The theme uniting the essays reprinted here is the attitude of the medieval Church, and in particular the papacy, toward the Jewish population of Western Europe.
Papal consistency, sometimes sorely tried, in observing the canons and the principles announced by St Paul - that Jews were to be a permanent, if disturbing, part of Christian life - helped balance the anxiety felt by members of the Church.
Clerics especially feared what they called Jewish pollution.
These themes are the focus of the studies in the first part of this volume.
Those in the second part explore aspects of Jewish society and family life, as both were shaped by medieval realities.