This Oxford Seminar in Advanced Jewish Studies seminar will examine when and how Jews became reliable or trustworthy in the realm of the law—as witnesses, but also as lawyers and judges– and in a host of other realms, including medicine, politics, academia, culture (particularly the art world), and business and finance. We will focus on traditionally Christian countries or empires, but also welcome participants whose interest is primarily the status of Jews under Muslim rule. The question of Jews and trust is more generally a question of Christian (or Muslim) transformation over time. Thus, this seminar provides an opportunity to explore how “the Jew” serves as a spur or impulse to large-scale changes in mentalities and practices, and to explain how this occurred within specific institutional settings: from the pre-modern world of theology and exegesis, to modern institutions like law courts, hospitals, universities, parliaments, businesses, cultural institutions such museums, galleries, and auction houses.
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