The Myth of the Medieval Jewish Moneylender

Volume I

  • Julie L. Mell

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xix
  2. Julie L. Mell
    Pages 1-27
  3. Modern History and Medieval Narratives

  4. Some Facts: Merry Old England

  5. Back Matter
    Pages 317-336

About this book


This book challenges a common historical narrative, which portrays medieval Jews as moneylenders who filled an essential economic role in Europe. It traces how and why this narrative was constructed as a philosemitic narrative in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in response to the rise of political antisemitism. This book also documents why it is a myth for medieval Europe, and illuminates how changes in Jewish history change our understanding of European history.  Each chapter offers a novel interpretation of central topics, such as the usury debate, commercial contracts, and moral literature on money and value to demonstrate how the revision of Jewish history leads to new insights in European history.


moneylending Jewish-Christian relations commercial revolution usury medieval history

Authors and affiliations

  • Julie L. Mell
    • 1
  1. 1.North Carolina State UniversityDurhamUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2017
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, New York
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-1-137-39776-8
  • Online ISBN 978-1-137-39778-2
  • Buy this book on publisher's site