The Life and Miracles of St William Of Norwich

Auteur: Thomas of Monmouth

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In his hagiography, "The Life and Miracles of St. William of Norwich," Thomas of Monmouth provides a detailed account of the alleged murder of William, a young apprentice tanner, by members of the Jewish community in Norwich, England, in 1144. According to Thomas of Monmouth's narrative, William was kidnapped by the Jews and held captive for several days before being tortured and crucified in a mockery of the passion of Jesus Christ. The hagiographer describes how the Jews allegedly gagged William to prevent him from crying out, tied him to a cross, and pierced his head with thorns. They then supposedly tortured him, mutilated his body, and eventually killed him. Thomas of Monmouth claims that after the murder, the Jews attempted to dispose of William's body by secretly burying it in the woods outside the city. However, the body was discovered by local authorities, and rumors began to circulate about the boy's death. The hagiographer presents William as a pious and innocent victim, emphasizing the supposed cruelty and malice of the Jewish perpetrators. He portrays the murder as a ritualistic act, suggesting that the Jews killed William out of hatred for Christianity and in mockery of Christ's passion. Here is a timeline of the key events related to William of Norwich: 1132: William is born in Norwich, England to Wenstan and Elviva. 1144: William, aged 12, is found dead in the woods outside Norwich during Easter week. His body reportedly shows signs of torture. 1144: Thomas of Monmouth, a Benedictine monk and scholar, begins spreading the story that William was ritually murdered by local Jews. This is one of the first recorded accusations of ritual murder against Jews in medieval Europe. 1150s-1170s: Thomas of Monmouth writes a hagiography (saint's biography) of William, called "The Life and Miracles of St William of Norwich", further spreading the ritual murder accusation. 1154: William's remains are moved to the monastery chapel. Late 12th-early 13th century: A shrine to William is constructed at Norwich Cathedral, attracting pilgrims. Ariel Toaff, an Israeli historian and professor emeritus at Bar-Ilan University, discusses the case of William of Norwich in his controversial book "Pasque di Sangue" (Passovers of Blood), published in 2007. In this book, Toaff suggests that there may have been some truth to the medieval blood libel accusations against Jews, including the case of William of Norwich. However, it is crucial to note that Toaff's conclusions have been widely criticized and rejected by the majority of scholars in the field. Many historians and Jewish organizations have condemned Toaff's work, arguing that it lends credence to anti-Semitic conspiracy theories without sufficient evidence. After facing significant backlash, Toaff partially retracted his statements and acknowledged that his conclusions were based on a misinterpretation of the sources. He clarified that he did not intend to validate the blood libel accusation or suggest that ritual murder was a widespread Jewish practice. In summary, while Toaff initially suggested that there may have been some truth to the accusation in the case of William of Norwich, he later retracted this claim, and his conclusions have been widely rejected by the scholarly community. Sources: Toaff, Ariel. Pasque di Sangue: Ebrei d'Europa e omicidi rituali. Il Mulino, 2007. Toaff, Ariel. "Pasque di Sangue: Ebrei d'Europa e omicidi rituali - Postscript." 2007. Erb, Rainer. "Drittes Bild: Der 'Ritualmord.'" Handbuch des Antisemitismus: Judenfeindschaft in Geschichte und Gegenwart, edited by Wolfgang Benz, De Gruyter Saur, 2009, pp. 287-292.

Pages: 414
Date: 2024.05.25
Taille: 35.9 MB
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