Picture collection, New York Public Library

Medieval debate between Christians and Jews. Forced by Christian theologians to debate the merits of Judaism versus Christianity, Jews in the Middle Ages in Europe wrote elaborate polemical treatises. Although the Christians always won these public debates, the Jews argued forcefully, often bolstering their case by incorporating portions of the Gospels in Hebrew. One such 14th-century treatise was called Even Bohan (The Touchstone) by Shem-Tob Ben Shaprut, a rabbi whose Hebrew name means “the good name, son of Shaprut.”

In this 1483 woodcut from Germany, the Jewish disputants wear the conical hats decreed for them by the Lateran Council of 1215, although by the 15th century it is likely that the hats were worn out of choice, rather than to follow the law.