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CHARLOTTE KLEIN Damascus to Kiev: Civilta Cattoliea on Ritual Murder The fact that ritual murder or blood libel accusations seem to have originated or at any rate flourished in Catholic Europe did not escape the notice of the Catholic hierarchy. Some courageous popes even issued official statements denouncing the legend. The investigative report of 1759 by then Cardinal Lorenzo Ganganelli (1705-74), who later became Pope Clement XIV (1769-74), resulted in a major documentary refutation of the blood libe1. The above efforts notwithstanding, it is also true that some Catholic priests and theologians took an active part in promoting the blood 1ibe11egend. One striking example is that of Johann Eck (1486-1543), a German Catholic theologian known for his opposition to Martin Luther. In 1541, Eck published Ains Judenbuchlins Verlegung (Refutation of a Jew-Booklet), which was intended to be a rebuttal of an anonymously published booklet originally written in 1529 but not published unti11540. The booklet's title in English translation: "Whether It is True and believable that Jews secretlykill Christian children and use their blood: A splendid text presented for everyone's Judgment." It was written by a Protestant Lutheran preacher from Nuremberg, one Andreas Osiander (1498-1552) in response to an inquiry about the credibility of ritual murder charges (in connection with a 1529 Poesing ritual murder trial in Hungary). The booklet was later published without Osiander's consent to help defend Jews accused of the blood libel in Sappenfeld in 1540. In any event, Eck claimed to have been himself an eyewitness to such a child murder in 1503, and he proceeded to "document" the existence of ritual murder Reprinted from Wiener Library Bulletin 27 (1974): 18-25. 180 Damascus to Kiev occurrences. One scholar has called Eck's Refutation "the most massive and systematic formulation of the bloodlibel ... the summa oflearned discourse on ritual murder." If so, it is not without importance that the author of such a work was a Catholic theologian. It should, however, be noted that Protestants could be just as anti-Semitic as Catholics. Martin Luther's own On the Jews and Their Lies, published in 1543 is a classic example. The present essay treats Catholic-inspired anti-Semitism of the modern period, specifically that sponsored by a periodical , the Civilta Cattolica, published under the auspices of the Vatican. Although not officially a formal outlet for Vatican views, it is a nonetheless influential one. The evidence presented by Charlotte Klein, speaks for itself. See also her book Anti-Judaism in Christian Theology (Philadelphia : Fortress Press, 1978). For further details concerning the works of Eck and Osiander , see Steven Rowan, "Luther, Bucer and Eck on the Jews," Sixteenth Century Journal 16 (1985): 79-90, and especially R. Po-chia Hsia, The Myth of Ritual Murder: Jews and Magic in Reformation Germany (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988), pp. 124-31, 136-43 (for the scholarly assessment of Eck's Refutation, see p. 126). For the papal statements on blood libel, see Die Piipstlichen Bullen liber die Blutbeschuldigung (Munich: August Schupp, 1900). For the Ganganelli report of 1759, see Isidore Loeb, "Un Memoire de Laurent Ganganelli sur La Calomnie du Meurtre Rituel," Revue des etudes juives 18 (1889): 179-211; and Cecil Roth, The Ritual Murder Libel and the Jew: The Report by Cardinal Lorenzo Ganganelli (Pope Clement XIV) (London: Woburn Press, 1934). For a discussion of the antiSemitic context of another Catholic periodical, La Croix, see Pierre Sorlin, La Croix et les Juifs (1880-1899) (Paris: Editions Bernard Grasset, 1967). For an English Catholic critique of French Catholic bigotry, see Herbert Thurston, "Anti-Semitism and the Charge of Ritual Murder," Month 91 (1898) 561-74. 181 Charlotte Klein Christian-Jewish relations will never become normalized until Christians as well as Jews have examined the prejudices and horrors of their common history. The two-thousandyear -old past has to be analyzed to discover what lies buried in those centuries through which they lived, though separated by more or less wilful misunderstandings and persecutions inflicted on the minority. It is the duty of the historian to lift the veil which blinded the eyes of many otherwise humane and committed Christians who showed themselves singularly loveless and insensitive where Jews were concerned . The semiofficial Vatican periodical, the Civilta Catto1ica , and its contributors are a case in point; they remained , up to World War II and after, unconscious of the fact that they encouraged the IIteaching of contempt" among countless readers who regarded this periodical...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780299131135
Related ISBN
9780299131142
MARC Record
OCLC
835455593
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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