7. Inquisition

David H. Price

in Johannes Reuchlin and the Campaign to Destroy Jewish Books

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780195394214
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894734 | DOI:
7. Inquisition

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This chapter offers a new interpretation of the initial trials of Johannes Reuchlin, arguing that the assault on Reuchlin was undertaken as the first step toward convening a planned inquisition of Jewish books and therefore resumption of the anti-Jewish campaign. Inquisitor Jacob Hoogstraeten rapidly garnered support from a host of universities that condemned any form of toleration of Judaism. The legal and academic charges leveled against Reuchlin represented great peril for European Jews because they included the entire array of late-medieval innuendoes (host desecration, ritual murder, blasphemy, heresy) and all of these charges were published in anti-Jewish pamphlets. The chapter explains how Reuchlin, with support from the Pope Leo X and from many quarters within Germany, turned the tables on the Inquisition and achieved a 1514 ruling from an episcopal court in Speyer that affirmed the orthodoxy of his Recommendation and saddled the Inquisitor General, in a harsh rebuke, with punitive court costs.

Keywords: anti-Jewish pamphlets; heresy; Jacob Hoogstraeten; host desecration; inquisition; Johannes Reuchlin; anti-Jewish campaign; Jewish books; Pope Leo X; Judaism

Chapter.  10167 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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