Dialogue against the Jews
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: The Catholic University of America Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
A number of individuals are due special thanks and acknowledgment. I would like to thank John Tolan, whose own work on Petrus Alfonsi was so useful to me, for having kindly responded to my inquiries. Also, thanks to Jeremy Cohen, who encouraged me to translate...
Petrus Alfonsi’s Dialogus contra Iudaeos,1 composed ca. 1109, continues a long history of Christian anti-Jewish polemic.2 When written, it could draw on nearly one thousand years of literary attacks on Jewish religious life and practice written in Greek, Latin, and Syriac, which...
Dialogue Against the Jews
Proemium and Prologue
The Proemium and Prologue Petrus Alfonsi, an illustrious man and [converted to] a Catholic Christian from a Jew, begins. To the one and Lrst eternal omnipotent creator of all things who is without beginning and without end, knowing all, who accomplishes all that he wills...
Moses: Let us construct this first heading, then, so as to contain the arguments with which you have inveighed against us and against our sages, namely, that we attribute form and body to God and that we add such things to his nature as the truth of...
Moses: Since you have demonstrated by the light of incontestable arguments that whatever our sages apply, unworthily, to the divine majesty cannot stand either on the authority of Scripture or on the power..
Moses: You have demonstrated with the most clear and indisputable arguments what pertained to the present heading, namely, what the cause of our very long captivity was, or in what way are we able...
Moses: Not undeservedly, I give thanks1 to the one who illuminates hearts and drives away the darkness of such great blindness from our mind, even if only very late. Not unjustly I also...
Moses: Up to this point, you have shown how worthless and inconsistent the faith of the Jewish nation is in every respect, and how irrational and unwelcome is its service to God; or you have demonstrated...
Moses: Enough has been argued up to this point against our sect and the sect of the Saracens. You have confounded both, from reason as well as from authority. Now, however, explain what sort of faith yours is and distinguish...
Moses: Now I want you to explain about Mary: how you believe that she gave birth without a union with a man, and I will oppose you, if I am able. T8:0=9: Clearly we believe that with the Holy Spirit coming upon her and with the power of the Most High...
Moses: Up to this point, you have treated the generation of the child from authority, and the explanation [ratio] allows well enough that it could have happened in this way. But more amazing than all of these things is how the deity, which is simple, could have been...
Moses: Since then, using many authorities, you show that the one whom you call Christ could be both God and man, with what authority, I ask you, can you show that he has already come, as you believe? For...
Moses: I want you to return to the subject matter and, I beg you, explain to me the other parts of your faith. Since you believe, then, that Christ was both God and man, why did he allow himself to be cruciLed and...
Moses: Up to this point, it has been shown well enough that that man accepted death of his own free will to redeem the human race. Now, however, I want to discuss with you how he was resurrected on the third day, just as you said in the exposition of your faith. And...
Moses: Up to this point point, we have debated sufLciently individual parts of your faith, but you mentioned one thing more in the beginning of the debate, namely, that at the hour of your baptism you believed the apostles. I require that that belief be explained...
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