What to Expect
After a brief introduction to the patristic and early medieval toleration of Jews in the West, the program will focus upon the increasingly frequent demonization of Jews in twelfth and thirteenth-century literary polemics and public disputations, confirmed by images drawn from medieval art and literature. The program will close by narrowing our focus to highlight the experience of Jewish communities in medieval England.
Jeremy Cohen (Tel Aviv University), Sheila Delany (Emerita, Simon Fraser University), Daniel J. Lasker (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev), Sara Lipton (SUNY-Stony Brook), and Robert Stacey (University of Washington) comprise the core faculty leading this investigation. Each has written extensively on medieval Jewish-Christian relations and reflected upon constructions of Jewish identity. As a medievalist who has written on Christian views of Jews, with a special interest in evidence drawn from medieval science and medicine, I shall also contribute to the program and attempt to bridge the discrete presentations. In addition, as institute director I will be responsible for program administration.
The program of study is an exciting one. We plan to provide all readings in English and will not require facility in Latin, Hebrew, or medieval vernaculars. The five-week program will meet for lectures, discussions, and seminars on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Reading assignments will, typically, not exceed 100 pages per day. Wednesdays are reserved for optional trips, individual discussion with core faculty, or private research and reading. On typical Monday and Friday mornings, meetings will be scheduled from 9:30-10:15, followed by a short break, with discussion continuing from 10:30 to noon. Tuesday and Thursday meetings will be held from 9:30 to 11:30 and 1:00 to 3:00. Coffee and tea will be provided daily in the senior common room. At the program's conclusion, the institute's twenty-five participants will be asked to prepare model syllabi incorporating the materials from our investigation into undergraduate courses. These syllabi will be distributed subsequently to all participants. With the permission of the participants, sample syllabi may also be made available to a wider academic audience via the Internet.
The program will be conducted in England at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies (OCHJS). Located on its own campus in Yarnton, six miles from the center of Oxford, OCHJS is a recognized independent centre of the University of Oxford, offering a masters degree in Jewish Studies. Its campus offers a modern library with more than 110,000 volumes, common rooms, and housing. Institute participants will have the status of visiting faculty members, enabling them to obtain privileges at Oxford's Bodleian library and related university libraries. Public transportation to Oxford and nearby towns (e.g. Woodstock) is readily available.