Life in the first half of the 13th Century continued in the shadow of dramatic and perilous historical events including the Second Reconquista; the fourth to sixth crusades; the rule of the Ayyubids; the Mongol invasion; the rise of the Mamluks; and the emergence of high scholasticism. Within this context, Jewish life was often fraught with danger and uncertainty, but it also gave rise to a number of extraordinary individuals. David Solomon examines the personalities and contributions of some of the significant Jewish figures who lived during this time. He also explores the impact of numerous initiatives concerning Jews, including various papal decrees, the Fourth Lateran Council, the beginning of the Inquisition, the burning of Jewish texts, forced disputations, and anti-semitic canards. This period also saw Jewish spiritual, cultural and linguistic developments that would shape the lives of communities for centuries.
The first half of the 12th century was rich with Jewish intellectual and spiritual contribution but it was also marred by hardship and violence. Framed by a background of large empires and changing power structures, this podcast examines the impact that historical events like the first two crusades, the Blood Libel, the first reconquista of Spain and the Almohad invasion had on Jewish communities from Europe to the Land of Israel. David explores the lives and works of leading Jewish figures, including those known as the Rishonim, whose contributions were profoundly impactful on world Jewry as well as other important developments in culture, language, religion and society.