The Fabric of Religious Life in Medieval Ashkenaz (1000-1300)
Jeffrey R. Woolf, Bar Ilan University
In The Fabric of Religious Life in Medieval Ashkenaz, Jeffrey R. Woolf presents the first integrated presentation of the ideals and beliefs that comprised the self-image and worldview of Ashkenazic Jews in the Central and High Middle Ages (900-1300). Through careful examination of a wide range of sources (legal, customal, liturgical, artistic), Woolf shows how religious practice played a dual role in creating and sustaining Jewish life in a hostile environment. They instilled these values, and recast religious traditions to reflect them.
The author demonstrates how hitherto underappreciated ideals such as Purity, Sanctity, and a palpable sense of Divine In-Dwelling played a central role in Ashkenazic religiousity and merged to form the texture, or the "Sacred Canopy," of their lives.