Citation
Arte y Comida

Material Information

Title:
Arte y Comida Jewish and Christian use of food and art as sites of identity negotiation in medieval Spain
Creator:
Thronton, Sarah Gayle ( author )
Place of Publication:
Denver, Colo.
Publisher:
University of Colorado Denver
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
1 electronic file (81 pages). : ;

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Degree:
Master's ( Master of Humanities)
Degree Grantor:
University of Colorado Denver
Degree Divisions:
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, CU Denver
Degree Disciplines:
Humanities and Social Science
Committee Chair:
Woodhull, Margaret
Committee Members:
Schrader, Jeffrey
Bollard, Kathleen

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Identity (Psychology) -- Religious aspects ( lcsh )
Genre:
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Review:
During the Middle Ages, Jews, Christians and Muslims coexisted (often uneasily) on the Iberian Peninsula. These three religious groups were in a constant process of defining and preserving their identities, which were often constructed in terms of the relationships with each other. In particular, Jews and Christians attempted to distance and validate their own beliefs and customs in relation to the other. I will answer the question of how this was done, using food practices (in particular, food avoidances) and artistic representation as major sites for the negotiation of identity. Since both food and art were very public sensory aspects of medieval life, they served as ideal locations for Christians to explore and assert their identities vis-avis Jews. When we look at Medieval Christian society in Spain, it is often the case that Christian artistic representations of Jews and the Christian omnivorous relationship to food can tell us much more about Christians themselves than about the Jews to whom they refer. From the twelfth through the fifteenth centuries, Spanish Christendom was plagued by anxieties about the balance of power between the church and secular rulers, economic inequality, and multiple attempts at homogenizing Christian belief. These were in addition to outside pressures brought on by the Muslim invasion and Reconquest of Christian territories. It is no accident that violence against Spain's Jewish communities flourished during this same period. In theoretical terms, food and art became safe places for Christians to create cohesion within their own society. We can read Christian anxiety through these pejorative representations of Jews and the concern with Jewish food prohibitions. In doing so, we can construct a narrative about Christian identity politics during this period. Christians attempted to keep the anxieties they felt about their own society at bay through these artistic representations and the foods they chose to eat. In this way, they could create a semblance of cohesion that did not exist in reality. By understanding how Jews and Christians constructed their own identities in this way, often with very obviously negative results, we gain better understanding about how this is done today, and can perhaps begin to deconstruct these identities based on negative associations. Finally, by acknowledging that these prejudices often tell us more about ourselves than they do about the subjects of our prejudices, we can better understand ourselves and hope to do away with these prejudices.
Thesis:
Thesis (M.H.)--University of Colorado Denver. Humanities
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographic references.
General Note:
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences
Statement of Responsibility:
by Sarah Gayle Thornton.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
|Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
900731493 ( OCLC )
ocn900731493

Downloads

This item has the following downloads:


Full Text
ARTE Y COMIDA:
JEWISH AND CHRISTIAN USE OF FOOD AND ART AS SITES OF IDENTITY
NEGOTIATION IN MEDIEVAL SPAIN
by
SARAH GAYLE THORTON
B.A.Colorado State University2009
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Humanities
Humanities and Social Science
2014


This thesis for the Master of Humanities degree by
Sarah Gayle Thorton
has been approved for the
Humanities and Social Science Program
by
Margaret Woodhull, Chair
Jeffrey Schrader
Kathleen Bollard
May 2,2014


Thorton, Sarah Gayle (Master of Humanities, Humanities and Social Science)
Arte y Comida: Jewish and Christian Use of Food and Art as Sites of Identity
Negotiation in Medieval Spain
Thesis directed by Professor Margaret Woodhull
ABSTRACT
During the Middle Ages, Jews, Christians and Muslims coexisted (often
uneasily) on the Iberian Peninsula. These three religious groups were in a constant
process of defining and preserving their identitieswhich were often constructed in
terms of the relationships with each other. In particular, Jews and Christians
attempted to distance and validate their own beliefs and customs in relation to the
other. I will answer the question of how this was done, using food practices (in
particular, food avoidances) and artistic representation as major sites for the
negotiation of identity.
Since both food and art were very public sensory aspects of medieval life,
they served as ideal locations for Christians to explore and assert their identities vis-
a-vis Jews. When we look at Medieval Christian society in Spain, it is often the case
that Christian artistic representations of Jews and the Christian omnivorous
relationship to food can tell us much more about Christians themselves than about the
Jews to whom they refer. From the twelfth through the fifteenth centuries, Spanish
Christendom was plagued by anxieties about the balance of power between the
church and secular mlers, economic inequality, and multiple attempts at
homogenizing Christian belief. These were in addition to outside pressures brought
on by the Muslim invasion and Reconquest of Christian territories. It is no accident
in


that violence against Spains Jewish communities flourished during this same period.
In theoretical terms, food and art became safe places for Christians to create cohesion
within their own society.
We can read Christian anxiety through these pejorative representations of
Jews and the concern with Jewish food prohibitions. In doing so, we can construct a
narrative about Christian identity politics during this period. Christians attempted to
keep the anxieties they felt about their own society at bay through these artistic
representations and the foods they chose to eat. In this way, they could create a
semblance of cohesion that did not exist in reality. By understanding how Jews and
Christians constructed their own identities in this wayoften with very obviously
negative results, we gain better understanding about how this is done today, and can
perhaps begin to deconstruct these identities based on negative associations. Finally
by acknowledging that these prejudices often tell us more about ourselves than they
do about the subjects of our prejudices, we can better understand ourselves and hope
to do away with these prejudices.
The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication.
Approved: Margaret Woodhull
IV


DEDICATION
I dedicate this thesis to my parents, for their support no matter what, and to my
husband Jason, for putting up with me for the past 3 years.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
I would like to thank my wonderful advisor, Margaret Woodhull, for helping me to
maintain my sanity, and for her support and wonderful insights. I also wish to thank
Jeffrey Schrader and Kathleen Bollard, for all their incredibly helpful input.
vi


TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION..........................................................1
CHAPTER I: JEWISH-CHRISTIAN RELATIONS................................11
Middle Ages....................................................13
Jews and Christians in Spain...................................16
CHAPTER II: JEWS IN CHRISTIAN ART....................................18
The Jesse Tree.................................................18
Jews in Crucifixion Scenes....................................20
Las Cantigas de Santa Maria...................................21
Altarpieces...................................................28
The Host Desecration and Blood Libels..........................37
CHAPTER III: FOOD....................................................42
Jewish Food Practices.........................................44
Christian Food Practices......................................45
CONCLUSIONS.........................................................53
FIGURES.............................................................57
BIBLIOGRAPHY........................................................71
vii


LIST OF FIGURES
1:Master Mateo, Jesse Tree, Portico da Gloria, 1188. Stone. Cathedral of Santiago de
Compostela, Spain. Reproduced from Universidad Complutense de Madrid online.
http://www.ucm.es/data/cont/docs/621-2013-ll-21-
3.%20%C3%81rbol%20de%20Jes%C3%A9.pdf (accessed April14, 2014).............19
2:Cantigas de Santa Maria, ca.1280, in Kessler and Nirenberg, Judaism and Christian
Art,125....................................................................23
3: Cantigas de Santa Maria, ca. 1280, in Bradley Smith, Spain: A History in Art
York: Simon & Schuster, 1966) 94-95........................................24
4.. How Holy Mary Saved From Death the Jewess Who Was Thrown Over a Cliff in
Segovia^, Cantigas de SamtaMaria, ca. 1280, in Merback, Beyond the Yellow Badge,
507....................................................................25
5: How Holy Mary Got Even with the Jew for the Dishonor He Did to Her Image,
Cantigas de Santa Maria, ca. 1280, in Mitchell B. Merback, Beyond the Yellow Badge:
Anti-Judaism and Anti-Semitism in Medieval and Early Modern Visual Culture (Boston:
Brill, 2008) 506................................................................26
6: How Holy Mary saved from Burning the Son of the Jew, Whose Father Had Thrown
Him into the Furnace Cantigas de Santa Maria, a Beyond the
Yellow Badge, 509........................................................28
7: Anonymous, Scenes from the Life of Christ, thirteenth century, in Mann, Uneasy
Communion,113............................................................29
8: Anonymous, Christ Among the Doctors, Early fifteenth century, in Vivian B. Mann,
Uneasy Communion: Jews, Christians, and the Altarpieces of Medieval Spain (New
York: Museum of Biblical Art, 2010) Frontispiece....................................30
9: Jaume Serra, Altarpiece of Saint Stephen from the Church of Santa Maria de Gualter,
ca. 1385, in Mann, Uneasy Communion,121......................................31
10: Guillem Seguer, Altarpiece of the Trinity and the Eucharist from the monastery of
Vallbona de lesMonges, 1349-1350, in Mann, Uneasy Communion, 32...............33
11:Las Monjas Altar-Frontal, A Desecration of the Host by Two Jewish Men with a
Knife, Late fourteenth century, inMiri Rubin, Gentile Tales: The Narrative Assault on
(New Haven: Yale University Press1999)158...............33
viii


12: Las Monjas Altar-Frontal, A Jewish Man Throws the Host into a Cauldron of Boiling
Water, Late fourteenth century, in Rubin, Gentile Tales,159.......................34
13: Pere Altarpiece of the Virgin, 1362-75, in Mann, Uneasy Communion, 87..... 35
14: Pere Serra, Altarpiece of the Virgin, Predella with scenes of the Blood and Host
Libels (detail), 1362-75, in Mann, Uneasy Communion, 88............................36
15: Jaume Serra, Host Desecration According to the Case of Paris (detail), ca.1400, in
Rubin, Gentile Tales,160...........................................................36
IX


INTRODUCTION
During the Middle Ages, Jews, Christians and Muslims coexisted, often uneasily,
on the Iberian Peninsula. These three religious groups were engaged in a constant
process of defining and preserving their identitieswhich were often constructed in terms
of relationships with each other. In particular, Christians attempted to distance and
validate their own beliefs and customs in relation to Jews. I will focus on the ways in
which food practices, in particular, food avoidances, and artistic representations became
major sites for the negotiation of identity. Since both food and art were very public
sensory aspects of medieval life, they served as ideal locations for Christians to explore
and assert their identities in contrast to Jews. When we look at Medieval Christian
society in Spain, it is often the case that Christian artistic representations of Jews and the
lack of food prohibitions can tell us much more about Christians themselves than about
the Jews they refer to. From the twelfth through the fifteenth centuries, Spanish
Christendom was plagued by anxieties about the balance of power between the church
and secular mlers, economic inequality, and multiple attempts at homogenizing Christian
belief. These were in addition to outside pressures brought on by the Muslim invasion
and Reconquest of Christian territories. It is no accident that violence against Spains
Jewish communities flourished during this same period. In theoretical terms, food and art
became safe places for Christians to create cohesion within their own society.
The concept of The Other figures centrally in this discussionsince Medieval
Christian society was preoccupied by the idea of The Other as a dangerous and divisive
force as a result of frequent, often violent encounters with outside groups. Medieval
Christians therefore felt great anxiety over relations with outsiders. This was all the more
1


true for Spanish Christianswho were on the front lines of cultural confrontations with
The Other Here Christians were not only living alongside some of the largestmost
powerful Jewish communities in Europe; they were also in the process of re-conquering
territories they had lost during the Muslim invasion that began in 711.
Christianity emerged from the Jewish tradition in the first century C.E.
Throughout the Medieval period, the Christian church was still in the process of defining
its doctrine and creating a solid religious identity for its followers. Church leaders
therefore worked especially hard to differentiate Christianity from its older, rival religion.
However, because the two communities shared so much history and dogma, the Church
fathers could not completely dismiss it out of hand. Therefore, in a series of councils and
writings, the church established that:
The Jews would be preserved because their veneration of the Old Testament bore
witness to the truth of Christianity. At the same timethey would be tolerated
only minimally, so that their debased state itself would provide visible proof of
their rejection by God. Their misery would also demonstrate what would befall
those who did not accept Jesus as the Messiah.1
For example, Augustine of Hippo was a particularly strong voice in this effort and
played an important role in establishing the basis of the tense relationship one finds
between Medieval Christianity and Judaism. In his work City of God, he interpreted Old
Testament scripture to that end. He tells us that the story of Rebeccas sonsalready at
war within her womb, was interpreted as a sort of foreshadowing of the relationship of
Jew to Christian:
[W]hen she was troubled by this struggleand inquired of the Lordshe received
this answer: 'Two nations are in the womb, and two manner of people shall be
Gerber, Jane S, The Jews of Spain: A History of the Sephardic Experience, New York: The Free Press,
1992, Pg. 7.
2


separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall overcome the other people,
and the elder shall serve the younger.5... Only this saying, 'The elder shall serve
the younger is interpreted by our writersalmost without exceptionto mean that
the elder people, the Jews, shall serve the younger people, the Christians.2
Augustine5 s work is representative of many other attempts by church fathers at
asserting the superiority of Christian belief. These types of writings led to complex
theories in the Medieval era about the place of Jews in Christian society. These values
frequently led to violence in the already tenuous relations between Jews and Christians.
For ChristiansJews were no longer Gods Chosen People. According to Christian
thought, Jewish conversion to Christianity would bring about Jesus5 Second Coming and
Christian salvation. Until such time, Jews were subservient to Christians. Jews were to
be kept alive to serve by their misery as proof of the ascendance of Christianity. This
complicated line of reasoning set forth by the Church Fathers was difficult for lay
Christians to follow, and misunderstanding often led to violence against Jewish
communities.
Archaeological evidence suggests that Jews arrived on the Iberian Peninsula
during the Roman Diaspora, which lasted from about 200 BCE to 200 CE. There are
indications that before the fifth century, Jews living on the peninsula mingled freely with
their neighbors. Under the Roman Empire, Jews enjoyed a certain degree of autonomy
and were allowed to freely practice their faith. After the fourth century, when the empire
recognized Christianity as a legal religion, and after the fall of the empire itself, the
situation for Spains Jews became more complicated. The power vacuum left by the fall
of the Roman Empire was quickly filled by various Germanic tribes, most notably the
2 Augustine of Hippo, Saint. "Book XVI, Chapter 35-What Was Indicated by the Divine Answer About the
Twins Still Shut Up in the Womb of Rebecca Their Mother C o/GW.
http://people.bu.edu/dklepper/RN470/augustine iews.html.5 May 2011.


Visigoths. When the Visigoth King Reccared adopted Catholicism as the state religion in
587, a policy of unification arose and the result was the start of persecution of the Jews
in Spain.
In 711,a Muslim Berber army from North Africa invaded the peninsula and
quickly established itself as a power there. This army brought with it Islam, a religion
only recently founded in the Middle East. With the invasion and resulting Muslim rule
Islam quickly became a religious force to be reckoned with in Spain. Under this new
religious and political structurethe religiouspoliticallegal and social situation of the
Jews was further complicated. According to Islamic legal theory, Christians and Jews
were referred to as or People of the Book meaning they shared a belief in the
divine nature of the Old Testament scriptures. Although they were not followers of Allah
and therefore not to be treated as equals, their status as dhimmJ afforded them a certain
amount of protection and religious freedom. This situation was certainly not a static one,
and throughout the period of Islamic mle on the peninsula, which lasted until 1492, there
were varying degrees of religious freedom accorded to Jews and Christians. In general,
howeverAll forms of worship were to be inconspicuous in order to avoid giving
offence to Muslims; in addition, there were limitations on the size of synagogues and
churchesno new synagogues could be builtand older religious structures could not be
repaired.,,3
Almost immediately upon the invasion, however, the Visigoth-mled Christian
territories of Northern Spain embarked upon a military campaign to win back the
territories lost to the Muslim armies. This process would continue throughout the whole 3
3 Gerber, The Jews of Spain, 24.
4


of the Middle Ages. Only with the capture of Granada by the Catholic Monarchs
Fernando and Isabel in 1492 did this campaign, known as "La Reconquistd"
(reconquest)formally come to an end. This fact also complicated the situation of the
Jews, since towns which had been under Islamic rule one day could suddenly find
themselves under Christian mle the next, and sometimes vice versa. However, during the
thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth centuries especially, more and more territories came
under the power of Christians. This shift led to another change of legal and social status
for the Jews of Spain. Because of the considerable economic and cultural influence of
many of Spains Jewish communitiesit became clear in many cases that it would be in
the Christian kings best interests to offer some sort of legal and physical protection
against those who would wish to do the Jews harm. In exchange for royal protection,
these communities found themselves essentially royal property. According to the 1176
Temel Laws, 'The Jews [were] slaves of the crown and [belonged] exclusively to the
royal treasury.
Although daily life for Jews and Christians from the twelfth through the fifteenth
centuries was relatively stablea growing animosity developed on the part of the
Christian community toward their Jewish neighbors. There were particularly intense
flares of anti-Jewish propaganda and violence in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries,
when Christian Europe as a whole was engaged in the Cmsades to the Holy Land.
During this period, the Church also contended with various, frequent heresies within its
own ranks. In the context of these cmsades, we can see that there was also a certain
tendency in Christian society to project anxieties about ones own community onto 4
4 Bango, Isidro G, Remembering Sepharad: Jewish Culture in Medieval Spain, Madrid: State Corporation
for Spanish Cultural Action Abroad, 2003, Pg.145.
5


outsiders. These anxieties-social, religious, political and economic, were reflected in
relationships between Jews and Christians.
One important locus for the negotiation of Christian identity with respect to
Judaism was artistic representation. To begin with, art (painting, sculpture, stained glass,
etc) served, for most of medieval Spanish society, as an educational tool. According to
Pope Gregory the Great, in a letter written about 600 CE, U[p]ictures are used in churches
in order that those ignorant of letters may by merely looking at the walls read there what
they are unable to read in books.5 By using a well-established set of images to represent
church teachings, those members of the Christian community who were unable to read
the teachings in books could very quickly and easily read them in pictures. For this
reason, figures needed to be represented uniformly, so that they could be easily
understood. This led to a clear system of representation of people, ideas and places
within artistic works. By the thirteenth century, a uniform model for representation had
been clearly established and was in use throughout Europe. This model depicted Jews, in
both religious and secular contexts, almost always in profile, which, according to Debra
Higgs Strickland, denoted their evil nature6. They were also represented with open
mouthsprotruding tongues and hooked noses.7 Regarding the clothing of Jewsas well
as other members of medieval societyeach figure in the depictions of episodes from the
5 James Snyder, Medieval Art, New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1989, Pg.16.
6Higgs SMckld, Debra, De ..ra zwMeJzeva/dr/, Princeton and
Oxford:Princeton University Press, 2003, Pg.110
7 Halstrup, Ulla, "Representations of Jews in Danish medieval artcan images be used as source material
on their ovmT\History and Images: Towards a New Iconography, ed. Axel Bolvig and Phillip Lindley,
Tumhout, Belgium: Brepols Publishers, 2003, Pgs. 341-356.
6


Bible had to be painted in contemporary dress, so as to ensure that it could be easily
identified.8 9 10
Before this system of representation was cemented, imagery of Jews varied
widely, and was not always derogatory. Early examples of Christian depictions of Jewish
characters were generally representations of scenes from the Old Testament. Since these
characters formed the basis of the stories shared by both Christians and Jews, they were
normally depicted in benign, or at least neutral, ways. An example of this type of
imagery was the Jesse Tree (figure 1.)The Jesse tree showed the genealogy of Christ,
establishing his legitimacy through a relationship with the Old Testament. These sorts of
images necessarily portrayed Jews in positive, or at least neutral, ways. However, during
the twelfth and thirteenth, and into the fourteenth century, images of Jews became
increasingly negative. In these depictions, Jews were usually shown in profile, and they
contained ustigmatizing costume, grotesque facial features, dark skin color, and other
physical deformities, such as stunted or misshapen bodies.,,9 They were depicted with
elongated, hooked noses, usually with their mouths open, teeth bared or tongues
protruding, which, as Ulla Halstrup notes, was considered highly indecent in the Middle
Ages.1Jews appeared increasingly in art as The Other. Along with similar
depictions of outsider groups (Moors, Ethiopians, etc.), the message to an illiterate
audience would have been very clear: Non-Christians were dangerous and inhuman.
The importance of what people chose to eat, as well as what they were prohibited
from eating, can tell us a great deal about how they saw themselves and each other. The
8 Halstrup. Representations of Jews Pg. 344.
9 Higgs Strickland, Saracens, Demons, & Jews, Pg.110.
10 Halstrup. Representations of Jews, p. 346.
7


dietary restrictions set forth in the Torah were, for Jews, daily reminders of their religious
identity. Because God had prohibited Jews from eating certain foods, they were, in a
very real sense, reaffirming their privileged relationship with God every time they ate.
The same held tme for Christians, although in a slightly different manner. In the
Christian mind, everything created by God was good, and should therefore be enjoyed.
Because the laws laid out in the Tbra/; no longer applied to Christiansthey were urged to
enjoy all foods, including those prohibited to Jews. This led to obvious complications in
a religion concerned with forsaking the terrestrial in favor of the celestial, but also
became an important aspect of the effort to create and maintain distance between
Christian and Jewish belief. The Jewish ban on pork, in particular, served as an
important site of differentiation and conflict between Jews and Christians. In effect,
Christians were told to enjoy pork because it served as one more way to identify oneself
as Christian, and therefore, and perhaps more importantly, not Jewish.
The Eucharist was, without a doubt the single most important food eaten by
Christians. This piece of bread was the body of Christ in the mass, and when Christians
consumed it, they were, through transubstantiation, literally eating Christ5 s body. This
was food which sustained the soul, but which could also sustain the physical body. As
hagiography from the period tells us, many female saints were said to exist on the
Eucharist alone.11 That Jews were often accused of attempting to desecrate the
consecrated host, and portrayed in art doing so, is not surprising. These accusations and
the artwork surrounding them represent one more attempt at creating unity in an
otherwise fractured Christian society, by singling out Jews as a common enemy. *
xlWalker Bynum, Caroline, Holy Feast and Holy Fast: The Religious Significance of Food to Medieval
Women, Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1987.
8


