Jews and Crime in Medieval Europe

Sarit Kattan Gribetz's picture
February 17, 2021
United States
Subject Fields: 
Medieval and Byzantine History / Studies, Jewish History / Studies, Early Modern History and Period Studies, Humanities, Religious Studies and Theology

On Wednesday, February 17, 1pm EST,


Fordham University’s Center for Jewish Studies is hosting Ephraim Shoham-Steiner (Ben Gurion University) for a talk titled:


"Jews and Crime in Medieval Europe"


in conversation with Nicholas Paul (Fordham University) and Magda Teter (Fordham University)



Jews and Crime in Medieval Europe is a topic laced by prejudice on one hand and apologetics on the other. Beginning in the Middle Ages, Jews were often portrayed as criminals driven by greed. While these accusations were often unfounded, at times criminal accusations against Jews were not altogether baseless. Drawing on a variety of legal, liturgical, literary, and archival sources, Ephraim Shoham-Steiner examines the reasons for the involvement in crime, the social profile of Jews who performed crimes, and the ways and mechanisms employed by the legal and communal body to deal with Jewish criminals and with crimes committed by Jews. A society’s attitude toward individuals identified as criminals—by others or themselves—can serve as a window into that society’s mores and provide insight into how transgressors understood themselves and society’s attitudes toward them.


Ephraim Shoham-Steiner is professor of medieval Jewish history at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Be’ersheva Israel, where he is the director of the Center for the Study of Conversion and Inter-Religious Encounters (CSOC). He is the author of On the Margins of a Minority: Leprosy, Madness, and Disability among the Jews of Medieval Europe (Wayne State University Press, 2014) and the editor of Intricate Interfaith Networks in the Middle Ages: Quotidian Jewish-Christian Contacts.


Nicholas Paul is Associate Professor of History at Fordham University. He is the author of To Follow in Their Footsteps: The Crusades and Family Memory in the High Middle Ages (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2012), and the co-editor of numerous volumes, including Remembering the Crusades: Myth, Image, and Identity (2012), The French of Outremer: Communities and Communications in the Crusading Mediterranean (2018), Whose Middle Ages? Teachable Moments for an Ill-Used Past (2019). He is currently working on a project that concerns the place of the crusades within aristocratic performance culture, which was supported by a Fulbright-University of Birmingham US-UK Fulbright Scholar Award in 2019-2020. 


Magda Teter is Professor of History and the Shvilder Chair in Judaic Studies at Fordham University.  She is the author of Jews and Heretics in Catholic Poland (2005), Sinners on Trial (2011), and Blood Libel: On the Trail of an Antisemitic Myth (2020), winner of the 2020 National Jewish Book Award for Writing Based on Archival Material.  Her work has been supported by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, YIVO Institute, and the Yad Ha-Nadiv Foundation.  This year she is the NEH Senior Scholar at the Center for Jewish History in New York City.


Click HERE to register and receive the zoom webinar link.

All spring semester events hosted by Fordham University's Center for Jewish Studies can be found here.  Events are free, open to the public, and virtual.


Contact Info: 

Fordham University's Center for Jewish Studies