Event Title

Blood Libel and Accusation: A Study of Anti-Semitic Rhetoric in Medieval Europe

Poster Number

067

Presenter Information

Greg Lamb, Winthrop UniversityFollow

Faculty Mentor

Gregory Bell, Ph.D.

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Department of History

Location

Richardson Ballroom (DIGS)

Start Date

20-4-2018 2:15 PM

End Date

20-4-2018 4:15 PM

Description

Blood libel accusations were a series of evolving anti-Semitic ideas that held Jews would “sacrifice” or murder Christian children during their Purim or Passover festivities, further solidifying the idea of Jews as enemies of Christianity. Scholars have primarily focused on the effects of Jewish ritual murder accusations, also known as blood libel, but have failed to truly explore the rhetoric behind them. These accusations often changed with time; from simply being host profanation to outright child murder. This gruesome evolution seemingly coincided with the changing needs of the accusers themselves. Without knowing the motivations behind the accusations, it is difficult to accurately understand their effects on the Jewish community, or the wholesale social effects in Medieval Europe. The rhetoric used to spread the blood libel charges or to refute them provides a more complete understanding of what issues dominated the minds of Europeans during the Middle Ages. Examining medieval rhetoric regarding blood libel accusations shows they were given a religious façade to hide the fact that they were economically, socio-politically, or personally motivated. An analysis of documents such as papal bulls, royal decrees, clerical accounts of blood libel instances, and contemporary fictional media suggest that blood libel accusations were rarely, if ever, religiously motivated.

Previously Presented/Performed?

Fourth Annual Showcase of Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavors (SOURCE), Winthrop University, April 2018

Course Assignment

HIST 590 – Bell

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Apr 20th, 2:15 PM Apr 20th, 4:15 PM

Blood Libel and Accusation: A Study of Anti-Semitic Rhetoric in Medieval Europe

Richardson Ballroom (DIGS)

Blood libel accusations were a series of evolving anti-Semitic ideas that held Jews would “sacrifice” or murder Christian children during their Purim or Passover festivities, further solidifying the idea of Jews as enemies of Christianity. Scholars have primarily focused on the effects of Jewish ritual murder accusations, also known as blood libel, but have failed to truly explore the rhetoric behind them. These accusations often changed with time; from simply being host profanation to outright child murder. This gruesome evolution seemingly coincided with the changing needs of the accusers themselves. Without knowing the motivations behind the accusations, it is difficult to accurately understand their effects on the Jewish community, or the wholesale social effects in Medieval Europe. The rhetoric used to spread the blood libel charges or to refute them provides a more complete understanding of what issues dominated the minds of Europeans during the Middle Ages. Examining medieval rhetoric regarding blood libel accusations shows they were given a religious façade to hide the fact that they were economically, socio-politically, or personally motivated. An analysis of documents such as papal bulls, royal decrees, clerical accounts of blood libel instances, and contemporary fictional media suggest that blood libel accusations were rarely, if ever, religiously motivated.