The issue of food was also tightly bound with sexuality, which acted as yet
another location for the construction and (perhaps more importantly) preservation of
Christian and Jewish identity. Both Christians and Jews were anxious about the sexual
relations (both real and imagined) between their two communities. There were various
attempts at prohibiting and punishing these relationships and much was written about
them. Church fathers in particular wrote of the need to prevent contamination and
these warnings were often couched in terms of metaphors about food. These metaphors,
such as a little yeast in a large mass of dough.. .a spoiled apple rotting the entire bin12
reflect the importance of food in everyday life, as well as the role it played in shaping
Christian and Jewish identities. These writers also reflected the anxiety that other forms
of social interaction between Christians and Jews might lead to sexual intercourse. For
example, as David Nirenberg notes, u[t]he canon lawyer Johannes Teutonicus made the
point quite wittily when asked: why are Christians allowed to talk to Jews but forbidden
to eat with them? The reply: talking is one thing, but eating? Who knows what can
happen between courses.13
These ways of constructing identity are significantbecause they are based not on
positive associations, but on negative ones. Jews were often depicted in artwork as dark,
dangerous, inhuman monsters. Christian audiences looking at these works could
instantly understand that they were not looking at images of themselves, and the
distinction was then made: Christians were not monsters, which also meant that they were
12 Nirenberg, David, Conversion, Sex, and Segregation: Jews and Christians in Medieval SpainTAe
American Historical Review, Vol. 107, No. 4 (October 2002), Pgs. 1065-1093.
13 Nirenberg, David, Conversion, Sex, and Segregation1072.
9


not Jews. Jews did not eat pork. Therefore, Christians would be permitted to do so. By
eating pork, Christians could prove that they were not Jews.
It is important to note that these negative pictorial representations and food
associations can tell us a great deal more about Christians and their anxieties about their
own society than they can about Jews and Jewish society. Christians attempted to keep
the anxieties they felt about their own society at bay through these artistic representations
and the foods they chose to eat. In this way, they could create a semblance of cohesion
that did not exist in reality. By understanding how Jews and Christians constructed their
own identities in this way, often with very obviously negative results, we may better
understand how this is done todayand perhaps begin to deconstruct these identities
based on negative associations. And by acknowledging that these prejudices can often
tell us more about ourselves than they can about the subjects of our prejudices, we can
better understand ourselves and hope to do away with these prejudices.
10


CHAPTER I
JEWISH-CHRISTIAN RELATIONS
The field of Medieval Jewish history in Europe was, during the second half of the
twentieth century, dominated by a very pessimistic tone. Historians wrote about the
negative images (both in literature and art) of European Jews, linking these images to the
periodic restrictive legislation, persecution, pogroms, and expulsions. These historians
see continuity from the persecutions of Jews in Biblical times up to the current day,
discussing and placing medieval events in such a way that they appeared to lead
inevitably to the Holocaust of the twentieth century. In presenting the Medieval world in
this way, historians such as RI Moore {The Formation of a Persecuting Society)
disregarded the relative stability of these Jewish communities, and at times the peaceful
coexistence of Jewish and Christian communities in Medieval Europe. The fact that
many of these communities were able to exist and even in some cases to thrive, albeit in
altered forms and locations, to the present day, was never taken into account. These
works disregarded the effects of various political, economic, social and religious
pressures and assumed that persecution of Jews was the sum total of the story.
Conversely, and especially in studies of Medieval Spain, the idea of Convivencia
began to arise in the 19405s. This was the idea that Christians, Muslims and Jews
coexisted peacefully and thrived in the -Muslim-controlled territories of Spain. The term
was coined by Americo Castro in 1948 in his book Espanay su Historia: Cristianos,
Moros, y Judios, and was originally meant to describe the "unique blending of Christian,
Muslim, and Jewish cultural elements that took place between the late eleventh and late
11


fourteenth centuries.14 During the 19705s and 19805s, convivencia came to be used to
describe a romanticized vision of Christians, Jews and Muslims living peacefully together
during the Middle Ages. This was also a serious simplification of the real situation, since
it ignored the fact that relations between these three communities were often fraught with
tension and violence. This use of convivencia also reflects the particular political and
cultural efforts of the postmodern period in historical scholarship in Spain. After nearly
forty years of Francisco Francos dictatorshipdefined by emphasis on a Catholic past
and present, scholars began to search out a different story. They began to study and
emphasize historical moments that did not fit into the Catholic historical continuum so
stressed under the Franco regime. One of these moments was, of course, the harmony of
Christian, Jewish and Muslim relations in the early Middle Ages. An example of this
scholarship is Maria Rosa MenocaFs The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews,
and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain. Just as works which
stress only the negative aspects of the relations between Christians and Jews in the
Medieval world, scholarship that merely glosses over it misses the point and fails at
conveying the great complexity of Medieval society, both Christian and Jewish. This is
in itself a reflection of the wider trend in postmodern historical study: historians began
looking into the stories of those who had not previously been thought relevantwomen,
children, and religious, cultural or ethnic minorities whose stories had never been told
were now seen to provide a fuller, more nuanced picture of the past.15
14 Wolf, Kenneth Baxter. ''Convivencia in Medieval Spain: A Brief History of an Idea/' Religion Compass
[2009]: 72-85. Accessed April 24, 2014. Doi:10.111l/j.l749-8171.2008.00119.x. 73.
15 Wolf. ''Convivencia in Medieval Spain/' 77.
12


Current scholarship on Jewish-Christian relations in Medieval Spain (and Europe
in general) acknowledges that these two ends of the spectmm simplify the actual situation
and ignore the other factors that often played into these relations. According to Jonathan
Elukin in his book Living Together, Living Apart: Rethinking Jewish-Christian Relations
in the Middle Ages, "[vjiolence against Jews, as we have been reminded, was contingent
on local conditions and not the result of unchanging hatred or an irrational structure of
medieval society.16 This new scholarship seeks to understand and celebrate the survival
of Europes Jewish communitiesrather than focus on their destruction. While I agree
that this is certainly the case, and that it is dangerous to simplify too much, these attempts
at destmction cannot be ignored. It is important to focus on both the negative and
positive aspects of Jewish-Christian relations, and to understand that there were an
incredible number of factors at play, just as there are in any event in history.
Middle Ages
The Medieval period, roughly the sixth through fourteenth centuries, was a time
of self-exploration and -definition for the Catholic Church. The institution was still in
the process, begun after the death of Christ, of setting out and solidifying its dogma.
Because of Christianitys deep roots within the Jewish traditionthis process was
somewhat complicated. The legitimacy of the Old Testament could not be disputed, and
since many early Christians were in fact converts from Judaism, doing away with those
scriptures would have done more harm than good. Christians newly converted from
Judaism had an easier time accepting the validity of their new religion when it was placed
in the context of sacred writings with which they were already familiar. This in turn led
16 ]onathan M. Ehikin, Living Together, Living Apart: Rethinking Jewish-ChrisUan Relations in the
Middle Ages, [Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007] 5.
13


to the question of Christianitys stance on the original believers in this scripturethe
Jews. Since Old Testament scripture could not be dismissed out of hand, those who lived
by it therefore could not be dismissed out of hand either.
This quandary led to the Medieval Christian tradition of patristic writings,
sermons and other works debating the proper place of Jews and Judaism in an
increasingly Christian world. Early church leaders used Old and New Testament
scriptures to support their various ideas, and a theory began to emerge that held the
Medieval Jew to be a Witness.17 This theory held that Jews had ignorantly
misunderstood their own writings that prophesied the coming of a Messiah. The
Christians, by contrast, asserted that Christ was this Messiah, and had therefore the
fulfilled the Old Testament prophesies. Because the Jews had rejected Christ as their
Messiah, they had failed to properly understand their prophecies. Christians had
subsequently become Gods Chosen Peopleand Jews had been left to suffer for their
obstinacy. According to the Church fathers then, the Jews should be tolerated among
Christians, since their very presence acted as proof of the correctness of the Christian
faith.
In addition, it was a generally held belief that the conversion of the Jews was a
necessary precursor to the second coming of Christ. Early on in the Christian-Jewish
relationship, there was great hope on the part of Christians for the eventual conversion of
the Jews. Indeed, many of the works I will later discuss, although they are essentially
anti-Jewish in nature, accompany frequently told stories of miracles worked by the Virgin
or other saints that then led to the conversion of the Jews involved. The Cantigas de
17 Bango, Isidro, Remembering Sepharad: Jewish Culture in Medieval Spain, p.
14


&a M/compiled by the Castilian king Alfonso X El SabioThe Learned
during the second half of the thirteenth century, for example, was a collection of songs
and poem dedicated to the Virgin, many of which ended with the conversion of Jews.
This role, however, was in direct conflict with the perceived role of Jews in the
execution of Christ as related in the New Testament Gospels. According to the Gospels,
the Jewish leadership in Jemsalem had a pivotal role in the arrest and cmcirixion of Jesus
Christ. Although in the scripture, the blame for Christ5 s death fell equally to the Roman
leadership in Judea, Christian interpretation of the Jewish presence would come to
complicate the situation, especially in the later Middle Ages. Again, we can see this
reflected in art, as later Medieval works depicting the Crucifixion (which did not,
incidentally, begin to appear until the about the fifth century, much later than some other
Christian iconography) began more and more to depict an evolved stereotypical image of
Jews, clearly recognizable to a Medieval Christian audience, as principal players.18
Whereas in the New Testament accounts of the Cmcitixion, the Roman authorities and
soldiers carried out the actual torture and execution or uhrist, depictions of Jews in the
later middle ages highlight their roles in this narrative. These Jews are recognizable by
tneir distinctive hats, badges and facial features.
Further complicating this situation were admonishments of Church leaders calling
for a treatment of Jews in Christian lands that would reflect their status as rejected by
God, but which would at the same time preserve them as witnesses and hopefully lead to
tneir eventual conversion to the tme faith. However, the vast majority of Cnristian
18 Higgs Strickland, Saracens, Demons, & Jews, p.106
15


society was unable to understand and abide by these subtleties, which led, in many places
at many times to violent treatment of Jews by the Christian majority.
Jews and Christians in Spain
The situation in Spain was more complicated than in the rest of Europe by the
political, economic and social factors of the time. During the Medieval period, and up to
1492, the nominal Christians (previously Visigothic Arians who had only very recently
converted to the true Christian faith) of the northern enclaves were fighting to regain
and re-conquer territories lost in the year 711 and after. Besides these small areas to the
north, the peninsula was in a constant state of flux; Christians could conquer Muslim-
mled territories in a day, and vice-versa. All this meant that for Jews, life could be very
19
precarious.
Jewish communities had existed on the peninsula since Roman times, and after
the Moorish invasion, they were particularly able to take advantage of opportunities in
the Muslim-mled territories of the south. By the tenth century, the Muslim caliphate was
filled with Jewish and Christian physicians, astronomers, mathematicians, philosophers,
and political advisors. Spain5 s Jewish communities and that of Cordoba in particular
made enormous contributions in poetry, literature, mathematics, philosophy and theology
during this period. Although the social and political situation was never perfectly
harmonious (as the word Convivencia would suggest), this era is known as the "Golden
Age of Spanish Jewry. It is also important to note that although these were very real
achievementsand that there wason an individual levelan opportunity for great political 19
19 Gerber, Jane S. The Jews of Spain.
16


and social advancement, the proportion of the Jewish community involved in court life
was very small indeed.
Once these Muslim-controlled territories came under Christian mle, however,
Jews could find themselves in very delicate situations. Those Jews who could speak
Arabic and who had participated in court life generally fared well, since the Christian
kings quickly realized their skills and knowledge of Muslim culture could be
indispensable in negotiations between sides. Again, however, for the general Jewish
population, life could not be more complicated.
In Christian territories, as in many other places in Europe, it quickly became clear
to the monarchies (there were at this time several Christian kingdoms in Spain) that, for
largely economic reasonsthe Jews as a community were key to a smoothly-running
government. Although this fact is often unduly simplified, Jews were permitted to loan
money and charge interestsomething technically forbidden to Christians. They were
therefore vital to a stable economy, especially one that had to finance the perpetual
warfare of the Reconquest (Reconquista). For this reason, when Jewish communities in
Christian territories were threatened with forced conversion or violence, the Christian
kings protected them. In many cases, the Jews became the property of the crown, and if
any Jews were killed, the killer was required to pay a fine to the king himself, therefore
making up for any lost income.20
20 Gerber, Jane S. The Jews of Spain.
17


CHAPTER II
JEWS IN CHRISTIAN ART
The Jesse Tree
The Jesse Tree was an early manifestation of Jews from the Old Testament
appearing in Christian art, and one in which Jews were generally depicted in positive, or
at least neutral ways. This image sought to illustrate Christs genealogy in the form of a
tree21. The idea of the Tree of Jesse came from an Old Testament verse that described the
family tree of the promised Messiahstarting with the stem of Jessethe father of King
David.22 An early example of this image in Spanish art is a carving on the Portico da
Gloria in the cathedral at Santiago de Compostela. This portico is behind the western
facade, and was built between 1168 and 1188 by the Master Matteo. The image we are
concerned with appears on the central pier, beneath a statue of Saint James, the
cathedrals namesake and apostle whose relics lie within its walls. Below the apostlewe
can see Christ enthroned, and beneath him, his Jewish predecessors, surrounded by
foliage. At the bottom of the tree lies a sleeping Jesse.
This Jesse tree, from the Portico da Gloria of the Cathedral of Santiago de
Compostela is one of the earliest examples in Spanish art, and in it we can see all the
hallmarks of this type of depiction. The Master Mateo and his workshop carved it in
1188. The Jews are marked as such, with long beards, and in some cases, pointed hats.
However, we can also see that in this context, these markers are not meant to be
derogatory, but rather signifiers of the figures5 identities. Its aim is to visually present
Christ5 s legitimacy, along with that of the Christian church, and in so doing, it
21 Higgs Strickland, Saracens, Demons, & Jews, 98.
22 Higgs Strickland, 98.
18


provided an important bridge between the Old Testament and the New Testament,
helping to justify the continued use of the former in a manner that accords an
unequivocally positive role to the Jews. Indeed, if anything, this image stresses
the relationship between Christ and the Old Testament Jews, albeit conveying the
ultimate message that the New Law has superseded the Old.23
Figure 1:Master Mateo, Jesse Tree, Portico da Gloria^ 1188. Stone. Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, Spain.
Reproduced from Universidad Complutense de Madrid online, http://www.ucm.es/data/cont/docs/621-2013-ll-
21-3.%20%C3%81rbol%20de%20Jes%C3%A9.pdf (accessed April14, 2014)
23 Higgs Strickland, Saracens, Demons, & Jews, 98.
19


Jews in Crucifixion Scenes
Later Christian images of Jews were not always so positive, or even neutral, as the
Jesse Tree. A powerful example of this, and a common theme in Christian polemic, art,
literature, and society in general, was that of the Jews as the murderers of Christ.
According to Debra Higgs Strickland, there were three phases in which the blame for the
murder of Christ was placed upon contemporary Jews: 'The first stage was the patristic
assignment of the characteristics of the New Testament Pharisees to all Jews. The second
stage was blaming contemporary Jews for the murder of Christ owing to the deeds of
their ancestors and their own refusal to accept Christianity. The third stage was a
conceptual merging of Old Testament with contemporary Jews via artistic representations
of contemporary Jews crucifying Christ 24
There were thousands and thousands of images in which this connection was
made between the actual participants in the crucifixion of Christ and
contemporary Jews. In all of them, the Jews appeared bearing the full retinue of
derogatory markers available to Medieval Christian artists. These Jews were
usually represented in profileand the images contained stigmatizing costume
grotesque facial features, dark skin color, and other physical deformities, such as
stunted or misshapen bodies.25
They were depicted with elongated, hooked noses, usually with their mouths
open, teeth bared or tongues protmding, "which was considered highly indecent in the
Middle Ages 26 In images of the Passionincluding the arrestmockerytorture and
execution of Christ, the Jews appeared as the sole perpetrators.
It is interesting to note that in these images, the role of the Roman governor,
Pontius Pilate, and his soldiers, was all but erased. In many images, Pilate even appeared
24 Higgs Strickland, Saracens, Demons, & Jews, 107.
25 Higgs Strickland,110.
26 Halstrup. Representations of Jews346.
20


as a Jew, donning contemporary Jewish garb and with typically Jewish physical
characteristics. On the other hand, in many images Pilate was depicted as Roman or
Christian, and with many redeeming features. In such images, the depiction of Pilate as a
righteous figure served to place the blame for Christ5s death squarely with the Jews by
minimizing Pilates and the Romans participation. Those images in which Pilate
appeared as a Jew have this same basic aim, although it was realized quite differently. In
this case, medieval artists could still place the blame with the Jews by implying, through
the representation of Pilate as a Jew, that although Christ was technically executed under
the authority of Pilatethe Jewish community of Jerusalem had forced his handthereby
absolving him of guilt. In yet other images, Pilate was depicted with a small demon
behind or next to him, representing the influence of evil in his decision. That the demons
were often given the same physical characteristics (hooked noses, beards, and open
mouths) as Jews should not be overlooked.
It is important to note that all of these negative images of Jews, in which they
were depicted as enemies of Christ (and therefore the church) and friends of Satan, could
be used to justify actions by the church, governments, mobs or even individuals regarding
Jews. Massacres, forced conversions, loss of economic and legal rights, and expulsion
could all be justified in this way.
Las Cantigas de Santa Maria
The thirteenth century Spanish king Alfonso X (reigned 1221-1284) was known
as El Sabio or The Learned. During his considerably lengthy reignhe had
commissioned and participated in hundreds of works and projects, which codified and
21


retained medieval Spanish knowledge and culture. Among these projects was the
massive a collection of more than 400 poemsmost of which
related miracles supposedly worked by the Virgin. These poems were accompanied by a
large number of illuminations, which give us an excellent example of the depictions of
Jews in thirteenth-century Spanish art. The Cantigas featured examples of the differing
types of depictions of Jews, ranging from the neutral to the derogatory.
As mentioned earlier, an important aspect of the Jewish-Cnristian relationship
during the middle ages was the role of Jew as witness to the veracity of the Christian
faith. A very large number of the Cantigas related miracles in which Jews saw the error
of their ways with the help of the Virgin and subsequently converted to Christianity.
Many of these tales began with Jews engaged in host desecration, or other affronts to the
Christian faith, but just as many featured well-meaning Jews who were simply ignorant
of the tme faith. I will discuss here four cantigas, two of wmch deal with Jewish women
who converted to Christianity because of the assistance they received from the Virgin.
The other two deal with the desecration of Christian religious objectsan icon of the
Virgin, and the host itself.
One poem related a story, told all over Europe at the time, of a pregnant Jewish
woman. She was in labor for many hours, but was unable to give birth to her child.
Finally, out of desperation, she prayed to the Virgin, and was rewarded with the birth of a
healthy child. She and the child then converted to Christianity as thanks.27 This story was
illustrated with a page of miniature illuminations (fig. 2, fig. 3), which showed the
27 Prado-Vilar, Francisco, Uludeus Sacer: Life, Law, and Identity in the *State of Exception' Called
Parian Miracle,,w In Judaism and Christian Art, ed. Herbert L. Kessler and David Nirenberg.
[Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011], 125.
22


womans travails. In the first two frameswe can see the woman laboring for many
hours, helped by a midwife. In the third frame, the woman is shown about to give birth,
attended by many women, and in the fourth, she is shown cradling the infant. In the last
two frames, we see the woman presenting the child in public, and being baptized in the
church. These images are interesting in that the Jewish woman is indistinguishable from
any other woman. She bears none of the derogatory markers usually reserved for Jews.
The only reason we know she is Jewish is that the story tells us so.
Figure 2: Cantigas de Santa Marta^ ca.1280, in Kessler and Nirenberg, Judaism and Christian Art^ 125.
23


