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Chapter Summary

The social and cultural environment plays a prominent role in a person's attitude towards life, science, and culture. This chapter looks at the living conditions of the Jews in Northern France in the eleventh and twelfth century. In particular the medieval period represents first and foremost the 'Dark Ages,' in which the Jews had to defend their faith against Christian attacks that increasingly evolved from theological and merely speculative debate into open and brutal violence against Jewish life and culture. The chapter discusses that the Jews in the High Middle Ages, in particular in eleventh and twelfth-century Northern France never lacked their own Jewish response to cultural and social challenges. As a corollary, current research in the development of Northern French peshat-exegesis has somehow to direct its attention to the intellectual environment of the Jews in Northern France in the eleventh and twelfth centuries.

Keywords:Dark Ages; Jews; Northern France; peshat-exegesis



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