The Red Jews: Apocalypticism and antisemitism in medieval and early modern Germany.
AuthorGow, Andrew Colin.
KeywordsChristianity and antisemitism -- History -- Middle Ages, 600-1500.
Christianity and antisemitism -- History -- 16th century
Jews -- Germany -- Social conditions -- History -- Middle Ages, 600-1500.
Apocalyptic literature -- History and criticism.
Antisemitism -- Germany -- History -- Middle Ages, 600-1500.
Antisemitism -- Germany -- History -- 16th century.
Committee ChairOberman, Heiko A.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe Red Jews are a legendary people; this is their history. From the late thirteenth to the late sixteenth century, vernacular German texts depicted the Red Jews, a conflation of the Biblical ten lost tribes of Israel and Gog and Magog, as a savage and unnaturally foul nation, who are enclosed in the 'Caspian Mountains', where they had been walled up by Alexander the Great. At the end of time, they will break out and serve the Antichrist, causing great destruction and suffering in the world. The hostile identification (c. 1165) of Jews with the apocalyptic destroyers of Ezekiel 38-39 and Revelation 20 expresses a new and virulent antisemitism that was integrated into the powerful apocalyptic traditions of Christianity. None of the few scholars who have noticed the Red Jews in medieval and early modern vernacular texts has sought out, collected and examined the complete body of medieval and early-modern sources that feature the Red Jews. This study provides a long-term analysis of the intimate connections between antisemitism and apocalypticism via a forgotten and submerged piece of German 'medievalia', the Red Jews. The legend gradually dissipated. Until the beginning of the seventeenth century it was a medieval lens through which Germans saw events relating to the Turkish threat in the East; after that time, the Red Jews disappeared from European texts.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Arizona
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