Figure 3: Cantigas de Santa Maria, ca.1280, in Bradley Smith, Spain: A History in Art (New York: Simon &
Schuster, 1966) 94-95.
Another cantiga featured the local story of Marisaltos. This was the story
of a Jewess who was thrown (for an unspecified reasonaccording to Louise Mirrer,
mostly likely a sexual indiscretion28) over a cliff in Segovia and was saved by the Virgin
(fig. 4). In the first two frames, the Jewess, Marisaltos is shown surrounded by a group
of male Jews, distinguished by their large, hooked noses and open mouths, and taken
forcibly from the town. In the following frames, Marisaltos is thrown from the cliff, and
shown in the act of praying to the Virgin. In the final two frames, Marisaltos speaks to
the faithful in a church, in front of a statue of the Virgin, and in the last frame, we see her
being baptized under the watchful eye of Mary. This particular image is significant for
the clear difference in representations of men and women, and for its sexual implications.
While the men in these images are shown as stereotypical Jews, complete with negative
physical markers, the woman (like the Jewess saved by the Virgin in the act of giving
birth) is shown without any particular markers. These women may have been depicted in
28 Louise Mirrer, V/omen,yews, and Texts Ann Arbor: University
of Michigan Press, 1996], 33.
24


this neutral manner because of the possibility of their redemption and ultimate
conversions.
c.v
Figure 4: ^How Holy Mary Saved From Death the Jewess Who Was Thrown Over a Cliff in Segovia^, Cantigas de
Samta Maria^ ca.1280, in Merback, Beyond the Yellow Badge^ 507.
The cantiga which dealt with the attempted desecration of an image of the Virgin
and Child told an early tale in which a Jew stole the image and intended to destroy it in a
latrine. The images (fig. 5) that accompany this poem show the Jew (depicted in profile,
with a hooked nose, long dark hair and beard and pointed Jews hat) in the process of
stealing the image, followed by an image of the Jew dishonoring the image. He is stalked
by a demon sent by the Virgin as punishment for his desecration of her image. The
following frame shows the Jew, who has been killed, being carried off by the demons
(whose facial features are interestingly similar to those of the Jewlarge, hooked noses
25


and long shaggy beards). The next frame shows two men rescuing the image, and the
final two show the image, returned to its rightful place, being venerated.
Figure 5: How Holy Mary Got Even with the Jew for the Dishonor He Did to Her Image, Cantigas de Santa Marta^
ca.1280, in Mitchell B. Merback, Beyond the Yellow Badge: Anti-Judaism and Anti-Semitism in Medieval and
Early Modern Visual Culture (Boston: Brill, 2008) 506.
The final cantiga I will discuss here relates a frequently told story of a Jewish
child who, after partaking of the Eucharist at a Christian church service, returned home,
where his father, angered by this religious indiscretion, threw the child into an oven.
With the Virgin5 s protection, he survived the flames, and instead the father was thrown
into the furnace and killed. The child and his mother then converted to Christianity. The
images for this poem eloquently illustrate the story (fig. 6). The first frames show the
Jewish child in the church, listening to the sermon and participating in the sacrament of
the Eucharist. He returns home in the next frame, relating his experience in the church to
his family. The father, again depicted with the typical derogatory features, enraged,
26


throws his son into the furnace. In the next frame, we can see the child emerge from the
furnace, under the protection of the Virgin and Child, still inside the oven. In the final
frame, the father is seen burning in the oven. Although the conversions of the child and
his mother are not shown in the miniatures, this detail is mentioned in the cantiga itself.
This image is another example of the gender distinction seen in the cantiga about the
pregnant woman who converted to Christianity. We can see a direct relationship between
female Jews who convert to Christianity and the way they are depicted in these images.
The women appear as neutral characters that pose no threat to the church and Christian
society. However, the Jewish men depicted in these illuminations appear with grotesque
features. These men do not convert to Christianity, and are therefore seen as a threat.
The different representations of Jewish men and women make this distinction clear.
It should also be mentioned here that these illuminations appeared in manuscript
form, which necessarily limited their audience to those members of medieval Christian
society who were educated or wealthy enough to have access to manuscripts. Illiterate or
impoverished Christians would not have seen these images firsthand.
27


Figure 6: How Holy Mary saved from Burning the Son of the Jew, Whose Father Had Thrown Him into the
Furnace, Cantigas de Santa Mana^ ca.1280, in Merback, Beyond the Yellow Badge^ 509.
Altarpieces
The altarpiece of a church was the focal point of any mass. This was an image
that was either placed directly on the altar itself, or behind it. The priest stood behind the
altar during the mass, and so the image was visible to the faithful for the entire service.
This was a very powerful and public place for works that had among their themes the
place of Jews within Christian society. There were, of course, the usual images of Jews
from the Old and New Testaments, and those included in cmcifixion scenes, such as a
thirteenth century altarpiece featuring scenes from the life of Christ (fig. 6). We can see
28


in action here the idea of contemporary Jews as Christ-killers. In these scenes, the
Roman soldiers who arrest Jesus appear with the ubiquitous (by the thirteenth century)
markers of Jewishnesshooked noses, dark hair and beards. In these particular images,
their eyebrows distinguish them from the Christian figures; they are much thicker and
darkerwhich served as yet another way to mark Jews as different from Christians. In
one panel, two Jews beat Christ, on the cross, with whips that look, perhaps intentionally,
like Hebrew letters.
Figure 7: Anonymous, Scenes from the Life of Christy thirteenth century, in Mann, Uneasy Communion^ 113.
A retablo featuring a scene of Christ among the doctors (fig. 7), from the early
fifteenth century, is interesting for its architectural accuracy. According to Vivian Mann,
"excavations near the fortress in Lorca in 2003 prove the accuracy of the synagogue
29


architecture painted... [t]he space is illuminated by glass 'mosque5 lamps and, in a case of
life imitating art, a large cache of glass shards from 'mosque5 lamps was found.. .at
Lorca.29 The fact that these mosque lamps appear in an image of a synagogue could
be an attempt to lump both Jews and Muslims into the category of The Other in artistic
representation. The Jews in this image are stereotypical as well, featuring the dark skin
and hair, long beards and hooked noses we have seen in earlier works. 29
Figure 8: Anonymous, Christ Among the Doctors^ Early fifteenth century, in Vivian B. Mann, Uneasy
Communion: Jews, Christians, and the Altarpieces of Medieval Spain (New York: Museum of Biblical Art, 2010)
Frontispiece.
29 Vivian B. Mann, Jews and Altarpieces in Medieval Spainfrom t/neasy
C/]/st/ad arp/eces ed. Vivian B. Mann, [New York: Museum of Biblical
Art, 2010], 96.
30


In many churches, there were altarpieces dedicated to saints in which the saint interacted
with Jews. For example, the altarpiece of Saint Stephen from the church of Santa Maria
de Gualter, painted by Jaume Serra in the late fourteenth century (fig. 8) shows the saint
engaged in a sermon with a group of Jewish men. The saint was known as a zealous
preacher,,,30 and he is shown in a building that might be a synagogue, speaking to the
Jews. The clearly marked men, with dark skin, long beards, reading Hebrew books, react
in various ways. Two men tear up the pages of their religious books, apparently
convinced by the saint. Two other men attempt to argue with Saint Stephen, holding out
their books to him. Two Jews have their ears covered. This is in relation to Saint
Stephen, who appears with refined, delicate features and light skin. This is an interesting
image, showing attempts by church leaders to convert the Jews. 30
Figure 9: Jaume Serra, Altarpiece of Saint Stephen from the Church of Santa Maria de Gualter^ ca.1385, in
Mann, Uneasy Communion^ 121.
30 Mann, Uneasy Communion, 119.
31


There were many examples, especially in northern Spanish (Castile and Aragon)
churches, of altarpieces dealing with the host desecration and ritual murder libels. These
usually consisted of polyptychs (altarpieces with multiple panels) in which the central
theme was the life of Christ, or the Virgin, or the sacrament of the Eucharist, and in
which one or two, and sometimes several panels were devoted to these accusations
leveled against Medieval Jews. I will discuss two important examples, both of which
deal with the host desecration theme.
The first is Guillem Seguers mid-fourteenth century Altarpiece of the Trinity and
the Eucharist (fig. 9), from the monastery of Vallbona de les Monges. This piece features
multiple panels, some illustrating scenes from the life of Christ, some celebrating the
sacrament of the Eucharist, and two in particular dealing with the host desecration libel.
In one panel (fig. 10), two clearly Jewish men, within a Gothic interior, who have
purchased the stolen host, attempt to stab it with a knife. The host bleeds on the table. In
another panel (fig. 11), one of the Jews has thrown the host into a pot of boiling water,
where it cannot be destroyed.
32


Figure 10: Guillem Seguer, AUarpiece of the Trinity and the Eucharist from the monastery of Vallbona de les
Monges^ 1349-1350, in Mann, Uneasy Communion^ 32.
Figure 11:Las Monjas Altar-Frontal, A Desecration of the Host by Two Jewish Men with a Knife^ Late fourteenth
century, inMiri Rubin, Gentile Tales: The Narrative Assault on Late Medieval Jews (New Haven: Yale University
Press, 1999), 158.
33


Figure 12: Las Monjas Altar-Frontal, A Jewish Man Throws the Host into a Cauldron of Boiling Water^ Late
fourteenth century, in Rubin, Gentile Tales^ 159.
The second altarpiece is Pere Serras Altarpiece of the Virgin (fig. 12)also from
the mid-fourteenth century. This altarpiece features scenes from the lives of Mary and
Christ, but the entire lower panel (save for an image of the Last Supper) is dedicated to
the host desecration libel. In one image (fig. 13), a group of Christians has discovered
that the consecrated host has been stolen. They hold the empty pyx (a small container
used to transport the host), and are greatly distraught. In the next panel, we see the Jew
who has presumably stolen or purchased the host in a boat on the water. He throws the
host overboard in an attempt to destroy it. The Christians watch from the shore, one of
them holding the empty pyx. The next scenes show another story (fig. 13), in which
another host is stolen, this time by a woman. She takes the host to the house of a Jew,
where he stabs it with a knife (fig. 14). We can also see that the Jew has attempted to
boil the host in a potbut the Christ child has instead miraculously appeared. The Jews
34


wife and child look on in astonishment. In the final scene, a Jewish woman
(distinguished by her red hair) has converted to Christianity and takes communion.
Figure 13: Pere Serra, AUarpiece of the Virgin^ 1362-75, in Mann, Uneasy Communion^ 87.
35


Figurel4: Pere Serra, Altarpiece of the Virgin, Predella with scenes of the Blood and Host Libels (detail)^ 1362-75,
in Mann, Uneasy Communion^ 88
Figure 15: Jaume Serra, Host Desecration According to the Case of Paris (detail)^ ca.1400, in Rubin, Gentile
Tales^ 160.
36


These images are clear reflections of the relationship between Christians and
Jews, but they tell us much more about Medieval Christians than they do about Medieval
Jews. We can see from these representations of Jews in Christian art that Christians were
attempting to distance themselves from their Jewish predecessors. They were able to do
this by representing Jews in racist wayswith long, dark hair, dark beards, hooked
noses, open mouths, dark skin and in distinctively Medieval Jewish clothing (such as
pointed hats). They were also depicted as engaged in violently anti-Christian acts, such
as host desecration and ritual murder, and as central participants in the execution of
Christ.
This type of depiction certainly distanced medieval Jews from their Christian
neighbors, regardless of whether or not they actually looked like their representations or
engaged in the activities shown in the art. These representations also tell us a great about
the anxieties faced by these medieval Spanish Christian communities. Concerns about
the coexistence of Jews and Christians (which was very often closer than either Christian
or Jewish authorities wished to admit) were often worked out in artistic representation.
Theological concerns, such as the belief (or lack thereof) in transubstantiation was
effectively communicated through the host desecration narrative and corresponding
images.
The Host Desecration and Blood Libels
Another aspect of the Jewish-Christian relationship, accusations of host
desecration and ritual murder, emerged in the late thirteenth century. Leveled against
Jews by their Christian neighbors, these accusations argued that Jews were engaged in
37


various crimes against Christians. Jews, it was said, were murdering Christians (usually
children) for use in their rituals, and were procuring sanctified hosts and attempting to
destroy them by whatever means necessary. This narrative appeared in many forms
throughout the later Middle Ageswritten stories, plays, and artistic representations.31
The accusations of ritual murder and host desecration did not always arise in the same
places at the same time, but they are often grouped together in scholarship. I will present
them separately here. These stories, in which Jews were accused of attacking the body of
Christ (Host Desecration) and the bodies of Christian children (The Blood Libel), came to
stand as representations of the threat that Jews posed to Christian society.
The accusations of host desecration emerged in the late thirteenth century, with
the first intact narrative appearing in Paris in 1290.32 The basic story was (and continued
to be told in much the same fashion for the next centuries) that a Jewish man, curious
about the nature of the host, procured one, usually from a Christian woman or a thief.
The Jewish man then proceeded to test the hostusually by stabbing it or placing it in
an oven. When the host bled, the Jew attempted to get rid of it, usually by burying it.
However, divine signs (mysterious singing or lights shining at night.) appeared, which
drew attention to the buried host, which was now miraculous. The Jewish perpetrator
was located, and either executed or converted, and a mass conversion of Jews usually
followed. Images of this narrative usually illustrated the story, and many images focused
on the actual desecration of the host itself. In these images, the Jews were, of course,
31 Miri Rubin, Gentile Tales: The Narrative Assault on Late Medievaljews, [Philadelphia: University of
Pennsylvania Press,1999].
32 Rubin, Gentile Tales, 40.
38


represented with clear distinguishing factors, such as Jewish dress, hooked noses, beards,
and deformed or stunted bodies.
The anxieties behind these accusations are interesting, and may explain why they
were so widely disseminated. Transubstantiation did not become official church dogma
until 1215, when the Fourth Lateran Council declared it as such. According to the
council
His body and blood are truly contained in the sacrament of the altar under the
forms of bread and wine, the bread and wine having been transubstantiated
(changed in substance)by Gods powerinto his body and bloodso that in order
to achieve the mystery of unity we received from God what he received from us33
At the time, there were those within the church who argued that Christ could not
be, and was not, in fact, present in the wafers and wine consecrated by priests and taken
during communion by believers. Using the Jews as a concrete way of proving the truth
of transubstantiation could serve to ease these anxieties and, at the same time, strengthen
the faith of everyday people in this phenomenon.34 It may also be that these accusations
stemmed from the belief that Jews were the murderers of Christ. If Christ was present in
the Eucharist, then Jews had the opportunity to kill him again, just as they had in the New
Testament. This lack of remorse over the death of Christ, and willingness to commit the
same crime again clearly justified any negative actions against Jews in Christian
society.35
33 Confession of faith, Fourth Lateran Council, Papal Encyclicals Online.,
http:www.papalencyclicals.net/councils/ecuml2-2.htm#Confession.10 March 2012.
34 Miri Rubin, Gentile Tales, 41.
35 Rubin, 41.
39


Accusations of ritual murder (or the blood libel) first appeared in England during
the twelfth century with the case of St. William of Norwich. William was a young boy
whose body was found in the woods outside of town, apparently tortured, executed and
crucified to satisfy the ritual needs of the areas Jews. Later versions of the story were
very similar and followed the same prescribed narrative route. Again, the images of these
accusations featured Jews with typically negative Jewish featureshooked nose, full
beard, and darker skin color.
It is important to note that these accusations, both of blood libel and host
desecration, began appearing and proliferating during the thirteenth, fourteenth and
fifteenth centuries. These were the same centuries which had devastating effects on the
Jewish populace, from civic persecution to mass murder, and ultimately, physical
expulsion: from England in 1290; from France in 1306, 1322, and 1394; from Spain in
1492; and from dozens of German principalities and towns during the early fifteenth
centuryand from southern Italy in 1541.36
The images of Host Desecration, in which Jews literally attacked the body of
Christ in the form of the consecrated wafer is also related to the Christian concern about
Jewish food prohioitions. Food was an integral part of Medieval Spanish society for both
Jews and Christians. Christians thought of the Eucharist as the perfect food, since it
36 Higgs Strickland, Saracens, Demons, & Jews, 105.
40


could sustain both the body and the soul. Concerns about Jewish destruction of this
perfect food, illustrated in images of Host Desecration narratives reflects anxieties that
Christians had about their own society. Like these images, a focus on Jewish food
prohibitions, especially the Jewish ban on eating pork, served as a place for Christians to
explore these anxieties and create social and cultural cohesion.
41


CHAPTER III
FOOD
Food and eating are imperative to human life. As such, they take on important
meaning within human culture. We are familiar with the saying you are what you eat
but it is also tme, according to Phyllis Pray Bober, "that you are what you do not eat.
Food taboos and food avoidance have always been supremely effective boundary
mechanisms delimiting cultural groupings both large and small. 37 This is especially
tme of devout Jews, who, at the behest of God, abstain from eating animals considered
unclean, including pork. For Christians, the matter is somewhat more complicated. In
the Middle Agesthe rejection by Jews of certain foods as unclean came to serve as a
very important site of differentiation between the Jewish and Christian communities.
As with artistic representation, Christians used Jewish food avoidances as highly
visible cultural locations in which they could create some semblance of cohesion and
grapple safely with the economic, theological, and social pressures that were so
problematic from the twelfth through the fifteenth centuries. Additionally, food and
sexuality were closely linked in the medieval mind, and food became an important locus
for exploring Christian anxieties about sexuality both within Christian society itself, and
between the Christian and Jewish communities of the Iberian Peninsula.
An overview of general Spanish culinary history reads like an overview of the
peninsulas many and varied invaders. Spanish cuisine was heavily influenced in the first
place by the Greeks and Phoenicians, who starting in the eighth century BCE, arrived on
Spain5 s Mediterranean shore and brought with them the cultivation, production, and trade
37 Bober, Phyllis Pray, Zt Cw/twe, and and Med/eva/Gastonomy [Chicago: University
of Chicago Press. 1999] 2.
42


of olive oil and wine, which would become staples of the Spanish diet.38 The Romans
began establishing colonies on the peninsula beginning in the first century BCE and,
along with Roman language, science, technology, laws and art, brought with them Roman
cooking. In fact, according to Rafael Chabran, "much of what we think of today as being
typically Spanish were [sic], in fact, the staples of the Roman diet. Bread, cheese, olives
and olive oil, wine, and roast meat, when it was to be had, were the standard fare of the
Roman soldiers in Hispania.39 G^n/which was a sauce made from the offal of salted
fish, was another staple of Roman cuisine, and varieties made in Spain became the most
popular and expensive.
In the fifth century CE, the Roman Empire fell, and the Iberian Peninsula was
invaded by a number of Germanic tribes, including the Vandals, Alans, Swabians, Goths,
and Visigoths. Of these tribes, the Visigoths managed to gain a foothold in the peninsula.
There are very few records of this period, but since the Visigoths were nominally
Christiansthe increasingly influential Catholic high clergy maintained many ...Latin
traditions...40
We can assume that Spanish cuisine remained essentially unchangedthat is,
Romanuntil 711, when the Moors invaded from North Africa. Again, along with
advancements in science, medicine, technology and the arts, new foods, tastes, and
cooking styles arrived from North Africa and the Middle East. New ingredients, such as
artichokes, almonds, chickpeas and eggplants were introduced. The Arabs also brought
with them a taste for sweet and sour and sweet and salty combinations within dishes,
38 Rafael Chabran, ^Medieval Spain/' In Regional Cuisines of Medieval Europe: A Book of Essays, ed.
Melitta Weiss Adamson [New York: Routledge, 2002] 129.
39 Chabrn,Medieval Spain. 129.
40 Chabran, 131.
43


along with saffron, the juice or bitter oranges, rose water, and cider.41 The Muslims who
came to the Peninsula shared with the Jews the religious mandate to avoid pork.
These are general trends in the history of Spanish cooking, and it should be noted
that, besides obvious differences in what Jews and Christians could and could not eat
based upon religious considerations, the ways in which food was prepared and flavored
were influenced by the tastes of all the invaders I have mentioned here, and the dishes
could be, in some cases, remarkably similar. For instance, a popular hispano-Jewish dish
was the adafina. This was a stew whose name derived from the Arabic al-dafinah
(buried treasure), which borrowed from Arabic cooking the use of onions and chickpeas,
and which was similar to Christian dishes known as ollas or cocidos. The main
difference, of course, between the Jewish and Christian versions was that the ollas or
cocidos generally consisted of pork, while the adafina was made with lamb 42
Jewish Food Practices
The dietary restrictions for Jews are all laid out clearly in the Old Testament
books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy. These laws consist of rules about which animals
are clean or uncleanand therefore may or may not be eatenspecific rules for
slaughtering the animals, and the ways in which they should be prepared. Animals that
are considered clean and may be consumed are generally those that chew the cud and
have cloven hooves. The pig, horse, camel and rabbit are considered unclean and should
not be consumed, along with carnivorous animals, including all birds of prey, other birds
such as owls and storks, carrion, animals which have died of natural causes or disease,
41 Chabrn, Medieval Spain.137-138.
42 Chabran, 137.
44


