By Mitchell Merback
In 13 essays via major paintings historians, and a serious creation by means of the editor, "Beyond the Yellow Badge" seeks to reframe the connection among eu visible tradition and the altering element of the Christian majority's unfavorable conceptions of Jews and Judaism through the center a while and early sleek classes. through situating their topics inside of a wide continuum of old and important matters, the authors inquire into such questions because the moving politics of toleration and intoleration; the function performed via anti-Judaic legends within the formation of Christian cults; the position of confident reviews of Hebrew, Jewish studying and Christian hopes for Jewish conversion; and the transformation of non secular anti-Judaism into its glossy racial and nationalistic opposite numbers. The publication can be of distinct curiosity to paintings historians, cultural historians, scholars of Christian theology and Jewish historical past, and to knowledgeable common readers.
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Additional info for Beyond the Yellow Badge: Anti-judaism and Antisemitism in Medieval and Early Modern Visual Culture
Exemplary are the conÁations made in the following passage by Moshe Lazar: Marked with the sign of Cain or the seal of Antichrist on his forehead—later to be made visible and explicit through the yellow badge of 9 Moshe Lazar, “The Lamb and the Scapegoat: The Dehumanization of the Jews in Medieval Propaganda Imagery,” in Antisemitism in Times of Crisis, ed. Sander L. Gilman and Steven T. Katz (New York: New York University Press, 1991), 38–80, at 51, an assertion for which the author cites his own previous studies.
Rather, for Rowe, the striking versimilitude of the sculptures contributed to a performance of ecclesiastical power. Drawing on Louis Althusser’s theory of ideology as a mechanics of power that produces the individual’s self-recognition as a subject, Rowe highlights the contradiction between Synagoga’s idealized beauty and Jewish subjection within the Christian world order, a contradiction actualized as Ecclesia confronts her counterpart across the open space of the porch. With this emphasis Rowe ably raises the question of the continuities between symbolic representations of Jews and Judaism and the actual conditions of Jewish communities; between theological constructions of the Jewish-Christian relationship and the comprehension of that relationship by the various classes within a Christian majority who, like the Jewish minority, had little choice but to accede to their place in the structures of power.
And we are breathing the atmosphere of a distinctively early modern ambivalence about the “Hebrew Truth” (Hebraica veritas) as a mediating force in both Christian self-understanding and in the precarious balance between tolerance, persecution and mission. This ambivalence is the common thread in the selections for our volume’s third section. Paul Kaplan’s essay “Old Testament Heroes in Venetian High Renaissance Art” examines the various ways Old Testament personages—Moses, David, Solomon, Judith—were enlisted by the leaders, artists and propagandists of the Italian city-states as points of emulation and identiÀcation.