins and Limits” in Immanuel Etkes and Yosef Salmon (eds.), Studies in the History of the Jewish Society in the Middle Ages and in the Modern Period Presented to Professor Jacob Katz on His Seventy-fifth Birthday (Jerusalem, 1980), 34–44 (in Hebrew). See also Israel Ta-Shma, “Judeo-Christian Commerce on Sundays in Medieval Germany and Provence,” Tarbiz 47 (1978): 197-215 (in Hebrew).

(24) See David Deblitzki (ed.), Sefer Raavyah: Hu Avi ha-Ezri le-Masechet Avodah Zara (Bnei Brak, Israel, 1976), 22–27 (in Hebrew). See also Katz, Exclusiveness and Tolerance, 33; and David Berger, “Religion, Nationalism and Historiography: Yehezkel Kaufman’s Account of Early Christianity,” in Leo Landman (ed.), Scholars and Scholarship: The Interaction between Judaism and Other Cultures (New York, 1990), 149–68, esp. 152.

(25) I refer here to the Halakhic compendium by Mordechai ben Hillel (d. 1298). See his commentary on the chapter “Lifnei Eidenhem” (Before their Festivities) in the tract Avodah Zarah (Idolatry). The manuscript of Sefer ha-Mordechai I have consulted is kept today in the Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library, University of Toronto (MSS.5-011), and was previously part of the David Salomon Sassoon collection, Ms. no. 534. See “Ohel David”: Descriptive Catalogue of the Hebrew and Samaritan Manuscripts in the Sassoon Library, London, 2 vols. (Oxford, 1932). In this manuscript the reference to the Raavyah is on 231, col. B. In the “Mordechai” that accompanies the Vilnius “Rom” edition of the Babylonian Talmud, the text can be found in section no. 809.

(27) See Isaac’s commentary to the tract Avodah Zarah (Idolatry) of the Babylonian Talmud in the printed edition, in particular fol. 50b. On Isaac, see Ephraim E. Urbach, The Tosaphists: Their History, Writings and Methods, vol. 1 (Jerusalem, 1980), 226–60 (in Hebrew); and José Faur, “The Legal Thinking of the Tossafot, an Historical Approach,” Dine Israel 6 (1975), English section, xliii–lxxii, esp. lxviii. On the sympathetic attitude of other French Tosaphists to doctrines and practices held and performed by the pietists of Ashkenaz, see Ephraim Kanarfogel, “Peering through the Lattices”: Mystical, Magical and Pietistic Dimensions in the Tosaphist Period (Detroit, MI, 2000), esp. 191–95, where the thinking of Isaac of Dampierre is discussed.

(28) For Sancto the Jew of Edmundbury, see Joseph Jacobs, The Jews of Angevin England (London, 1893), 83. For Benedict of Norwich, see H. P. Stokes, Studies in Anglo-Jewish History (Edinburgh, 1913), 124.

(29) J.W.F. Hill, Medieval Lincoln (Cambridge, 1948), 218. Aaron’s involvement in the building of churches will be discussed further in the present chapter.

(30) See Joe Hillaby, “The London Jewry: William I to John,” Transactions of the Jewish Historical Society of England 33 (1992–94), 1–44, esp. 9; see also Stokes, Studies, 124–25.

(31) For the pledges of the Swiss clergy see Zvi Avneri (ed.), Germania Judaica, vol. 2.1 (Tübingen, Germany, 1968), 52; and Augusta Steinberg, Studien zur Geschichte der Juden in der Schweiz während des Mittelalters (Zurich, 1902), 76. For the “Golden Book” of Bamberg, see Julius Aronius, Regesten zur Geschichte der Juden im fränkischen und deutschen Reiche bis zum Jahre 1273 (1902; reprinted Hildesheim, Germany, 1970), 264–65, doc. no. 629. For the St. Emmeran monastery’s pawns, see Siegfried Wittmer, Jüdisches Leben in Regensburg vom frühen Mittelalter bis 1519 (Regensburg, Germany, 2001), 68. On bishop Nicolaus of Constance see Phlipp Ruppert (ed.), Die Chroniken der Stadt Konstanz (Konstanz, Germany, 1891), 44–45. See also Floridud Rohring, Der Verduner Altar (Vienna, 1955). The text of the alleged Klosterneuburger “transaction” and its analysis are presented in Brugger and Wiedl, Regesten zur Geschichte der Juden in Osterreich im Mittelalter, 284–85. Jörg Müller recently assembled considerable evidence from Germanic lands pertaining to the subject in his “Zur Verfändung sakraler Kultgegenstände an Juden in mittelalterchen Reich,” Trier Historiche Forschungen 68 (2012): 179–204. Jörg Müller, Christoph Cluse, Gerd Mentgen, and other disciples of Professor Alfred Haverkamp in Trier offered me much support and saved me from many errors. I thank them wholeheartedly.

(32) See Toaff, The Jews in Umbria, doc. no. 50. In the following pages I shall use parentheses around the numbers of the calendared documents in this book.

(33) Mentgen, Juden im mittelalterlichen Elsaß, 31. The court registers of Naples for the beginning of the year 1470 show the Jew Isach di Salam da Campobasso in possession of two crosses, each lavishly decorated. See Filena Patroni Griffi, Banchieri e gioielli alla corte aragonese di Napoli (Napoli, 1992), 21.

