Jacob’s Shipwreck has taken me a long time to complete and I have many people and institutions to thank. The project was supported by a grant-in-aid from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, an ACLS fellowship, and National Humanities Center fellowship. I am grateful to Geoffrey Harpham, Kent Mullikin, Lois Whittington, and the brilliant, tireless librarians at the NHC, Jean Houston, Eliza Robertson, and Betsey Dain; my year there was a wonderful experience.
I offer thanks to the interlibrary loan librarians at the University of Nebraska and Wesleyan University for finding various obscure texts for me. The librarians at the Parker Library at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and the National Library of Israel kindly helped me with necessary manuscripts.
My editors at Cornell University Press, Mahinder Kingra and Peter Potter, as well as Bethany Wasik and Karen Hwa have been a joy to work with: I thank them and my valiant copy editor, Deborah Oosterhouse. I also thank the two anonymous readers for the Press, who provided many excellent suggestions for improvement.
(p.x) An earlier version of chapter 5 appeared as “A Romance of the Jewish East: The Ten Lost Tribes and the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs in Medieval Europe,” in Medieval Encounters 13, no. 3 (2007): 499–52. Part of chapter 4 appeared in “‘Your Name Will No Longer Be Aseneth’: Apocrypha, Anti-martyrdom, and Jewish Conversion in Thirteenth-Century England,” Speculum 81 (2006): 734–53; and part of chapter 3 is forthcoming in The Oxford Handbook to Chaucer, edited by Suzanne Akbari (Oxford: Oxford University Press). I thank these journals and presses for permission to reprint the articles.
At the invitation of colleagues, I had the privilege of sharing my work with scholars at the University of Chicago, the University of Toronto, the University of North Carolina, Dartmouth University, the University of Connecticut, Harvard University, and Wesleyan. All of these generous audiences of medievalists and others changed my thinking in one way or another. The students in my seminars at Wesleyan and Duke on Jewish-Christian relations contributed to the same discussions.
It is a pleasure to thank my friends and colleagues whose support made it possible for me to write this book. Daniel Boyarin, Rita Copeland, Susan Einbinder, Miri Rubin, Michael Swartz, and Jocelyn Wogan–Browne encouraged me both by example and assistance. Suzanne Akbari, Monika Otter, Micha Perry, Fiona Somerset, and Magda Teter devoted time to reading drafts of my work and offering valuable comments. Sahar Amer, Stephen Cordoba, Sidnie White Crawford, Thelma Fenster, Cecelia Gaposchkin, Stephen Lahey, and Pinchas Roth are all experts who shared their expertise with me. I am fortunate to have colleagues at Wesleyan who could help me with all manner of things, including Michael Armstrong Roche, Matthew Garrett, Natasha Korda, Sean McCann, Jeff Rider, Michael Roberts, Amy Tang, and Stephanie Weiner.
My muse is my aunt Iris Shklar Ballon. Not only does she always amaze me with her erudition, but she keeps me laughing––and that is often difficult to do when working on some of this material. I owe Clarissa Campbell-Orr and Pegatha Taylor gratitude for their support in all situations. Rabbi Ben-Zion Gold, z”l was my spiritual guide, as he was for countless others. Finally, I dedicate Jacob’s Shipwreck to my longtime friend Willis Johnson. Without his wisdom and encouragement, I would not have had the curiosity or courage necessary to begin.