Medieval Judaism:

What and when is "Medieval" in Jewish history?

Use in European-Christian history denotes period of barbarism betweeen two advanced civilizations.

The term "Medieval" was apparently coined by Flavio Biondo of Forl (1388-1463), in his "Historiarum ab Inclinatione Romanorum Imperii Decades," 1483. It implied a suspension of progress--cultural stagnation, "Dark Ages"--between the glory of classical antiquity and the rebirth of that glory in the beginnings of the modern world.

Webster: medieval [adj]
having to do with the Middle Ages; old antediluvian, antiquated, antique, archaic, feudal, Gothic, old, old-fashioned, primitive, unenlightened

Not appropriate to Jewish (or Muslim) contexts: Era of religious and cultural advance and consolidation.

Criteria for determining beginning of new era:

Political events:

Internal religious developments:

Criteria for determining conclusion of new era:

Political events:

European Emancipation and Enlightenment (late 18th-century and onwards: French Revolution and Napoleon).

Internal religious developments:

Publication of Shulhan Arukh (1564-5).

General features that distinguish medieval from ancient Judaism:


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