Creating Jewish Otherness: The Jew as an Archetype in Fourteenth-Century Philosophical and Theological Reasoning

  • Jeffrey C. Witt
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


In the medieval mind, the idea of the Jew often functioned as a fixed archetype around which individual actors in a Christian society could define themselves. High level philosophical and theological debates staged during the Middle Ages employed these archetypes and helped to solidify the Jew as a stock character in the culture at large, recognizable by his stubbornness, malice, and hatred of God. Using the writings of the fourteenth-century English Dominican, Robert Holcot, as a case study, instructors can illuminate for students how medieval Christian scholars frequently invoked the archetype of the Jew in their argumentation. Further, these insights illustrate how the influence of scholars like Holcot would have spilled over from the academic world into the lay community.

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© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey C. Witt
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyLoyola University MarylandBaltimoreUSA

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