Medieval Europe + Byzantium

Judaism and art

The early Israelites made sacrifices at the Holy Temple, and they were distinct from other Levantine peoples, each of whom worshipped their local gods.

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Medieval synagogues in Toledo, Spain
Medieval synagogues in Toledo, Spain

These eclectic buildings embody the close ties between Muslim, Jewish, and Christian cultures in medieval Spain.

Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue, Jobar (Syria)
Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue, Jobar (Syria)

Diarna digitally documents endangered Jewish sites—like this historic shrine near Damascus, now razed.

The manuscripts of Luis de Carvajal
The manuscripts of Luis de Carvajal

This tiny book tells the complex story of the conflict between Christians and Jews in the Old and New Worlds.

Book of Morals of Philosophers
Book of Morals of Philosophers

This Hebrew book copies an Arabic text that itself began life as a work of classical Greek philosophy.

Altneushul, Prague
Altneushul, Prague

In the “Old New Synagogue,” desks surround a Torah plaform. Text outweighs image—only plants ornament the space.

<em>The Spoils of Jerusalem</em>, Arch of Titus
The Spoils of Jerusalem, Arch of Titus

The emperor Titus sacked the temple in Jerusalem and looted its most holy treasures.

The Golden Haggadah
The Golden Haggadah

No splashes of wine stain this luxurious book! Its 56 miniatures illustrate the story of Passover.

Writing a history of Jewish architecture
Writing a history of Jewish architecture

Long ignored by historians, Jewish architecture employs a rich formal language that melds local styles.

Jewish history in the post-war period
Jewish history in the post-war period

The genocide that overtook Europe’s Jews transformed Jewish identity throughout the world. Jews in Poland, Romania, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Yugoslavia, Germany and Austria were reduced to a tiny fraction of their prewar numbers. Even still, Jewish populations survived throughout Europe, including in Russia, the United Kingdom, and France. Western European nations received substantial aid from the American government, and the Jewish […]

Jewish history 1750 to WW II
Jewish history 1750 to WW II

The emancipation of European Jews from ghettos became a benchmark of sorts indicating a nation’s transformation from the medieval to the modern. Upon the formation of a secular nation, French Jews received civil rights in 1791 and 1792. Other European nations followed throughout the 19th century. National communities distanced themselves from old forms of Christianity, and they tolerated […]

Jewish history to the middle ages
Jewish history to the middle ages

After the Roman world embraced Christianity, Jews faced persecution, mob violence, and Crusaders.

Judaism, an introduction
Judaism, an introduction

Judaism is a monotheistic religion that emerged with the Israelites in the Eastern Mediterranean (Southern Levant) within the context of the Mesopotamian river valley civilizations. The Israelites were but one nomadic tribe from the area, so named because they considered themselves to be the descendants of Jacob, who changed his name to Israel. Texts Judaism stems […]

Selected Contributors | Judaism and art