(35) Thomas Bardelle, Juden in einem Transit und Brückenland: Studien zur Geschichte der Juden in Savoyen-Piemont bis zum Ende der Herrschaft Amadeus VII (Hannover, Germany, 1998), 185–86. Bardelle (181–83, 187) describes Josson and another Jew by the name of Bonion as “specialists in precious stones” who were working with ducal houses.

(36) See Roger Kohn, “Fortune et genres de vie des Juifs de Dijon à la fin du XIVe siècle,” Annales de Bourgogne 44 (1982): 171–92, esp. 187, 191. For Vesoul, see Isidore Loeb, “Deux livres de commerce du XIVe siècle,” Revue des études juives 8 (1884): 161–96; and 9 (1884): 22–50, 187–213.

(37) See Georges Duby, La société aux XIe et XIIe siècles dans la région mâconnaise (Paris, 1971), 310–11, 369; and Georges Duby, “Le budget de l’abbaye de Cluny entre 1080 et 1155. Économie domaniale et économie monétaire,” in Hommes et structures du Moyen Âge (Paris, 1973), 61–101 (published originally in Annales E.S.C. [1952]: 155–71). Dominique Iogna-Prat did not endorse Duby’s conclusions in his Ordonner et exclure: Cluny et la société Chrétienne face à l’hérésie, au judaïsme et à l’Islam (Paris, 1998), 276, 429n23.

(38) See Jean Pierre Torrel, “Les Juifs dans l’oeuvre de Pierre le Vénérable,” Cahiers de civilisation médiévale 30 (1987): 331–46.

(39) See Duby, “Le budget de l’abbaye de Cluny.” Duby also remarked that on later occasions when the Abbey sought loans, Peter dealt more readily with Christian financiers than with “the enemies of the Cross.”

(40) See Giles Constable, The Letters of Peter the Venerable (Cambridge, 1976), vol. 1, 136–37, letter no. 56. For the recovery of the minster plate of Lincoln, see Robin R. Mundill, The King’s Jews: Money Massacre and Exodus in Medieval England (London, 2010), 25.

(41) See Wittmer, Jüdisches Leben in Regensburg, 69–70; see especially Achim Hubel, Der Regensburger Domschatz (Munich, 1976), 18, 170–75, and figs. X and XI in the appendix.

(42) See Maria Dobozy (trans.), The Saxon Mirror: A Sachsenspiegel of the Fourteenth Century (Philadelphia, 1999), 118. On Jews in the Sachsenspiegel, see Christine Magin, “Wie es umb der iuden recht stet”: Der Status der Juden in den mittelalterlichen deutschen Rechtsbüchern (Göttingen, Germany, 1999), 50–55.

(43) See Diputación Provincial Instituto de Estudis Altoaragoneses de Huesca, Vidal Mayor (facsimile ed.), 2 vols. (Madrid, 1989). The gilded items are to be found on folios 21v, 114r, 175v, 180r, and 243v.

(44) Robert I. Burns, S.J., Jews in the Notarial Culture: Latinate Wills in Mediterranean Spain 1250–1350 (Berkeley, 1966), ii.

(45) See Bezalel Narkiss (ed.), The Golden Haggadah (London, 1997), 45, fig. 28. Julie A. Harris discussed this miniature in her “Polemical Images in the Golden Haggadah (British Library, ADD. Ms. 27210),” Medieval Encounters 8 (2002): 105–22. Harris’s interest in the illumination is different from mine, as her study lies in the history of polemics.

(46) In 1988, a facsimile edition under the title The Rylands Haggadah: A Medieval Sephardi Masterpiece in Facsimile: An Illuminated Passover Compendium from Mid-14th-century Catalonia in the Collection of the John Rylands University Library in Manchester, with a Commentary and a Cycle of Poems was published by Raphael Loewe in London. For the panel of the Brother Haggadah, see Sarit Shalev-Eyni, “The Antecedents of the Padua Bible and Its Parallels in Spain,” Arte medievale, n.s., 4 (2005): 86, fig. 4.

(48) Ibid., 35.

(49) For York in 1190, see R. B. Dobson, The Jews of Medieval York and the Massacre of March 1190, Borthwick Papers 45 (York, England, 1974), 28. See also Zefira Entin Rokeah, “The Jews as Church Robbers and Host Desecrators of Norwich (ca. 1285),” Revue des études juives 141 (1982): 331–62, esp. 333–34. I refer to the canons of 1222 and to Henry’s “Provisions” of 1253 as published by F. M. Powicke and C. R. Cheyney, Councils and Synods with other Documents Relating to the English Church, vol. 2.1 (Oxford, 1964), 106–25 (esp. 121), and 472–74 (esp. 473, canon no. 10), respectively. The translation of the canon of 1222 is in J. A. Watt, “The English Episcopate, the State and the Jews: The Evidence of the Thirteenth-century Conciliar Decrees,” in P. R. Coss and S. D. Lloyd, Thirteenth Century England, vol. 2 (Woodbridge, England, 1988), 137–47, esp. 141.