It is impossible to understand the question of the attitude to converts to Christianity without examining the attitude to Christians who converted to Judaism. This attitude is the mirror image of the attitude to converts from Judaism. In the same way that converts to Christianity were rejected and members of Jewish communities would try to distance themselves from them, so they would try to become close with and appreciate converts to Judaism.
This chapter compares the attitude to those leaving their faith in the Hellenistic world (the Period of the Mishna), with the attitude to those leaving their faith in the Period of the Gemara when the non-Jewish world in Europe was primarily pagan.
This chapter will describe the attitude to converts to Christianity during the First Crusade when conversion was forced on the Jews by the Crusaders and when the threat of death was very real should they not succumb to the demand. Some Jews managed to flee, others were converted forcibly while some died as martyrs and others put themselves and their children to death in order not to be forcibly converted. The attitude now became that of seeing all converts as having been forcibly converted though it was still not clear how one reconciles the desire that many had to accept the forced convert back into the faith with the normative ideal expressed by the action of the martyrs.
The Jew who remained a Jew was obliged to define his attitude towards the Jew who converted to Christianity, and indeed this had to be done in many spheres. The halakhah had laid down in principle the decision that a Jew who converted to Christianity was still, despite everything, a brother and a Jew, but this decision was eroded over time. The Rabbinic authorities were being asked Halakhic questions such as: is a convert regarded as a dead person or not? What happens in the case of the wife of a convert who remains Jewish? Can a convert bequeath or inherit possessions? Is the wine he produces “the wine of non-Jews” (that Jews were forbidden to drink)? What is the law applying to those who converted to Christianity and later returned to Judaism? Can they be trusted? Do they have to undergo immersion, like converts to Judaism?
This chapter looks at the struggle of the Jews in dealing with the Christian success in conquering the Land of Israel from the Muslims and establishing the Land of Israel , the land to which the Jews were theologically due to return, as a Christian kingdom. This Christian theological success created a crisis among the Jews that brought about the phenomenon of voluntary conversion to Christianity seen clearly, for example, in the autobiography of Yehuda Herman, a Jewish apostate, and at the same time a Jewish polemic reaction directed against Christians and against Jewish converts to Christianity.
This chapter examines the episcopal and Catholic renewal traditions in France during the sixteenth century. By the turn of the sixteenth century, French prelates had a variety of sources on which to base their understanding of the episcopal office. Those guides most immediately to hand, the Council of Trent and the examples of contemporary reforming prelates appeared particularly attractive, for they enabled the minority of French bishops who were attempting to introduce reforms in insecure conditions to lay the foundations for permanent ecclesiastical order. The chapter suggests that this French tradition provided strongly articulated views on episcopal jurisdictional rights and authority as well as, secondarily, on episcopal spirituality.
This chapter sums up the key findings of this study on the history of episcopacy in France during the seventeenth century. The episcopate flourished, after its unsteady start to the Bourbon reign, because it was able to use the debate on episcopal jurisdiction to construct referential principles that stacked into a mature and conscious ideology of episcopal identity which defined its status and behaviour within church and society. Its adoption of a comprehensive ideology of episcopacy had its effect not just on bishops themselves, but also on the lower clergy, the papacy and the crown. For this reason, it can be said that the seventeenth century was a formative period not just for the character of the episcopate itself, but for that of the French church in general.
This chapter enumerates the life and works of Dr Martin Luther, from the perspective of his lifelong antagonist Johannes Cochlaeus. It notes some peculiarities during his stay with the Monastery of the brothers of St Augustine, either from some secret commerce with a Demon, or from the disease of epilepsy; fraud after he was made Doctor in Theology; controversies in indulgences; and attacks he raised against the doctrine of the Roman church. It suggests that by his cunning, as he complained that he was unjustly pressed by his adversaries and driven into public, Luther gained the greatest favor for himself, not just among the simple people, but also among many grave, learned men, who believed in his words through genuine simplicity. Meanwhile, Cochlaeus, for the sake of asserting and confirming the truth of the Catholic faith against any heretics, also published several books in Latin, criticizing Luther and Phillip Melanchthon.
This chapter examines the dispute among the bishops, the lower clergy and the papacy concerning episcopal authority in France during the seventeenth century. It suggests that the dispute represented three competing conceptions of the church, and crystallised opposing views of ecclesiastical government, discipline and hierarchy at local, national and international levels. The chapter also explores how collusion between Rome and the regulars pushed the bishops towards a fiercely protective doctrine of episcopal gallicanism that was finally cemented in the 1682 Gallican Articles.