Rubin, Miri 1956-
Rubin, Miri 1956-
PERSONAL: Born 1956. Education: Hebrew University of Jerusalem, B.A., M.A.; University of Cambridge, Ph.D., 1984.
CAREER: Oxford University, Oxford, England, tutor at Pembroke College, lecturer and reader in history, 1989-2000; Queen Mary College, London, London, England, professor of European history, 2000-. Distinguished visiting professor at University of Connecticut, 1996, 1998, 2004, and University of Iowa, 2002.
AWARDS, HONORS: Research fellowships from Cambridge University and Princeton University; co-winner in scholarship category, National Jewish Book Award, Jewish Book Council, for Gentile Tales: The Narrative Assault on Late Medieval Jews; Queen Mary College, London, Leverhulme major research fellowship, 2002-05.
(Editor, with David Afulafia and Michael Franklin; and contributor) Church and City, 1000-1500: Essays in Honour of Christopher Brooke, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1992.
(Editor, with Sarah Kay) Framing Medieval Bodies, Manchester University Press (New York, NY), 1994.
(Editor) The Work of Jacques Le Goff and the Challenges of Medieval History, Boydell Press (Rochester, NY), 1997.
The Hollow Crown: A History of Britain in the Late Middle Ages, Penguin (New York, NY), 2005.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Disputed Realms: Britain, 1314-1485.
SIDELIGHTS: Scholar Miri Rubin writes widely about the religious cultures of Europe between the twelfth and sixteenth centuries. Rubin is the author and editor of such works as Framing Medieval Bodies and Gentile Tales: The Narrative Assault on Late Medieval Jews.
Corpus Christi: The Eucharist in Late Medieval Cambridge is Rubin's study of the "attempt in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth century to make the Eucharist the central symbol of a new culture through the creation of the feast of Corpus Christi," observed Roger E. Reynolds in the Journal of Theological Studies. In the work, Rubin examines the growth of the Corpus Christi celebration, including its sermons, processions, and liturgical practices, as well as its "new vocabulary of Christological spirituality emphasizing aspects of Christ's passion and its relation to the bread and wine used in the Eucharist," noted Reynolds. Robert W. Gaston, writing in the Journal of Ecclesiastical History, stated that Corpus Christi "is an admirable work of scholarship, replete with balanced, informative and incisively written chapters useful for a range of disciplines." Reynolds called the book "a fascinating and multifaceted examination of the cult that was the central symbol of late medieval culture, the Eucharist."
Rubin served as coeditor for Church and City, 1000-1500: Essays in Honour of Christopher Brooke, a collection of articles that explores the relationship between urban history and ecclesiastical practice in the Middle Ages. Dedicated to a noted medieval scholar, the festschrift contains fourteen essays, including Rubin's, a comparison of the differences in religious attitudes between cities and rural areas. According to Colin Morris in the Journal of Theological Studies, "all of these essays are of high quality, and most of them are models of specialist studies which contain wider implications for our understanding of medieval urban churches."
In Framing Medieval Bodies, Rubin and coeditor Sarah Kay present twelve essays "that 'frame'—that is, conceptualize, represent, exhibit, or confine—the medieval body," observed Susan Groag Bell in Signs. The contributors approach the topic from a variety of scholarly disciplines, including theology, archaeology, art history, and psychology. "These essays are fascinating: ecstatics, hermaphrodites, Chaucer's Pardoner, anchoresses, medieval lepers, and psychotics crowd the pages of this book with a kaleidoscopic rigour that is almost vertiginous," Alexandra Barratt remarked in Notes and Queries. In History Today, Pauline Stafford remarked that "for most of the authors of Framing Medieval Bodies, the body has no universal, natural meaning. The body is conceptualized, 'framed' in many different ways. The resulting variety is fruitfully explored in a collection which will be a necessary addition to the growing literature on the medieval body."
