TitlePerceptions of Other Religions, V: Christian Perceptions of Jews
Date/TimeWednesday 5 July 2017: 09.00-10.30
OrganiserIMC Programming Committee
Moderator/ChairJana Valtrová, Department for the Study of Religions, Masarykova Univerzita, Brno
Paper 1023-a Members of the Same Household: Bernard of Clairvaux on Christ, Christians, and Jews
(Language: English)
James Kroemer, Department of Theology, Concordia University, Wisconsin
Index Terms: Crusades; Ecclesiastical History
Paper 1023-b St Thomas Aquinas and the Jewish People
(Language: English)
Inês Bolinhas, Centro de Estudos Filosóficos e Humanísticos, Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Lisboa
Index Terms: Hebrew and Jewish Studies; Theology
Paper 1023-c Martin Luther and the Slovenian Reformer Primož Trubar on Jews
(Language: English)
Irena Avsenik Nabergoj, Institute for Cultural History, Slovenian Academy of Sciences & Arts, Ljubljana / Institute for the Bible, Judaism & Early Christianity, University of Ljubljana
Index Terms: Language and Literature - Comparative; Religious Life; Social History
AbstractPaper -a:
At the beginning of the Second Crusade, Bernard of Clairvaux defended Jews from those who wanted to kill them as enemies of Christ. Jews of his day were perplexed by Bernard's actions. Today some scholars laud Bernard's courage and say his words became a defence for persecuted people from that time on. Others blame Bernard's anti-Jewish stereotypes scattered throughout his writing for causing the desire for violence against Jews. This paper will argue that Bernard held a rather optimistic view of the destiny of the Jews that caused him to advocate against their harm. This view can be found in two of the abbot's Sermons on the Canticle where he paints a picture of the relationship between Christ, Christians, and Jews as being a family squabble that will in time have a most satisfying conclusion.

Paper -b:
Aquinas didn’t write a specific treatise about the Jewish People. Nevertheless, we find a great number of considerations on the subject of Jews dispersed in several texts, such as the Summa Theologiae, his commentaries on the Old and New Testaments, as well as in the Letter to the Countess of Flanders, popularized under the inadequate designation De regimine iudeorum. St Thomas had a firm and clear position on the theological and social status of the Jewish People. In addition, his considerations on the social situation of the Jews had a great influence on posterity. Still, there is no consensus in the interpretation of the Aquinas' position on the problem:Thomas is diversely counted both to the defenders of Jews and to the precursors of anti-semitism. In this paper, I will attempt to contribute to the clarification of this issue by reflecting upon selected texts of the Secunda Secundae of the Summa Theologiae, the Letter to the Countess of Flanders and of the Commentary on the Gospel of Saint John.

Paper -c:
Martin Luther (1483-1546) changed his attitude towards Jews. In the 1523 pamphlet Dass Jesus Christus ein geborener Jude sei - published at a time when Luther still hoped Jews would convert to Protestantism - he attacked 'papists', accusing them of treating Jews like dogs rather than as human beings. Because his expectations were not realised, in 1543 he published one of the most hostile tracts in the history of anti-Semitism: Von den Juden und ihren Lügen. In this tract, Luther depicts Jews as poisoners, ritual murderers, usurers, the embodiment of the devil, and parasites within Christian society. Meanwhile, Primož Trubar (1508-1586), the main Slovenian Protestant reformer and founder of Slovenian as a literary language, expressed anti-Jewish views in his works Postila - 'Iz posvetila v cirilsko Postilo' (Postila 1563) and in Katehismus z dvejma izlagama (1575). In the postil he uses the stereotypical metaphor of Jews as 'the devil'. His basic metaphor is one that contrasts the 'light' that Christ brought into the world and the 'darkness' of Jews and pagans. The aim of this paper is, by comparing the sources, to show the common background, the similarities and the differences between the two reformers in terms of Jews. Because Luther generally influenced Trubar's manner of translation the Bible, as well as his theological views, it would be interesting to know whether he also influenced Trubar's attitudes towards Jews, or there were some other historical influences in Slovenian and German lands for that.