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Cursing the Christians?A History of the Birkat HaMinim$
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Ruth Langer

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199783175

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199783175.001.0001

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(p.3) Introduction
Cursing the Christians?

Ruth Langer

Oxford University Press

Christian censorship of the birkat haminim destabilized a statutory Jewish prayer. Study of the history of this prayer and the polemics surrounding it provides a window onto relationships between Jews and Christians throughout their shared history. This introduction provides basic background for the reader unfamiliar with the birkat haminim and its liturgical context before moving to a discussion of relevant methodological issues in the study of Jewish liturgy and then an overview of the book as a whole and its historical sweep. While the book offers an inner-Jewish liturgical history, it also contributes to contemporary Christian-Jewish relations, offering a self-critical study of an aspect of Jewish liturgy that becomes “difficult” in light of today’s dialogue.

Keywords:   birkat haminim, prayer, liturgy, Christian-Jewish relations, Jewish-Christian relations, dialogue, polemics

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