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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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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 21 April 2021

The Papal Promise of Protection

The Papal Promise of Protection

(p.66) 2 The Papal Promise of Protection
Popes and Jews, 1095–1291

Rebecca Rist

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the papal angle—the stance taken by medieval popes towards the Jewish communities of western Europe. This chapter shows how the papacy sought to protect but also control the Jews by a number of different methods, in particular by the promulgation of general letters or ‘encyclicals’. Appeals from the Jewish communities encouraged six popes in the twelfth century and ten in the thirteenth to re-issue ‘Sicut Iudaeis’, a letter of protection for Jews originally issued in the sixth century by Gregory the Great which in the High Middle Ages became known as the ‘Constitutio pro Iudaeis’. Sometimes it was re-issued to refute popular charges and increasing accusations against Jews: in particular of ritual murder, host desecration and blood libel.

Keywords:   Sicut Iudaeis, Constitutio pro Iudaeis, Gregory the Great, protection, control, ritual murder, host desecration, blood libel, accusations, popular charges

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