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.

Foreword ix legend cycles; and, beginning with the sixteenth century, the polemical pamphlets. These written texts are supplemented with material from the graphic arts, particularly engravings and prints from popular books, amply and vividly reproduced. There is the Judensau suck-ling a Jewish boy in the presence of the devil ( frontispiece), a Jew rendering homage to Satan ( p. 30), a Jewish woman who has just given birth to two pigs ( p. 53), a group of Jewish men pierc-ing the host with knives ( p. 112), a Jew conjuring the devil with blood secured through a “ ritual murder” ( p. 136), and Satan, wearing a Jewish badge, huckstering with Jews in their financial transactions ( p. 195). These pictures retain their power to shock even after the Nazi era; one can only surmise the impact they must have had on a population often more responsive to the pictorial image than to the written word. Yet reading The Devil and the Jews a generation after the Holocaust, one is struck by an apparent paradox. If it is true, as Trachtenberg wrote, that “ the most vivid impression to be gained from a reading of medieval allusions to the Jew is of a hatred so vast and abysmal, so intense, that it leaves one gasping for com-prehension” ( p. 12), and that the demonic conception of the Jew “ permeated every layer of Christian society” ( p. 217), how was it that the Jews were tolerated at all in Christian countries through the Middle Ages— expelled from one land or another, to be sure, but never driven out of Christendom as a whole, never made the object of a holy war of extermination as was directed against Christian heretics? For more than a generation, Salo W. Baron has demonstrated the inadequacy of the “ lachrymose conception of Jewish history.” This is the view, based largely on medieval and sixteenth- cen-tury Jewish chronicles, that the experience of the Jewish people in their dispersion was essentially an unending series of massa-cres and pogroms. It may similarly be noted that the “ demonic conception,” so richly documented here, is only one aspect of “ the medieval conception of the Jew.” It is not that the material Trachtenberg has marshaled has been distorted; rather, the very   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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