Courtesy of Bild-Archiv Der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek, Wien/COD. 1179, FOL. 125b

A group of Jews, stereotypically portrayed as bearded and wearing pointed hats, are led astray by the devil in an illustration from the Bible moralisée, or Moralized Bible, crafted in about 1225 for King Louis VIII of France. Sitting on an altar is a calf, symbolizing the purported Jewish attachment to ritual and to matters of the flesh, instead of to the spirit of the law. Each page of this royal Bible is sumptuously illustrated and contains paraphrases of biblical books and a commentary intended to provide moral instruction. Despite the volume’s beauty and its efforts at ethical teaching, the work has a disturbing quality: Many of its illustrations are strongly anti-Jewish. In the accompanying article, Sara Lipton examines this dark aspect of the Moralized Bible and shows how its concerns reflect Christian criticism not only of Jews but of fellow Christians as well.