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The Aerial Battle in the Toledot Yeshu and Sodomy in the Late Middle Ages

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AbstractThomas Ebendorfer’s fifteenth-century Latin translation of a Hebrew Toledot Yeshu text is the earliest extant Latin version to include a full narrative from the birth of Jesus to the events following the crucifixion, and predates existing Hebrew versions. After reviewing the place of Ebendorfer’s work in the textual tradition of the Toledot, the article examines carefully the work’s account of the aerial battle between Jesus and Judas, in comparison to other versions. Ebendorfer includes the detail of sexual intercourse between the two, which is absent in many later versions. In the context of a discussion of Christian and Jewish attitudes toward male–male sexual activity in the Middle Ages, the article concludes that while this detail was in Ebendorfer’s exemplar, he could have elaborated on it in a way that indicates this was a particularly Christian concern.

Affiliations: 1: Department of History, University of Minnesota1110 Heller Hall, 271 19th Avenue S., Minneapolis, MN 55455USA


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