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Trial of the Talmud

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The Trial of the Talmud is one of a series of disputations that took place in Europe during the Middle Ages, a group of rabbis were called upon to defend the Talmud. Of the more notable Rabbis of this group was R' Yechiel of Paris, the main orator for the Jewish representatives, as well as Rabbi Moses of Coucy (the SMaG). The trials were conducted on the request of Nicholas Donin, a Jewish Apostate. Jeremy Cohen provides an analyzes Donin's arguments in his work, "The Condemnation of the Talmud." Cohen states that Donin's claims are ignited by the fact that the Jews were no longer upholding their Augustinian responsibility of upholding and protecting the Old Testament to serve as witnesses to the truth of Christianity. Donin claims this has become the case since the Jews only cling to the Talmud, something that has become an alius lex (other law) to them. Donin provides a secondary argument to this lack pf preservation by stating that the Rabbis are continually changing the Bible through their Talmudic interpretation, and once again proving to the Christian audience that the Jews no longer perform their designated role, and hence should have their protection removed. Other secondary claims that were held by Donin that emerged at the trial were: That the Talmud encourages negative treatment of Christians in both business and social settings, and that the Talmud is rampant with denigrating comments regarding Jesus and Mary. Roughly two years after the completion of the trial, in 1242, Talmuds were gathered from all over Paris and burned publicly, signifying a watershed event in Jewish Christian relations whereby increased intolerance was expected (Jacob Katz).

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