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Popes and Jews, 1095–1291$
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Rebecca Rist

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198717980

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198717980.001.0001

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Jewish Ideas about the Papacy

Jewish Ideas about the Papacy

Chapter:
(p.28) 1 Jewish Ideas about the Papacy
Source:
Popes and Jews, 1095–1291
Author(s):

Rebecca Rist

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198717980.003.0002

This chapter explores Jewish ideas about popes and the papacy through a range of contemporary and later sources including folktales, chronicles, responsa, and disputational literature. Jewish writers were obviously concerned to ensure the safety of their communities in western Europe and grateful for statements of papal protection. They were also highly critical of Christian beliefs about the papacy, in particular the theory of apostolic succession. Yet they fully acknowledged that popes had always played and would continue to play an important role in safeguarding their well-being and determining their future. Nevertheless, although contemporary and later Jewish writers often valued papal protection more highly than that of monarchs, emperors, or other clergy, they also knew it had its circumscribed limits. Though respectful of the papacy’s power, both spiritual and temporal, they were dismissive of the Scriptural and theological formulations on which Christian claims for apostolic authority rested.

Keywords:   Jewish–Christian relations, memory, community, folktales, chronicles, rabbinic responsa, disputational literature, Jewish polemic, Apostolic Succession, Jewish writers

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