Monday, 15 August 2016

Q #6 Are you qualified to talk about the Jews of medieval England and, if so, would you?

This question comes from a lecturer who wishes to remain anonymous.

I'll answer that in two stages:

1) Am I qualified?

That depends entirely upon your definition of 'qualified'. If you are asking 'Do you have a PhD?' then the answer is no. If, however, you are asking whether I am sufficiently knowledgeable and confident to talk about the history of medieval Anglo-Jewry (see below for my specialisms) then the answer is an emphatic yes. As far as my academic qualifications are concerned I am just finishing my MA, and my dissertation, as well as my coursework, ("Sciant universi quod ego [...] debeo": An Analysis of the Westminster Abbey Acknowledgements of Debt) focuses specifically upon the moneylending activities of medieval Anglo-Jewry. Also, if you were asking the former, then I would point out that Joe Hillaby, who has dominated the field of medieval Anglo-Jewish history since the mid-1980s, doesn't have a PhD either.

2) Am I willing?

Provisionally, yes. That being said, you'd have to give me a good reason as to why I should. Also, I should point out that I'm in the process of job hunting, so I will be unable to commit to any date prior to obtaining employment (though if you can convince me that I'll try to be as accommodating as is possible).

Topics that I'm most comfortable with:

  • The general history of medieval Anglo-Jewry
  • The sources for the writing of medieval Anglo-Jewish history
  • The economic activities of medieval Anglo-Jewry
  • Jewish moneylending activities in thirteenth century England (prior to the Statute of the Jewry, 1275)
  • Methods of recording debt
  • The materiality of records
  • Women and gender within medieval Anglo-Jewry

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