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Feeling Persecuted: Christians, Jews and Images of Violence in the Middle Ages Hardcover – 1 Sep 2010


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More About the Author

Anthony Bale is Professor of Medieval Studies, Birkbeck College, London. He has published widely on various medieval topics, including Anglo-Jewish history, Christian-Jewish relations, the poetry of Geoffrey Chaucer and John Lydgate, the cult of St Edmund of East Anglia, and fifteenth-century literature. His most recent book is a translation of The Book of Marvels and Travel by John Mandeville. He was awarded the Philip Leverhulme Prize in 2011. His new translation and edition of The Book of Margery Kempe is forthcoming.

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Review

'Anthony Bale has written another innovative and challenging book . . . Bale encourages the reader towards subtle contextualising of the use of images . . . Above all Feeling Persecuted - beautifully produced book - reinforces the understanding, which several recent studies have manifested, of the centrality of the Jew to the devotional experiences and religious understandings of medieval Europeans. It leads the reader towards a new appreciation of late medieval religious culture.'
--History Today

'Anthony Bale has written another innovative and challenging book . . . Bale encourages the reader towards subtle contextualising of the use of images . . . Above all Feeling Persecuted - beautifully produced book - reinforces the understanding, which several recent studies have manifested, of the centrality of the Jew to the devotional experiences and religious understandings of medieval Europeans. It leads the reader towards a new appreciation of late medieval religious culture.' --- History Today

`[a] brilliant study of the medieval iconography of violence... Bale demonstrates the intertwining of the virtuous Christian and the malevolent Jew by reading a wide variety of medieval images and texts . . . carefully constructed and interrelated readings . . . he has given other historians crucial road markers of how to think about the relationship of a minority to a hostile majority.' --- Reviews in History

'Bale seeks to understand Christian attitudes towards Jews and Judaism holistically, inviting consideration of the "aesthetic, intellectual and devotional reasons" for imaginary slanders. His emphasis, as might be expected, is on the "authorizing" nature of perceived persecution: victimhood as a peculiarly empowering form of subjectivity. Beyond this broad point, however, the chief strengths of his book lie in its often deft analyses of an array of texts and artefacts. Bale hones in on the most characteristically tangible and piercing qualities of medieval material culture - its appeals to "somatic engagement."'
--- Marginalia

'Anthony Bale has written another innovative and challenging book . . . Bale encourages the reader towards subtle contextualising of the use of images . . . Above all Feeling Persecuted - a beautifully produced book - reinforces the understanding, which several recent studies have manifested, of the centrality of the Jew to the devotional experiences and religious understandings of medieval Europeans. It leads the reader towards a new appreciation of late medieval religious culture.' --- History Today

'Bale seeks to understand Christian attitudes towards Jews and Judaism holistically, inviting consideration of the "aesthetic, intellectual and devotional reasons" for imaginary slanders. His emphasis, as might be expected, is on the "authorizing" nature of perceived persecution: victimhood as a peculiarly empowering form of subjectivity. Beyond this broad point, however, the chief strengths of his book lie in its often deft analyses of an array of texts and artefacts. Bale hones in on the most characteristically tangible and piercing qualities of medieval material culture - its appeals to "somatic engagement."' --- Marginalia

'Anthony Bale has written another innovative and challenging book . . . Bale encourages the reader towards subtle contextualising of the use of images . . . Above all Feeling Persecuted - a beautifully produced book - reinforces the understanding, which several recent studies have manifested, of the centrality of the Jew to the devotional experiences and religious understandings of medieval Europeans. It leads the reader towards a new appreciation of late medieval religious culture.' --- History Today

'This book contains examples from a wonderful array of poems, lullabies, plays, miniatures, ivories, tiles and frescoes...This is a fine book that combines important insights into medieval Christian religious culture with a subtle understanding of Christian-Jewish relations.' --- Speculum

`[a] brilliant study of the medieval iconography of violence . . . Bale demonstrates the intertwining of the virtuous Christian and the malevolent Jew by reading a wide variety of medieval images and texts . . . carefully constructed and interrelated readings . . . he has given other historians crucial road markers of how to think about the relationship of a minority to a hostile majority.' --- Reviews in History

'This book provides a useful angle from which to read - and teach - literary and other artifacts of the often tense co-existence of Christians and Jews throughout the Middle Ages. Bale does an excellent job of illuminating a lost aesthetic of persecution that valorized "edifying fear."' --- Comitatus

About the Author

Anthony Bale is Reader in Medieval Studies at Birkbeck, University of London, and the author of The Jew in the Medieval Book: English Antisemitisms, 1350-1500 (2006).

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