Thursday, February 14, 2008

February 29th Lecture: Jewish Eyes

The University of Pittsburgh Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program presents

Department of History
SUNY Stony Brook

“Jewish Eyes,
1140 – 1180”

Friday, February 29th
4:00 p.m.
Cathedral of Learning
Room 501

This paper examines a range of sources dating to ca. 1140 – 80 (hagiographical and devotional texts, liturgical objects and images, and their accompanying inscriptions) to examine distinct changes in the representation of Jews in Christian art and thought. It argues that images often read as reflecting a heightened and increasingly “racialized” anti-Judaism are, in the first instance, a by-product of how Christians desired, feared, and used representations of God. Art and society are never discrete, however, and images created to serve internal Christian purposes eventually affected Christian perceptions of actual Jews, and influenced Christian-Jewish social and legal relations.
Sara Lipton’s work focuses on religious identity and experience, Jewish-Christian relations, and art and culture in the high Middle Ages (11th – 14th centuries). She is currently working on two projects. The first, to be published by Metropolitan Books in 2007, examines how changing concepts of vision and witness in medieval Christian society intersected with the visual representation of the Jew. The second, entitled Art, Preaching, and Piety in the High Middle Ages (1150 – 1300), seeks to understand why and to what effect Christendom invested so much in worshiping the ineffable Word through the material thing. Her publications include “The Sweet Lean of His Head: Writing about Looking at the Crucifix in the High Middle Ages,” in the journal Speculum (2005), and Images of Intolerance: The Representation of Jews and Judaism in the Bible Moralisée (Berkeley, 1999), which won the John Nicholas Brown Prize for Best First Book.
This talk is generously co-sponsored by the Department of Religious Studies and the Department of History
Questions? Please contact MRST Director Jennifer Waldron (

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