Reconstructing Ashkenaz shows that, contrary to traditional accounts, the Jews of Western Europe in the High Middle Ages were not a society of saints and martyrs. David Malkiel offers provocative revisions of commonly held interpretations of Jewish martyrdom in the First Crusade massacres, the level of obedience to rabbinic authority, and relations with apostates and with Christians. In the process, he also reexamines and radically revises the view that Ashkenazic Jewry was more pious than its Sephardic counterpart.
About the author
David Malkiel teaches in the Department of Jewish History, Bar-Ilan University, in Israel.