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School of History


12 February 2015

Time: 4:00pm
Venue: Arts Two, Room 3.16, QMUL

The scraggly beard, the hooked nose, the bag of coins, and gaudy apparel—the religious artists of medieval Christendom had no shortage of virulent symbols for identifying Jews. Why did Jews becomes such powerful and poisonous symbols in medieval art? The story is not as simple as it first appears. In this talk I map out the complex relationship between medieval Christians’ religious ideas, social experience, and developing artistic practices that drove their depiction of Jews from benign figures connoting ancient wisdom to caricatured enemies designed to provoke fear and hostility.

Sara Lipton received her Ph.D. in Medieval Studies from Yale University, and is currently Professor of History at SUNY Stony Brook.  She is the author of Images of Intolerance: The Representation of Jews and Judaism in the Bible moralisée (University of California Press, 1999), which won the Medieval Academy of America’s John Nicholas Brown Prize; Dark Mirror: The Medieval Origins of Anti-Jewish Iconography (Henry Holt/Metropolitan Books, 2014), and numerous articles on medieval religion and culture. The recipient of fellowships from Oxford University, the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, her writing has also appeared in The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, The Jewish Chronicle, The Los Angeles Times, and The Huffington Post."

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