Hybridity in a medieval key: the paradox of Jewish participation in self-representative political processes

Jewish legal status, before the emancipation of the modern period, is typically assumed to have been that of non-citizens. It is paired with a second assump- tion – that Jews were treated collectively before emancipation and individu- ally afterwards. As Lois Dubin points out, the “demand by Count Stanislas de Clermont-Tonnerre [that] ‘The Jews should be denied everything as a nation, but granted everything as individuals’ is often understood to denote a contrasting past.”1 This paper extends Dubin’s argument beyond the early modern period, back to high medieval Europe, using England as a case study.2 Anglo-Norman Jews, and Western European Jews more generally, are typically imagined in the medieval historical literature as akin to foreign- ers and aliens or to serfs (drawing on the formulation “the king’s serfs” which appears in royal documents in the thirteenth century).

Dubin calls for a more variegated legal and political history of pre- emancipation

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