Baptême et hérédité : peut-on parler d’une "macule" juive dans l’histoire de l’Occident (Moyen Âge-Temps modernes) ?

Abstract : In the medieval and Early Modern Christian West, conceptions of a stain were used to characterize the putative belonging of an individual to the Jewish people or the Jewish religion. Polemical texts from this period counted as Jews people who did not consider themselves Jews and who were not considered Jews under Jewish law. This was the case during the campaign against antipope Anacletus in 1130: some opponents made use of his Jewish origins to disqualify him in favour of Pope Innocent II. Other texts circulating at the time denied admission into prestigious institutions to specific individuals because of their Jewish origin, irrespective of their actual faith and practice, as exemplified in the infamous requirement of “purity of blood” (limpieza de sangre) in 15th-century and Early Modern Spain. Thus a strong notion of heredity played a role in the transmission of a status that was both social and religious. Never forgotten, conceived as indissoluble and necessarily transmitted, but occasionally ignored, rediscovered, and remobilized, this “stain” reveals a distinctive conception of heredity as a bridge (and in tension) between what a person is visibly and what prevails in him, despite himself and even against himself.
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Contributor : Pierre Savy <>
Submitted on : Sunday, July 5, 2015 - 1:29:55 PM
Last modification on : Friday, April 1, 2016 - 3:29:53 PM

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Pierre Savy. Baptême et hérédité : peut-on parler d’une "macule" juive dans l’histoire de l’Occident (Moyen Âge-Temps modernes) ?. Revue des etudes juives, Peeters Publishers, 2015, pp.1-35. ⟨hal-01171558⟩

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