The Charter of Bishop Rudiger

The Charter of Bishop Rudiger
In 1084 Bishop Rudiger of Speyer issued an official charter inviting Jews to settle in the city of Speyer (Germany) and establish a community there. It is one of the earliest documents of such sort. The charter provides important clues about the nature of Jewish communities in Medieval Europe, their legal status and their relationships with neighbors. The Hebrew report on p. 59 describes the circumstances under which Rudiger’s charter was given. Analyze both documents and what they tell us about the nature of Medieval Jewish communities in Europe. Answer the following questions:

1. Why did Bishop Rudiger decide to invite Jews to settle in the city of Speyer? What, do you think, were an immediate cause and deeper reasons for his decision?
2. What professional occupations were the Jews involved in?
3. What was the legal status of the Jewish community? What rights and privileges did it have? What were its obligations?
4. Who are the burghers? What were the relationships between them and the Jews? Why?
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