and those that have been hunted. Fish with scales and fins are kosher, and may be
consumed, but sturgeon, shark, swordfish, eel, lamprey, sea urchins, octopus, squid, and
all shellfish and crustaceans are not. Reptilessnailsand frogs are prohibited.43
Jews are also strictly forbidden from consuming blood, which accounts for the
rules about how animals must be slaughtered in order to be kosher and fit for
consumption. Regarding preparationthe Old Testament statesnot to seethe the kid in
the mothers milk [which] has been interpreted to mean that meat and milk cannot be
part of the same meal 44 45
Within the larger framework of medieval Christian society, the laws reminded
Jews of their privileged relationship with God, but it is important to note that, as in other
places in Europe, Spanish Jewish cuisine was strongly influenced by the culture that
surrounded it.
Christian Food Practices
In light of the food restrictions laid out in the Old Testament, what to eat (and
what not to eat) was much more complicated for Christians. Generally, according to
Irven Resnickearly Christians developed a consensus.. .that the dietary laws of the
Jews ceased to be binding once the Old Law had been fulfilled by Jesus.,,45 While it
seems clear that Christians understood themselves as no longer bound by the Old
Testament restrictions, and were therefore afforded a greater degree of dietary freedom,
other conflicts quickly arose. As Pray Bober says, there was a
43 The Holy Bible, King James Version. New York: Oxford Edition: 1769. Leviticus 11:1-47.
44 Weiss Adamson, Food in Medieval Times, 199.
45 Resnick, Irven, ,(Dietary Laws in Medieval Christian-Jewish Polemics: A Survey/' Studies in
Christian-Jewish Relations. Volume 6 [2011].2.
45


fundamental dichotomy that affects cooking and eating during the so-called
Middle Ages. Body and soul; feasting and fasting; relishing Gods bounty and yet
evading sins of the flesh like gluttonyhow was one to reconcile a classical
tradition of concern for bodily health and dietetics, or of gentile and Jewish ritual
dining in spiritual fellowshipwith a new asceticism that could ultimately lead to
saints sustained by mystical visions rather than food?46
This anxiety on the part of the Cnnstian community, much like the anxiety that
influenced Christian representations of Jews in art, informed discussions of what should
and should not be eaten, and almost more importantly, in light of the importance of food
choices throughout the Christian religious calendar, when. Almost right away, and
especially in Spain, where the eating or ham and pork were an important part of
gastronomic culture, it became clear that to eat pork was to immediately mark oneself as
Christian. Not only were Cnristians marking themselves as such, they were more
importantly marking themselves as not Jewish.
According to Bridget Ann HemischMan must have food. So much is simple,
but in every age his attitude toward this basic fact of lire is complicated by the ideas
which shape his own society. Medieval man looked to the Church for guidance, but the
Churchs feelings about the subject were mixed and its teacmngs in consequence
confused 47 We can see the clear influence of the church in the Christian calendar of
feasts and fasts. This all-important schedule was a living example of the dichotomy
Bober talks about. In the Christian year, there could be prolonged periods of fasting (the
most important of these being Lent and Advent), followed by joyful feasts (the most
important being Easter, Christmas and Epiphany. Feast days for individual saints also
46 Pray Bober, Culture, and Cuisine, 139.
47 Bridget Ann Hemisch, Fast and Feast; Food Med/eva/Soc/ety [University Park and London: The
Pennsylvania State University Press, 1976] 2.
46


broke up the year, in contrast to the (ideally) two days a week in which Christians should
abstain from meat (Wednesdays and Fridays).
During those times when fasts were called for, the ascetic nature of Christianity
won out, and people were made to subsist on vegetables, bread and fish. Of course, this
also served as the year-round diet of many peasants. But fasting was in itself very
problematic, and
officially, the Church took great pains to emphasize that fasting was merely a
useful self-discipline. It was taught that God had created everything in the world,
and every part of it was good. A fast was ordered not because food in itself was
evil but because it was so necessary and so attractive to man that some form of
abstention from it at certain times was considered to be very good for the soul.48
During these fasts, and most especially during Lent, the faithful were told to
contemplate the suffering of Christ, and were reminded of his imperviousness to
temptation. This fast was also meant to be a reminder of mans sinand Christs willing
death for that sin. Therefore, abstention from meat during lent was related to this sin,
which could be traced back to Adams fall. When God discovered what Adam had
done, He said: 'Cursed is the ground for thy sake.5 The earth and earths creatures were
flawed by mans failure49 and thereforeno land animal should be eatenin order to
remind men of that failure. In this, we see again the ever-present dichotomy which was
so troubling for the Christians, and again, the church had to be very careful to make the
clear point that meat was goodand given up in lent only as a daily reminder of mans
48 Hemisch, Fast and Feast, 7.
49 Hemisch, 32.
47


fall and Gods anger. Meat was also, incidentallyenormously enjoyedso the long
deprivation was a very real punishment.50
This struggle in the medieval Christian mind between the body and the soul also
has an important sexual aspect. Very early Christianity offered its followers a surprising
amount of freedom with regards to diet.51 But by the fifth century, fasting and abstinence
from food were highly regulated by the church. We can see why when we look at some
of the opinions held by the Church Fathers regarding food and sex:
Around A.D. 200, Tertulian was one of the first to link flesh with lust and carnal
desire. In the fourth century Saint Jerome maintained that a stomach filled with
too much food and wine leads to lechery, and in the sixth century Isidore of
Seville explained the connection between gluttony and lechery as a consequence
of the close proximity of the stomach and sexual organs of the body. Indulging in
food, therefore, also incites lust.52 53
Christians were urged, then, to participate in fasts to cleanse their bodies; to bring
themselves closer to Christs sufferingbut also in order to keep their carnal desires in
check.
We can see this sexual anxiety playing itself out yet again in Christian attempts at
preventing and stopping real and imagined sexual interactions between Jews and
Christians. Food often became the metaphor of choice. For example: A little yeast in a
large mass of dough, one sick sheep infecting the flock, a spoiled apple rotting the entire
bin.,,5S These metaphors are important, because they reveal the close relationship of food
and sex. In the Medieval mind, the progression from one to the other could be fatal, as
illustrated in this passage from the Babylonian Talmud, which discusses a situation in
which Christian anxiety about Jewish-Christian sexual relationships led to certain
50 Hemisch, Fast and Feast, 33.
51 Weiss Adamson, Melitta, Food in Medieval Times, 185.
52 Weiss Adamson, 185.
53 Nirenberg, Conversion, Sex, and Segregation, 1070.
48


legislation: "With all the things against which they decreed the purpose was to safeguard
against idolatry... [They made a decree] against their bread and oil on account of their
wine; against their wine on account of their daughters; against their daughters on account
of another matter.54 55 Another anecdotefrom the canon lawyer Johannes Teutonicusis
also revealing. He made the point quite wittily when asked: why are Christians allowed
to talk to Jews but forbidden to eat with them? The reply: talking is one thing, but
eating? Who knows what can happen between courses.,,55 This is a humorous spin on a
very serious concern for both the Christian and Jewish communities.
The feasts that generally followed periods of fasting were celebrations of the more
worldly aspect of Christianity. These were times when Christians could and should revel
in the gifts of the Lord, while keeping in mind the spiritual nature of the celebrations.
The importance of this dichotomy should not be underestimated when looking at the
importance of food choice in the negotiation of identity. As in the case of artistic
representation, Christian attitudes toward Jewish food avoidance generally say more
about Christian anxieties surrounding their own food choices than they do about actual
Jews or Jewish behaviors. We can see that the Christian attitude toward food was a cause
for great anxiety. The balance between moderation and gluttony, between feeding the
body and feeding the soul, and its implications in sexual matters was not easy to strike,
and Christians couldby pointing out that Jews did not consume pork while Christians
didemphasize the differences between Jews and Christians while highlighting the
similarities within the Christian community.
54 Nirenberg, Conversion, Sex, and Segregation, 1072.
55 Nirenberg,1070
49


We also begin to see that any divergence from Christian practice was seen as
Judaizing behavior. For example, the Cathars, a heretical Christian group that emerged in
the eleventh centuryabstained entirely from eating meata practice deemed Judaizing.
Andafter the First CrusadeChristians had become better aware that Muslims also
avoided pork and certain other foods, and sought to assign appropriate reasons for this.
Regardless of the origin of the Islamic prohibition, Christians understood the Muslims5
dietary restrictions to be a Judaizing tendency.,,56 This provides an interesting insight
into the origins of the Spanish Inquisition5 s practice of prosecuting Christians and
converted Jews and Muslims for Judaizing offences, such as abstaining from pork.
The question remains, however, as to why Christians chose to place such focus on
Jewish avoidance of pork. There were many other animals forbidden to the Jews in the
Old Testament, after all. The pig was considered unclean by the Jews, but was also often
linked to sexual pleasure and to lust, which can be aroused by gluttony 56 57 This is yet
another example of proximity in the medieval mind of sex and food. But why, if the pig
were related to such undesirable vices, would uhristians begin to consume it as proof that
they were not Jewish? Resnick argues convincingly that
As pork became a more important part of the European Christian diet, its
consumption served to proclaim Christian physical, moral, and intellectual
superiority: Christians thought themselves different because they could eat what
had been forbidden to the Jew, and they thought themselves superior because they
understood that they could prevail over the filth that the pig represented and over
the inclination to gluttony and sexual desire that pork consumption could produce
in both the body and the soul.58
56 Resnick, Dietary Laws in Medieval Christian-Jewish Polemics, 7.
57 Resnick, 5.
58 Resnick,11.
50


The importance in this case of the food people chose to eat or not eat borrows
from the humoral theory of medieval medicine. This theory held that the human body
consisted of a mix of the four humors, or liquids: black bile (or melancholy), red or
yellow bilebloodand phlegm. Each person had a specific mixtureor complexion
and remained healthy if their humors were in balance. If they fell out of balance,
however, the person would fall ill.59 What people ate was thought to affect their humors,
and since the humors affected an individuals complexionthe foods eaten represented
the causes of ones behavior and mental state.60 So, if Christians consumed foods (such
as pork) thought to bring on carnal desire, it was because they felt that their relationship
with God and their understanding of his word allowed them to do so.
In addition to these specific instances of Jewish food avoidance and Christian
food consumption as locations for the negotiation of Christian identity, we can see that
the Eucharist was the single most important meal consumed by Christians. The Eucharist
consisted of both the consecrated host, which was the sacred wafer that signified the body
of Christ, and the wine, which signified the blood of Christ. Taken together, these food
items represented communion with Christ. The dogma of transubstantiation told
Christians that they were, literally, eating Christ5 s body and drinking his blood. This was
Christianitys perfect food: sustenance for both the soul and the body. In factfor many
female saints of the twelfth through fifteenth centuries, the Eucharist served as the sole
source of nourishment.61 As discussed in the previous chapter, it is no surprise that Jews
59 Siraisi, Nancy G, Medieval and Early Renaissance Medicine: An Introduction to Knowledge and
Practice [Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1990]
60Resnick,DietaryLawsinMedievalChristianPolemics,ll.
61 Walker Bynum, Caroline, //o/y Feast and //o/y Fast It is interesting to note that these women, who
had little power over their own lives, used food to gain some semblance of control. Food was a
logical solution, since women could in a real sense be food themselves. According to Walker Bynum,
51


would be accused of attempting to steal and desecrate the consecrated host. The Jews
who had killed Christ were attempting to do so again, through the bread that, for
Christians, represented his body. The Jews in these narratives were also destroying, in a
real sense, the spiritual and literal food of the Christian community. These accusations
were just one clear example of food and art serving, in this case simultaneously, as
location where Christians were working to create a sense of unity within a fractured
community.
The Christian focus on the Jewish refusal to eat pork, the use of food metaphors
in an attempt at preventing and halting sexual relationships between Christians and Jews,
and the Christian focus on perceived Jewish attempts to destroy the consecrated host are
all examples of the ways in which Spanish Christians used food to foster a sense of unity
and cohesion in the face of extreme anxiety about the pressures facing Christianity in the
twelfth through fifteenth centuries. As in Christian artistic representations of Jews, these
food-related examples tell us much more about Christians than they do about the Jews
they refer to, and reveal to us the social, economic and religious anxieties they were
meant to minimize.
in addition to surviving on the Eucharist alone, these women might also destroy their own food and
water with salt or ashes, eat spiders, drink the pus of the from the wounds of the ill, and reject their
regular food completely.
52


CONCLUSIONS
As we have seen, the twelfth through the fifteenth centuries in Spain were
turbulent, especially for the Christian community, which was still working to establish
itself on the Peninsula. This struggle was both internal and externalfor though Spanish
Christendom fought for dominance with the various other religious traditions there,
Christianity as a whole was still engaged in a process of determining dogma and
establishing orthodoxy. Within the Christian community itself there were great anxieties
about church versus civic power, wealth versus poverty, and which interpretations of the
Gospel were acceptable and which were not. These problems, combined with encounters
and conflicts with other religious groups, most notably Jews and Muslims, made for an
atmosphere of extreme uncertainty and fear.
Lashing out at the Jewish communities that had existed on the Iberian Peninsula
since before the advent of Christianity became a safe way for Spains Christian
communities to explore these anxieties. Jews became a common and highly visible
enemy against which Christians could unite. Food and artistic representation were
sensory cultural products that were highly visible to both Christians and Jews living in
Christian society, and they became locations for the expression of these anxieties.
Art in the Medieval Spanish world could be highly visible. Images carved in
stone on church facades, or painted on church altars or depicted in stained glass windows
could be seen by anyone passing by. This art also tended to serve an educational
purpose, since most people in medieval society were illiterate. By creating a basic set of
parameters for depicting characters and stories in artworklay people could read those
53


artworks and understand the story being told. Jewish characters necessarily began
appearing in Christian art very early on, since most Old (and New) Testament characters
were Jews. These early depictions of Biblical Jews were mostly neutral and marked the
characters as Jewish only for the purpose of identification. However, by the fourteenth
century, a much more derogatory set of mles governed the images of Jews that appeared
in Christian art. Contemporary Jews, identifiable by their dark hair and beards, dark skin,
large hooked noses, open mouths, protmding tongues, and Jewish style of dress, were
often depicted in Crucifixion scenesplacing blame for the death of Christ squarely on
contemporary Jews.
These depictions, while generally negative, also expressed the complexities of
Jewish-Christian relations. While Jews were to be derided for their refusal to see the
tmth of the Christian faith, they were to be preserved, albeit in misery, because that same
refusal was seen as proof of Christian doctrine. At the same time, Jewish conversion to
Christianity was seen as necessary in order for Jesus Second Comingand so stories of
Jewish conversion, particularly involving the Virgin Mary, were very popular. These
stories were illustrated with images of Jews in which the differences between the sexes
were stark. Jewish women and children (who generally converted to Christianity in these
stories) were depicted in neutral ways, but Jewish men (who typically blocked these
conversions and were punished by the Virgin) appeared in the derogatory imagery
already discussed.
Another important aspect of the Spanish Jewish-Christian relationship was the
accusation of host desecration, which appeared with great regularity on Spanish church
altarpieces. These images, depicting Jewish men attempting to destroy or harm the
54


consecrated host, were always negative. What these images have in common is that they
all depicted Jews (specifically Jewish men) in a clear and derogatory way, in sharp
contrast to images of Christian men and women. By imagining Jews in a single, negative
way as physical (and therefore spiritual) monsters, Christians could create a single enemy
and unite themselves against it.
Food, as another highly visible aspect of any culture, served much the same
purpose as artistic representation. Jewish food avoidances, of pork in particular, acted as
a location for the differentiation between the Christian and Jewish communities. In
refusing to consume pork, Jews were following the Old Testament laws that Christians
considered null and void after Jesus fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy.
For Christians, food itself was troubling. Christian ambivalence about the balance
between the temporal and the celestial, the body and the spirit complicated matters
further. Food was necessary to sustain the physical body, but because of the proximity of
digestive and reproductive organs in the body, food was also seen as a gateway to more
sinful behavior. Because of this relationship, sex and food were very closely linked for
medieval people, and anxiety about sexuality, both within Christian society and between
Christians and Jews was frequently expressed in terms of food.
Christian choices and conversations about food expressed anxieties about
Christian society itself in much the same way that artistic representations of Jews in
Christian art did. Food and art served as very public places for Christians to establish the
societal, religious, and cultural cohesion that they lacked. By creating negative images of
55


Jews, both in art and through culinary choices, Christianity established the Jews as a
common enemy to rally against.
56


FIGURES
1188. Stone. Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Reproduced from Universidad Complutense de
Madrid online, http://www.ucm.es/data/cont/docs/621-2013-ll-21-
3.%20%C3%81rbol%20de%20Jes%C3%A9.pdf (accessed April14, 2014).
57


Figure 2: Cantigas de Santa Marta^ ca.1280, in Kessler and Nirenberg, Judaism and Christian Art^ 125.
58


Figure 3: Cantigas de Santa Maria, ca.1280, in Bradley Smith, Spain: A History in Art (New York: Simon &
Schuster, 1966) 94-95.
59


Figure 4: ^How Holy Mary Saved From Death the Jewess Who Was Thrown Over a Cliff in Segovia^, Cantigas de
Samta Maria^ ca.1280, in Merback, Beyond the Yellow Badge^ 507.
60


Figure 5: How Holy Mary Got Even with the Jew for the Dishonor He Did to Her Image, Cantigas ae Santa Maria^
ca.1280, in Mitchell B. Merback, Beyond the Yellow Badge: Anti-Judaism and Anti-Semitism in Medieval and
Early Modern Visual Culture (Boston: Brill, 2008) 506.
61


Figure 6: How Holy Mary saved from Burning the Son of the Jew, Whose Father Had Thrown Him into the
Furnace, Cantigas de Santa Maria, ca.1280, in Merback, Beyond the Yellow Badge, 509.
62


Figure 7: Anonymous, Scenes from the Life of Christy thirteenth century, in Mann, Uneasy Communion^ 113.
63


Figure 8: Anonymous, Christ Among the Doctors^ Early fifteenth century, in Vivian B. Mann, Uneasy
Communion: Jews, Christians, and the Altarpieces of Medieval Spain (New York: Museum of Biblical Art, 2010)
Frontispiece.
64


Figure 9: Jaume Serra, Altarpiece of Saint Stephen from the Church of Santa Maria de Gualter, ca.1385, in
Mann, Uneasy Communion^ 121.
Figure 10: Guillem Seguer, Altarpiece of the Trinity and the Eucharist from the monastery of Vallbona de les
Monges, 1349-1350, in Mann, Uneasy Communion, 32.
65


Figure 11:Las Monjas Altar-Frontal, A Desecration of the Host by Two Jewish Men with a Knife^ Late fourteenth
century, inMiri Rubin, Gentile Tales: The Narrative Assault on Late Medieval Jews (New Haven: Yale University
Press, 1999), 158.
66


Figure 12: Las Monjas Altar-Frontal, A Jewish Man Throws the Host into a Cauldron of Boiling Water^ Late
fourteenth century, in Rubin, Gentile Tales^ 159.
67


68



Figurel4: Pere Serra, Altarpiece of the Virgin, Predella with scenes of the Blood and Host Libels (detail), 1362-75,
in Mann, Uneasy Communion^ 88
69


Figure 15: Jaume Serra, Host Desecration According to the Case of Paris (detail), ca.1400, in Rubin, Gentile
Tales^ 160.
70


BIBLIOGRAPHY
Augustine of Hippo, Saint. "Book XVI, Chapter 35-What Was Indicated by the
Divine Answer About the Twins Still Shut Up in the Womb of Rebecca Their
Mother^. City of God. http://people.bu.edu/dklepper/RN470/augustine_iews.html.
5 May 2011.
BmgoH(ko G. Remembering Sepharad: Jewish Culture in Medieval Spain. Madrid.
State Corporation for Spanish Cultural Action Abroad. 2003. Pg.
Bober, Phyllis Pray. Art, Culture, and Cuisine: Ancient and Medieval Gastronomy.
Chicago:The University of Chicago Press. 1999.
Chabran, Rafael. "Medieval Spain.In Regional Cuisines of Medieval Europe: A Book of
Essays. Edited by Melitta Weiss Adamson. New York: Routledge. 2002.
Chrysostom, John. Adversus Iudeos 1.4. trans. Meeks and Wilkens. Jews and
Christians, p. 92.
Dodds, Jerrilynn D., Maria Rosa Menocal & Abigail Krasner Balbale. The Arts of
Intimacy: Christians, Jews, and Muslims in the Making of Castilian Culture.
New Haven: Yale University. 2008.
Elukin, Jonathan M. Living Together, Living Apart: Rethinking Jewish-Christian
Relations in the Middle Ages. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 2007.
Gerber, Jane S. The Jews of Spain: A History of the Sepnardic Experience. New
York: The Free Press. 1992.
HalstrupUlla. Representations of Jews in Danish medieval artcan images be used
As source material on their own?^. History and Images: Towards a New
Inconography. Ed. Axel Bolvig and Phillip Lindley. Tumhout, Belgium:
Brepols Publishers. 2003. Pgs. 341-356.
Henisch, Bridget Ann. Fast and Feast: Food in Medieval Society. University Park:
Pennsylvania State University Press. 1976.
Higgs StricklandDebra. &rac D0gMorals*
Art. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press. 2003.
Mann, Vivian B., ed. Uneasy Communion: Jews, Christians, and the Altarpieces of
Medieval Spain. New York: Museum of Biblical Art. 2010.
Nirenberg, David. Communities of Violence: Persecution of Minorities in the Middle
Ages. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 1996.
71


