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זמן היסטורי וזמן לימינלי

ניסן רובין
Jewish History
Vol. 2, No. 2 (Fall, 1987), pp. 7-22
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20101047
Page Count: 16
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זמן היסטורי וזמן לימינלי
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Abstract

This article, which was found among the author's papers after his death, contains fifty-eight tombstone inscriptions of thirteen medieval Jewish Rhineland communities. The inscriptions often make it possible to infer marital and familial status, but they rarely give the cause of death and never the age at death. They allow the historian to distinguish between the mortality patterns of married and unmarried people and perhaps between young and old. The sex differential, which is the most obvious datum on the gravestones, allows very precise distinctions between male and female mortality. The exact date of death inscribed on the stones allows the historian to establish a seasonality of death over long periods of time. Gravestone inscriptions also provide insights into the mentality of the dead and of those who buried them. With their highly formalized style and biblical origins, these inscriptions bespeak a ritualization of death. Attitudes toward death are once again betrayed by the overall simplicity and austerity of medieval gravestones, especially in comparison to the ornate artistic efforts of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century stonecarvers. The fourteenth-century carvers who produced so many of the stones surveyed by Avneri were highly skilled; the simplicity of their handiwork was no doubt deliberately chosen to reflect contemporary views of death and burial, and perhaps too the place occupied by the dead in the world of the living. /// [Abstract in Hebrew].

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