Julie L Mell

Associate Professor

Picture of Julie L Mell


Julie Mell is Associate Professor of History at North Carolina State University.  She teaches courses in medieval history and Jewish history.  Her research focuses on the Jewish communities in medieval Europe.  Her book The Myth of the Medieval Jewish Moneylender (Palgrave, 2017) challenges commonplace narratives about Jews and their moneylending function in the commercialization of Europe.  She has published articles in Jewish History, Jewish Historical Studies, and the Wiener Jahrbuch für Jüdische Geschichte Kultur und Museumswesen, and received fellowships from the Yad HaNadiv, the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, and the American Association of University Women.

Teaching and Research Interests

Medieval Europe, with a focus on economic, legal, and religious history; Jewish History, with a focus on communities in medieval England, France, and German regions;Digital Humanities, innovations in teaching


Medieval Origins of the Modern World (HI 208); From Rome to the Middle Ages (HI406/506); High Middle Ages (HI 409/509); Jewish History (HI 307); Vikings (HI491); Jewish-Christian relations in the premodern world (HI491); Pre-Modern Economic History (HI498)

Media Appearances / Interviews

FOX Xploration Earth 2050:  "The Classroom of the Future"

Yossi Krausz, "Exploding the Myth of the Jewish Moneylender: How historians present wrong ideas about Jews and money," Ami Magazine (December 7, 2016)

Radio Interview: “N.C. State Professor highlights myth of medieval Jewish moneylenders,” Carolina Journal Radio, (Program No. 778)

Extension and Community Engagement

Founder & Co-ordinator, NCSU Jewish Studies, 2014 - present; Co-ordinator, NC Jewish Studies Consortium, 2014 - 2016; Co-ordinator, NC Jewish Studies Seminar, 2014 - present; Editorial Board, Religions, 2012 - present; Founder & Convener,Triangle Medieval Studies Seminar, 2010 - 2014



The Myth of the Medieval Jewish Moneylender: Volume I (Palgrave MacMillan, 2017)

The Myth of the Medieval Jewish Moneylender: Volume II (Palgrave MacMillan, 2018)

Julie Mell and Malachi Hacohen, eds., Jewish Emigres and the Shaping of Postwar Culture  (2014); print edition of a special journal issue of Religions (2012) 3  http://www.mdpi.com/journal/religions/special_issues/jewish-emigres


"Cultural Meanings of Money in Medieval Ashkenaz: On Gift, Profit, and Value in Medieval Judaism and Christianity" Jewish History  28/2 (2014):  125-158, doi: 10.1007/s10835-014-9212-3

"Hybridity in a Medieval Key:  the paradox of Jewish participation in self-representative political processes" Jewish Historical Studies:  Transactions of the Jewish Historical Society of England 44 (2012):  127-38

"Twentieth-century Jewish Émigrés and Trajectories in European Economic History" Religions (2012) 3:  556-587, doi:10.3390/rel3030556

"Geteilte Urbanität.  Die befestigte Stadt in der deutsch-jüdischen Kunst in der Zeit vor der Entstehung des Ghettos," [Shared Urbanity:  the Walled City in Pre-Ghetto, German-Jewish Art]  Wiener Jahrbuch für Jüdische Geschichte Kultur und Museumswesen 5 (2001):  25-4.


"Being Frum in medieval Ashkenaz" a review of Elisheva Baumgarten, Practicing Piety in Medieval Ashkenaz:  Men, Women and Everyday Religious Observance (University of Penn, 2014) in Marginalia: LA Review of Books (February 1, 2016) http://marginalia.lareviewofbooks.org/being-frum-in-medieval-ashkenaz-by-julie-mell/

Review of Capitalism and the Jews by Jerry Muller, Economic Record (2014)

Review of Trade and Institutions in the Medieval Mediterranean:  The Geniza Merchants and their Business World, by Jessica Goldberg Intertwined Worlds, Special Section of Religion Compass http://intertwinedworlds.wordpress.com/ (2013)



 “The Economic Thought of Hannah Arendt: A Critical Appraisal of the Court Jew, the Jewish banker and the Jewish Economic Function, 1920 – 1950,” Center for the History of Political Economy, Duke University (March 9, 2018)

       “Court Jews in the Racialized Imagination of the Twentieth Century” Association of Jewish Studies, Washington, D.C. (Dec. 16, 2017)

“Medieval Fantasies:  Visualizing the Monster in medieval Hebrew Manuscripts,” Communities of the Book:  Triangle Book History Symposium National Humanities Center (April 20-22, 2017)

      "Gender, Economic Liberalism, Antisemitism: Selma Stern, Hannah Arendt, Toni Oelsner and the Dialectics of Exclusion" Conference on Jews, Liberalism, Anti-Semitism: the Dialectics of Inclusion (1780-1950), University of Oxford, (March 14, 2017)

      "The Myth of the Medieval Jewish Usurer:  The Evidence from Anglo-Jewish Documents" Oxford Jewish Studies Seminar, Univ. of Oxford (Feb. 16, 2017)

"Immersive Visualizations and 3D-Printed Objects in the Teaching & Curating of Viking Sites and Artifacts," joint paper with Shaun Bennett given at Rediscovering the Vikings: Reception, Recovery, Engagement, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland (25-26 November 2016) 

"Hannah Arendt, the Court Jew, and the Holocaust:  Reified Antisemitism?" The Shoah:  A Turning Point?  The Challenge to Concepts and Paradigms in Jewish, Christian, and Humanist Thought, Bar Ilan University, Israel, (June 12-14, 2016)

