Magda Teter will explore Jewish & Papal Responses to Blood Libels in Early Modern Poland & Italy. Accusations that Jews killed Christian children appeared in Europe in the twelfth century. In 1247, Pope Innocent IV condemned such accusations, and until 1540 this condemnation stood, despite local challenges. Yet, when in 1759, Polish Jews reached Rome to seek papal condemnation of such accusations, in the wake of a new wave of trials against them, they failed to obtain it. The talk will take the familiar story of blood libel against Jews to tell a broader story of religion, politics, and culture in Europe. It will explore Jewish and Christian responses to blood libels in the early modern era focusing on cultural, social, and political connections between Italy—center of papal power, and Poland—the periphery of papal influence but a home to the largest Jewish community in the world.
Magda Teter is Professor of History and the Director of the Jewish and Israel Studies Program at Wesleyan University. She specializes in early modern religious and cultural history, with an emphasis on Jewish-Christian relations in Eastern Europe, the politics of religion, and transmission of culture among Jews and Christians across Europe in the early modern period.