Living with Censorship?

Ruth Langer

in Cursing the Christians?

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199783175
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919161 | DOI:
Living with Censorship?

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Christian polemics continue to target the birkat haminim in the early modern period, sometimes spearheaded by baptized Jews like Pfefferkorn (rebutted by Reuchlin) and Margaritha, but joined by born-Christians like Buxtorf and Eisenmenger. Near universal Christian censorship of Jewish books forced changes in the language of the birkat haminim, but these changes do not shift European polemics until c. 1700. Likely, before this, prayers were recited from memory, not read, rendering censorship ineffective. Post-1700 discussions of correct texts, though, except Emden’s, accept the censored version. Sephardi Jews now living in Muslim lands or former conversos who reverted to Judaism in Amsterdam maintained a sharp critique of conversos remaining Christian and apply the birkat haminim to them. Lurianic kabbalah also begins to reshape the meaning of the prayer.

Keywords: birkat haminim; polemics; Pfefforkorn; Margaritha; Reuchlin; Buxtorf; Eisenmenger; Lurianic kabbalah; Emden; censorship; early-modern

Chapter.  19170 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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