“The Medieval Discourse of Usury & the Legal Construction of the Stereotype of the Jewish Usurer,” Triangle Legal History Seminar, National Humanities Center (Nov. 11, 2014)

“The Making of the Usurious Jew and the Medieval Discourse on Usury,” Forum Ashkenaz, Institute for Advanced Studies, Hebrew University, Jerusalem (20 March, 2014)

"The Origins of the Medieval Commercial Revolution in Twentieth-century War, Exile, and Genocide," The Middle Ages in the Modern World, University of St. Andrews, Scotland (25-28 June 2013)

“Hybridity in a Medieval Key:  Medieval Jews as Europeans” Religion and Identity in Europe and Beyond: Between Hybridity and Ethnicity, Bar-Ilan University, Tel-Aviv, Israel (12-14 June 2012)

"Hybridity in a Medieval Key: the paradox of Jewish participation in self-representative political processes" Medieval Academy of America, St. Louis, MO (22-24 March, 2012)

"The Jewish Serfdom that Never Was: Jews and the origins of English representative government" a joint session of the Duke-UNC Jewish Studies Seminar & the Triangle  Medieval Studies Seminar, Duke University, NC (13 November, 2011)

"Mr. Moneybags:  The Jews and the Commercial Revolution of the High Middle Ages," UNC-Chapel Hill, NC (12 February, 2010)

"Medieval Commerce and Commercialization:  The Jewish Evidence from Marseilles," 41st Annual Association for Jewish Studies, Los Angeles (20-22 December 2009)

"Money and the New Money Economy in Hebrew and Latin Exempla of the High Middle Ages," 15th World Congress of Jewish Studies, Jerusalem (2-6 August 2009)

"Comment: Globalization and the history of medieval Europe," Globalization and Europe:  A Multidisciplinary Workshop" Duke University, NC (16 May 2009)

"Economic Encounters:  the Latin Commenda and Jewish Merchants in Mediterranean Sea Trade," Global Encounters:  Legacies of Exchange and Conflict, UNC-Chapel Hill, NC (14-15 November 2008)

"Commodities and the Embodiment of Value:  Money and the Money Economy during the Medieval Commercial Revolution," Bodies, Embodiments, Becomings:  Southeastern Medieval Association 34th Annual Meeting, St. Louis, MO (2-4 October 2008)

"Divine Economies, Material Economies:  Money and Avarice in Jewish and Christian Exempla" Medieval Academy, 83rd Annual Meeting, Vancouver (3-5 April 2008)

“The ‘Commercial Revolution’ and the Great Transformation,” The Triangle Intellectual History Seminar, National Humanities Center, NC (13 February 2007)

“Economy and Religion during the Commercial Revolution of the Middle Ages:  Jews, Jewish Law, and the Birth of Capitalism,” The Jewish Studies Seminar of Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke University, NC (14 December 2003)

"The Walled City in Pre-Ghetto Jewish Art," Symposium: Walled Cities and the Construction of Communities:  The European Ghetto as Urban Space, The Jewish Museum of Vienna (26-29 November 2000)

Graduate Advising

Professor Mell accepts graduate students working on topics widely related to medieval Europe. 

Current students

Sarah Cox

William Tyler Ellis 

Crystal Louramore-Kirsanova

Masters Theses Completed in Medieval History

Hannah Render,  "No True Scotsman: John Barbour’s Bruce and National Identity in Fourteenth-Century Scotland" (History M.A. thesis, 2019)

Kelsey Rosenberg, "A Nuanced Relationship Between the Living and the Dead: An Examination of Ghost Stories in Medieval Exempla from 1000-1200" (History M.A. Thesis, 2019)

Kevin Shuford, "Composite Sovereignty at the Forest Floor: Constructing Status, Jurisdiction, and the Plenitude of Power in Thirteenth-Century England" (HIstory M.A. Thesis, 2018)

Ross Anderson, "The Effect of Factionalism on Jewish Persecution: How the Conflict between Bernard of Clairvaux's Cistercian Order and Peter Abelard's Scholasticism Contributed to the Equating of Jews with Heretics" (History M.A. Thesis, 2016)

Ethan Margolis, "Evidence that the Majority of Medieval English Jews were not Moneylenders, with an Emphasis on Document E. 101/249/4" (History M.A. Thesis, 2015)

Melissa Alexander, "Sibling Rivals to Mortal Enemies: The Evolution of Ecclesia and Synagoga From the Early to Late Middle Ages" (History M.A. Thesis, 2015)

Shaun Bennett, "Christian Writers, Pagan Subjects: The Preservation of Norse Religious Imagery through Legal Culture in Iceland" (History M.A. Thesis, 2012)

Elyse Black, "Extralegal and English: the Robin Hood Legend and Increasing National Identity in the Middling Sorts of Late Medieval England" (History M.A. Thesis, 2012)

Serena Elliott, "The Twelfth Century Renaissance and the Religion of Intent: Interiority and the Emergence of Selfhood Across Religious Boundaries" (History M.A. Thesis, 2011)

Indrayani Battle, "A Castellan Claims his Castles: Textualization of Claims in Eleventh-Century Aquitaine" (History M.A. Thesis, 2010)

Michael Bazemore, "Wellsprings of Heresy: Monks, Myth and Making Manichaeans in Orleans and Aquitaine" (History M.A. Thesis, 2009)


  • PhD in Religious Studies (Jewish Studies) from UNC-Chapel Hill, 2007
  • MA in History (Medieval Europe) from UNC-Chapel Hill, 1997
  • BA in History of Religions from Columbia University, 1990