Abstracht: Research on Jewish settlement in the German lands during the high and later medieval periods has tended to focus on the lives of Jews in their urban communities. The present study aims at elucidating the history of medieval Jewish settlements from the perspective of the rural periphery. It shows that the incomplete picture of a predominantly urban Jewish population has to be complemented by a continuity of Jewish presence in rural contexts. Sources of mostly non-Jewish provenance can serve to delineate the spread of rural Jewish settlements, while the terminology used for them can be derived from medieval Hebrew documents. Internal Jewish sources also offer insights concerning the autonomy enjoyed by rural Jewish settlers and their dependence on the urban communities. The development of a rural Jewish presence is traced in light of the question whether there was any continuity with the early modern institution of territorial Jewries (Landjudenschaften).
© De Gruyter