Changing attitudes toward apostates in tosafist literature, late twelfth-early thirteenth centuries
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More than a half century ago, Jacob Katz published a pioneering study on the theme of “Yisra’el she-hata’, ’af ‘al pi she-hata’, Yisra’el hu’ (a Jew, even though he has sinned, remains a Jew).” According to Katz, this talmudic principle, as it was interpreted and applied by Rashi, became the dominant policy with respect to the status of the apostate in medieval Ashkenazic society. "ose who succumbed under duress and were forcibly converted to Christianity during times of persecution, as well as those who had willfully abandoned Judaism, could return (or revert) to the Jewish community at any time. Moreover, a returning apostate could once again participate in prayer services (and in other aspects of religious and communal life) without any additional requirements or representations, other than a renewed commitment to be a loyal and law-abiding member of the Jewish religious community. Indeed, Katz asserts that Rashi’s underlying intent was to delineate that conversion to Christianity via the baptismal font did not diminish in any way the apostate’s ability to return, swiftly and completely, to full participation in Jewish life.1 (from Introduction)
Kanarfogel, E. (2013). Changing attitudes toward apostates in tosafist literature, late twelfth-early thirteenth centuries. In Elisheva Carlebach and Jacob J. Schacter (eds.), "New perspectives on Jewish-Christian relations : in honor of David Berger" (pp. 297-327). Leiden: Brill.
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