Researcher of the Week

Laura Feigen

PhD Candidate
University of London, Courtauld Institute of Art
Advisors: Dr Alixe Bovey, FSA FRHistS

“My research interests center around Jewish-Christian relations and Jewish experience in Western Europe between 1290 and 1550. I am particularly fascinated by the migration of Hebrew manuscripts  and manuscript production practices in this period.

My PhD dissertation focuses on three illuminated Hebrew manuscripts that migrated from their origins in France, Germany, and Spain to new cities in northern Italy between 1290 and 1492, a period that saw mass emigrations of Jews from these countries due to persecution, expulsion, and a desire for a better life. These three manuscripts were chosen because of their aligned chronologies and paths of migration. The migration of each manuscript can be mapped through their material composition: ownership inscriptions, bills of sale, censor signatures as well as the addition of new pages, decorations, and bindings. The manuscripts’ migration to Italy in this period raises vital questions regarding the insight they can provide into the impact of displacement on Jewish communities from France, Germany, and Spain as well as the communities to which they moved. Where previous scholarship has discussed these three manuscripts primarily in relation to the periods they were made, my dissertation charts their ritual use and interpretation of their images, particularly marginal decorations, across time periods and geographic borders. I aim to address crucial, yet unanswered, questions regarding how each manuscript changed over time in response to displacement. In doing so, my dissertation fills a gap in scholarship on these three Hebrew manuscripts that have not yet been analysed in relation to their migrations, and Jewish persecution, which has often privileged a Christian perspective.

Alongside my dissertation, I am compiling a larger index of migrating Hebrew manuscripts. This index sits in direct dialogue with the three manuscripts examined in my dissertation and helps construct a vivid picture of the migration of Jewish people in the late Middle Ages and the Early Modern period.”

Cite this blog post
Andreas Lehnertz (2022, July 20). Researcher of the Week. medievalJewishStudiesNow! Retrieved June 14, 2024, from

About Andreas Lehnertz

As a Juniorprofessor of Medieval History specializing in Jewish History at Trier University, I delve into the intricate tapestry of social, cultural, and religious European history. My academic pursuits are centered around the nuanced dynamics of daily Christian-Jewish relations, the exploration of marginal Hebrew and Yiddish charter notes, the study of Jewish as well as general sealing practices, and the profound examination of Jewish craftspeople. I wrote a book about "Jewish Seals in the Medieval German Empire: The Authentication and Self-Representation of Jewish Men and Women" (in German). My expertise has been further honed through my roles as a postdoctoral fellow in the ERC project "Beyond the Elite – Jewish Daily Life in Medieval Europe" at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and as a member of the Martin Buber Society in the Humanities and Social Sciences, also at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Currently, I am writing book that delves into the intriguing world of "Jewish Craftspeople in Medieval Ashkenaz." Through my research and publications, I aim to contribute meaningfully to the academic discourse surrounding medieval history, providing valuable insights into the rich tapestry of European history during this pivotal period.