Aquinas and the Jews by John Y.B. Hood

By John Y.B. Hood

Hood's learn contends that Aquinas's writings stay proof against 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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Also, the property and person of Jews who violated secular laws were not protected. Though entirely justified in their original context—Calixtus could hardly be expected to protect criminals or Jews who actively sought to undermine the Church—these loopholes made it possible for those with a special animus against Jews to attack them without violating the letter of Sicut. The charge that Jews sought to undcr- The Thirteenth-Century Context 31 mine Christianity enabled the Inquisition to extend its authority over Jews suspected of aiding heretics or urging Jewish converts to return to their ancestral faith, while secular laws prohibiting usury were used to justify expelling the Jews from France in 1182 and 1304 and from England in 1290.

3 Jews and Christians alike spoke the vernacular tongue, and they interacted daily in a variety of social and economic settings. But there were portents of change. The slaughter of thousands of Rhineland Jews in 1096 by Christian mobs caught up in the frenzied enthusiasm of the First Crusade gave dramatic testimony that suspicion and hatred often lay just below the surface. However valuable the Jews' economic role, and however cordial day-to-day contacts might be, the potential for conflict was always there.

They are his descendants secundum carnem—"according to the flesh"—and their increase and their conquest of Canaan fulfilled the divine promises of countless descendants and a chosen land. But for Thomas, the Abrahamic covenant was at once too narrow and too general to constitute the Jews as a fopulus. On the one hand, God promised Abraham a son whose descendants would dwell in the land to which God had led him.

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