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Jacob's ShipwreckDiaspora, Translation, and Jewish-Christian Relations in Medieval England$
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Ruth Nisse

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781501703072

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501703072.001.0001

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Pleasures and Dangers of Conversion

Pleasures and Dangers of Conversion

Joseph and Aseneth

(p.102) 4 Pleasures and Dangers of Conversion
Jacob's Shipwreck

Ruth Nisse

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines Joseph and Aseneth, a Greek Jewish text that was translated into Latin in late twelfth-century England, and how it reemerges as significant within a crisis over Jewish conversion. Joseph and Aseneth, an account of the marriage of Joseph, then second in command to Pharaoh, to the Egyptian beauty Aseneth, was probably composed in the mid-first century in Egypt. The Jewish story is a text of the Diaspora in Egypt that imagines the circumstances of the marriage. Two of its major themes, conversion and female agency, offer a glimpse into the relations between Christians and Jews. The chapter shows how, in the Middle Ages, Joseph and Aseneth becomes a narrative of its heroine's conversion to Christianity and considers Jewish conversion as a deadly topic in the era following the Crusades.

Keywords:   female agency, Joseph and Aseneth, conversion, Egypt, Diaspora, Christians, Jews, Christianity, Crusades

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