In The Cambridge Connection, Susan Wabuda’s essay, “‘We walk as pilgrims’: Agnes Cheke and Cambridge, c. 1500–1549” is about the career of Agnes Cheke as a prosperous vitner. She was one of the few pillars of the emerging evangelical establishment in Cambridge in the sixteenth century. Her financial success in selling wine allowed her to advance the career of her son, the famous humanist scholar Sir John Cheke, and her son-in-law William Cecil, the future Lord Burghley, the chief advisor of Queen Elizabeth I. Agnes Cheke died in 1549, much lamented in a sermon by the famous preacher Hugh Latimer, and her resting place is in the University Church, Great Saint Mary’s, where she was a parishioner.
Susan Wabuda’s previous books include Thomas Cranmer in the Routledge Historical Biographies Series (New York and London: Routledge, 2017), and Preaching during the English Reformation (Cambridge: University Press, 2002, 2008).
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“A landmark history of the antisemitic blood libel myth—how it took root in Europe, spread with the invention of the printing press, and persists today. Accusations that Jews ritually killed Christian children emerged in the mid-twelfth century, following the death of twelve-year-old William of Norwich, England, in 1144. Later, continental Europeans added a destructive twist: Jews murdered Christian children to use their blood. While charges that Jews poisoned wells and desecrated the communion host waned over the years, the blood libel survived.
Initially blood libel stories were confined to monastic chronicles and local lore. But the development of the printing press in the mid-fifteenth century expanded the audience and crystallized the vocabulary, images, and “facts” of the blood libel, providing a lasting template for hate. Tales of Jews killing Christians—notably Simon of Trent, a toddler whose body was found under a Jewish house in 1475—were widely disseminated using the new technology. Following the paper trail across Europe, from England to Italy to Poland, Magda Teter shows how the blood libel was internalized and how Jews and Christians dealt with the repercussions. The pattern established in early modern Europe still plays out today. In 2014 the Anti-Defamation League appealed to Facebook to take down a page titled “Jewish Ritual Murder.” The following year white supremacists gathered in England to honor Little Hugh of Lincoln as a sacrificial victim of the Jews. Based on sources in eight countries and ten languages, Blood Libel captures the long shadow of a pernicious myth.”
“An intellectual tour de force. This authoritative study of the blood libel and its ramifications in early modern Europe will become a classic.”—Ronnie Po-Chia Hsia, author of Trent 1475: Stories of a Ritual Murder Trial
“A work of wide-ranging research, great insight, and remarkable erudition. This will be the definitive book on blood libel for a long time to come, equally important for readers of Jewish history and Christian history in early modern Europe.”—Larry Wolff, author of Inventing Eastern Europe: The Map of Civilization on the Mind of the Enlightenment
“In this deeply researched and meticulously argued book, Magda Teter offers the first comprehensive study of the origins and afterlife of one of the most virulent and harmful of all anti-Jewish accusations. But Blood Libel is far more than a narrative history. By highlighting the central role of printed books, broadsheets, and images in the dissemination of the libel, Teter illuminates the mechanisms by which hate can be generated, and offers a powerful and sobering lesson for our own time.”—Sara Lipton, author of Dark Mirror: The Medieval Origins of Anti-Semitic Iconography
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This past month, Graduate Student Sal Cipriano published an article in The Scottish Historical Review, called “The Scottish Universities and Opposition to the National Covenant, 1638”. Below is a link to the journal’s website and his abstract. Continue reading →
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Glauco’s essay, “Building the Third Rome: The New District in Prati di Castello, 1870-1895,” examines the creation of a new neighborhood in Prati di Castello (the area surrounding the Vatican) after Rome’s annexation to the Kingdom of Italy in 1870. Continue reading →
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In the Fordham History Department the month of August is often a quiet time, but the department came back to life with excitement as two doctoral students defended their dissertations after years of research, writing, and revision. The History blog congratulates Elizabeth Kuhl and Jonathan Woods, who both successfully defended in the past few weeks. Continue reading →
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Prof. Brook’s presentation, an ongoing research project titled “What to do when Chinese Try to Burn Down your Warehouse: Legal Plurality in Trading Ports at the Turn of the 17th Century,” was a captivating collection of stories and theories regarding the burgeoning role of capitalism in the Southeast Asian port city of Bantam. Eyebrow-raising title aside, Brook’s pithy and poignant ideas on capitalism gave the gathered crowd much to discuss in the following Q&A. During both the presentation and resulting discussion, Brook maintained that, “capitalism may have emerged in Europe, but only because of Europe’s engagement with the rest of the world.” Brook elaborated his examination of the legal troubles that plagued the Europeans’ imperialist endeavors through four stories culled from the diary of the early 17th century English trader Edmund Scott. Such legal troubles may have hampered immediate European imperialism in each specific case, but they may have also formed a framework by which the European powers could then apply when trading with other plundered nations. Such legal cases after all gave rise to Huig de Groot’s Mare Liberumand the ensuing legal debate on the law of the seas.
