Timothy L. Stinson, “The Evolution of Medieval Vengeance Narratives” | National Humanities Center
painting of the destruction of Jerusalem


Timothy L. Stinson, “The Evolution of Medieval Vengeance Narratives”

September 14, 2022

In 70 CE, the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans led early Christians to claim that this event was an example of divine retribution for the death of Jesus. Narratives promoting this cause-and-effect story of vengeance circulated widely throughout Europe in the medieval period, with frequent alterations designed to appeal to local constituencies and to advance particular political and religious agendas.

In this podcast, Timothy L. Stinson (NHC Fellow, 2021–22) explores the way that these “vengeance narratives” were both perennial and adaptable. Although the medieval versions of these stories encouraged anti-Judaic bias and persecution, the template of such narratives persisted throughout later ages even while featuring different groups. By understanding how these stories were continuously transformed over time, we can develop a better sense of the way that they helped to shape religious and national forms of identity across Europe.

Timothy L. Stinson Timothy L. Stinson is associate professor of English and a University Faculty Scholar at North Carolina State University. He is a member of the program faculty for the Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media Program and an affiliate faculty of the Jewish Studies program. He has published in leading journals in the field of medieval studies and book history, including Speculum: A Journal of Medieval StudiesThe Yearbook of Langland StudiesManuscript Studies, and The Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America. His research interests include Middle English poetry, codicology, history of the book, and digital humanities. Stinson is a leader in the application of digital technologies to medieval studies. He has also collaborated with colleagues in the biological sciences to analyze the DNA found in medieval parchment manuscripts.