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PhD project | Anna Lidor-Osprian


The Lost Corpse. Constructions and Significance of the Dead in Medieval Ashkenaz.


The ambivalent assessment of the body of the dead in Judaism frames this project. While biblical and rabbinic precedents viewed corpses as source for the gravest form of ritual impurity, they also obligated the living to respect and concern themselves with the dead. This discrepancy affected how the dead were cared for but simultaneously left room for removing the corpse from the world of the living, ultimately leading to its construction as a cultural, literary, and legal object.


The study questions the cultural significance and constructions of death, the dead, and their bodies in medieval Ashkenaz and analyses the depiction, construction, and instrumentalization of the dead in rabbinic sources from the 13th and 14th centuries - particularly by those scholars associated with Hasidei Ashkenaz. In addition to these normative texts, this study also employs and analyses narrative and moral-ethical sources from Jewish and non-Jewish authors from this period. At its core, The Lost Corpse considers questions of practicability, acceptability, intentions, and variations of rules and customs and, ultimately, the role and influence of the Christian environment. 



Yen-Hsi Beyer: E-Mail
Letzte Änderung: 10.05.2021
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