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The Siege of Jerusalem : A Broadview Anthology of British Literature Edition - Adrienne Williams-Boyarin

The Siege of Jerusalem

A Broadview Anthology of British Literature Edition


Published: 28th November 2013
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The Siege of Jerusalem (c. 1370-90 CE) is a difficult text. By twenty-first-century standards, it is gruesomely violent and offensive. It tells the story of the Roman destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE, an event viewed by its author (as by many in the Middle Ages) as divine retribution against Jews for the killing of Christ. It anachronistically turns first-century Roman emperors Titus and Vespasian into Christian converts who battle like medieval crusaders to avenge their saviour and cleanse the Holy Land of enemies of the faith. It makes little sense without frank understanding of medieval Christian anti-Semitism. There is, nevertheless, some consensus that The Siege of Jerusalem is a finely crafted piece of poetry and that its combination of horror, beauty and learnedness makes it an effective work of art. As literary scholar A.C. Spearing has put it, "We may not like what the poet does, but it is done with skillful craftsmanship and sometimes with brilliant virtuosity." The tale that the anonymous Siege poet tells, moreover, is an important and still reverberating part of the history of Western thinking about the East. It is, in Yehuda Amichai's phrase, a ""currency of the past"" that continues to be negotiated. The first-century destruction of Jerusalem has been understood in both Christian and Jewish traditions as the beginning of the Jewish Diaspora; for medieval Christians it was also a model of successful Christian leadership and justified warfare, an allegory of political and personal spiritual battle. As part of the story of the historical rift between Christianity and Judaism - and of the inevitable victory of Christianity - the destroyed Second Temple was taken as symbolic of the fall of Judaism and the rise of the new Christian era in which anyone who rejected Christ would suffer. Written in alliterative verse in the late fourteenth century, The Siege of Jerusalem seems to have been popular in its day; at least nine fourteenth- and fifteen-century manuscripts containing the poem have come down to us. Yet this is the first volume to offer a full Modern English translation. In addition, appendices provide extensive samples of the alliterative original, a wide-ranging compendium of materials documenting anti-Semitism in the Middle Ages, comparative biblical passages and much else.

More than merely updating an old poem, Boyarin presents a veritable anthology of medieval anti-Judaism. - Times Literary Supplement, 19th June 2015

  • Acknowledgements
  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • The Siege of Jerusalem
  • Appendix A: The Middle English Siege of Jerusalem
  • Prologue, lines 1-35
  • Passus 3, lines 573-608
  • Passus 5, lines 1069-1100
  • Appendix B: The Siege of Jerusalem and the Bible: Key Passages
  • 1 Maccabees 6
  • The Gospel According to Matthew 10.1-15
  • The Gospel According to Matthew 24.14-15 and 27.1-9
  • The Gospel According to Luke 19.37-48 and 21.5-28
  • The Gospel According to Luke 22.63-23.38
  • The Gospel According to John 11.47-56 and 18.3-19.21
  • Revelation 21
  • Appendix C: The Siege of Jerusalem and Medieval Christian Legend
  • From The Golden Legend, c. 1260
  • a. From "The Passion of the Lord" (Pontius Pilate, St. Veronica)
  • b. From "Saint James, Apostle" (St. James, the destruction of Jerusalem)
  • c. From "Saint Peter, Apostle" (St. Peter, St. Paul, Nero)
  • Appendix D: Other Medieval Anti-Semitisms and the Crusader Conquest of Jerusalem
  • Crusade Violence in Historical Writings
  • 1. From Albert of Aachen, History of the Journey to Jerusalem (c. 1125-50)
  • 2. From Eliezar bar Nathan, Gezerot Tatnu [Persecutions of 1096] (c. 1150)
  • 3. From Raymond d'Aguilers, History of the Frankish Conquerors of Jerusalem (c. 1100)
  • 4. From William of Newburgh, The History of English Affairs (c. 1198)
  • 5. Ephraim of Bonn, "Tatkan-tatkana b'Angleterre" ["In England, 1189"] (c. 1196)
  • Ritual Murder Libel: The Case of William of Norwich (c. 1173)
  • Ecclesiastical and Secular Legal Documents
  • 1. Pope Innocent III, Canons and Decrees of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215)
  • 2. A Bull of Pope Gregory X (1272)
  • 3. Statute of the Jewry, England (1275)
  • Popular Literature: Miracles of the Virgin and Mandeville's Travels
  • 1. From The South English Legendary, "The Jewish Boy" and "The Jews of Toledo" (c. 1280)
  • 2. From the Vernon Manuscript, "The Child Slain by Jews" (c. 1390)
  • 3. From John Mirk's Festial, "How a Monk Painted a Miraculous Image" (c. 1390)
  • 4. From The Travels of Sir John Mandeville (c. 1360)
  • Christian Dates in relation to the Destruction of the Second Temple: A Jewish Response, from Abraham Zacuto, Sefer Yuhasin [Book of Lineage] (c. 1500)
  • Works Cited and Recommended Reading

ISBN: 9781554811588
ISBN-10: 1554811589
Series: Broadview Anthology of British Literature Editions
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 170
Published: 28th November 2013
Publisher: Broadview Press Ltd
Country of Publication: CA
Dimensions (cm): 21.6 x 14.0  x 1.2
Weight (kg): 0.25