JEWISH-AMERICAN HALL OF FAME • JEWISH MUSEUM IN CYBERSPACE
ANTI-SEMITIC BIGOTRY AS CHRONICLED BY HISTORICAL MEDALS


 

These biblical accounts are the precursors of later “Blood Libel” stories immortalized in print and text, one of the more infamous involving that of Simon of Trent. (See figure 55 and Endnote 2).

Figure 55.  Blood Libel: Fifteenth century woodcut showing Jews murdering the child Simon of Trent
Figure 55. Blood Libel: Fifteenth century woodcut showing Jews murdering the child Simon of Trent

The round yellow patches are badges that Jews were forced to wear. (In Hartmann Schedel, Nuremberg Chronicle or Buch der Chroniken, printed by Anton Koberger in 1493).

Other authors who have studied this issue of the origins of anti-Semitism in some detail have come to similar conclusions. Christopher Browning (2004), in a book The Origins of the Final Solution: The Evolution of Nazi Jewish Policy, states the following:

"Christians and Jews had lived in an adversarial relationship since the first century of the Common Era, when the early followers of Jesus failed to persuade significant numbers of their fellow Jews that he was the Messiah. They then gradually solidified their identity as a new religion rather than a reforming Jewish sect. First, Pauline Christianity took the step of seeking converts not just among Jews but also among the Pagan populations of the Roman Empire.

Second, the Gospel writers -- some 40 to 60 years after the death of Jesus -- sought to placate the Roman authorities and at the same time to stigmatize their rivals by increasingly portraying the Jews rather than the Roman authorities in Palestine as responsible for the crucifixion -- the scriptural origin of the fateful “Christ killer” libel. Finally, the Jewish rebellion in Palestine and the destruction of the Second Temple motivated early Christians not only to dissociate themselves completely from the Jews but to see the Jewish catastrophe as a deserved punishment for the stubborn refusal to accept Jesus as the Messiah and as a divine vindication of their own beliefs. Christians and Jews, two small sects that had much more in common with one another by virtue of their monotheism and scriptures than either had with the rest of the tolerant, syncretic, polytheistic Pagan Roman world, developed an implacable hostility to one another."

2 1 3 3

© 2000-2011 Jewish-American Hall of Fame © 2012-2015 American Numismatic Society All Rights Reserved by Benjamin Weiss