The Macksey Journal


As one would expect, Jewish life within the German Kingdom in the high middle ages (1000-1300 CE) was fraught with instability. The micro-history of specific Jewish communities has been undertaken by historians in the past, but the Jewish experience within multiple cities has yet to be compared. Due to the diversity of German city authority structures, the restrictions and privileges put upon the community were diverse. How these laws effect the daily life of the Jewish community was subject to the gentile authority of bishops, for those inhabiting bishop-cities, or the Emperor directly, for those living in free imperial states. Thus, different cities with differing authority structures resulted in distinct Jewish experiences. A comprehensive analysis of the experience within the northern Jewish center of Worms and the southeastern Jewish community of Regensburg is a new approach to the study of medieval Jewish communities. A case study of these cities by means of laws, rights, protections, and placement within the city, provides a variety of medieval Jewish experiences within the German Kingdom. By examining and comparing charters and laws between these cities, a mixed depiction of mutual benefit and subordination is created. An examination of this dynamic contributes to our understanding of the overall experience of Jewish communities within the medieval German realm.