School of History

Thinking with and against the Jews, Christian Understandings of the Old Law

7 November 2019 - 8 November 2019

Time: 10:00am - 3:00pm
Venue: ArtsTwo 3.20

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In the wake of the research on medieval thinking regarding Jews and Judaism that historians have carried out over the past three decades, the conference will address the fundamental issue of the Christian understandings of the Hebrew Bible, conceived as the « Old Law » that Christianity did not claim to « abolish », but to « fulfill ». A variety of sources will draw attention to a wide range of issues, including the dialectic of appropriation and supersession of the Law, the questioning of its ceremonial observances, the justifications of its literal meaning, or the Jewish inability to understand it. The conference will combine broad perspectives and specific approaches. Emphasis will be placed on the Christian uses of Jewish sources. Beyond attempting to understand the forms of Jewish presence in Christian thought regarding the Old Law, we shall also consider the different ways in which the Old Law was dealt with in texts and images regarding Jews and Judaism.

Elsa Marmursztejn, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow

Full Programme:


Thursday 7 November 2019

• 10:00 Welcome and Introduction

• 10:30 Miri Rubin (QMUL), The Multiple Kinships of ecclesia and synagoga

• 11:00 Jeremy Cohen (Tel Aviv University), Synagoga Conversa and the “Eschatological Jew”

• 11:30 Maurice Kriegel (EHESS), “Anti-Judaism” and the History of Toleration : from Peter Abelard to Erasmus

12:00 Discussion

12:30-13:30 Lunch

• 13:30 Silvana Vecchio (University of Ferrara), Impletio legis. Mosaic Precepts and Evangelical Law according to John of Rupella

• 14:00 Irven Resnick (University of Tennessee at Chattanooga), Thirteenth-Century Christians on Circumcision, Conversion, the Old Law, and the Jews

• 14:30 Milan Zonca (Charles University of Prague), The Old Law in Bohemian Reform Discourse : Matthias of Janov on Jews and Judaism

15:00 Discussion

15:30-15:45 Coffee break

• 15:45 Sylvain Piron (EHESS), Olivi and Ramon Marti, discussing with the Rabbis on Messianic Expectation

• 16:15 Görge Hasselhoff (Technische Universität Dortmund), Defining the “Old Law” : The Latin translation of Maimonides Guide for the Perplexed (Paris, ca. 1244/6)

• 16:45 Elsa Marmursztejn (QMUL), Presence and Role of Maimonides in Olivi’s Texts on the Old Law (c. 1292-94)

17:15 Discussion


Dinner : 7pm, Symposium Restaurant, 363 Roman Road E3 5QR London


Friday 8 November 2019

• 10:00 Sophie Delmas (University of Lyon II, CIHAM-UMR 5648), The Jews and the Ancient Law in the Work of Guibert of Tournai

• 10:30 Deeana Klepper ((Boston University), The Old Law and the Jews in Manuals for Parish Priests

• 11:00 Bert Carlstrom (QMUL), Honoured Irrelevance : Metaphors of Supersession in Fifteenth-century Castile

11:30 Discussion

12:00-13:00 Lunch

• 13:00 Sara Lipton (Stony Brook University), “The Law Was Like a Book of Pictures” : Philip the Chancellor on Jewish and Christian Ways of Reading and Perceiving

• 13:30 Matthew Champion (Birkbeck University), The Student Becomes the Teacher : Pauline Lessons and the Calendar in Fifteenth-Century Leuven

14:00 Discussion

14:30 Walk in the East End organised by Matthew Walker, Lecturer in the History of Art and Architecture, School of History, QMUL


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 794206