Jewish Craftspeople in the Middle Ages

Call for Papers: Research Workshop, Tel Aviv University, 3–4 May 2020

Jewish Craftspeople in the Middle Ages: Objects, Sources and Materials

The significant participation of Jews in medieval European daily life culture is common knowledge in modern Jewish Studies. We know that Jews used the same objects as Christians did – they wore the same clothes and the same jewelry, used the same dishes and lived in the same houses with the same furnishings and equipment. Scholars therefore are speaking of the shared culture of both groups. But in general it is assumed that most of these objects were made by Christian craftspeople, organized in guilds. However, the existence of Jewish craftspeople should be taken into consideration too. Yet, this field has not yet been adequately studied. Sources providing evidence of medieval Jewish craftspeople are rather scarce at first glance, especially in Northern Europe. In the Mediterranean, most regions with Jewish populations have a much broader base of sources.

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