Skip to main content
Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

Jewish Life in the Middle Ages: In the Shadow of Islam and Christendom

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Tuesday, November 30, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET
Code: 1M2170
Select Your Tickets
$30 - Member
$35 - Non-Member
Reserving your tickets...

"The Manesse Codex", German, 1300s (detail), depicting Süsskind von Trimberg, the first known Jewish poet to write in German, wearing a hat that identifies him as a Jew

Almost without exception, throughout the Middle Ages the vast majority of Jews lived under either Islamic rule or Christian rule. Under caliphate rule across North Africa and the Middle East, Jews flourished in vibrant and cosmopolitan cities such as Cairo and Baghdad. They established long-range trade routes as far east as India and China, bringing wealth and prestige to their communities.

In contrast, life in Christian Europe was fraught with challenges, as the Church’s negative attitude towards the Jews prevented their full integration into society. They suffered accusations of ritual murder and host desecration, slaughter at the hands of the Crusaders, and expulsions from England, France, and Spain. Despite all this, some European Jews were able to establish relatively productive lives.

Historian Gary Rendsburg explores Jewish life within these two orbits. He focuses on how the Jews survived during the Middle Ages, the period that bridges their historical roots in the land of Israel and the dawn of modernity brought on by the Renaissance.

Rendsburg is Blanche and Irving Laurie Professor of Jewish History in the Department of Jewish Studies at Rutgers University.

Patron Information

  • If you register multiple individuals, you will be asked to supply individual names and email addresses so they can receive a Zoom link email. Please note that if there is a change in program schedule or a cancellation, we will notify you via email, and it will be your responsibility to notify other registrants in your group.
  • Unless otherwise noted, registration for streaming programs typically closes two hours prior to the start time on the date of the program.
  • Once registered, patrons should receive an automatic email confirmation from CustomerService@SmithsonianAssociates.org.
  • Separate Zoom link information will be emailed closer to the date of the program. If you do not receive your Zoom link information 24 hours prior to the start of the program, please email Customer Service for assistance.
  • View Common FAQs about our Streaming Programs on Zoom.
This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.