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Die Pest und die Juden - Mythen, Fakten, Topoi

Die Pest und die Juden - Mythen, Fakten, Topoi AbstractThis paper explores the relation between the »Black Death« and the persecutions of Jews in the mid-14th century. At first glance, it may come as a surprise that pogroms never took place during an outbreak (as some black legends claim). They were a phenomenon which occurred, typically, before or (seldom) after a plague. When everyone had to reckon with the deadly danger, the charge of well-poisoning, which had a long and fatal tradition, moved to the centre again, accompanied by other incriminations of Jews. Having been of more theoretical (or magic) importance before then, the terrible accusation now seemed to be justified more than ever by the medical theory that poisoned water could cause »miasmata«. The general anxiety, described excellently by Petrarch and other contemporaries, provided an ideal playground for fanatics and zealots who tried to convince people of the validity of such assumptions. It is therefore no wonder that the number of pogroms increased dramatically in 1348/49. They were promoted by the tactics of the emperor who sold his profitable role as a »protector of the Jews« increasingly to the »Imperial Free Cities«. In many towns the Black Death was preceded (or sometimes followed) by anti-Jewish massacres that were instigated by anti-Jewish writings and pamphlets. Only a general crisis of mentality and widespread moral decadence made this possible. The solid financial interests of certain groups of society seem also to have played an important role. Nevertheless, we have to admit that these medieval persecutions have left many questions open - to this day. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Aschkenas de Gruyter

Die Pest und die Juden - Mythen, Fakten, Topoi

Aschkenas , Volume 29 (1): 20 – Jun 4, 2019

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
© 2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston
ISSN
1865-9438
eISSN
1865-9438
DOI
10.1515/asch-2019-0004
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

AbstractThis paper explores the relation between the »Black Death« and the persecutions of Jews in the mid-14th century. At first glance, it may come as a surprise that pogroms never took place during an outbreak (as some black legends claim). They were a phenomenon which occurred, typically, before or (seldom) after a plague. When everyone had to reckon with the deadly danger, the charge of well-poisoning, which had a long and fatal tradition, moved to the centre again, accompanied by other incriminations of Jews. Having been of more theoretical (or magic) importance before then, the terrible accusation now seemed to be justified more than ever by the medical theory that poisoned water could cause »miasmata«. The general anxiety, described excellently by Petrarch and other contemporaries, provided an ideal playground for fanatics and zealots who tried to convince people of the validity of such assumptions. It is therefore no wonder that the number of pogroms increased dramatically in 1348/49. They were promoted by the tactics of the emperor who sold his profitable role as a »protector of the Jews« increasingly to the »Imperial Free Cities«. In many towns the Black Death was preceded (or sometimes followed) by anti-Jewish massacres that were instigated by anti-Jewish writings and pamphlets. Only a general crisis of mentality and widespread moral decadence made this possible. The solid financial interests of certain groups of society seem also to have played an important role. Nevertheless, we have to admit that these medieval persecutions have left many questions open - to this day.

Journal

Aschkenasde Gruyter

Published: Jun 4, 2019

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