The Devil and the Jews: The...

The medieval conception of the Jew as devil – literally and figuratively – is the subject of this classic work, first issued in 1943. The full dimension of the diabolization of the Jew is presented through document, analysis, and illustration. It is a chilling study but an exceedingly important one.

viii The Devil and the Jews accusations that Jews were well- poisoners and spreaders of dis-ease, desecrators of the host and murderers of Christian chil-dren, created the aura of fascination and dread with which the Jew was regarded by so many medieval Christians. Jewish Magic and Superstition is a study of “ the truth behind the legend,” investigating the magical practices and superstitious beliefs attested in Jewish sources. The Devil and the Jews probes further into the legend itself, concluding that “ the magic which Christendom laid at the door of the Jew had very little relation to the magic current in Jewish circles; it was a reflection of beliefs and practices current among Christians” ( p. 59). The two books can therefore be viewed as complementing each other, one based entirely on Jewish texts, the other almost completely on Chris-tian material. There is a significant difference in tone, however, that derives not only from the subject matter but from the change in the world situation between 1939 and 1943. If Jewish Magic and Superstition begins with a passing reference to the “ anomalous position of the Jew in the modern world,” The Devil and the Jews begins with a cri de coeur: “ Why are Jews so cordially hated— and feared?” As the author’s preface makes clear, this is not scholar-ship isolated from the vital issues of the contemporary world. Nor what is often worse, is it scholarship harnessed to prior ideological commitment, sifting through ancient texts for “ evi-dence” that will buttress conclusions drawn before the research began. It is a scholarship both responsible and engaged, analyzing historical material in its own context, but not permitting the facade of academic objectivity to preclude a suggestion of con-temporary implications. The range of historical sources used is impressive. There are, of course, the official statements: papal encyclicals and bulls, legal codes, celebrated chroniclers. But the heart of the book is in the sources that have been less frequently discussed despite their critical importance as windows to the popular mind in an age when literacy was rare: the miracle, mystery, Passion, and Anti-christ plays; the folk and nursery tales; the popular sermons; the   C h a p t e r Home  | T O C  | I n d e x For use on stand- alone, non- institutional computers only. To purchase Scholar PDF version with advanced functionality, go to www. publishersrow. com

The Devil and the Jews: The Medieval Conception of the Jew and Its Relation to Modern Anti-Semitism


About Book The Devil and the Jews: The Medieval Conception of the Jew and Its Relation to Modern Anti-Semitism

FRONT MATTERTitle PageCopyright PageCONTENTS ILLUSTRATIONS FOREWORD. Marc SapersteinPREFACEINTRODUCTION. MEDIEVAL SUPERSTITION AND MODERN ANTISEMITISMPART ONE. THE DEMONIC JEW PART TWO. THE JEW AS SORCERER PART THREE. THE JEW AS HERETIC EPILOGUE. STILL THE DEVIL'S OWNNOTES EPILOGUE. STILL THE DEVIL'S OWN BIBLIOGRAPHY INDEX
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