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The performative terms of jewish iconoclasm and conversion in two Saint Nicholas windows at Chartres Cathedral

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Chapter Summary

Jewish iconoclasm took center stage in thirteenth-century Chartres by means of a representation in stained glass, depicting the whipping of a statue of Saint Nicholas by a Jew, an image that makes visible the climactic scene of a liturgical play known as the Iconia. In the same window, assimilated visually within the same quatrefoil pattern, is another depiction of the abuse of an image, this one by a Christian who falsely swears the repayment of a loan to a Jewish moneylender before a statue of Saint Nicholas. What is rendered visible in this latter representation is a popular exemplum from a contemporary sermon. This chapter proposes and discusses the two scenarios of insult paid to images through their representation in both stained glass and images and in performative texts, and to place these representations within the context of anxiety provoked by money and moneylending for the cathedral chapter at Chartres.

Keywords: Chartres cathedral; Iconia; Jewish iconoclasm; Jewish moneylender; Saint Nicholas



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