Nirenberg, David. "Conversion, Sex, and Segregation: Jews and Christians in
Medieval Spain. 77^d/7^/7+c/fo/or/ca/Tfev/evv 107, no. 4 (October 2002):
1065-1093.
Prado-Vilar, Francisco. LLIudeus Sacer. Life, Law, and Identity in the 'State of
Exception Called Marian Miracle in 7///*STW
Aesthetic Anxieties from the Catacombs to Colonialism, edited by Herbert
L. Kessler and David Nirenberg, 115-143. Philadelphia: University of
Pennsylvania Press, 2011.
Rubin, Miri. Gentile Tales: The Narrative Assault of Late Medieval Jews. New
Haven: Yale University Press. 1999.
Simoons, Frederick J. Eat Not This Flesh: Food Avoidances in the Old World.
Westport: Greenwood Press.1961.
Siraisi, Nancy G. Medieval and Early Renaissance Medicine: An Introduction to
Knowledge and Practice. Chicago: University ot Chicago Press. 1990
Snyder, James. Medieval Art. New York: Harry N. Abrams. 1989.
Wolf, Kenneth Baxter. "Convivencia in Medieval Spain: A Brief History of an Idea.^
Religion Compass (2009)-. 72-85. doi:10.111/j.1749-8171.2008.00119.x.
72


Full Text

PAGE 1

ARTE Y COMIDA: JEWISH AND CHRISTIAN USE OF FOOD AND ART AS SITES O F IDENTITY NEGOTIATION IN MEDIEVAL SPAIN by SARAH GAYLE THORTON B.A., Colorado State University, 2009 A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Humanities Humanities and Social Science 2014

PAGE 2

ii This thesis for the Master of Humanities degree by Sarah Gayle Thorton has been approved for the Humanities and Social Science Program by Margaret Woodhull, Chair Jeffrey Schrader Kathleen Bollard May 2, 2014

PAGE 3

iii Thorton, Sarah Gayle (Master of Humanities, Humanit ies and Social Science) Arte y Comida: Jewish and Christian Use of Food and Art as Sites of Identity Negotiation in Medieval Spain Thesis directed by Professor Margaret Woodhull ABSTRACT During the Middle Ages, Jews, Christians and Muslim s coexisted (often uneasily) on the Iberian Peninsula. These three re ligious groups were in a constant process of defining and preserving their identities which were often constructed in terms of the relationships with each other. In par ticular, Jews and Christians attempted to distance and validate their own belief s and customs in relation to the other. I will answer the question of how this was done, using food practices (in particular, food avoidances) and artistic represent ation as major sites for the negotiation of identity. Since both food and art were very public sensory as pects of medieval life, they served as ideal locations for Christians to ex plore and assert their identities vis-vis Jews. When we look at Medieval Christian soc iety in Spain, it is often the case that Christian artistic representations of Jews and the Christian omnivorous relationship to food can tell us much more about Ch ristians themselves than about the Jews to whom they refer. From the twelfth through the fifteenth centuries, Spanish Christendom was plagued by anxieties about the bala nce of power between the church and secular rulers, economic inequality, and multiple attempts at homogenizing Christian belief. These were in addit ion to outside pressures brought on by the Muslim invasion and Reconquest of Christi an territories. It is no accident

PAGE 4

iv that violence against SpainÂ’s Jewish communities fl ourished during this same period. In theoretical terms, food and art became safe plac es for Christians to create cohesion within their own society. We can read Christian anxiety through these pejorat ive representations of Jews and the concern with Jewish food prohibitions. In doing so, we can construct a narrative about Christian identity politics during this period. Christians attempted to keep the anxieties they felt about their own societ y at bay through these artistic representations and the foods they chose to eat. I n this way, they could create a semblance of cohesion that did not exist in reality By understanding how Jews and Christians constructed their own identities in this way, often with very obviously negative results, we gain better understanding abou t how this is done today, and can perhaps begin to deconstruct these identities based on negative associations. Finally, by acknowledging that these prejudices often tell u s more about ourselves than they do about the subjects of our prejudices, we can bet ter understand ourselves and hope to do away with these prejudices. The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication. Approved: Margaret Woodhull

PAGE 5

v DEDICATION I dedicate this thesis to my parents, for their sup port no matter what, and to my husband Jason, for putting up with me for the past 3 years.

PAGE 6

vi ACKNOWLEDGEMENT I would like to thank my wonderful advisor, Margare t Woodhull, for helping me to maintain my sanity, and for her support and wonderf ul insights. I also wish to thank Jeffrey Schrader and Kathleen Bollard, for all thei r incredibly helpful input.

PAGE 7

vii TABLE OF CONTENTS INTRODUCTIONÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…..1 CHAPTER I: JEWISH-CHRISTIAN RELATIONSÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â… .11 Middle AgesÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…...13 Jews and Christians in SpainÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â….. 16 CHAPTER II: JEWS IN CHRISTIAN ARTÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…. 18 The Jesse TreeÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…18 Jews in Crucifixion ScenesÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…20 Las Cantigas de Santa MaraÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â….21 AltarpiecesÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â….28 The Host Desecration and Blood LibelsÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â… Â…Â…Â…37 CHAPTER III: FOODÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…...42 Jewish Food PracticesÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…44 Christian Food PracticesÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…45 CONCLUSIONSÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…...53 FIGURESÂ…Â… Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…..57 BIBLIOGRAPHYÂ…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â…Â… .71

PAGE 8

viii LIST OF FIGURES 1: Master Mateo, Jesse Tree, Prtico da Gloria 1188. Stone. Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Reproduced from Universidad Comp lutense de Madrid online. http://www.ucm.es/data/cont/docs/621-2013-11-21-3.%20%C3%81rbol%20de%20Jes%C3%A9.pdf (accessed Apri l 14, 2014)…………..19 2: Cantigas de Santa Mara ca. 1280, in Kessler and Nirenberg, Judaism and Christian Art 125. ............................................ ................................................... ............................. 233: Cantigas de Santa Mara, ca. 1280, in Bradley Smith, Spain: A History in Art (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1966) 94-95. .............. ................................................... ........... 244: ”How Holy Mary Saved From Death the Jewess Who Was Thrown Over a Cliff in Segovia”, Cantigas de Samta Mara ca. 1280, in Merback, Beyond the Yellow Badge 507................................................ ................................................... .................................. 255: How Holy Mary Got Even with the Jew for the Dishono r He Did to Her Image, Cantigas de Santa Mara ca. 1280, in Mitchell B. Merback, Beyond the Yellow Badge: Anti-Judaism and Anti-Semitism in Medieval and Earl y Modern Visual Culture (Boston: Brill, 2008) 506. ................................. ................................................... ............................ 266: How Holy Mary saved from Burning the Son of the Jew Whose Father Had Thrown Him into the Furnace, Cantigas de Santa Mara ca. 1280, in Merback, Beyond the Yellow Badge 509. ............................................ ................................................... ............ 287: Anonymous, Scenes from the Life of Christ thirteenth century, in Mann, Uneasy Communion 113. ............................................ ................................................... ............... 298: Anonymous, Christ Among the Doctors Early fifteenth century, in Vivian B. Mann, Uneasy Communion: Jews, Christians, and the Altarpi eces of Medieval Spain (New York: Museum of Biblical Art, 2010) Frontispiece. ................................................... ..... 309: Jaume Serra, Altarpiece of Saint Stephen from the Church of Sant a Mara de Gualter ca. 1385, in Mann, Uneasy Communion 121. ............................................ ...................... 3110: Guillem Seguer, Altarpiece of the Trinity and the Eucharist from th e monastery of Vallbona de les Monges 1349-1350, in Mann, Uneasy Communion 32. ........................ 3311: Las Monjas Altar-Frontal, A Desecration of the Host by Two Jewish Men with a Knife Late fourteenth century, inMiri Rubin, Gentile Tales: The Narrative Assault on Late Medieval Jews (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999), 158. ... ......................... 33

PAGE 9

ix 12: Las Monjas Altar-Frontal, A Jewish Man Throws the H ost into a Cauldron of Boiling Water Late fourteenth century, in Rubin, Gentile Tales 159. ......................................... 3413: Pere Serra, Altarpiece of the Virgin 1362-75 in Mann, Uneasy Communion 87. .... 3514: Pere Serra, Altarpiece of the Virgin, Predella with scenes of t he Blood and Host Libels (detail) 1362-75, in Mann, Uneasy Communion 88 ............................................. 3615: Jaume Serra, Host Desecration According to the Case of Paris (de tail) ca. 1400, in Rubin, Gentile Tales 160. ............................................ ................................................... 36

PAGE 10

1 INTRODUCTION During the Middle Ages, Jews, Christians and Muslim s coexisted, often uneasily, on the Iberian Peninsula. These three religious gr oups were engaged in a constant process of defining and preserving their identities which were often constructed in terms of relationships with each other. In particular, C hristians attempted to distance and validate their own beliefs and customs in relation to Jews. I will focus on the ways in which food practices, in particular, food avoidance s, and artistic representations became major sites for the negotiation of identity. Since both food and art were very public sensory aspects of medieval life, they served as id eal locations for Christians to explore and assert their identities in contrast to Jews. W hen we look at Medieval Christian society in Spain, it is often the case that Christi an artistic representations of Jews and the lack of food prohibitions can tell us much more abo ut Christians themselves than about the Jews they refer to. From the twelfth through t he fifteenth centuries, Spanish Christendom was plagued by anxieties about the bala nce of power between the church and secular rulers, economic inequality, and multip le attempts at homogenizing Christian belief. These were in addition to outside pressure s brought on by the Muslim invasion and Reconquest of Christian territories. It is no accident that violence against Spain’s Jewish communities flourished during this same peri od. In theoretical terms, food and art became safe places for Christians to create cohesio n within their own society. The concept of “The Other” figures centrally in thi s discussion, since Medieval Christian society was preoccupied by the idea of “T he Other” as a dangerous and divisive force as a result of frequent, often violent encoun ters with outside groups. Medieval Christians therefore felt great anxiety over relati ons with outsiders. This was all the more

PAGE 11

2 true for Spanish Christians, who were on the “front lines” of cultural confrontations with “The Other.” Here Christians were not only living alongside some of the largest, most powerful Jewish communities in Europe; they were al so in the process of re-conquering territories they had lost during the Muslim invasio n that began in 711. Christianity emerged from the Jewish tradition in t he first century C.E. Throughout the Medieval period, the Christian churc h was still in the process of defining its doctrine and creating a solid religious identit y for its followers. Church leaders therefore worked especially hard to differentiate C hristianity from its older, rival religion. However, because the two communities shared so much history and dogma, the Church fathers could not completely dismiss it out of hand Therefore, in a series of councils and writings, the church established that: The Jews would be preserved because their veneratio n of the Old Testament bore witness to the truth of Christianity. At the same time, they would be tolerated only minimally, so that their debased state itself would provide visible proof of their “rejection” by God. Their misery would also demonstrate what would befall those who did not accept Jesus as the Messiah.1 For example, Augustine of Hippo was a particularly strong voice in this effort and played an important role in establishing the basis of the tense relationship one finds between Medieval Christianity and Judaism. In his work City of God, he interpreted Old Testament scripture to that end. He tells us that the story of Rebecca’s sons, already at war within her womb, was interpreted as a sort of f oreshadowing of the relationship of Jew to Christian: [W]hen she was troubled by this struggle, and inqui red of the Lord, she received this answer: ‘Two nations are in the womb, and two manner of people shall be 1 Gerber, Jane S, The Jews of Spain: A History of the Sephardic Exper ience New York: The Free Press, 1992, Pg. 7.

PAGE 12

3 separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall overcome the other people, and the elder shall serve the younger.’…Only this s aying, ‘The elder shall serve the younger,” is interpreted by our writers, almost without exception, to mean that the elder people, the Jews, shall serve the younger people, the Christians.2 Augustine’s work is representative of many other at tempts by church fathers at asserting the superiority of Christian belief. The se types of writings led to complex theories in the Medieval era about the place of Jew s in Christian society. These values frequently led to violence in the already tenuous r elations between Jews and Christians. For Christians, Jews were no longer God’s Chosen Pe ople. According to Christian thought, Jewish conversion to Christianity would br ing about Jesus’ Second Coming and Christian salvation. Until such time, Jews were su bservient to Christians. Jews were to be kept alive to serve by their misery as proof of the ascendance of Christianity. This complicated line of reasoning set forth by the Chur ch Fathers was difficult for lay Christians to follow, and misunderstanding often le d to violence against Jewish communities. Archaeological evidence suggests that Jews arrived on the Iberian Peninsula during the Roman Diaspora, which lasted from about 200 BCE to 200 CE. There are indications that before the fifth century, Jews liv ing on the peninsula mingled freely with their neighbors. Under the Roman Empire, Jews enjo yed a certain degree of autonomy and were allowed to freely practice their faith. A fter the fourth century, when the empire recognized Christianity as a legal religion, and af ter the fall of the empire itself, the situation for Spain’s Jews became more complicated. The power vacuum left by the fall of the Roman Empire was quickly filled by various G ermanic tribes, most notably the 2 Augustine of Hippo, Saint. “Book XVI, Chapter 35-W hat Was Indicated by the Divine Answer About the Twins Still Shut Up in the Womb of Rebecca Their Mo ther”. City of God http://people.bu.edu/dklepper/RN470/augustine_jews. html. 5 May 2011.

PAGE 13

4 Visigoths. When the Visigoth King Reccared adopted Catholicism as the state religion in 587, a policy of unification arose and the result w as the start of persecution of the Jews in Spain. In 711, a Muslim Berber army from North Africa inva ded the peninsula and quickly established itself as a power there. This army brought with it Islam, a religion only recently founded in the Middle East. With the invasion and resulting Muslim rule, Islam quickly became a religious force to be reckon ed with in Spain. Under this new religious and political structure, the religious, p olitical, legal and social situation of the Jews was further complicated. According to Islamic legal theory, Christians and Jews were referred to as dhimm or “People of the Book,” meaning they shared a bel ief in the divine nature of the Old Testament scriptures. Alt hough they were not followers of Allah and therefore not to be treated as equals, their st atus as dhimm afforded them a certain amount of protection and religious freedom. This s ituation was certainly not a static one, and throughout the period of Islamic rule on the pe ninsula, which lasted until 1492, there were varying degrees of religious freedom accorded to Jews and Christians. In general, however, “All forms of worship were to be inconspic uous in order to avoid giving offence to Muslims; in addition, there were limitat ions on the size of synagogues and churches, no new synagogues could be built, and old er religious structures could not be repaired.”3 Almost immediately upon the invasion, however, the Visigoth-ruled Christian territories of Northern Spain embarked upon a milit ary campaign to win back the territories lost to the Muslim armies. This proces s would continue throughout the whole 3 Gerber, The Jews of Spain 24.

PAGE 14

5 of the Middle Ages. Only with the capture of Grana da by the Catholic Monarchs Fernando and Isabel in 1492 did this campaign, know n as “ La Reconquista ” (“reconquest”), formally come to an end. This fact also complicated the situation of the Jews, since towns which had been under Islamic rule one day could suddenly find themselves under Christian rule the next, and somet imes vice versa. However, during the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth centuries espe cially, more and more territories came under the power of Christians. This shift led to a nother change of legal and social status for the Jews of Spain. Because of the considerable economic and cultural influence of many of Spain’s Jewish communities, it became clear in many cases that it would be in the Christian kings’ best interests to offer some s ort of legal and physical protection against those who would wish to do the Jews harm. In exchange for royal protection, these communities found themselves essentially roya l property. According to the 1176 Teruel Laws, “The Jews [were] slaves of the crown a nd [belonged] exclusively to the royal treasury.”4 Although daily life for Jews and Christians from th e twelfth through the fifteenth centuries was relatively stable, a growing animosit y developed on the part of the Christian community toward their Jewish neighbors. There were particularly intense flares of anti-Jewish propaganda and violence in th e twelfth and thirteenth centuries, when Christian Europe as a whole was engaged in the Crusades to the Holy Land. During this period, the Church also contended with various, frequent heresies within its own ranks. In the context of these crusades, we ca n see that there was also a certain tendency in Christian society to project anxieties about one’s own community onto 4 Bango, Isidro G, Remembering Sepharad: Jewish Culture in Medieval Sp ain Madrid: State Corporation for Spanish Cultural Action Abroad, 2003, Pg. 145.

PAGE 15

6 outsiders. These anxieties-social, religious, polit ical and economic, were reflected in relationships between Jews and Christians. One important locus for the negotiation of Christia n identity with respect to Judaism was artistic representation. To begin with art (painting, sculpture, stained glass, etc) served, for most of medieval Spanish society, as an educational tool. According to Pope Gregory the Great, in a letter written about 6 00 CE, “[p]ictures are used in churches in order that those ignorant of letters may by mere ly looking at the walls read there what they are unable to read in books.”5 By using a well-established set of images to repre sent church teachings, those members of the Christian co mmunity who were unable to read the teachings in books could very quickly and easil y “read” them in pictures. For this reason, figures needed to be represented uniformly, so that they could be easily understood. This led to a clear system of represen tation of people, ideas and places within artistic works. By the thirteenth century, a uniform model for representation had been clearly established and was in use throughout Europe. This model depicted Jews, in both religious and secular contexts, almost always in profile, which, according to Debra Higgs Strickland, denoted their evil nature6. They were also represented with open mouths, protruding tongues and hooked noses.7 Regarding the clothing of Jews, as well as other members of medieval society, “each figure in the depictions of episodes from the 5 James Snyder, Medieval Art New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1989, Pg. 16. Higgs Strickland, Debra, Saracens, Demons, & Jews: Making Monsters in Mediev al Art Princeton and Oxford:Princeton University Press, 2003, Pg. 110 7 Halstrup, Ulla, “Representations of Jews in Danish medieval art—can images be used as source material on their own?”, History and Images: Towards a New Iconography ed. Axel Bolvig and Phillip Lindley, Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols Publishers, 2003, Pgs. 3 41-356.

PAGE 16

7 Bible had to be painted in contemporary dress, so a s to ensure that it could be easily identified.”8 Before this system of representation was cemented, imagery of Jews varied widely, and was not always derogatory. Early examp les of Christian depictions of Jewish characters were generally representations of scenes from the Old Testament. Since these characters formed the basis of the stories shared b y both Christians and Jews, they were normally depicted in benign, or at least neutral, w ays. An example of this type of imagery was the Jesse Tree (figure 1.) The Jesse t ree showed the genealogy of Christ, establishing his legitimacy through a relationship with the Old Testament. These sorts of images necessarily portrayed Jews in positive, or a t least neutral, ways. However, during the twelfth and thirteenth, and into the fourteenth century, images of Jews became increasingly negative. In these depictions, Jews w ere usually shown in profile, and they contained “stigmatizing costume, grotesque facial f eatures, dark skin color, and other physical deformities, such as stunted or misshapen bodies.”9 They were depicted with elongated, hooked noses, usually with their mouths open, teeth bared or tongues protruding, which, as Ulla Halstrup notes, “was co nsidered highly indecent in the Middle Ages.”10 Jews appeared increasingly in art as “The Other”. Along with similar depictions of outsider groups (Moors, Ethiopians, e tc.), the message to an illiterate audience would have been very clear: Non-Christians were dangerous and inhuman. The importance of what people chose to eat, as well as what they were prohibited from eating, can tell us a great deal about how the y saw themselves and each other. The 8 Halstrup. “Representations of Jews”. Pg. 344. 9 Higgs Strickland, Saracens, Demons, & Jews, Pg. 110. 10 Halstrup. “Representations of Jews”. p. 346.

