Isaac on Jewish and Christian Altars: Polemic and Exegesis in Rashi and the Glossa Ordinaria

By Devorah Schoenfeld | Go to book overview

CHAPTER ONE
THE DEVELOPING
JEWISH-CHRISTIAN POLEMIC

Rashi and the glosses of the Glossa Ordinaria on Genesis 22 are similar in both method and content. Such similarity develops out of their shared historical context. These two commentaries developed at a time of scholarly ferment and intensification of the Jewish–Christian polemic. The authors of these commentaries (or their schools) were part of both these developments. This chapter will survey developments in Jewish–Christian polemic during the eleventh and twelfth centuries and situate Rashi and the Gloss in the context of these developments.

The polemical themes in Rashi and in the Gloss on Genesis 22 relate to polemical themes that appear elsewhere in Rashi’s writings and in other writings from the school of Laon, notably in the Dialogus inter Christianum et Judaeum de fide Catholica [Dialogue between a Christian and a Jew about the Catholic faith], a polemical work composed in the school of Laon during the time of the early development of the Gloss. Rashi did not write any explicitly polemical works, but implied polemic runs through Rashi’s biblical commentaries. Finally, this chapter will survey the various ways of thinking about the near-sacrifice of Isaac that were common in Jewish and Christian exegesis in eleventh- and early-twelfth-century Europe.


CHRISTIAN ANTI-JEWISH POLEMIC IN THE TWELFTH CENTURY

At least four major anti-Jewish polemical works were composed in the early twelfth century: Guibert of Nogent’s Tractatus de incarnatione contra Iudeos [Treatise on the incarnation directed against the Jews],1 Peter Abelard’s Dialogus inter philosophum, Iudeum et Christianum [Dialogue between a philosopher, a Jew and a Christian],2 Rupert of Deutz’s Annulus sive dialogus inter christianum et iudeum [The ring, or a dialogue between a Christian and a Jew],3 Odo of Tournai’s Disputatio contra Judeum Leonem

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