In Gentile Tales Rubin examines "a particularly virulent form of narrative, the host desecration accusation, which developed from the increasing importance of the eucharist as sacrament and symbol around the end of the thirteenth century," noted Elisa Narin van Court in Criticism. In the host desecration narrative, a Jew acquires the eucharistic wafer and subjects it to various types of abuse, thereby striking at the Christian faith and even Christ himself. The desecration tales often led to violence by medieval European Christians against the Jews. Anna Sapir Abulafia, writing in History Today, stated that Rubin's work "does not deal primarily with the separate episodes of host desecration accusations. It aims to rise above the peculiarities of particular episodes in order to study the narrative aspect of this kind of anti-Judaism. The author asks what the basic components of the narrative are. She wonders what its role was and how it was disseminated." According to Michael Clanchy in the Times Literary Supplement, Gentile Tales "raises—as it is intended to do—deep and disturbing questions about the nature of persecution and mass hysteria, and not least about the ways in which Christian beliefs have caused the deaths of Jews." Library Journal contributor Hayim Y. Sheynin called the work "a welcome addition to the literature on public thought in medieval society and the history of Christianity and anti-Semitism."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Historical Review, April, 1989, Ellen Wedemeyer, review of Charity and Community in Medieval Cambridge, p. 426; April, 1993, Pamela Sheingorn, review of Corpus Christi: The Eucha-rist in Late Medieval Cambridge, p. 482; April, 1996, Karma Lochrie, review of Framing Medieval Bodies, p. 461.
Catholic Historical Review, July, 1993, David Burr, review of Corpus Christi, p. 522; April, 1994, Robert Brentano, review of Church and City, 1000-1500: Essays in Honour of Christopher Brooke, p. 336.
Comparative Literature Studies, spring, 1997, Celeste A. Patton, review of Framing Medieval Bodies, p. 184.
Criticism, spring, 2000, Elisa Narin van Court, review of Gentile Tales: The Narrative Assault on Late Medieval Jews, p. 269.
English Historical Review, April, 1990, Nicholas Orme, review of Charity and Community in Medieval Cambridge, p. 443; April, 1992, Nicholas Orme, review of Corpus Christi, p. 386; February, 1997, Peregrine Horden, review of Framing Medieval Bodies, p. 176.
History, June, 1988, J. R. Maddicott, review of Charity and Community in Medieval Cambridge, p. 289; June, 1992, R. N. Swanson, review of Corpus Christi, p. 287; October, 1994, Gary Dickson, review of Church and City, 1000-1500, p. 475.
History Today, December, 1995, Pauline Stafford, review of Framing Medieval Bodies, p. 58; December, 1999, Anna Sapir Abulafia, review of Gentile Tales, p. 56.
Journal of Ecclesiastical History, April, 1993, Susan Reynolds, review of Church and City, 1000-1500, p. 302; January, 1996, Robert W. Gaston, review of Corpus Christi, p. 157.
Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, autumn, 1988, review of Charity and Community in Medieval Cambridge, p. 314; spring, 1994, Richard W. Pfaff, review of Church and City, 1000-1500, p. 690.
Journal of Theological Studies, October, 1993, Colin Morris, review of Church and City, 1000-1500, p. 750; April, 1994, Roger E. Reynolds, review of Corpus Christi, p. 386.
Library Journal, June 15, 1999, Hayim Y. Sheynin, review of Gentile Tales, p. 84.
Medium Aevum, fall, 1995, Derrick Pitard, review of Framing Medieval Bodies, p. 298; fall, 1998, review of The Work of Jacques Le Goff and the Challenges of Medieval History, p. 373; fall, 2000, John C. Hirsch, review of Gentile Tales, p. 338.
New Statesman, June 28, 1999, Lisa Jardine, review of Gentile Tales, p. 45.
Notes and Queries, June, 1996, Alexandra Barratt, review of Framing Medieval Bodies, p. 205; March, 2001, Ian P. Wei, review of Gentile Tales, p. 47.
Signs, spring, 1997, Susan Groag Bell, review of Framing Medieval Bodies, p. 765.
Social History, October, 1997, Catherine Peyroux, review of Framing Medieval Bodies, p. 339.
Speculum, April, 1989, Susanne F. Roberts, review of Charity and Community in Medieval Cambridge, p. 498; April, 1993, Gary Macy, review of Corpus Christi, p. 557; April, 1997, Helen Solterer, review of Framing Medieval Bodies, p. 504; April, 2001, Gavin I. Langmuir, review of Gentile Tales, p. 512.
Theological Studies, September, 1992, John F. Baldovin, review of Corpus Christi, p. 566.
Times Literary Supplement, November 1, 1991, Peter Heath, review of Corpus Christi, p. 26; June 18, 1999, Michael Clanchy, review of Gentile Tales, p. 34.