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Furnishing Piety: Beds in High Medieval Jewish Domestic Devotion

Department of Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem 9190501, Israel
Religions 2019, 10(8), 471; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10080471
Received: 9 July 2019 / Revised: 1 August 2019 / Accepted: 1 August 2019 / Published: 7 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Domestic Devotions in Medieval and Early Modern Europe)
In recent years, pre-modern beds have generated extensive scholarly interest. Their social, religious, and economic importance has been rightfully highlighted in the study of domestic piety. Yet, concern has primarily focused on beds in late medieval English homes. This essay uses Hebrew texts from thirteenth-century Southern Germany, primarily Sefer Hasidim, to further this analysis of the role of the bed in shaping medieval domestic devotion. Jewish notions about the social, moral, and sexual significance of the bed reflect those identified in late medieval Christian culture. These ideas inspired numerous rituals practiced in Jewish homes. Yet, the bed and the remnants of sex assumed to be found in it also frustrated Jewish attempts to perform domestic devotion. These findings highlight the complicated nature of the home and how medieval people had to navigate both its opportunities and challenges in order to foster a rich culture of domestic devotion. View Full-Text
Keywords: domestic piety; medieval Ashkenaz; beds; Sefer Hasidim; bedtime prayers; family life domestic piety; medieval Ashkenaz; beds; Sefer Hasidim; bedtime prayers; family life
MDPI and ACS Style

Kohn, A. Furnishing Piety: Beds in High Medieval Jewish Domestic Devotion. Religions 2019, 10, 471. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10080471

AMA Style

Kohn A. Furnishing Piety: Beds in High Medieval Jewish Domestic Devotion. Religions. 2019; 10(8):471. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10080471

Chicago/Turabian Style

Kohn, Albert. 2019. "Furnishing Piety: Beds in High Medieval Jewish Domestic Devotion" Religions 10, no. 8: 471. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10080471

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