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Middle Ages without borders: a conversation on medievalism

Tommaso di Carpegna Falconieri
Pierre Savy
Lila Yawn

b) Remembering the Jews of medieval Christendom

2) Representations on Integration and the medieval Anglo-Jewish community in the historiography. Making the case for further examination and interrogation using a multi-disciplinary approach

Esther Robinson Wild

Texte intégral

1The historiography of medieval Anglo-Jewry is generally consistent with opinion on the level of interaction of Jews with their Christian neighbours in the urban space. This typically refers to marked differences in religion and customs and secular aspects of medieval English society that precluded Jews from integrating fully and upon which the construction of their ‘otherness’ is based. Recourse to the European model of community, specifically the requirements for communal buildings, when interrogating the English documentary and archaeological record, is a dominant strand. Focusing on Jews’ Court, Lincoln, this paper discusses how a building’s archaeology and urban morphological approach may bring about a reconsideration of the evidence for the Anglo-Jewish community and the level of social inclusion and integration. It discusses the research undertaken on the evidence-base for the assignment of medieval-period synagogue use of the building by Cecil Roth, a prominent researcher of Jewish history, and the attempt to contextualise this perceived historic use in terms of the historical narrative of the building, the medieval Anglo-Jewish community, and their extant material culture. The paper further discusses intermediary research findings, which suggest a different and place-specific model of community that differs from that of Europe, the English medieval urban context. These findings suggest a level of urban belonging at odds with the predominant narrative of the Jew as an Outsider in the historiography and that the facilitating of ritual and customs was adapted to address the constraints of the medieval urban space. It also considers questions the research has raised about the dominant historic narrative, the use and management of the building today, and the general issues of presenting medieval Anglo-Jewish history in the heritage space.


University of York

© Publications de l’École française de Rome, 2021

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