With or without the Talmud?

prof. dr hab. Jan Doktór

With or without the Talmud?

Publication year

The authors of two important books on dramatic events in Reich at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries, having huge influence on the further development of Christian-Jewish relations in the whole Europe, take up this subject in different ways. David H. Price elaborates on the history of the conflict of two Johanns: Reuchlin and Pfefferkorn from the perspective of the biography of the first one, at the time the most eminent Christian Hebraist and Kabbalah expert, and also a seasoned diplomat and an envoy at the Holy See on behalf of various German dukes. Daniel O’callaghan discusses the history and background of the conflict in a more synthetic manner, and focuses on an edition of English translation of Reuchlin’s most important polemical writing: Augenspiegel.

Appreciating the value of both works, I would like to focus on their weaknesses. Well, their authors miss out a broader historical context of the events being discussed, as this conflict was only a link in a long chain of disputes and conflicts, as well as redefinitions of mutual perception of Christians and Jews, which was the result of the appearance of the Talmud in the public debate in the thirteenth century.

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