Two Nations in Your Womb: Perceptions of Jews and Christians in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages

By Elukin, Jonathan | The Catholic Historical Review, January 2008 | Go to article overview

Two Nations in Your Womb: Perceptions of Jews and Christians in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages


Elukin, Jonathan, The Catholic Historical Review


Two Nations in Your Womb: Perceptions of Jews and Christians in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. By Israel Jacob Yuval. Translated by Barbara Horshav and Jonathan Chipman. (Berkeley: University of California Press. 2006. Pp. xxii, 313. $49.95.)

Yisrael Yuval's provocative study of the polemical interaction of Judaism and Christianity grows out of his determination to re-imagine the nature of medieval European Judaism. Yuval's book promises a lively exploration of Jewish-Christian interaction, but the book's structure and topics make it difficult to appreciate fully this polemical dynamic between two religious cultures. That Judaism was affected by other cultures does not really seem shocking, but Yuval is arguing against what had been, or what he imagined was, an entrenched traditional attempt to sanctify the uniqueness of Jewish history. Even if he has created something of a straw man with this dichotomy, his book would have been useful if it had elucidated ways in which this history of influence between the religions had functioned. Unfortunately, the book's structure makes it difficult to explore and appreciate fully this polemical dynamic between the two religious cultures.

First, Yuval confuses competition with influence. His discussion of how early Judaism used the image of Esau as a way of indicting Christianity certainly shows that Jews were aware of and perhaps even threatened by Christianity They were using the images of the biblical tradition to assert the primacy of Judaism as the true religion. It is not clear, however, how this polemical competition actually affected the internal evolution of Judaism. The threat of Christianity, particularly as it became an imperial religion, may have forced rabbinic culture to evolve as Seth Schwartz has recently argued. In this case, Jews were responding to the visible success of Christianity and its role in society rather than rhetorical images.

It is frustrating that Yuval turns away from the issue of polemical exchange to discuss the nature of vengeance and redemption in Jewish liturgical material. I do not understand how this section helps him establish evidence of Christian influence on Judaism. That Jews could imagine that redemption depended on or at least involved vengeance over their enemies seems independent of a particularly Christian environment. (Yuval seems to suggest a parallel development of this idea of redemptive vengeance in Crusading theology, but there is no exploration of how, if at all, this idea traveled between Jewish and Christian culture. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Two Nations in Your Womb: Perceptions of Jews and Christians in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.