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Blood Libels

When did the English church REALLY hate the Jews?

Blood Libels

This Saturday at 2:30pm (British Summer Time) I am a guest , along with Palestinian Christian Dr. Salim Munayer, on the Premier Radio Unbelievable? Programme, discussing the Israel/Palestinian conflict. You can hear it or download the podcast at www.premierchristianradio.com/unbelievable

During the "Dark Ages" - the period between the 5th and the 12th Century - the light of God's revelations through His word, the Bible, was well and truly dimmed, except in isolated monastic communities. It was a time when "Christianity" ruled and the reason for its darkness was that Christianity is not a religion of rule and conquest, so what actually ruled was a corruption of Jesus' teachings.

Do you not think that if this really was a society ruled by the teachings of Jesus that it would have been the "Light Ages", a period of peace, learning and tolerance? It was the complete opposite! All kinds of strange teachings - littered with superstitions and paganism - filtered to the people from the established Church and much of it concerned the Jews, the hated "Christ killers". Here are some of the worst examples.

The Jews were accused of causing the Black Death, the plague that swept through Europe, killing over half the population in the mid 14th Century. Apparently they did so by poisoning wells. The 'justification' for this is that fewer Jews died from this plague than "Christians", though the real reason was that the Jews were simply following the sensible health and sanitation guidelines in the Bible and other Jewish writings, which the "Christians" couldn't possibly do as the few of them who could actually read would have been totally unfamiliar with the Bible. These accusations resulted in about 350 separate massacres of Jews during the plague years, with well over 20,000 murdered.

It gets worse with an accusation born of sheer hatred and sustained by blind ignorance. It was the blood-libels. Jews were again and again accused of murdering Christian children and using their blood to make Passover Matzah bread. These accusations were usually at Easter-time and were usually accompanied by massacres of Jewish populations. The first such accusation was in 1144 in Norwich, England. There, Jews were charged with kidnapping a Christian child, tying him to a cross, killing him and then draining his body of blood. The baby was canonized as St William of Norwich - no doubt his short life had been extremely virtuous.

"Christian" Europe followed this lead. In 1171, thirty eight Jews in France were burned to death for the (false) charge of throwing a Christian child into a river. In 1255, eighteen Jews were tortured and hanged in England for allegedly murdering an eight year old boy and using his blood for religious rites. In 1285, one hundred and eighty Jews were burned in Munich, purely on a rumour that they bled a child to death in the synagogue. In 1475, at Trent, Italy, almost all the Jews of the city were tortured and burned after a rumour started to spread that they had murdered a boy named Simon.

The irony of this whole accusation is that Jews to this day are prohibited by Jewish law to consume any blood whatsoever yet the Church had, by the 14th Century, adopted the doctrine of transubstantiation, which states that, when the priest says mass (Holy communion), the wafer and wine mystically change into the body and blood of Jesus. In effect, Christians were themselves drinking the blood and eating the flesh of Jesus himself, according to their beliefs!

Having concocted this doctrine they then exercised their imaginations to find new ways of persecuting Jews and came up with an extreme nastiness. It was called host-nailing or the desecration of the host. A rumour spread that once the Jews found out that the wafer (host) became the actual "body of Christ" they began stealing the wafers and drove nails into them, so as to crucify Jesus again and again. They were also accused of trampling on it and even urinating on it! Medieval documents tell stories describing how a Jew (usually called Abraham) would steal a wafer from a church, stick a knife in it, and blood would start pouring out. He would then cut it up into pieces and send it to different Jews who would continue to torture it.

To you and I it seems like a sick joke, but to the Jews of the day it just meant further slaughter. It started in 1243, when Jews were burned at the stake in Belitz Germany, for host-nailing. Then, in Nuremberg, in 1298, 628 Jews were killed for the same offence. In 1370, in Brussels, hundreds of Jews were tortured and mutilated for this alleged offence.

Steve Maltz

(This is an abridged extract from Steve's book Outcast Nation )

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