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Jewish Magic and Superstition, by Joshua Trachtenberg, [1939], at

p. 271


All Talmudic references are to the Babylonian Talmud except where a prefixed J. indicates the Jerusalem Talmud



1. See B. Monod, REJ, XLVI (1903), 237 ff., referring to Guibert de Nogent; Aronius, §757; according to Luther, "Ein Jüde stickt so vol Abgötterey and zeuberey, als neun Küe har haben, das ist: unzelich and unendlich" (Werke, LIII [Weimar 1920], "Vom schem Hamphoras," p. 602).

2. Lea, III, 429; Güd. I, 79. In 5254 Louis IX issued a decree commanding the Jews of his realm to abstain from the practice of magic. Philippe le Bel, in 1303, found it necessary, in order to retain control over "his Jews," to forbid the Inquisition to proceed against them on the charge of sorcery (Lea, III, 449). On the other hand, in 1409, Pope Alexander V ordered the Inquisitor of Avignon, Dauphiné, Provence and Comtat Venaissin to proceed against several categories of persons "including Jews who practised magic, invokers of demons, and augurs" (Thorndike, III, 37).

3. This is based on the contemporaneous account of Matthew Paris, Hist. Angl. ad An. 1188, f. 108b, cited by Prynne, I, 7-8; Schudt, IV, 2, p. 331; Jacobs, Jews of Angevin England, 342. The Hebrew version of this persecution in the account of Ephraim of Bonn, while not specifying the nature of the charge which prompted the attack, makes it clear that some such unwarranted accusation was responsible; see Neubauer and Stern, 69, and Wiener's edition of ‘Emek HaBachah, Leipzig 1858, p. 9.

4. Maḥ. Vit., §280, p. 247; see also REJ, III (1881), 9, n. 1. On Moses b. Jeḥiel see Gross, Gallia Judaica, 553, and Jacobs, op. cit., 225, 229.

5. Maḥ. Vit., loc. cit.; Stössel, in Kroner Festschrift, p. 47; Kol Bo, §114; Tos. M.K. 25a; Yore Deah 387:2; Pes. 8b and Rashi, ad loc.; Responsa of Ḥayim Or Zarua, §144; Güd. III, 153; Zimmels, 82; HaOrah, II, 127, p. 219.

6. Or Zarua, II, §53, p. 12a; S. Ḥas. Tinyana, 7a; Asufot, 113b, cited in Güd. I, 136; Maharil, Hil. Mez.; Yore Deah, 291:2; but see pp. 146 ff. above.

7. On this subject see I. Münz, 45 ff., 507 ff.; S. Krauss, Gesch. jüd. Ärzte, 43, 54 ff.; JE, VIII, 457, Scherer, 41, §6.

8. S. Krauss, op. cit., 26 ff.; cf. E. Adler, Jewish Travellers, London 1930, pp. 2-3; Thorndike, III, 525-6.

9. Luther, Werke, LI (Weimar ed.), "Eine vermanung wider die Juden," p. 195; S. Dubnow, History of the Jews in Russia and Poland, I, 243 (Phila. 1916); Aronius, §724-5; JE, III, 233; Thorndike, III, 234; Scherer, 45, 53, 333,

p. 272

[paragraph continues] 369 ff., 577 ff. "So stand es im 13. und 14. Jahrhundert mit den Juden in der Nähe der Stadt Bonn. Hatte man früher die Juden mit den bösen Hexen in ursächlichen Zusammenhang gebracht, so mussten sie nunmehr für den Ausbruch ansteckender Krankheiten und Seuchen, wie die Pest, verantwortlich gemacht werden" (Joesten, 10-11); cf. Wickersheimer, Les Accusations d’Empoisonnement, etc., Anvers 1927. In some places the Black Death was attributed to the incantations as well as to the poisons of the Jews (Lea, III, 459)

10. Wuttke, 140; Strack, 59; Lowenthal, A World Passed By, 54-5; G. Caro, Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte der Juden, II, 196, 204; Aronius, §330; Scherer, 349 f., 411 ff.

11. I. Lévi, REJ, XXII (1891), 232 ff.; Aronius, §160.

12. See H. L. Strack, The Jew and Human Sacrifice, N. Y. 1909; I. Scheftelowitz, Das stellvertretende Huhnopfer, ch. 12: "Gibt es im Judentum Ritualmord?"; D. Chwolson, Die Blutanklage und sonstige mittelalterliche Beschuldigungen der Juden, Fkft. 1901; S. W. Baron, A Social and Religious History of the Jews, N. Y. 1937, III, 38, 106.

13. See the works cited in preceding note, and Thorndike, I, 62, 249, 418-19, 629, etc. This belief is not yet altogether dead. It was until recently (if not still today) believed by many people in the vicinity of Graz that the doctors of the local hospital annually executed a young patient, boiled his body to a paste and utilized this as well as the fat and charred bones in concocting their drugs (Summers, 161).

14. Aronius, §749; JE, III, 261; Strack, 174-5; Anton Bonfis, Rerum Hungaricum decades, Decad V, Book 4, ed. C. A. Bel, Leipzig 1771, 728, cited in Strack, 202; J. W. Wolf, Beiträge zur deutschen Mythologie, Leipzig 1852, p. 249, cited in Güd. III, 119, n. 1; Prynne, I, 30; Wiener, Regesten, pp. 236 f.; Graetz, History (Eng.) V, 177, quoting John Peter Spaeth of Augsburg; Summers, 195. Scherer, p. 435, quotes from an anonymous fifteenth-century lampoon:

Es wer vil mer zu schreiben not,
Wie wir den christen tuen den tod
Mit mancher wunderlicher pein
An iren clein kinderlein.
Wir fressen dann ir fleisch und pluet
Und glauben, es kumb uns wol zu guet.

15. See Lea, III, 432 ff.; M. Summers, History of Witchcraft (see also the chapter on Germany in his work The Geography of Witchcraft, London 1927); M. A. Murray, The Witch-Cult of Western Europe; J. Français, L’Église et la Sorcellerie; Grimm, II, 890; cf. also Güd. I, 220 ff.

16. On Christian ritual and the host in the witch-cults see: Summers, 89, 145 ff.; Murray, 148; Lea, III, 500; on cannibalism and the use of blood: Summers, 144-5, 160, 161; Murray, 100, 129, 156, 158; Lea, III, 407, 468 ff., 502; on poison, Murray, 124, 125, 158, 279-80; and see also Thorndike under these items in his index. It is even recorded that "in the strife, waged at Bern in 1507, between the Dominicans and the Franciscans, the assertion was made that the Dominicans had used the blood and eyebrows of a Jewish child for secret purposes" (JE, III, 264).

17. Luther, Werke (ed. Jrmischer), 62, 375, cited in Güd. I, 225-6; Yeven Meẓulah, 15.

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