God, Humanity, and History: The Hebrew First Crusade by Robert Chazan
By Robert Chazan
After a detailed research of the texts themselves, Chazan addresses the goals of the 3 narratives. He compares those debts with previous Jewish background writing and with modern campaign historiography. it really is of their disjuncture with prior sorts of Jewish historic narration and their striking parallels with Latin campaign narratives that the Hebrew narratives are so much revealing. We see how they replicate the embeddedness of early Ashkenazic Jewry within the bright surroundings of late-eleventh- and early-twelfth-century northern Europe.
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Extra info for God, Humanity, and History: The Hebrew First Crusade Chronicles
44 A close look at two speciﬁc passages in the Mainz Anonymous serves to introduce the argument for early composition. An interesting digression during its portrait of the fate of Speyer Jewry provides two useful pieces of evidence with respect to the date of composition. While lauding Bishop John of Speyer for his energetic and effective protection of Speyer Jewry, our author praises Moses ha-parnas of Speyer for his role also: ‘‘R. Moses ben Yekutiel ha-parnas stood in the breach as well and dedicated himself to them [the Jews of Speyer].
On the scholarly agenda today are general questions as to the capacity of observers to provide ‘‘reliable’’ evidence for events perceived and the capacity of language to communicate ‘‘reliable’’ data for such events. The discussion of the facticity of the 1096 The Hebrew First Crusade Narratives 23 narratives has not been conducted on this highly philosophic plane. The questioning of the reliability of the data provided in the three narratives has been far more focused, more prosaic, and ultimately more useful.
The commitment to accurate portrayal of complex realities on the Christian side is paralleled by a similar commitment to nuanced depiction of diversiﬁed Jewish thinking and behavior. Time-bound concern with the variety of Jewish responses to the crisis of 1096 is both didactic and apologetic. 40 While the didactic objectives of the Mainz Anonymous are fairly obvious, the apologetic thrusts should not be ignored. Our narrator argues in effect that his fellow Jews were hardly obtuse in their failure to appreciate the depths of the danger confronting them.