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By John Y.B. Hood

Hood's learn contends that Aquinas's writings stay immune to or skeptical of anti-Jewish traits in thirteenth-century theology. Aquinas units out just to make clear and systematize got theological and canonistic teachings at the Jews.

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Sample text

To Chrysostom, however, the Jews were flesh and blood enemies; he 18 Chapter i saw them as demonic wolves bent on devouring his flock. The synagogue was the "synagogue of Satan," and judaizers had made a pact with the Devil. For him the implication was clear: to love Christ is to hate Jews. The medieval tendency to demonize Jews—to portray them in art and prose as akin to Satan—had many sources, but for thirteenth-century theologians, John Chrysostom was one of the most important. 18 In Augustine, Aquinas had the writings of a Church Father who was relatively tolerant toward Jews and who believed they had an important, ongoing role to play in the drama of sacred history.

Ironically, the Church first violated Jewish religious autonomy when a group of Jews in Provence asked the local Dominicans to take action in the "Maimonides controversy," a dispute between Proven9al rabbis and others who believed Maimonides' philosophical speculations had led him into heresy, and his defenders, mostly Spanish intellectuals, who claimed his writings were compatible with orthodox Judaism. Subsequent generations had many occasions to lament that act. 29 For the time being, the episode remained an isolated one.

Third, the bull granted specific privileges, privileges that the Jews had long enjoyed but now found threatened: protection from physical harm, theft, and forced conversion; freedom of worship; limited taxation; and preservation of Jewish cemeteries. Finally, Sicut contained loopholes. It guaranteed basic privileges only to those Jews "who do not plot to subvert the Christian faith" ("qui nihil machinari presumpserit in subversionem fidei christiane"). Also, the property and person of Jews who violated secular laws were not protected.

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