Performing Jewishness in the Croxton Play of the Sacrament
The Croxton Play of the Sacrament opens up when contemplated in a class on Jews and “Saracens” in medieval English literature through a pedagogical focus on genre. What difference, my students ask, does drama make when medieval Christians represent “the Jew”? Such a focus lends itself to addressing contradictions and instability when interpreting “the Jew” and seems especially pertinent to the concerns of the Croxton drama. Awash with an over-the-top theatricality, the Croxton Play of the Sacrament emphatically embraces its generic identity as a play. Drawing on both new historical information and intuitive student knowledge to open up this play, this lesson culminates in a careful look at the outrageous moment in Croxton when a Jew’s hand is nailed to a communion wafer and severed from his body.