Reading Prompts about Jewish History

Robert Chazzan, the Jews of Medieval Western Christendom, 1000-1500, 43-76, 257-67

Jews were attracted to Europe between Ad 100 and 1500 as western Christendom was absorbed by conquest. The contributions of Jews are enormous in the time when Europe was on the rise. But they also suffered in the form being expelled from different western countries due to one reason or the other. The book has enormous details of the history of Jews in Europe between Ad 100 and 1500.

Michael Brenner, a Short History of the Jews, 94-115

The history of the Jews has been told in different ways by different people. Michael Brenner, through this book attempts to reconstruct the history in a different way, narrowing down to the deeds of well renowned historical figures such King David. Important historical happenings such as the Holocaust as an important feature of this book. Given that the book borrows a lot from biblical figures, it becomes an easy reader and more so more entertaining.

Solomon bar Samson: The Crusaders in Mainz, May 27, 1096

Solomon Bar Samson has put a detailed account of the Crusaders who committed atrocities against unarmed and peaceful Jews in Mainz on their way to Jerusalem. These Crusaders consisted of religious zealots, monks and many mercenaries who were mostly unemployed.

Lateran IV: Canon 68 – on Jews, access at For Lateran IV: Canon 68

The source accounts the way Christians and Jews interacted with each other. For example they might be differentiated in some provinces due to the differences in their dresses but no in other provinces where they might wear the same dress. Christians may marry to Jews women and vice versa.

Michael Brenner, a Short History of the Jews, 116-122

Michael Brenner has included Jewish scriptures in his book to elaborate on the history of Jews. This is a concise book that has all the historical material for those who would love to study Jewish history on the go. There are different paintings and images to signify different historical moments in the Jewish history.

Bernard Gui: Inquisitorial Technique (c.1307-1323)

Bernard Gui has described the techniques that have been used by the medieval institution to interrogate people. They would enquire about their faith and would simply aim to try and influence them to say something that was different from the faith of the interrogators and convict the people accused of ill faith. Any guarantees given regarding the Christian faith given by the victims was labeled and tricks and no one was spared.

The Expulsion from Spain, 1492 CE

Jews had the largest presence of Europe in Spain. In 1492, when Christian Spanish people kicked out Moors from different parts of Spain. There cannot be any good reason to do so except a religious and nationalist sentiment that made the Spanish people expel the Jews who were contributing highly to the Spanish society.

Jane Gerber, The Jews of Spain: A History of the Sephardic Experience, ix-xxv

Jews have a long standing history in Spain. They had been a productive part of the Spanish history till 1492 when they were expelled. The book provides a detailed overview old the Sephardic Jews that spans over 500 years.