This conference, held on December 17-19, 2019, featured leading scholars from the U.S., U.K., Germany, and Israel, and focused on economic interactions between Jews and Christians in Medieval Europe. On the first day, Anna Gutgarts (HUJI) spoke about social cohesion and urban development, comparing the cases of Jerusalem and Acre, followed by Micha Perry (University of Haifa), who surveyed the development of bi-lingual contracts across Europe. Emma Cavell (Swansea University) discussed how litigation records reflect daily entanglements of English Jews, and Sophia Schmidt (Ben Gurion University) delved into the socio-economic motivation behind the city of Regensburg’s prosecution of Jewish clients of Christian prostitutes. The next session explored material concerns, beginning with Alexandra Sapoznik (King’s College London) who focused on inter-religious contacts triggered by wax production and trade across the Mediterranean, and Aviya Doron (Beyond the Elite, HUJI) who presented the unique risks involved in Jews’ reliance on pawned horses in credit transactions in the German Empire. The day concluded with a keynote lecture given by Daniel Lord Smail (Harvard University), who used notarial acts from the city of Marseille to assess Jews’ centrality in the city’s economic activity.
The second day of the conference began with a tour of the Old City of Jerusalem led by Neta Bodner (Beyond the Elite, HUJI). We then dealt with legal proceedings. Nureet Dermer (Beyond the Elite, HUJI) discussed the question of Jews’ foreignness in the city of Paris, and Dean Irwin (University of Canterbury) presented practical and procedural aspects of English Jews’ moneylending activities. The final session of the day focused on crafts and guilds.
Andreas Lehnertz (Beyond the Elite, HUJI) presented a case of economic and religious conflict stemming from a Jewish-Christian clash over shofar production, Sabine von Heusinger (University of Cologne) addressed the flexibility of the guild institution and how it functioned in medieval Germany, and Anna Rich-Abad (University of Nottingham) discussed the varied and specialized artisanal activities in which Jews were involved in 14th century Barcelona.
The following morning Daniel Lord Smail and Francesca Trivellato (Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton) led a graduate student workshop, in which Annika Funke (Arye Maimon Institute, Trier University) Max Holfelder (Goethe Universität Frankfurt), Hannah (Teddy) Schachter (Beyond the Elite, Hochschule für jüdische Studien Heidelberg), Albert Kohn (Beyond the Elite, HUJI) and Miri Fenton (Beyond the Elite, HUJI) all presented their
work. In the following session Nathan Sussman (Graduate Institute Geneva and HUJI) spoke about economic incentives for migration and immigration through the case of medieval Paris, Jörg Müller (Goethe Universität Frankfurt) presented an overview of Jews’ pawnbroking activities in medieval Germany until 1350, and Pinchas Roth (Bar Ilan University) discussed Jewish halakhic approaches to bankruptcy and ethical concerns when redeeming debt from those who go bankrupt. The conference concluded with remarks by Francesca Trivellato and a fruitful discussion on the diverse sources and approaches to exploring questions regarding Jewish-Christian economic interactions.