An Illustration in the 14th century manuscript, the Codex Manasse showing the Jewish poet, Süsskind von Trimberg. Source: wikipedia

Jewish Women in the Medieval World: 500–1500 CE

Jewish Woman lived complicated lives experiencing family, sex, work, faith and cris in a particular way. New book serves as an important introduction

Jewish Women in the Medieval World: 500–1500 CE
by Sarah Ifft Decker
Routledge 2022

Jewish Women in the Medieval World offers a thematic overview of the lived experiences of Jewish women in both Europe and the Middle East from 500 to 1500 CE, a group often ignored in general surveys on both medieval Jewish life and medieval women.

The volume blends current scholarship with evidence drawn from primary sources, originally written in languages including Hebrew, Latin, Aramaic, and Judeo-Arabic, to introduce both the state of scholarship on women and gender in medieval Jewish communities, and the ways in which Jewish women experienced family, love, sex, work, faith, and crisis in the medieval past.

From the well-known Dolce of Worms to the less famed Bonadona, widow of Astrug Caravida of Girona, to the many nameless women referred to in medieval texts, Jewish Women tells the stories of individual women alongside discussions of wider trends in different parts of the medieval world. Even through texts written about women by men, the intelligence, courage, and perseverance of medieval Jewish women become clear to modern readers.

With the inclusion of a Chronology, Who’s Who, Documents section, and Glossary, this study is an essential resource for students and other readers interested in both Jewish history and women’s history.


Sarah Ifft Decker is a Assistant Professor of History at Rhodes College


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