This introductory chapter considers the extent of Jewish engagement with the historiography of the non-Jewish world—particularly the Christian world—during the Middle Ages. It focuses on the Jews of the Iberian peninsula and ‘Provincia’ (southern France) between the twelfth and the fifteenth centuries. The chapter briefly demonstrates that these Jews had some knowledge of Christian history and were not indifferent to it. In fact, certain circles of learned Jews regarded the history of other peoples as part of a general culture in which they too shared; hence, there were historical events that they related to and used for didactic and intellectual purposes. From here, the chapter considers whether this consciousness of a shared history extended to shared values. It also looked at what historical concepts Jewish society absorbed or otherwise shared with Christians.
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