And Here's Your Host…: Jews and Others in the Croxton Play of the Sacrament

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Abstract

This essay examines the remarkable late-medieval English dramatic work known as the Croxton Play of the Sacrament—an ambivalent parochial re-interpretation of the Continental genre of the ‘host desecration play’. It suggests that the conventions, ideas and even the characters of the play are curiously distinct from those of the surviving, strongly antisemitic European plays, having seemingly undergone a sea change in the course of their journey from central Germany, Italy and France to rural East Anglia. The essay explores the potentially radical implications of the play's conception of its Jewish characters, and of the central figure of Jonathas in particular, arguing that, while the playwright was not consciously seeking to question, still less to undermine, conventional assumptions about the nature and role of the Jews in Christian theology, the net effect of his dramatic experiments was to set those traditions on their heads.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-56
JournalJewish Culture and History
Volume11
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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