By Barbara W. Tuchman

ISBN-10: 0345349571

ISBN-13: 9780345349576

The 14th century supplies us again contradictory pictures: a glittering time of crusades and castles, cathedrals and chivalry, and a dismal time of ferocity and non secular pain, an international plunged right into a chaos of warfare, worry and the Plague. Barbara Tuchman anatomizes the century, revealing either the good rhythms of background and the grain and texture of family existence because it used to be lived.

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17 The French monarchy matured slightly more slowly than its English rival, and the same is true for its archives as well. Since the Jews were expelled from France at the beginning of the fourteenth century, the explosion of royal documentation that began during the thirteenth century does not fully illuminate the medieval experience of French Jews. At the same time, the rich local court and notarial records of southern France have preserved valuable evidence of Jewish life and activity. An increasing volume of Christian literary evidence also began to accumulate prior to the expulsion.

Many of the foundations of Greco-Roman thought were inimical to monotheistic principles, challenging simultaneously traditional Islam, Judaism, Prior legacies 27 and Christianity. The best minds of the period – Muslim, Jewish, and Christian – were absorbed by the effort to mediate between their received religious traditions and the impressive philosophic legacy of Greece and Rome. Jews lived all across the medieval Muslim world, from the great centers of the Middle East across North Africa and over onto the Iberian peninsula.

What were these divine purposes that required preservation of the Jewish people? According to Augustine, God intended that the Prior legacies 37 Jewish people be preserved in order that they serve as witnesses to Christian truth, in one of two prominent ways. In the first place, Jews acknowledge before all humanity the divine origins and thus the truth of the prophetic corpus. By insisting that the words of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and the other prophets of ancient Israel were Godgiven, the Jews create an obvious basis for Christian claims about Jesus.

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A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century by Barbara W. Tuchman

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