Saturday, May 1, 2010

More on book burning

I'm currently struggling through chapter 5 of Avoda Zarah which has an in depth (and not easy) commentary by a Tosafist called Samuel ben Solomon of Falaise.

It turns out that Rabbi Samuel

took part in the renowned controversy instigated by the baptized Jew Nicholas Donin
went to Rome, presented himself before Pope Gregory IX, and denounced the Talmud. Thirty-five articles were drawn up, in which Donin stated his charges of virulent attacks on the virginity of Mary and the divinity of Jesus.

The Pope was persuaded that the accusations were true and dispatched to the authorities of the Church, transcripts of the charges formulated by Donin, accompanied by an order to seize all copies of the Talmud and deposit them with the Dominicans and Franciscans. If an examination corroborated the charges of Donin, the scrolls were to be burned.

This order was generally ignored, except in France, where the Jews were compelled under pain of death to surrender their Talmuds (March, 1240). Louis IX ordered four of the most distinguished rabbis of France -- Yechiel of Paris, Moses of Coucy, Judah of Melun, and Samuel ben Solomon of Château-Thierry -- to answer Donin in a public debate. In vain, however, did the rabbis argue against the charges of blasphemy and immorality which were the main points of Donin's arraignment. The commission condemned the Talmud to be burned. In 1242, fire was set accordingly to twenty-four carriage loads (ten to twelve-thousand volumes) of written works.

So -- much more than just sharp rational analysis.

Ed: I wasn't sure if Samuel ben Solomon of Château-Thierry and Samuel ben Solomon of Falaise are the same person, but it turns out that Château-Thierry and Falaise are near each other.

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