Open Access (free)
The Papal Inquisition in Modena, 1598–1638

This book explores two areas of interest: the Papal Inquisition in Modena and the status of Jews in an early modern Italian duchy. Its purpose is to deepen existing insights into the role of the former and thus lead to a better understanding of how an Inquisitorial court assumed jurisdiction over a practising Jewish community in the seventeenth century. The book highlights one specific aspect of the history of the Jews in Italy: the trials of professing Jews before the Papal Inquisition at the beginning of the seventeenth century. Inquisitorial processi against professing Jews provide the earliest known evidence of a branch of the Papal Inquisition taking judicial actions against Jews on an unprecedented scale and attempting systematically to discipline a Jewish community, pursuing this aim for several centuries. The book focuses on Inquisitorial activity during the first 40 years of the history of the tribunal in Modena, from 1598 to 1638, the year of the Jews' enclosure in the ghetto, the period which historians have argued was the most active in the Inquisition's history. It argues that trials of the two groups are different because the ecclesiastical tribunals viewed conversos as heretics but Jews as infidels. The book emphasizes the fundamental disparity in Inquisitorial procedure regarding Jews, as well as the evidence examined, especially in Modena. This was where the Duke uses the detailed testimony to be found in Inquisitorial trial transcripts to analyse Jewish interaction with Christian society in an early modern community.

Open Access (free)
A tale of a young Jewess’s flirtation with Christianity
Katherine Aron-Beller

5 The Jew’s balcony: a tale of a Jewess’s flirtation 1 with Christianity Alack, what heinous sin is it in me To be ashamed to be my father’s child! But though I am a daughter to his blood, I am not to his manners, O Lorenzo, If thou keep promise I shall end this strife, Become a Christian and thy loving wife. (Jessica in The Merchant of  Venice by William Shakespeare, Act II, Scene iii) In The Merchant of  Venice, Jessica, the daughter of Shylock the Jew, fell in love with a Christian. With his assistance, she fled her father, her house and her faith. She

in Jews on trial
Author: John Edwards

As European politics, society, economy and religion underwent epoch-making changes between 1400 and 1600, the treatment of Europe's Jews by the non-Jewish majority was, then as in later periods, a symptom of social problems and tensions in the Continent as a whole. This book discusses the history and background of the Jewish presence in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Europe. As far as the late medieval Church was concerned, the basis for the treatment of Jews, by ecclesiastical and secular authorities, was to be found in the decrees of the Fourth Lateran Council of the Roman Church, which were issued in 1215. The book is concerned with Jewish economic activities for their own sake, and Jews' financial relations with Christian rulers. It then concentrates on other aspects of the dealings which went on between European Jews and their Christian neighbours. The book includes the Jews' own economic presence and culture, social relations between Jews and Christians, the policies and actions of Christian authorities in Church and State. It draws upon original source material to convey ordinary people's prejudices about Jews, including myths about Jewish 'devilishness', money-grabbing, and 'ritual murder' of Christian children. Finally, the book demonstrates from the outset that much of the treatment of European Jews, in the period up to the Reformation and thereafter, was to be a practical result of the controversies within 'Christendom' on the subject of authority, whether ecclesiastical or secular.

Manchester and the rescue of the victims of European fascism, 1933–1940
Author: Bill Williams

Between 1933 and 1940, Manchester received between seven and eight thousand refugees from Fascist Europe. They included Jewish academics expelled from universities in Germany, Austria, Spain and Italy. Around two hundred were children from the Basque country of Spain evacuated to Britain on a temporary basis in 1937 as the fighting of the Spanish Civil War neared their home towns. Most were refugees fleeing Nazi persecution in Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia. As much as 95% of the refugees from Nazism were Jews threatened by the increasingly violent anti-Semitism of the Nazi regime. The rest were Communists, Social Democrats, Pacifists, Liberals, Confessional Christians and Sudeten Germans. There have been several valuable studies of the response of the British government to the refugee crisis. This study seeks to assess the responses in one city—Manchester—which had long cultivated an image of itself as a ‘liberal city’. Using documentary and oral sources, including interviews with Manchester refugees, it explores the work of those sectors of local society that took part in the work of rescue: Jewish communal organisations, the Society of Friends, the Rotarians, the University of Manchester, secondary schools in and around Manchester, pacifist bodies, the Roman Catholic Church and industrialists from the Manchester region. The book considers the reasons for their choices to help to assesses their degree of success and the forces which limited their effectiveness.

John Edwards

In various respects, the division of material between this chapter and the previous one is somewhat arbitrary, as it is hardly possible to make an effective separation between social and economic matters. Nonetheless, whereas chapter III is primarily concerned with Jewish economic activities for their own sake, and Jews’ financial relations with Christian rulers

in The Jews in western Europe 1400–1600
Katherine Aron-Beller

1 Jews, Papal Inquisitors and the Estense dukes In 1598, the year that Duke Cesare d’Este (1562–1628) lost Ferrara to Papal forces and moved the capital of his duchy to Modena, the Papal Inquisition in Modena was elevated from vicariate to full Inquisitorial status. Despite initial clashes with the Duke, the Inquisition began to prosecute not only heretics and blasphemers, but also professing Jews. Such a policy towards infidels by an organization appointed to enquire into heresy (inquisitio haereticae pravitatis) was unusual. In order to understand this process

in Jews on trial
John Edwards

case of a Jewish alchemist in Germany, the rest of the documents in this chapter originated in Italy. They show everyday interaction between Jews and Christians (and, in the case of document 48, Spanish converts from Judaism as well), in such disparate areas as the disposal of Christian art-works in a house newly owned by Jews, and Jewish contributions to the famous Roman

in The Jews in western Europe 1400–1600
Abstract only
John Edwards

. The story begins with the reaction of the king of Castile, Henry III, to the attacks on all the major Jewish communities in the kingdom. After the event, the king ordered the punishment of the ringleaders, but, in the succeeding decades, many Spanish Jews converted to Christianity. Although the letter translated here was addressed specifically to the city council in Burgos, it

in The Jews in western Europe 1400–1600
John Edwards

This may well appear to many to be the most conventional and least unexpected section of the present work, in that there is generally an unconscious or else admitted assumption that, as the Reformation changed so many things for Europe’s Christians, it must therefore have had a similar effect on Jews. As a prelude to the all too familiar works of Martin

in The Jews in western Europe 1400–1600
John Edwards

There are two main aspects of the involvement of Jews in the European economy of the late medieval and early modern periods which have to be considered here. In all western European countries with Jewish populations in this period, there were restrictions on the economic roles which Jews might fulfil. These were justified on theological as much as economic

in The Jews in western Europe 1400–1600