publication . Article . 2019

Furnishing Piety: Beds in High Medieval Jewish Domestic Devotion

Albert Kohn;
Open Access
  • Published: 07 Aug 2019 Journal: Religions, volume 10, page 471 (eissn: 2077-1444, Copyright policy)
  • Publisher: MDPI AG
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.
Persistent Identifiers
Fields of Science and Technology classification (FOS)
05 social sciences, 0501 psychology and cognitive sciences, 050109 social psychology, 06 humanities and the arts, 0603 philosophy, ethics and religion, 060303 religions & theology
Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)
16. Peace & justice
free text keywords: Religious studies, domestic piety, medieval Ashkenaz, beds, <i>Sefer Hasidim</i>, bedtime prayers, family life, Religious studies, Family life, Piety, media_common.quotation_subject, media_common, Judaism, Order (virtue), History, Christian culture, Hebrew, language.human_language, language, lcsh:Religions. Mythology. Rationalism, lcsh:BL1-2790
Related Organizations
  • Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage
  • Social Science and Humanities
Funded by
EC| BeyondtheElite
Beyond the Elite: Jewish Daily Life in Medieval Europe
  • Funder: European Commission (EC)
  • Project Code: 681507
  • Funding stream: H2020 | ERC | ERC-COG
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