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Love, Work and DeathJewish Life in Medieval Umbria$
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Ariel Toaff

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9781874774198

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781874774198.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 27 June 2022

Sex, Love, and Marriage

Sex, Love, and Marriage

(p.5) 1 Sex, Love, and Marriage
Love, Work and Death

Ariel Toaff

Liverpool University Press

This chapter discusses love and marriage in the Jewish communities of Umbria. Young Jewish men were aware that their first sexual encounters would not take place in a Jewish environment, and that love and marriage ran on parallel tracks, usually with little relation between them. Love was the spontaneous fruit of youthful urges; marriage remained a matter for family choice, linked to strategies and policies of an economic and religious nature. Indeed, marriages were worked out and haggled over by Jewish families with great prudence. Money held sway in the choice of a spouse: rather than love each other, the young people needed to make the best possible financial match. Problems certainly existed on both the Jewish and Christian sides. Canon law forbade sexual relations between Christians and Jews and punished them severely. Almost everywhere in Umbria, one finds Jews sentenced to financial punishment for having sexual relations with Christian women. The chapter then looks at dowries and dynastic marriages, as well as marital crises and multiple marriage. It also considers how some Jews turned to conversion and baptism in order to be able to marry Christians.

Keywords:   Jewish communities, Umbria, Jewish families, sexual relations, Jews, Christians, dowries, dynastic marriages, multiple marriage, religious conversion

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