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Jew and Serf in Medieval France Revisited

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Chapter Summary

The Criminal Register of the Abbey of Saint Germain-des- Prés of Paris records a case from 1272 which has curiously been absent from the leading discussions of the legal status of Jews in medieval France. In particular, its information has not been brought to bear in these discussions on a very old question: to what degree were Jews considered equivalent to Christian serfs in a region, the kingdom of France, where the language of cameral serfdom, as used in German imperial circles, was seemingly seldom applied to them? The most comprehensive treatment of the question is that of the late Stanford University historian Gavin Langmuir. His two articles "'Judei Nostri' and the Beginning of Capetian Legislation" and "'Tanquam Servi': The Change in Jewish Status in French Law about 1200", published in 1960 and 1980 respectively and republished in his collected essays in 1990, have become classics.

Keywords: Christian serfs; France; German; Jews; Saint Germain-des- Prés; Stanford University



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