In this essay, Emily Vine traces the emergence, re-emergence, and impact of a distinct anti-Semitic narrative of Jewish infanticide and sacrifice by fire that appeared in print in London several times between 1674 and 1732. She identifies and links the versions of this specific narrative and directly connects the re-emergence of the narrative to outbreaks of anti-Semitic violence against the London Jewish community. This essay considers the published accounts themselves alongside evidence of their reception, situating this narrative within the context of the Jewish readmission to England (after 1656) and a wider proliferation of anti-Semitic literature. It analyzes the origins of this rumor, suggests ways in which the accusation was fueled by the misinterpretation of Jewish rituals, and demonstrates the direct effect that it had on Judeo-Christian relations in late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century London. It argues that the repeated resonance of this particular narrative, unlike other anti-Semitic literature, lay in the geographical immediacy of the events described, events purported to take place within the streets and alleyways of London, in domestic spaces that ostensibly coexisted with the homes of Christian readers.


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pp. 331-359
Launched on MUSE
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