Proselytizing at Purim
in Jews on trial

On 23 March 1625, five years before the Great Plague would come with fury to Modena and carry off almost half its population, the Jewish festival of Purim coincided with Palm Sunday. Using a micro-historical approach again to validate an exhaustive investigation, and further exploring the subject of Jewish/Christian tensions during festivals, this chapter examines an intriguing case, using it as a meaningful indicator of broader themes and aiming to put it into its wider historical context. There were also cases where Jews appeared before the tribunal in order to prevent accusations of proselytizing, and denounced the neophytes who they claimed were bothering them. In most of the cases Jews were accused of proselytizing neophytes rather than 'old' Christians but were rarely sentenced because these neophytes refused to indict them.

Jews on trial

The Papal Inquisition in Modena, 1598–1638

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