PAGE 17

8 dietary restrictions set forth in the Torah were, for Jews, daily reminders of their religious identity. Because God had prohibited Jews from eat ing certain foods, they were, in a very real sense, reaffirming their privileged relat ionship with God every time they ate. The same held true for Christians, although in a sl ightly different manner. In the Christian mind, everything created by God was good, and should therefore be enjoyed. Because the laws laid out in the Torah no longer applied to Christians, they were urged to enjoy all foods, including those prohibited to Jews This led to obvious complications in a religion concerned with forsaking the terrestrial in favor of the celestial, but also became an important aspect of the effort to create and maintain distance between Christian and Jewish belief. The Jewish ban on por k, in particular, served as an important site of differentiation and conflict betw een Jews and Christians. In effect, Christians were told to enjoy pork because it serve d as one more way to identify oneself as Christian, and therefore, and perhaps more impor tantly, not Jewish. The Eucharist was, without a doubt the single most important food eaten by Christians. This piece of bread was the body of Ch rist in the mass, and when Christians consumed it, they were, through transubstantiation, literally eating ChristÂ’s body. This was food which sustained the soul, but which could also sustain the physical body. As hagiography from the period tells us, many female s aints were said to exist on the Eucharist alone.11 That Jews were often accused of attempting to des ecrate the consecrated host, and portrayed in art doing so, is not surprising. These accusations and the artwork surrounding them represent one more att empt at creating unity in an otherwise fractured Christian society, by singling out Jews as a common enemy. Walker Bynum, Caroline, Holy Feast and Holy Fast: The Religious Significanc e of Food to Medieval Women, Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1987.

PAGE 18

9 The issue of food was also tightly bound with sexua lity, which acted as yet another location for the construction and (perhaps more importantly) preservation of Christian and Jewish identity. Both Christians and Jews were anxious about the sexual relations (both real and imagined) between their tw o communities. There were various attempts at prohibiting and punishing these relatio nships and much was written about them. Church fathers in particular wrote of the ne ed to prevent “contamination,” and these warnings were often couched in terms of metap hors about food. These metaphors, such as “a little yeast in a large mass of dough…a spoiled apple rotting the entire bin”12 reflect the importance of food in everyday life, as well as the role it played in shaping Christian and Jewish identities. These writers als o reflected the anxiety that other forms of social interaction between Christians and Jews m ight lead to sexual intercourse. For example, as David Nirenberg notes, “[t]he canon law yer Johannes Teutonicus made the point quite wittily when asked: why are Christians allowed to talk to Jews but forbidden to eat with them? The reply: talking is one thing, but eating? Who knows what can happen between courses.”13 These ways of constructing identity are significant because they are based not on positive associations, but on negative ones. Jews were often depicted in artwork as dark, dangerous, inhuman monsters. Christian audiences l ooking at these works could instantly understand that they were not looking at images of themselves, and the distinction was then made: Christians were not monsters, which also meant that they were 12 Nirenberg, David, “Conversion, Sex, and Segregatio n: Jews and Christians in Medieval Spain”, The American Historical Review Vol. 107, No. 4 (October 2002), Pgs. 1065-1093. 13 Nirenberg, David, “Conversion, Sex, and Segregatio n”, 1072.

PAGE 19

10 not Jews. Jews did not eat pork. Therefore, Christian s would be permitted to do so. By eating pork, Christians could prove that they were not Jews. It is important to note that these negative pictor ial representations and food associations can tell us a great deal more about Ch ristians and their anxieties about their own society than they can about Jews and Jewish soc iety. Christians attempted to keep the anxieties they felt about their own society at bay through these artistic representations and the foods they chose to eat. In this way, they could create a semblance of cohesion that did not exist in reality. By understanding ho w Jews and Christians constructed their own identities in this way, often with very obvious ly negative results, we may better understand how this is done today, and perhaps begi n to deconstruct these identities based on negative associations. And by acknowledgi ng that these prejudices can often tell us more about ourselves than they can about th e subjects of our prejudices, we can better understand ourselves and hope to do away wit h these prejudices.

PAGE 20

11 CHAPTER I JEWISH-CHRISTIAN RELATIONS The field of Medieval Jewish history in Europe was, during the second half of the twentieth century, dominated by a very pessimistic tone. Historians wrote about the negative images (both in literature and art) of Eur opean Jews, linking these images to the periodic restrictive legislation, persecution, pogr oms, and expulsions. These historians see continuity from the persecutions of Jews in Bib lical times up to the current day, discussing and placing medieval events in such a wa y that they appeared to lead inevitably to the Holocaust of the twentieth centur y. In presenting the Medieval world in this way, historians such as RI Moore ( The Formation of a Persecuting Society ) disregarded the relative stability of these Jewish communities, and at times the peaceful coexistence of Jewish and Christian communities in Medieval Europe. The fact that many of these communities were able to exist and ev en in some cases to thrive, albeit in altered forms and locations, to the present day, wa s never taken into account. These works disregarded the effects of various political, economic, social and religious pressures and assumed that persecution of Jews was the sum total of the story. Conversely, and especially in studies of Medieval S pain, the idea of Convivencia began to arise in the 1940’s. This was the idea th at Christians, Muslims and Jews coexisted peacefully and thrived in the –Muslim-con trolled territories of Spain. The term was coined by Amrico Castro in 1948 in his book Espaa y su Historia: Cristianos, Moros, y Judos and was originally meant to describe the “unique blending of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish cultural elements that took plac e between the late eleventh and late

PAGE 21

12 fourteenth centuries.”14 During the 1970’s and 1980’s, convivencia came to be used to describe a romanticized vision of Christians, Jews and Muslims living peacefully together during the Middle Ages. This was also a serious si mplification of the real situation, since it ignored the fact that relations between these th ree communities were often fraught with tension and violence. This use of convivencia also reflects the particular political and cultural efforts of the postmodern period in histor ical scholarship in Spain. After nearly forty years of Francisco Franco’s dictatorship, def ined by emphasis on a Catholic past and present, scholars began to search out a differe nt story. They began to study and emphasize historical moments that did not fit into the Catholic historical continuum so stressed under the Franco regime. One of these mom ents was, of course, the harmony of Christian, Jewish and Muslim relations in the early Middle Ages. An example of this scholarship is Mara Rosa Menocal’s The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews, and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Me dieval Spain Just as works which stress only the negative aspects of the relations b etween Christians and Jews in the Medieval world, scholarship that merely glosses ove r it misses the point and fails at conveying the great complexity of Medieval society, both Christian and Jewish. This is in itself a reflection of the wider trend in postmo dern historical study: historians began looking into the stories of those who had not previ ously been thought relevant—women, children, and religious, cultural or ethnic minorit ies whose stories had never been told were now seen to provide a fuller, more nuanced pic ture of the past.15 nrr r nr "#$$%&'#()*++##$,$ -.'%()'#$$)$$%'/* !''

PAGE 22

13 Current scholarship on Jewish-Christian relations i n Medieval Spain (and Europe in general) acknowledges that these two ends of the spectrum simplify the actual situation and ignore the other factors that often played into these relations. According to Jonathan Elukin in his book Living Together, Living Apart: Rethinking Jewish-Ch ristian Relations in the Middle Ages “[v]iolence against Jews, as we have been reminde d, was contingent on local conditions and not the result of unchangin g hatred or an irrational structure of medieval society.”16 This new scholarship seeks to understand and cele brate the survival of Europe’s Jewish communities, rather than focus o n their destruction. While I agree that this is certainly the case, and that it is dan gerous to simplify too much, these attempts at destruction cannot be ignored. It is important to focus on both the negative and positive aspects of Jewish-Christian relations, and to understand that there were an incredible number of factors at play, just as there are in any event in history. Middle Ages The Medieval period, roughly the sixth through fou rteenth centuries, was a time of self-exploration and –definition for the Catholi c Church. The institution was still in the process, begun after the death of Christ, of se tting out and solidifying its dogma. Because of Christianity’s deep roots within the Jew ish tradition, this process was somewhat complicated. The legitimacy of the Old Te stament could not be disputed, and since many early Christians were in fact converts f rom Judaism, doing away with those scriptures would have done more harm than good. Ch ristians newly converted from Judaism had an easier time accepting the validity o f their new religion when it was placed in the context of sacred writings with which they w ere already familiar. This in turn led 0r123 n n "4+r4+r5r4#$$'&*

PAGE 23

14 to the question of Christianity’s stance on the ori ginal believers in this scripture—the Jews. Since Old Testament scripture could not be d ismissed out of hand, those who lived by it therefore could not be dismissed out of hand either. This quandary led to the Medieval Christian tradit ion of patristic writings, sermons and other works debating the proper place o f Jews and Judaism in an increasingly Christian world. Early church leaders used Old and New Testament scriptures to support their various ideas, and a th eory began to emerge that held the Medieval Jew to be a Witness.17 This theory held that Jews had ignorantly misunderstood their own writings that prophesied th e coming of a Messiah. The Christians, by contrast, asserted that Christ was t his Messiah, and had therefore the fulfilled the Old Testament prophesies. Because th e Jews had rejected Christ as their Messiah, they had failed to properly understand the ir prophecies. Christians had subsequently become God’s “Chosen People”, and Jews had been left to suffer for their obstinacy. According to the Church fathers then, t he Jews should be tolerated among Christians, since their very presence acted as proo f of the correctness of the Christian faith. In addition, it was a generally held belief that t he conversion of the Jews was a necessary precursor to the second coming of Christ. Early on in the Christian-Jewish relationship, there was great hope on the part of C hristians for the eventual conversion of the Jews. Indeed, many of the works I will later d iscuss, although they are essentially anti-Jewish in nature, accompany frequently told st ories of miracles worked by the Virgin or other saints that then led to the conversion of the Jews involved. The Cantigas de '6 rr !n!n

PAGE 24

15 Santa Mara compiled by the Castilian king Alfonso X “El Sabi o” (“The Learned”) during the second half of the thirteenth century, f or example, was a collection of songs and poem dedicated to the Virgin, many of which end ed with the conversion of Jews. This role, however, was in direct conflict with th e perceived role of Jews in the execution of Christ as related in the New Testament Gospels. According to the Gospels, the Jewish leadership in Jerusalem had a pivotal ro le in the arrest and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Although in the scripture, the blame for C hrist’s death fell equally to the Roman leadership in Judea, Christian interpretation of th e Jewish presence would come to complicate the situation, especially in the later M iddle Ages. Again, we can see this reflected in art, as later Medieval works depicting the Crucifixion (which did not, incidentally, begin to appear until the about the f ifth century, much later than some other Christian iconography) began more and more to depic t an evolved stereotypical image of Jews, clearly recognizable to a Medieval Christian audience, as principal players.18 Whereas in the New Testament accounts of the Crucif ixion, the Roman authorities and soldiers carried out the actual torture and executi on of Christ, depictions of Jews in the later middle ages highlight their roles in this nar rative. These Jews are recognizable by their distinctive hats, badges and facial features. Further complicating this situation were admonishm ents of Church leaders calling for a treatment of Jews in Christian lands that wou ld reflect their status as rejected by God, but which would at the same time preserve them as witnesses and hopefully lead to their eventual conversion to the true faith. Howev er, the vast majority of Christian )66r+3 "r# $

PAGE 25

16 society was unable to understand and abide by these subtleties, which led, in many places at many times to violent treatment of Jews by the C hristian majority. Jews and Christians in Spain The situation in Spain was more complicated than i n the rest of Europe by the political, economic and social factors of the time. During the Medieval period, and up to 1492, the nominal Christians (previously Visigothic Arians who had only very recently converted to the “true” Christian faith) of the nor thern enclaves were fighting to regain and re-conquer territories lost in the year 711 and after. Besides these small areas to the north, the peninsula was in a constant state of flu x; Christians could conquer Muslimruled territories in a day, and vice-versa. All th is meant that for Jews, life could be very precarious.19 Jewish communities had existed on the peninsula si nce Roman times, and after the Moorish invasion, they were particularly able t o take advantage of opportunities in the Muslim-ruled territories of the south. By the tenth century, the Muslim caliphate was filled with Jewish and Christian physicians, astron omers, mathematicians, philosophers, and political advisors. Spain’s Jewish communities and that of Crdoba in particular made enormous contributions in poetry, literature, mathematics, philosophy and theology during this period. Although the social and politi cal situation was never perfectly harmonious (as the word Convivencia would suggest), this era is known as the “Golden Age” of Spanish Jewry. It is also important to not e that although these were very real achievements, and that there was, on an individual level, an opportunity for great political %780 $

PAGE 26

17 and social advancement, the proportion of the Jewis h community involved in court life was very small indeed. Once these Muslim-controlled territories came unde r Christian rule, however, Jews could find themselves in very delicate situati ons. Those Jews who could speak Arabic and who had participated in court life gener ally fared well, since the Christian kings quickly realized their skills and knowledge o f Muslim culture could be indispensable in negotiations between sides. Again however, for the general Jewish population, life could not be more complicated. In Christian territories, as in many other places in Europe, it quickly became clear to the monarchies (there were at this time several Christian kingdoms in Spain) that, for largely economic reasons, the Jews as a community w ere key to a smoothly-running government. Although this fact is often unduly sim plified, Jews were permitted to loan money and charge interest—something technically for bidden to Christians. They were therefore vital to a stable economy, especially one that had to finance the perpetual warfare of the Reconquest ( Reconquista ). For this reason, when Jewish communities in Christian territories were threatened with forced c onversion or violence, the Christian kings protected them. In many cases, the Jews beca me the property of the crown, and if any Jews were killed, the killer was required to pa y a fine to the king himself, therefore making up for any lost income.20 #$780 $

PAGE 27

18 CHAPTER II JEWS IN CHRISTIAN ART The Jesse Tree The Jesse Tree was an early manifestation of Jews from the Old Testament appearing in Christian art, and one in which Jews w ere generally depicted in positive, or at least neutral ways. This image sought to illust rate Christ’s genealogy in the form of a tree21. The idea of the Tree of Jesse came from an Old T estament verse that described the family tree of the promised Messiah, starting with the “stem” of Jesse, the father of King David.22 An early example of this image in Spanish art is a carving on the Prtico da Gloria in the cathedral at Santiago de Compostela. This portico is behind the western faade, and was built between 1168 and 1188 by the Master Matteo. The image we are concerned with appears on the central pier, beneath a statue of Saint James, the cathedral’s namesake and apostle whose relics lie w ithin its walls. Below the apostle, we can see Christ enthroned, and beneath him, his Jewi sh predecessors, surrounded by foliage. At the bottom of the tree lies a sleeping Jesse. This Jesse tree, from the Prtico da Gloria of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is one of the earliest examples in Spani sh art, and in it we can see all the hallmarks of this type of depiction. The Master Ma teo and his workshop carved it in 1188. The Jews are marked as such, with long beard s, and in some cases, pointed hats. However, we can also see that in this context, thes e markers are not meant to be derogatory, but rather signifiers of the figures’ i dentities. Its aim is to visually present Christ’s legitimacy, along with that of the Christi an church, and in so doing, it #66r+3 "r# %)##66r+3%)

PAGE 28

19 provided an important bridge between the Old Testam ent and the New Testament, helping to justify the continued use of the former in a manner that accords an unequivocally positive role to the Jews. Indeed, i f anything, this image stresses the relationship between Christ and the Old Testame nt Jews, albeit conveying the ultimate message that the New Law has superseded th e Old.23 Figure 1: Master Mateo, Jesse Tree, Prtico da Gloria 1188. Stone. Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Reproduced from Universidad Complutense de Madrid o nline. http://www.ucm.es/data/cont/docs/621-2013-11 21-3.%20%C3%81rbol%20de%20Jes%C3%A9.pdf (accessed A pril 14, 2014) #/66r+3 "r# %)

PAGE 29

20 Jews in Crucifixion Scenes Later Christian images of Jews were not always so p ositive, or even neutral, as the Jesse Tree. A powerful example of this, and a comm on theme in Christian polemic, art, literature, and society in general, was that of the Jews as the murderers of Christ. According to Debra Higgs Strickland, there were thr ee phases in which the blame for the murder of Christ was placed upon contemporary Jews: “The first stage was the patristic assignment of the characteristics of the New Testam ent Pharisees to all Jews. The second stage was blaming contemporary Jews for the murder of Christ owing to the deeds of their ancestors and their own refusal to accept Chr istianity. The third stage was a conceptual merging of Old Testament with contempora ry Jews via artistic representations of contemporary Jews crucifying Christ.”24 There were thousands and thousands of images in whi ch this connection was made between the actual participants in the crucifi xion of Christ and contemporary Jews. In all of them, the Jews appear ed bearing the full retinue of derogatory markers available to Medieval Christian artists. These Jews were usually represented in profile, and the images cont ained “stigmatizing costume, grotesque facial features, dark skin color, and oth er physical deformities, such as stunted or misshapen bodies.”25 They were depicted with elongated, hooked noses, us ually with their mouths open, teeth bared or tongues protruding, “which was considered highly indecent in the Middle Ages.”26 In images of the Passion, including the arrest, m ockery, torture and execution of Christ, the Jews appeared as the sole perpetrators. It is interesting to note that in these images, the role of the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, and his soldiers, was all but erase d. In many images, Pilate even appeared #66r+3 "r# $'#*66r+3$#r29rr0:!/

PAGE 30

21 as a Jew, donning contemporary Jewish garb and with typically Jewish physical characteristics. On the other hand, in many images Pilate was depicted as Roman or Christian, and with many redeeming features. In su ch images, the depiction of Pilate as a righteous figure served to place the blame for Chri st’s death squarely with the Jews by minimizing Pilate’s and the Romans’ participation. Those images in which Pilate appeared as a Jew have this same basic aim, althoug h it was realized quite differently. In this case, medieval artists could still place the b lame with the Jews by implying, through the representation of Pilate as a Jew, that althoug h Christ was technically executed under the authority of Pilate, the Jewish community of Je rusalem had forced his hand, thereby absolving him of guilt. In yet other images, Pilat e was depicted with a small demon behind or next to him, representing the influence o f evil in his decision. That the demons were often given the same physical characteristics (hooked noses, beards, and open mouths) as Jews should not be overlooked. It is important to note that all of these negative images of Jews, in which they were depicted as enemies of Christ (and therefore t he church) and friends of Satan, could be used to justify actions by the church, governmen ts, mobs or even individuals regarding Jews. Massacres, forced conversions, loss of econ omic and legal rights, and expulsion could all be justified in this way. Las Cantigas de Santa Mara The thirteenth century Spanish king Alfonso X (rei gned 1221-1284) was known as “El Sabio” or “The Learned”. During his conside rably lengthy reign, he had commissioned and participated in hundreds of works and projects, which codified and

PAGE 31

22 retained medieval Spanish knowledge and culture. A mong these projects was the massive Cantigas de Santa Mara a collection of more than 400 poems, most of whic h related miracles supposedly worked by the Virgin. These poems were accompanied by a large number of illuminations, which give us an exc ellent example of the depictions of Jews in thirteenth-century Spanish art. The Cantigas featured examples of the differing types of depictions of Jews, ranging from the neutr al to the derogatory. As mentioned earlier, an important aspect of the J ewish-Christian relationship during the middle ages was the role of Jew as witne ss to the veracity of the Christian faith. A very large number of the Cantigas related miracles in which Jews saw the error of their ways with the help of the Virgin and subse quently converted to Christianity. Many of these tales began with Jews engaged in host desecration, or other affronts to the Christian faith, but just as many featured well-mea ning Jews who were simply ignorant of the true faith. I will discuss here four cantigas two of which deal with Jewish women who converted to Christianity because of the assist ance they received from the Virgin. The other two deal with the desecration of Christia n religious objects—an icon of the Virgin, and the host itself. One poem related a story, told all over Europe at the time, of a pregnant Jewish woman. She was in labor for many hours, but was un able to give birth to her child. Finally, out of desperation, she prayed to the Virg in, and was rewarded with the birth of a healthy child. She and the child then converted to Christianity as thanks.27 This story was illustrated with a page of miniature illuminations (fig. 2, fig. 3), which showed the #'4(;<++ %!! ==: rrr>rr1+r? @ >+?! !r 8r=n,A86 "45r44#$ &#*

PAGE 32

23 womanÂ’s travails. In the first two frames, we can see the woman laboring for many hours, helped by a midwife. In the third frame, th e woman is shown about to give birth, attended by many women, and in the fourth, she is s hown cradling the infant. In the last two frames, we see the woman presenting the child i n public, and being baptized in the church. These images are interesting in that the J ewish woman is indistinguishable from any other woman. She bears none of the derogatory markers usually reserved for Jews. The only reason we know she is Jewish is that the s tory tells us so. Figure 2: Cantigas de Santa Mara ca. 1280, in Kessler and Nirenberg, Judaism and Christian Art 125.