The History Department would like to extend its sincerest thanks to Professor Timothy Brook and the O’Connell Initiative for taking the time to present his insightful and illuminating research.
During a visit to New York to attend the College Art Association conference (CAA) Professor Antonio Urquízar Herrera from the Universidad Nacional de Educacion a Distancia in Madrid stopped by Fordham’s Rose Hill campus to speak to a group of faculty and graduate students. As the group enjoyed lunch courtesy of the History Department Professor Urquízar-Herrera discussed his forthcoming book Admiration and Awe: Morisco Buildings and Identity Negotiations in Early Modern Spanish Historiography, which examines how Spanish Christian historians of the sixteenth century processed the presence of Islamic architecture at the heart of their cities. Particularly in Andalusia, where the last Muslim controlled towns were conquered by Christian powers in 1492, writers who wanted to describe the glory of their cities had to contend with monumental works of Islamic architecture. How, if at all, did they acknowledge the origins of these buildings, so patently different from their own Gothic cathedrals and palaces? Following a lively talk, the visiting art historian was generous enough to discuss his manuscripts, religious appropriation, and ideas concerning race and identity in Early Modern Spain with several graduate students.
The department, and especially the students who stuck around for the discussion, would like to thank Professor Herrera for his illuminating presentation. “Admiration and awe” captures the feelings of the Fordham audience quite nicely!
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The 2o11 conference was held to mark the 500th anniversary of the famous King James Bible (first published in 1611), but Wabuda’s essay entitled “‘A Day after Doomsday’: Cranmer and the Bible Translations of 1530s” discussed earlier trends in Bible translation in England. The King James version relied upon these earlier translations, especially because of the work of the great translator William Tyndale (d. 1536). Wabuda reports that one goal of the essay was to understand the problems of making a good Bible translation in English, but she also hopes that it helps to illuminate another issue: that the Bible was originally intended as a teaching tool. Although modern readers might think of a a Bible rendered into English as an opportunity for personal reading and study, this was not the intention of the translators. In fact, King Henry VIII and archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer both believed in withholding the Bible from the people if they would not behave: “Scripture was one of the great treasures of the church, but because it was so sacred (like the sacrament of the altar) it would be withheld from people depending on the circumstances.”
The Roland H. Bainton prize is given in memory of the great Reformation historian who taught at Yale University. Susan Wabuda laments never having met Bainton, who she identifies as one of the first scholars to seriously explore the role of women in the Reformation.
Congratulations once more to Dr. Wabuda and the team behind this great volume!
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On Thursday, October 13 at 6:15 a chill will fall over the Fordham Rose Hill campus. Scott G. Bruce, professor of medieval history at the University of Colorado at Boulder will bring us into the shadows with his collection of historical ghost stories. The stories, published in the prestigious Penguin Classics series as The Penguin Book of the Undead: Fifteen Hundred Years of Supernatural Encounters. Bruce will read selections from his spooky collection at 6:15PM between the cemetery and the the university church. A reception at Rodrigue’s Coffee House will follow, where signed copies of the book will be available for purchase. In the case of inclement weather, the event will take place at Rodrigue’s Coffee House.
Ring in the Halloween season with the scariest event ever held at Fordham… Continue reading →
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