Medieval W. Christendom
Economic considerations moved many lay authorities in medieval western
Christendom to foster Jewish settlement and simultaneously moved many Jews to remain
in place in newly conquered territories or to immigrate into Christian domains. Thus, the
lay authorities had an important role to play in facilitating Jewish economic success, if
the Jewish settlement was to be maintained.

Assuring physical security and safety was the first step of course in facilitating
economic success. Beyond this basic necessity, the rulers of western Christendom
regularly provided important business safeguards for Jewish merchants, as reflected for
example in the charter of Bishop Rudiger of Speyer. As Jews moved into the field of
money-lending, even the most primitive form of lending—disbursal of funds against the
security of physical pledges left with the lender—required business safeguards, many of
which are in evidence in the charter extended by Duke Boleslav of Kalisch of Greater

As Jews in the western areas of Europe were attracted into more complex and lucrative
forms of money-lending, governmental assistance became yet more important. Many
Church leaders and moralists in fact saw in the intensified governmental support for
Jewish lending a partnership, rather than assistance. The carefully drawn up and
carefully protected loan instruments that became the norm in late-twelfth and early-
thirteenth-century England and France suggest a partnership between Jewish lenders and
governmental enforcers of loans, with both parties sharing in the rich profits accruing
from these arrangements.