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Putting on Cologne: An Exploration of a Medieval City

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The medieval city of Cologne was a bustling metropolis and a hub of commerce. The city is better known for its economic prowess, with Jews and Christians working side by side. But it is less known for its contribution to theology and canon law, from the Jewish to the halakha and Jewish tradition. Nevertheless, due to the city’s central location between England, the Low Countries, Northern France and the German Rhineland, it serves as a gauge for assessing many religious, political and cultural processes in the high middle ages. Dr. Ephraim Shoham Steiner, the 2021-2022 visiting scholar and a Fordham-NYPL Fellow in Jewish Studies, and members of Fordham’s faculty in Medieval Studies will explore together how Cologne served in this fashion drawing on examples from both medieval Christian and Jewish sources.

Ephraim Shoham-Steiner is Professor of Medieval Jewish History at the Department of Jewish History at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and an expert on urban life in Europe in the late Middle Ages. For 2021-2022, he is the Fordham-NYPL Research Fellow in Jewish Studies and a Visiting Scholar at Fordham University. He is the author of On the Margins of a Minority: Leprosy, Madness, and Disability among the Jews of Medieval Europe (2014) and more recently, Jews and Crime in Medieval Europe (Wayne State, 2020).

This event is co-presented by Fordham's Center for Jewish Studies and Center for Medieval Studies, and the Leo Baeck Institute.