Professor Dorin on the 'Historically Thinking' Podcast

Rowan Dorin

“At the start of the twelfth century,” writes Rowan Dorin, “western European rulers almost never resorted to the collective expulsions of wrongdoers from their domains; ecclesiastical authorities evinced little concern about the Jewish communities living under Christian rule; and the church’s efforts to repress usury focused largely on clerics who engaged in money lending. By the late thirteenth century, expulsion had become a recurring tool of royal governance in both England and France; bishops across Latin Christendom were advocating for harsh restrictions on Jewish life; and Popes, theologians, and canon lawyers had recast usury as menacing the whole of society…”

Why and how this dramatic change comes about is the focus of Dorin’s new book No Return: Jews, Christian Usurers, and the Spread of Mass Expulsion in Medieval Europe. There is much in it which will overturn casual assumptions, and provoke new perspectives on the present–for if the use of expulsion by governments has a beginning, its ending has certainly not yet occurred.