Today’s double entry tells the sad story of the role and reputation of Jewish Christians in the early middle ages. Trusted by no-one, and with little to help them in their marginalized identities, they were given scant protection or respect by either Jews or Christians. This was symptomatic of the hostility and distrust between the two communities rather than the particular failings of individual ‘converts’.
1320: “Pope John XXII issues Bullarium Romanum, ordering that Jews who convert to Christianity must be allowed to keep their property. The implication is that Jews who don’t convert won’t necessarily have their property rights protected.”
Paola Tartakoff’s fascinating and detailed study of the life of ‘converts’ in Spain in the Middle Ages gives much new detail on the motives, personalities and experiences of Jews who ‘converted’ to Roman Catholicism, the pressures they were placed under to prove themselves and conform to their new faith, the difficulties they faced or created in relation to their Jewish families and communities, and the failures of the Catholic Church to welcome and support them.
Prayer: Father, forgive the illicit means of persuasion, the unethical pressure and the outright hostility that was placed on Jews who ‘converted’. Forgive also those who took this step for insincere reasons, and whose actions brought shame upon them. May your church and Israel both recognize the mysterious bond between the church and Israel, and understand the role of Jewish believers in Yeshua as a bridge between the two communities, with a significant role to play in your purposes for all humanity and all nations. In Yeshua’s name we pray. Amen.
Between Christian and Jew: Conversion and Inquisition in the Crown of Aragon, 1250-1391
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