Beauty and the Beast: On a Doe, a Devilish Hunter, and Jewish-Christian Polemics

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1 Scopus citations


Hunting scenes are common in Jewish illuminated manuscripts and are understood as allegories of the Jew, usually represented as a hare or a deer, being persecuted by the Christian, shown as a hunter and his dogs. This article will discuss a hunt scene from the Worms Maázor, an Ashkenazic illuminated prayer book produced in 1272, probably in Würzburg. At the top of folio 130r, an illumination of the piyyut (liturgical poem) Ayelet ahavim (the loving hind, or doe) for Shavuot displays a deer being hunted by a devilish hunter and his dogs. Examining the illustration in the context of contemporary textual evidence, I shall demonstrate that the deer in the Worms MaaIzor portrays the Torah itself being persecuted by the hunter, who can be understood not only as a Christian or Esau, but also as Jesus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-285
Number of pages17
JournalAJS Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Religious studies
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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