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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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Outcasts from Society

Outcasts from Society

(p.100) 5 Outcasts from Society
Love, Work and Death

Ariel Toaff

Liverpool University Press

This chapter focuses on the outcasts from Jewish and Christian societies. If it is true that the entire Jewish population was the object of more or less violent discrimination in medieval Italian society, it is also true that Jewish society itself rejected or excluded some of its members, with a logic similar to that at work in Christian circles. One can distinguish at least three levels of marginalization: that of the Jewish community as a whole, as a religious minority; that of outcasts from Jewish society, consisting mainly of Jews who threatened the established order; and that of those individuals banished from all society, Jewish and Christian, because of their deviant behaviour. The category of the excluded and marginalized within Jewish society included primarily the poor and beggars, the mad and sick, and converts to Christianity, particularly if they were poor. Another category of the excluded was made up of criminals and delinquents, whose marginalization was independent of whether they were Jews or Christians. Gambling dens and games of chance occupy an important place in offences committed by the Jews of Umbria in this period. This comes as no surprise, since gambling was a widespread vice in medieval society, vainly and frequently inveighed against by preaching friars in town squares and by rabbis in the synagogues.

Keywords:   Jewish society, medieval Italian society, marginalization, Jewish community, religious minority, poor Jews, beggars, criminals, gambling, Umbrian Jews

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