Category Archive 'Arial Toaff'

10 Feb 2007

Forthcoming Book by Jewish Historian Reported to Accept Blood Libel as True

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Repeating the blood libel, the accusation that Jews used human blood in religious rituals and performed human sacrifice, was a crime in Poland and Lithuania in the Middle Ages; while, in most of Europe, it was merely an opportunistic means of debt restructuring. After the rioting was over, Jewish moneylenders were dead or had vanished from the land, and no one, particularly the king, owed anybody anything.

Enlightened Christians, including Popes as early as Innocent IV (1195-1254) and Pope Gregory X (1271-1276) have consistently rejected the accusation as inconsistent with well known teachings of Judaism.

This week, however, several reports appeared indicating that a forthcoming book by Arial Toaff, professor of Jewish History at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and author of a number of previous well-received and respected titles on Jewish Life in Medieval Italy, gives credence to the legend.

The Jerusalem Post reports that Toaff’s latest book, soon to be published in Italy, is titled: Bloody Passovers: The Jews of Europe and Ritual Murders.

According to a review by Sergio Luzzatto, appearing in Corriere della Serra:

from 1100 to about 1500…several crucifixions of Christian children really happened, bringing about retaliations against entire Jewish communities – punitive massacres of men, women, children. Neither in Trent in 1475 nor in other areas of Europe in the late Middle Ages were Jews always innocent victims…

A minority of fundamentalist Ashkenazis…carried out human sacrifices.”

The Telegraph has a less informative report.

Washington Post.

The journalistic accounts reaching English readers make Toaff’s thesis sound extremely implausible and his reasoning unpersuasive. One is curious as to what the book actually says.


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