PAGE 33

24 Figure 3: Cantigas de Santa Mara, ca. 1280, in Bradley Smith, Spain: A History in Art (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1966) 94-95. Another cantiga featured the local story of Marisaltos. This was the story of a Jewess who was thrown (for an unspecified reas on—according to Louise Mirrer, mostly likely a sexual indiscretion28) over a cliff in Segovia and was saved by the Virg in (fig. 4). In the first two frames, the Jewess, “Ma risaltos” is shown surrounded by a group of male Jews, distinguished by their large, hooked noses and open mouths, and taken forcibly from the town. In the following frames, M arisaltos is thrown from the cliff, and shown in the act of praying to the Virgin. In the final two frames, Marisaltos speaks to the faithful in a church, in front of a statue of t he Virgin, and in the last frame, we see her being baptized under the watchful eye of Mary. Thi s particular image is significant for the clear difference in representations of men and women, and for its sexual implications. While the men in these images are shown as stereoty pical Jews, complete with negative physical markers, the woman (like the Jewess saved by the Virgin in the act of giving birth) is shown without any particular markers. Th ese women may have been depicted in #)=2 &r!nr'$(! n "85r +64%%&//

PAGE 34

25 this neutral manner because of the possibility of t heir redemption and ultimate conversions. Figure 4: ”How Holy Mary Saved From Death the Jewess Who Was Thrown Over a Cliff in Segovia”, Cantigas de Samta Mara ca. 1280, in Merback, Beyond the Yellow Badge 507. The cantiga which dealt with the attempted desecration of an im age of the Virgin and Child told an early tale in which a Jew stole t he image and intended to destroy it in a latrine. The images (fig. 5) that accompany this p oem show the Jew (depicted in profile, with a hooked nose, long dark hair and beard and po inted Jew’s hat) in the process of stealing the image, followed by an image of the Jew dishonoring the image. He is stalked by a demon sent by the Virgin as punishment for his desecration of her image. The following frame shows the Jew, who has been killed, being carried off by the demons (whose facial features are interestingly similar to those of the Jew—large, hooked noses

PAGE 35

26 and long shaggy beards). The next frame shows two men rescuing the image, and the final two show the image, returned to its rightful place, being venerated. Figure 5: How Holy Mary Got Even with the Jew for the Dishono r He Did to Her Image, Cantigas de Santa Mara ca. 1280, in Mitchell B. Merback, Beyond the Yellow Badge: Anti-Judaism and Anti-Semi tism in Medieval and Early Modern Visual Culture (Boston: Brill, 2008) 506. The final cantiga I will discuss here relates a frequently told story of a Jewish child who, after partaking of the Eucharist at a Ch ristian church service, returned home, where his father, angered by this religious indiscr etion, threw the child into an oven. With the VirginÂ’s protection, he survived the flame s, and instead the father was thrown into the furnace and killed. The child and his mot her then converted to Christianity. The images for this poem eloquently illustrate the stor y (fig. 6). The first frames show the Jewish child in the church, listening to the sermon and participating in the sacrament of the Eucharist. He returns home in the next frame, relating his experience in the church to his family. The father, again depicted with the ty pical derogatory features, enraged,

PAGE 36

27 throws his son into the furnace. In the next frame we can see the child emerge from the furnace, under the protection of the Virgin and Chi ld, still inside the oven. In the final frame, the father is seen burning in the oven. Alt hough the conversions of the child and his mother are not shown in the miniatures, this de tail is mentioned in the cantiga itself. This image is another example of the gender distinc tion seen in the cantiga about the pregnant woman who converted to Christianity. We c an see a direct relationship between female Jews who convert to Christianity and the way they are depicted in these images. The women appear as neutral characters that pose no threat to the church and Christian society. However, the Jewish men depicted in these illuminations appear with grotesque features. These men do not convert to Christianity and are therefore seen as a threat. The different representations of Jewish men and wom en make this distinction clear. It should also be mentioned here that these illumi nations appeared in manuscript form, which necessarily limited their audience to t hose members of medieval Christian society who were educated or wealthy enough to have access to manuscripts. Illiterate or impoverished Christians would not have seen these i mages firsthand.

PAGE 37

28 Figure 6: How Holy Mary saved from Burning the Son of the Jew Whose Father Had Thrown Him into the Furnace, Cantigas de Santa Mara ca. 1280, in Merback, Beyond the Yellow Badge 509. Altarpieces The altarpiece of a church was the focal point of a ny mass. This was an image that was either placed directly on the altar itself or behind it. The priest stood behind the altar during the mass, and so the image was visible to the faithful for the entire service. This was a very powerful and public place for works that had among their themes the place of Jews within Christian society. There were of course, the usual images of Jews from the Old and New Testaments, and those included in crucifixion scenes, such as a thirteenth century altarpiece featuring scenes from the life of Christ (fig. 6). We can see

PAGE 38

29 in action here the idea of contemporary Jews as Chr ist-killers. In these scenes, the Roman soldiers who arrest Jesus appear with the ubi quitous (by the thirteenth century) markers of Jewishness—hooked noses, dark hair and b eards. In these particular images, their eyebrows distinguish them from the Christian figures; they are much thicker and darker, which served as yet another way to mark Jew s as different from Christians. In one panel, two Jews beat Christ, on the cross, with whips that look, perhaps intentionally, like Hebrew letters. Figure 7: Anonymous, Scenes from the Life of Christ thirteenth century, in Mann, Uneasy Communion 113. A retablo featuring a scene of Christ among the d octors (fig. 7), from the early fifteenth century, is interesting for its architect ural accuracy. According to Vivian Mann, “excavations near the fortress in Lorca in 2003 pro ve the accuracy of the synagogue

PAGE 39

30 architecture painted…[t]he space is illuminated by glass ‘mosque’ lamps and, in a case of life imitating art, a large cache of glass shards f rom ‘mosque’ lamps was found…at Lorca.”29 The fact that these ‘mosque’ lamps appear in an i mage of a synagogue could be an attempt to lump both Jews and Muslims into th e category of “The Other” in artistic representation. The Jews in this image are stereot ypical as well, featuring the dark skin and hair, long beards and hooked noses we have seen in earlier works. Figure 8: Anonymous, Christ Among the Doctors Early fifteenth century, in Vivian B. Mann, Uneasy Communion: Jews, Christians, and the Altarpieces of Medieval Spain (New York: Museum of Biblical Art, 2010) Frontispiece. #%;0:r+ !B )*rr! n$n ;"A:C322B8+ r#$$&%

PAGE 40

31 In many churches, there were altarpieces dedicated to saints in which the saint interacted with Jews. For example, the altarpiece of Saint Ste phen from the church of Santa Mara de Gualter, painted by Jaume Serra in the late four teenth century (fig. 8) shows the saint engaged in a sermon with a group of Jewish men. The saint was “known as a zealous preacher,”30 and he is shown in a building that might be a syna gogue, speaking to the Jews. The clearly marked men, with dark skin, long beards, reading Hebrew books, react in various ways. Two men tear up the pages of thei r religious books, apparently convinced by the saint. Two other men attempt to a rgue with Saint Stephen, holding out their books to him. Two Jews have their ears cover ed. This is in relation to Saint Stephen, who appears with refined, delicate feature s and light skin. This is an interesting image, showing attempts by church leaders to conver t the Jews. Figure 9: Jaume Serra, Altarpiece of Saint Stephen from the Church of Sant a Mara de Gualter ca. 1385, in Mann, Uneasy Communion 121. /$ )* @BB2%

PAGE 41

32 There were many examples, especially in northern Sp anish (Castile and Aragon) churches, of altarpieces dealing with the host dese cration and ritual murder libels. These usually consisted of polyptychs (altarpieces with m ultiple panels) in which the central theme was the life of Christ, or the Virgin, or the sacrament of the Eucharist, and in which one or two, and sometimes several panels were devoted to these accusations leveled against Medieval Jews. I will discuss two important examples, both of which deal with the host desecration theme. The first is Guillem SeguerÂ’s mid-fourteenth centur y Altarpiece of the Trinity and the Eucharist (fig. 9), from the monastery of Vallb ona de les Monges. This piece features multiple panels, some illustrating scenes from the life of Christ, some celebrating the sacrament of the Eucharist, and two in particular d ealing with the host desecration libel. In one panel (fig. 10), two clearly Jewish men, wit hin a Gothic interior, who have purchased the stolen host, attempt to stab it with a knife. The host bleeds on the table. In another panel (fig. 11), one of the Jews has thrown the host into a pot of boiling water, where it cannot be destroyed.

PAGE 42

33 Figure 10: Guillem Seguer, Altarpiece of the Trinity and the Eucharist from th e monastery of Vallbona de les Monges 1349-1350, in Mann, Uneasy Communion 32. Figure 11: Las Monjas Altar-Frontal, A Desecration of the Host by Two Jewish Men with a Knife Late fourteenth century, inMiri Rubin, Gentile Tales: The Narrative Assault on Late Mediev al Jews (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999), 158.

PAGE 43

34 Figure 12: Las Monjas Altar-Frontal, A Jewish Man Throws the H ost into a Cauldron of Boiling Water Late fourteenth century, in Rubin, Gentile Tales 159. The second altarpiece is Pere SerraÂ’s Altarpiece o f the Virgin (fig. 12), also from the mid-fourteenth century. This altarpiece featur es scenes from the lives of Mary and Christ, but the entire lower panel (save for an ima ge of the Last Supper) is dedicated to the host desecration libel. In one image (fig. 13) a group of Christians has discovered that the consecrated host has been stolen. They ho ld the empty pyx (a small container used to transport the host), and are greatly distra ught. In the next panel, we see the Jew who has presumably stolen or purchased the host in a boat on the water. He throws the host overboard in an attempt to destroy it. The Ch ristians watch from the shore, one of them holding the empty pyx. The next scenes show a nother story (fig. 13), in which another host is stolen, this time by a woman. She takes the host to the house of a Jew, where he stabs it with a knife (fig. 14). We can a lso see that the Jew has attempted to boil the host in a pot, but the Christ child has in stead miraculously appeared. The JewÂ’s

PAGE 44

35 wife and child look on in astonishment. In the fin al scene, a Jewish woman (distinguished by her red hair) has converted to Ch ristianity and takes communion. Figure 13: Pere Serra, Altarpiece of the Virgin 1362-75 in Mann, Uneasy Communion 87.

PAGE 45

36 Figure14: Pere Serra, Altarpiece of the Virgin, Predella with scenes of t he Blood and Host Libels (detail) 1362-75, in Mann, Uneasy Communion 88 Figure 15: Jaume Serra, Host Desecration According to the Case of Paris (de tail) ca. 1400, in Rubin, Gentile Tales 160.

PAGE 46

37 These images are clear reflections of the relation ship between Christians and Jews, but they tell us much more about Medieval Chr istians than they do about Medieval Jews. We can see from these representations of Jew s in Christian art that Christians were attempting to distance themselves from their Jewish predecessors. They were able to do this by representing Jews in racist ways—with long, dark hair, dark beards, hooked noses, open mouths, dark skin and in distinctively Medieval Jewish clothing (such as pointed hats). They were also depicted as engaged in violently anti-Christian acts, such as host desecration and ritual murder, and as centr al participants in the execution of Christ. This type of depiction certainly distanced medieval Jews from their Christian neighbors, regardless of whether or not they actual ly looked like their representations or engaged in the activities shown in the art. These representations also tell us a great about the anxieties faced by these medieval Spanish Chris tian communities. Concerns about the coexistence of Jews and Christians (which was v ery often closer than either Christian or Jewish authorities wished to admit) were often w orked out in artistic representation. Theological concerns, such as the belief (or lack t hereof) in transubstantiation was effectively communicated through the host desecrati on narrative and corresponding images. The Host Desecration and Blood Libels Another aspect of the Jewish-Christian relationship accusations of host desecration and ritual murder, emerged in the late thirteenth century. Leveled against Jews by their Christian neighbors, these accusation s argued that Jews were engaged in

PAGE 47

38 various crimes against Christians. Jews, it was sa id, were murdering Christians (usually children) for use in their rituals, and were procur ing sanctified hosts and attempting to destroy them by whatever means necessary. This nar rative appeared in many forms throughout the later Middle Ages—written stories, p lays, and artistic representations.31 The accusations of ritual murder and host desecrati on did not always arise in the same places at the same time, but they are often grouped together in scholarship. I will present them separately here. These stories, in which Jews were accused of attacking the body of Christ (Host Desecration) and the bodies of Christi an children (The Blood Libel), came to stand as representations of the threat that Jews po sed to Christian society. The accusations of host desecration emerged in the late thirteenth century, with the first intact narrative appearing in Paris in 12 90.32 The basic story was (and continued to be told in much the same fashion for the next ce nturies) that a Jewish man, curious about the nature of the host, procured one, usually from a Christian woman or a thief. The Jewish man then proceeded to “test” the host, u sually by stabbing it or placing it in an oven. When the host bled, the Jew attempted to get rid of it, usually by burying it. However, divine signs (mysterious singing or lights shining at night.) appeared, which drew attention to the buried host, which was now mi raculous. The Jewish perpetrator was located, and either executed or converted, and a mass conversion of Jews usually followed. Images of this narrative usually illustr ated the story, and many images focused on the actual desecration of the host itself. In t hese images, the Jews were, of course, /928 +nn,!n n "45r 44%%%&/#928 +nn $

PAGE 48

39 represented with clear distinguishing factors, such as Jewish dress, hooked noses, beards, and deformed or stunted bodies. The anxieties behind these accusations are interest ing, and may explain why they were so widely disseminated. Transubstantiation di d not become official church dogma until 1215, when the Fourth Lateran Council declare d it as such. According to the council His body and blood are truly contained in the sacra ment of the altar under the forms of bread and wine, the bread and wine having been transubstantiated (changed in substance), by GodÂ’s power, into his bo dy and blood, so that in order to achieve the mystery of unity we received from Go d what he received from us33 At the time, there were those within the church who argued that Christ could not be, and was not, in fact, present in the wafers and wine consecrated by priests and taken during communion by believers. Using the Jews as a concrete way of proving the truth of transubstantiation could serve to ease these anx ieties and, at the same time, strengthen the faith of everyday people in this phenomenon.34 It may also be that these accusations stemmed from the belief that Jews were the murderer s of Christ. If Christ was present in the Eucharist, then Jews had the opportunity to kil l him again, just as they had in the New Testament. This lack of remorse over the death of Christ, and willingness to commit the same crime again clearly justified any negative act ions against Jews in Christian society.35 //@r!<2r=r@2+4 1+++D rr:::+++r-+2+-+2B#(#rB E@$+#$#/928 +nn /*928

PAGE 49

40 Accusations of ritual murder (or the blood libel) f irst appeared in England during the twelfth century with the case of St. William of Norwich. William was a young boy whose body was found in the woods outside of town, apparently tortured, executed and crucified to satisfy the ritual needs of the area’s Jews. Later versions of the story were very similar and followed the same prescribed narra tive route. Again, the images of these accusations featured Jews with typically negative J ewish features—hooked nose, full beard, and darker skin color. It is important to note that these accusations, bot h of blood libel and host desecration, began appearing and proliferating duri ng the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. These were the same centuries which “had devastating effects on the Jewish populace, from civic persecution to mass mur der, and ultimately, physical expulsion: from England in 1290; from France in 130 6, 1322, and 1394; from Spain in 1492; and from dozens of German principalities and towns during the early fifteenth century, and from southern Italy in 1541.”36 The images of Host Desecration, in which Jews liter ally attacked the body of Christ in the form of the consecrated wafer is also related to the Christian concern about Jewish food prohibitions. Food was an integral par t of Medieval Spanish society for both Jews and Christians. Christians thought of the Euc harist as the perfect food, since it /66r+3 "r# $*

PAGE 50

41 could sustain both the body and the soul. Concerns about Jewish destruction of this perfect food, illustrated in images of Host Desecra tion narratives reflects anxieties that Christians had about their own society. Like these images, a focus on Jewish food prohibitions, especially the Jewish ban on eating p ork, served as a place for Christians to explore these anxieties and create social and cultu ral cohesion.

PAGE 51

42 CHAPTER III FOOD Food and eating are imperative to human life. As s uch, they take on important meaning within human culture. We are familiar with the saying “you are what you eat,” but it is also true, according to Phyllis Pray Bobe r, “that you are what you do not eat. Food taboos and food avoidance have always been sup remely effective boundary mechanisms delimiting cultural groupings both large and small.” 37 This is especially true of devout Jews, who, at the behest of God, abs tain from eating animals considered unclean, including pork. For Christians, the matte r is somewhat more complicated. In the Middle Ages, the rejection by Jews of certain f oods as “unclean” came to serve as a very important site of differentiation between the Jewish and Christian communities. As with artistic representation, Christians used J ewish food avoidances as highly visible cultural locations in which they could crea te some semblance of cohesion and grapple safely with the economic, theological, and social pressures that were so problematic from the twelfth through the fifteenth centuries. Additionally, food and sexuality were closely linked in the medieval mind, and food became an important locus for exploring Christian anxieties about sexuality b oth within Christian society itself, and between the Christian and Jewish communities of the Iberian Peninsula. An overview of general Spanish culinary history rea ds like an overview of the peninsula’s many and varied invaders. Spanish cuis ine was heavily influenced in the first place by the Greeks and Phoenicians, who starting i n the eighth century BCE, arrived on Spain’s Mediterranean shore and brought with them t he cultivation, production, and trade /'844 !n!!n+ r* "@+65r @+64%%%&#

PAGE 52

43 of olive oil and wine, which would become staples o f the Spanish diet.38 The Romans began establishing colonies on the peninsula beginn ing in the first century BCE and, along with Roman language, science, technology, law s and art, brought with them Roman cooking. In fact, according to Rafael Chabrn, “mu ch of what we think of today as being typically Spanish were [sic], in fact, the staples of the Roman diet. Bread, cheese, olives and olive oil, wine, and roast meat, when it was to be had, were the standard fare of the Roman soldiers in Hispania.”39 Garum which was a sauce made from the offal of salted fish, was another staple of Roman cuisine, and vari eties made in Spain became the most popular and expensive. In the fifth century CE, the Roman Empire fell, a nd the Iberian Peninsula was invaded by a number of Germanic tribes, including t he Vandals, Alans, Swabians, Goths, and Visigoths. Of these tribes, the Visigoths mana ged to gain a foothold in the peninsula. There are very few records of this period, but sinc e the Visigoths were nominally Christians, the “increasingly influential Catholic high clergy maintained many…Latin traditions…”40 We can assume that Spanish cuisine remained essenti ally unchanged—that is, Roman—until 711, when the Moors invaded from North Africa. Again, along with advancements in science, medicine, technology and t he arts, new foods, tastes, and cooking styles arrived from North Africa and the Mi ddle East. New ingredients, such as artichokes, almonds, chickpeas and eggplants were i ntroduced. The Arabs also brought with them a taste for sweet and sour and sweet and salty combinations within dishes, /)9@8F! n!$n-!.$* rrB"A:C392r6#$$#& #%/%@8F!#%$@8F/

PAGE 53

44 along with saffron, the juice of bitter oranges, ro se water, and cider.41 The Muslims who came to the Peninsula shared with the Jews the reli gious mandate to avoid pork. These are general trends in the history of Spanish cooking, and it should be noted that, besides obvious differences in what Jews and Christians could and could not eat based upon religious considerations, the ways in wh ich food was prepared and flavored were influenced by the tastes of all the invaders I have mentioned here, and the dishes could be, in some cases, remarkably similar. For i nstance, a popular hispano-Jewish dish was the adafina This was a stew whose name derived from the Arab ic al-dafnah (buried treasure), which borrowed from Arabic cooki ng the use of onions and chickpeas, and which was similar to Christian dishes known as ollas or cocidos The main difference, of course, between the Jewish and Chris tian versions was that the ollas or cocidos generally consisted of pork, while the adafina was made with lamb.42 Jewish Food Practices The dietary restrictions for Jews are all laid out clearly in the Old Testament books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy. These laws con sist of rules about which animals are clean or unclean, and therefore may or may not be eaten, specific rules for slaughtering the animals, and the ways in which the y should be prepared. Animals that are considered clean and may be consumed are genera lly those that chew the cud and have cloven hooves. The pig, horse, camel and rabb it are considered unclean and should not be consumed, along with carnivorous animals, in cluding all birds of prey, other birds such as owls and storks, carrion, animals which hav e died of natural causes or disease, @8F!/'(/)#@8F/'

PAGE 54

45 and those that have been hunted. Fish with scales and fins are kosher, and may be consumed, but sturgeon, shark, swordfish, eel, lamp rey, sea urchins, octopus, squid, and all shellfish and crustaceans are not. Reptiles, s nails, and frogs are prohibited.43 Jews are also strictly forbidden from consuming blo od, which accounts for the rules about how animals must be slaughtered in orde r to be kosher and fit for consumption. Regarding preparation, the Old Testam ent states, “not to ‘seethe the kid in the mother’s milk’ [which] has been interpreted to mean that meat and milk cannot be part of the same meal.”44 Within the larger framework of medieval Christian s ociety, the laws reminded Jews of their privileged relationship with God, but it is important to note that, as in other places in Europe, Spanish Jewish cuisine was strong ly influenced by the culture that surrounded it. Christian Food Practices In light of the food restrictions laid out in the O ld Testament, what to eat (and what not to eat) was much more complicated for Christians. Generally, according to Irven Resnick, “early Christians developed a consen sus…that the dietary laws of the Jews ceased to be binding once the Old Law had been fulfilled by Jesus.”45 While it seems clear that Christians understood themselves a s no longer bound by the Old Testament restrictions, and were therefore afforded a greater degree of dietary freedom, other conflicts quickly arose. As Pray Bober says, there was a / /n*.n0r1 A:C3D1r'%=r+2(' B 2nr %%*9+3 ,r=:@r (0:4B+2! n3 ;2B"#$&#

