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Title: From Jew to Gentile : Jewish converts and conversion to Christianity in medieval England, 1066-1290
Author: Curk, Joshua M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5923 4258
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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The subject of this thesis is Jewish conversion to Christianity in medieval England. The majority of the material covered dates between 1066 and c.1290. The overall argument of the thesis contends that converts to Christianity in England remained essentially Jews. Following a discussion of the relevant secondary literature, which examines the existing discussion of converts and conversion, the principal arguments contained in the chapters of the thesis include the assertion that the increasing restrictiveness of the laws and rules regulating the Jewish community in England created a push factor towards conversion, and that converts to Christianity inhabited a legal grey area, neither under the jurisdiction of the Exchequer of the Jews, nor completely outside of it. Numerous questions are asked (and answered) about the variety of convert experience, in order to argue that there was a distinction between leaving Judaism and joining Christianity. Two convert biographies are presented. The first shows how the liminality that was a part of the conversion process affected the post-conversion life of a convert, and the second shows how a convert might successfully integrate into Christian society. The analysis of converts and conversion focusses on answering a number of questions. These relate to, among other things, pre-conversion relationships with royal family members, the reaction to corrody requests for converts, motives for conversion, forced or coerced conversions, the idea that a convert could be neither Christian nor Jew, converts re-joining Judaism, converts who carried the names of royal functionaries, the domus conversorum, convert instruction, and converting minors. The appendix to the thesis contains a complete catalogue of Jewish converts in medieval England. Among other things noted therein are inter-convert relationships, and extant source material. Each convert also has a biography.
Supervisor: Brand, Paul A. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Economic and Social History ; History of Britain and Europe ; Late antiquity and the Middle Ages ; Church history ; Judaism ; Comparative Law ; conversion ; Christianity ; Christianity and other religions ; Judaism--History ; Judaism--Relations--Christianity--History ; Christian converts from Judaism--England--History ; Church history--Middle Ages ; Great Britain--Church history--1066-1485