Alexander’s Image in the Jewish Temple: A Medieval Tale of Jewish–non-Jewish Encounter

Kogman-Appel Katrin

Research article (journal)


Narratives about Alexander the Macedonian’s life were extremely popular throughout the Middle Ages all over Europe and beyond. Crossing cultural boundaries, they were also adopted and adapted for a Jewish readership. In the latter context, the episode about the king’s visit to Jerusalem served as a topos of interreligious encounter between the Jews and their non-Jewish rulers. It was first told by Flavius Josephus in the first century as a tale that sets idolatry in contrast with monotheism. Among other episodes, the text reports a dramatic encounter with the Jewish high priest. In medieval versions, Alexander suggests that the high priest erect a golden statue of himself in the sanctuary to honor God. The paper offers an in-depth analysis of this latter motif in different versions of the narrative against the background of medieval Jewish-Christian relations.

Details zur Publikation

Release year: 2024
Language in which the publication is writtenEnglish