PAGE 55

46 fundamental dichotomy that affects cooking and eati ng during the so-called Middle Ages. Body and soul; feasting and fasting; relishing God’s bounty and yet evading sins of the flesh like gluttony—how was one to reconcile a classical tradition of concern for bodily health and dietetic s, or of gentile and Jewish ritual dining in spiritual fellowship—with a new asceticis m that could ultimately lead to saints sustained by mystical visions rather than fo od?46 This anxiety on the part of the Christian community much like the anxiety that influenced Christian representations of Jews in art informed discussions of what should and should not be eaten, and almost more importantl y, in light of the importance of food choices throughout the Christian religious calendar when. Almost right away, and especially in Spain, where the eating of ham and po rk were an important part of gastronomic culture, it became clear that to eat po rk was to immediately mark oneself as Christian. Not only were Christians marking themse lves as such, they were more importantly marking themselves as not Jewish. According to Bridget Ann Hemisch, “Man must have fo od. So much is simple, but in every age his attitude toward this basic fac t of life is complicated by the ideas which shape his own society. Medieval man looked t o the Church for guidance, but the Church’s feelings about the subject were mixed and its teachings in consequence confused.”47 We can see the clear influence of the church in th e Christian calendar of feasts and fasts. This all-important schedule was a living example of the dichotomy Bober talks about. In the Christian year, there co uld be prolonged periods of fasting (the most important of these being Lent and Advent), fol lowed by joyful feasts (the most important being Easter, Christmas and Epiphany. Fe ast days for individual saints also 48 !n!! /%'6rB+ 222n "5r43=G 4rr5r4%'&#

PAGE 56

47 broke up the year, in contrast to the (ideally) two days a week in which Christians should abstain from meat (Wednesdays and Fridays). During those times when fasts were called for, th e ascetic nature of Christianity won out, and people were made to subsist on vegetab les, bread and fish. Of course, this also served as the year-round diet of many peasants But fasting was in itself very problematic, and officially, the Church took great pains to emphasiz e that fasting was merely a useful self-discipline. It was taught that God had created everything in the world, and every part of it was good. A fast was ordered not because food in itself was evil but because it was so necessary and so attract ive to man that some form of abstention from it at certain times was considered to be very good for the soul.48 During these fasts, and most especially during Lent the faithful were told to contemplate the suffering of Christ, and were remin ded of his imperviousness to temptation. This fast was also meant to be a remin der of man’s sin, and Christ’s willing death for that sin. Therefore, abstention from mea t during lent was related to this sin, which “could be traced back to Adam’s fall. When G od discovered what Adam had done, He said: ‘Cursed is the ground for thy sake.’ The earth and earth’s creatures were flawed by man’s failure”49 and therefore, no land animal should be eaten, in order to remind men of that failure. In this, we see again the ever-present dichotomy which was so troubling for the Christians, and again, the chu rch had to be very careful to make the clear point that “meat was good, and given up in le nt only as a daily reminder of man’s )B+ 22 '%B+/#

PAGE 57

48 fall and God’s anger. Meat was also, incidentally, enormously enjoyed, so the long deprivation was a very real punishment.”50 This struggle in the medieval Christian mind betwe en the body and the soul also has an important sexual aspect. Very early Christi anity offered its followers a surprising amount of freedom with regards to diet.51 But by the fifth century, fasting and abstinence from food were highly regulated by the church. We can see why when we look at some of the opinions held by the Church Fathers regardin g food and sex: Around A.D. 200, Tertulian was one of the first to link flesh with lust and carnal desire. In the fourth century Saint Jerome maintai ned that a stomach filled with too much food and wine leads to lechery, and in the sixth century Isidore of Seville explained the connection between gluttony a nd lechery as a consequence of the close proximity of the stomach and sexual or gans of the body. Indulging in food, therefore, also incites lust.52 Christians were urged, then, to participate in fast s to cleanse their bodies; to bring themselves closer to Christ’s suffering, but also i n order to keep their carnal desires in check. We can see this sexual anxiety playing itself out y et again in Christian attempts at preventing and stopping real and imagined sexual in teractions between Jews and Christians. Food often became the metaphor of cho ice. For example: “A little yeast in a large mass of dough, one sick sheep infecting the f lock, a spoiled apple rotting the entire bin.”53 These metaphors are important, because they reveal the close relationship of food and sex. In the Medieval mind, the progression fro m one to the other could be fatal, as illustrated in this passage from the Babylonian Tal mud, which discusses a situation in which Christian anxiety about Jewish-Christian sexu al relationships led to certain *$B+ 22 //*Brr 2nr )**#B)**/A86@66r!$' $

PAGE 58

49 legislation: “With all the things against which the y decreed the purpose was to safeguard against idolatry…[They made a decree] against their bread and oil on account of their wine; against their wine on account of their daught ers; against their daughters on account of another matter.”54 Another anecdote, from the canon lawyer Johannes Teutonicus, is also revealing. He “made the point quite wittily w hen asked: why are Christians allowed to talk to Jews but forbidden to eat with them? Th e reply: talking is one thing, but eating? Who knows what can happen between courses. ”55 This is a humorous spin on a very serious concern for both the Christian and Jew ish communities. The feasts that generally followed periods of fasti ng were celebrations of the more worldly aspect of Christianity. These were times w hen Christians could and should revel in the gifts of the Lord, while keeping in mind the spiritual nature of the celebrations. The importance of this dichotomy should not be unde restimated when looking at the importance of food choice in the negotiation of ide ntity. As in the case of artistic representation, Christian attitudes toward Jewish f ood avoidance generally say more about Christian anxieties surrounding their own foo d choices than they do about actual Jews or Jewish behaviors. We can see that the Chri stian attitude toward food was a cause for great anxiety. The balance between moderation and gluttony, between feeding the body and feeding the soul, and its implications in sexual matters was not easy to strike, and Christians could—by pointing out that Jews did not consume pork while Christians did—emphasize the differences between Jews and Chri stians while highlighting the similarities within the Christian community. *A86@66r!$' #**A86$'$

PAGE 59

50 We also begin to see that any divergence from Chris tian practice was seen as Judaizing behavior. For example, the Cathars, a he retical Christian group that emerged in the eleventh century, abstained entirely from eatin g meat, a practice deemed “Judaizing.” And, after the First Crusade, “Christians had becom e better aware that Muslims also avoided pork and certain other foods, and sought to assign appropriate reasons for this. Regardless of the origin of the Islamic prohibition Christians understood the Muslims’ dietary restrictions to be a Judaizing tendency.”56 This provides an interesting insight into the origins of the Spanish Inquisition’s pract ice of prosecuting Christians and converted Jews and Muslims for “Judaizing” offences such as abstaining from pork. The question remains, however, as to why Christians chose to place such focus on Jewish avoidance of pork. There were many other an imals forbidden to the Jews in the Old Testament, after all. The pig was considered u nclean by the Jews, but was also often linked to “sexual pleasure and to lust, which can b e aroused by gluttony.”57 This is yet another example of proximity in the medieval mind o f sex and food. But why, if the pig were related to such undesirable vices, would Chris tians begin to consume it as proof that they were not Jewish? Resnick argues convincingly that As pork became a more important part of the Europea n Christian diet, its consumption served to proclaim Christian physical, moral, and intellectual superiority: Christians thought themselves differen t because they could eat what had been forbidden to the Jew, and they thought the mselves superior because they understood that they could prevail over the filth t hat the pig represented and over the inclination to gluttony and sexual desire that pork consumption could produce in both the body and the soul.58 *9+3,r=:@r(0: 4B+!'*'9+3**)9+3

PAGE 60

51 The importance in this case of the food people chos e to eat or not eat borrows from the humoral theory of medieval medicine. This theory held that the human body consisted of a mix of the four humors, or liquids: black bile (or melancholy), red or yellow bile, blood, and phlegm. Each person had a specific mixture, or “complexion”, and remained healthy if their humors were in balanc e. If they fell out of balance, however, the person would fall ill.59 What people ate was thought to affect their humor s, and since the humors affected an individual’s compl exion, the foods eaten represented the causes of one’s behavior and mental state.60 So, if Christians consumed foods (such as pork) thought to bring on carnal desire, it was because they felt that their relationship with God and their understanding of his word allowe d them to do so. In addition to these specific instances of Jewish f ood avoidance and Christian food consumption as locations for the negotiation o f Christian identity, we can see that the Eucharist was the single most important meal co nsumed by Christians. The Eucharist consisted of both the consecrated host, which was t he sacred wafer that signified the body of Christ, and the wine, which signified the blood of Christ. Taken together, these food items represented communion with Christ. The dogma of transubstantiation told Christians that they were, literally, eating Christ ’s body and drinking his blood. This was Christianity’s perfect food: sustenance for both th e soul and the body. In fact, for many female saints of the twelfth through fifteenth cent uries, the Eucharist served as the sole source of nourishment.61 As discussed in the previous chapter, it is no su rprise that Jews *%A+7 n-n*%! 0n 4 "@+65r@+64%%$&$9+3,r=:@r4B +!32B@ /n*2/n*23 rrr6rrrrr:B: rr:r:2r 6BB8++r<: 6+2r+:B+2 rB++6r32B

PAGE 61

52 would be accused of attempting to steal and desecra te the consecrated host. The Jews who had killed Christ were attempting to do so agai n, through the bread that, for Christians, represented his body. The Jews in thes e narratives were also destroying, in a real sense, the spiritual and literal food of the C hristian community. These accusations were just one clear example of food and art serving in this case simultaneously, as location where Christians were working to create a sense of unity within a fractured community. The Christian focus on the Jewish refusal to eat p ork, the use of food metaphors in an attempt at preventing and halting sexual rela tionships between Christians and Jews, and the Christian focus on perceived Jewish attempt s to destroy the consecrated host are all examples of the ways in which Spanish Christian s used food to foster a sense of unity and cohesion in the face of extreme anxiety about t he pressures facing Christianity in the twelfth through fifteenth centuries. As in Christi an artistic representations of Jews, these food-related examples tell us much more about Chris tians than they do about the Jews they refer to, and reveal to us the social, economi c and religious anxieties they were meant to minimize. rr26r12+rr :BB6rrr: :r:rrr3r2 rBr:2r.+rr 62+Br

PAGE 62

53 CONCLUSIONS As we have seen, the twelfth through the fifteenth centuries in Spain were turbulent, especially for the Christian community, which was still working to establish itself on the Peninsula. This struggle was both in ternal and external, for though Spanish Christendom fought for dominance with the various o ther religious traditions there, Christianity as a whole was still engaged in a proc ess of determining dogma and establishing orthodoxy. Within the Christian commu nity itself there were great anxieties about church versus civic power, wealth versus pove rty, and which interpretations of the Gospel were acceptable and which were not. These p roblems, combined with encounters and conflicts with other religious groups, most not ably Jews and Muslims, made for an atmosphere of extreme uncertainty and fear. Lashing out at the Jewish communities that had exi sted on the Iberian Peninsula since before the advent of Christianity became a sa fe way for Spain’s Christian communities to explore these anxieties. Jews becam e a common and highly visible enemy against which Christians could unite. Food a nd artistic representation were sensory cultural products that were highly visible to both Christians and Jews living in Christian society, and they became locations for th e expression of these anxieties. Art in the Medieval Spanish world could be highly visible. Images carved in stone on church facades, or painted on church altar s or depicted in stained glass windows could be seen by anyone passing by. This art also tended to serve an educational purpose, since most people in medieval society were illiterate. By creating a basic set of parameters for depicting characters and stories in artwork, lay people could “read” those

PAGE 63

54 artworks and understand the story being told. Jewi sh characters necessarily began appearing in Christian art very early on, since mos t Old (and New) Testament characters were Jews. These early depictions of Biblical Jews were mostly neutral and marked the characters as Jewish only for the purpose of identi fication. However, by the fourteenth century, a much more derogatory set of rules govern ed the images of Jews that appeared in Christian art. Contemporary Jews, identifiable by their dark hair and beards, dark skin, large hooked noses, open mouths, protruding tongues and Jewish style of dress, were often depicted in Crucifixion scenes, placing blame for the death of Christ squarely on contemporary Jews. These depictions, while generally negative, also e xpressed the complexities of Jewish-Christian relations. While Jews were to be derided for their refusal to see the truth of the Christian faith, they were to be prese rved, albeit in misery, because that same refusal was seen as proof of Christian doctrine. A t the same time, Jewish conversion to Christianity was seen as necessary in order for Jes usÂ’ Second Coming, and so stories of Jewish conversion, particularly involving the Virgi n Mary, were very popular. These stories were illustrated with images of Jews in whi ch the differences between the sexes were stark. Jewish women and children (who general ly converted to Christianity in these stories) were depicted in neutral ways, but Jewish men (who typically blocked these conversions and were punished by the Virgin) appear ed in the derogatory imagery already discussed. Another important aspect of the Spanish Jewish-Chri stian relationship was the accusation of host desecration, which appeared with great regularity on Spanish church altarpieces. These images, depicting Jewish men at tempting to destroy or harm the

PAGE 64

55 consecrated host, were always negative. What these images have in common is that they all depicted Jews (specifically Jewish men) in a cl ear and derogatory way, in sharp contrast to images of Christian men and women. By imagining Jews in a single, negative way as physical (and therefore spiritual) monsters, Christians could create a single enemy and unite themselves against it. Food, as another highly visible aspect of any cult ure, served much the same purpose as artistic representation. Jewish food av oidances, of pork in particular, acted as a location for the differentiation between the Chri stian and Jewish communities. In refusing to consume pork, Jews were following the O ld Testament laws that Christians considered null and void after JesusÂ’ fulfillment o f the Old Testament prophecy. For Christians, food itself was troubling. Christi an ambivalence about the balance between the temporal and the celestial, the body an d the spirit complicated matters further. Food was necessary to sustain the physica l body, but because of the proximity of digestive and reproductive organs in the body, food was also seen as a gateway to more sinful behavior. Because of this relationship, sex and food were very closely linked for medieval people, and anxiety about sexuality, both within Christian society and between Christians and Jews was frequently expressed in ter ms of food. Christian choices and conversations about food expr essed anxieties about Christian society itself in much the same way that artistic representations of Jews in Christian art did. Food and art served as very pub lic places for Christians to establish the societal, religious, and cultural cohesion that the y lacked. By creating negative images of

PAGE 65

56 Jews, both in art and through culinary choices, Chr istianity established the Jews as a common enemy to rally against.

PAGE 66

57 FIGURES Figure 1: Master Mateo, Jesse Tree, Prtico da Gloria 1188. Stone. Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, S pain. Reproduced from Universidad Complutense de Madrid online. http://www.ucm.es/data/cont/docs/621 -2013-11-213.%20%C3%81rbol%20de%20Jes%C3%A9.pdf (accessed Apri l 14, 2014).

PAGE 67

58 Figure 2: Cantigas de Santa Mara ca. 1280, in Kessler and Nirenberg, Judaism and Christian Art 125.

PAGE 68

59 Figure 3: Cantigas de Santa Mara, ca. 1280, in Bradley Smith, Spain: A History in Art (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1966) 94-95.

PAGE 69

60 Figure 4: ”How Holy Mary Saved From Death the Jewess Who Was Thrown Over a Cliff in Segovia”, Cantigas de Samta Mara ca. 1280, in Merback, Beyond the Yellow Badge 507.

PAGE 70

61 Figure 5: How Holy Mary Got Even with the Jew for the Dishono r He Did to Her Image, Cantigas de Santa Mara ca. 1280, in Mitchell B. Merback, Beyond the Yellow Badge: Anti-Judaism and Anti-Semi tism in Medieval and Early Modern Visual Culture (Boston: Brill, 2008) 506.

PAGE 71

62 Figure 6: How Holy Mary saved from Burning the Son of the Jew Whose Father Had Thrown Him into the Furnace, Cantigas de Santa Mara ca. 1280, in Merback, Beyond the Yellow Badge 509.

PAGE 72

63 Figure 7: Anonymous, Scenes from the Life of Christ thirteenth century, in Mann, Uneasy Communion 113.

PAGE 73

64 Figure 8: Anonymous, Christ Among the Doctors Early fifteenth century, in Vivian B. Mann, Uneasy Communion: Jews, Christians, and the Altarpieces of Medieval Spain (New York: Museum of Biblical Art, 2010) Frontispiece.

PAGE 74

65 Figure 9: Jaume Serra, Altarpiece of Saint Stephen from the Church of Sant a Mara de Gualter ca. 1385, in Mann, Uneasy Communion 121. Figure 10: Guillem Seguer, Altarpiece of the Trinity and the Eucharist from th e monastery of Vallbona de les Monges 1349-1350, in Mann, Uneasy Communion 32.

PAGE 75

66 Figure 11: Las Monjas Altar-Frontal, A Desecration of the Host by Two Jewish Men with a Knife Late fourteenth century, inMiri Rubin, Gentile Tales: The Narrative Assault on Late Mediev al Jews (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999), 158.

PAGE 76

67 Figure 12: Las Monjas Altar-Frontal, A Jewish Man Throws the H ost into a Cauldron of Boiling Water Late fourteenth century, in Rubin, Gentile Tales 159.

PAGE 77

68 Figure 13: Pere Serra, Altarpiece of the Virgin 1362-75 in Mann, Uneasy Communion 87.

PAGE 78

69 Figure14: Pere Serra, Altarpiece of the Virgin, Predella with scenes of t he Blood and Host Libels (detail) 1362-75, in Mann, Uneasy Communion 88

PAGE 79

70 Figure 15: Jaume Serra, Host Desecration According to the Case of Paris (de tail) ca. 1400, in Rubin, Gentile Tales 160.

PAGE 80

71 BIBLIOGRAPHY Augustine of Hippo, Saint. “Book XVI, Chapter 35-Wh at Was Indicated by the Divine Answer About the Twins Still Shut Up in the Womb of Rebecca Their Mother”. City of God http://people.bu.edu/dklepper/RN470/augustine_jews. html. 5 May 2011. Bango, Isidro G. Remembering Sepharad: Jewish Culture in Medieval Sp ain Madrid: State Corporation for Spanish Cultural Action Abroa d. 2003. Pg. Bober, Phyllis Pray. Art, Culture, and Cuisine: Ancient and Medieval Gas tronomy Chicago:The University of Chicago Press 1999. Chabrn, Rafael. “Medieval Spain.” In Regional Cuisines of Medieval Europe: A Book of Essays Edited by Melitta Weiss Adamson. New York: Routle dge. 2002. Chrysostom, John. Adversus Iudeos 1.4. trans. Meeks and Wilkens. Jews and Christians. p. 92. Dodds, Jerrilynn D., Mara Rosa Menocal & Abigail K rasner Balbale. The Arts of Intimacy: Christians, Jews, and Muslims in the Maki ng of Castilian Culture New Haven: Yale University. 2008. Elukin, Jonathan M. Living Together, Living Apart: Rethinking Jewish-Ch ristian Relations in the Middle Ages Princeton: Princeton University Press. 2007. Gerber, Jane S. The Jews of Spain: A History of the Sephardic Exper ience New York: The Free Press. 1992. Halstrup, Ulla. “Representations of Jews in Danish medieval art—can images be used As source material on their own?”. History and Images: Towards a New Inconography Ed. Axel Bolvig and Phillip Lindley. Turnhout, Be lgium: Brepols Publishers. 2003. Pgs. 341-356. Henisch, Bridget Ann. Fast and Feast: Food in Medieval Society University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press. 1976. Higgs Strickland, Debra. Saracens, Demons, & Jews: Making Monsters in Mediev al Art. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press. 2 003. Mann, Vivian B., ed. Uneasy Communion: Jews, Christians, and the Altarpi eces of Medieval Spain New York: Museum of Biblical Art. 2010. Nirenberg, David. Communities of Violence: Persecution of Minorities in the Middle Ages. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 1996.

PAGE 81

72 Nirenberg, David. “Conversion, Sex, and Segregation : Jews and Christians in Medieval Spain”. The American Historical Review 107, no. 4 (October 2002): 1065-1093. Prado-Vilar, Francisco. “ Iudeus Sacer : Life, Law, and Identity in the ‘State of Exception’ Called “Marian Miracle’.” in Judaism and Christian Art: Aesthetic Anxieties from the Catacombs to Colonial ism edited by Herbert L. Kessler and David Nirenberg, 115-143. Philadelp hia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011. Rubin, Miri. Gentile Tales: The Narrative Assault of Late Mediev al Jews New Haven: Yale University Press. 1999. Simoons, Frederick J. Eat Not This Flesh: Food Avoidances in the Old Worl d. Westport: Greenwood Press. 1961. Siraisi, Nancy G. Medieval and Early Renaissance Medicine: An Introdu ction to Knowledge and Practice. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1990 Snyder, James. Medieval Art. New York: Harry N. Abrams. 1989. Wolf, Kenneth Baxter. “ Convivencia in Medieval Spain: A Brief History of an Idea.” Religion Compass (2009): 72-85. doi: 10.111/j.1749-8171.2008.00119. x.