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Title: St. Peter Damian: His attitude toward the Jews and the Old Testament
Authors: Berger, David
Keywords: St. Peter Damian (1007-1072)
adoration of the Virgin Mary
Issue Date: 1965
Publisher: New York: Yavneh 1961-
Citation: Berger, B. (1965). St. Peter Damian: His attitude toward the Jews and the Old Testament. Yavneh Review, 4 , 80-112.
Series/Report no.: Yavneh Review;4
Abstract: A cursory examination of the career of St. Peter Damian (1007-1072) would probably yield the impression that his was a significant role in the development of anti-Semitism in the high middle ages. Damian was a powerful force in heightening medieval piety through his advocacy of semi-eremitic monasticism, his stressing the adoration of the Virgin, and his contribution to the tremendous upheaval in early medieval values that culminated in the Gregorian reform. There can be little doubt that a deeper and more widespread piety was a key factor in the tremendous upsurge of Judaeophobia that came with the crusades. Furthermore, Damian wrote the first full-scale anti-Jewish work produced on the continent of Europe in two centuries, and the preserved history of Italian polemics of this nature begins with him. The impression is clear. We must now determine whether or not it is accurate.... ¶ Before doing so, however, we must take cognizance of a most important fact. The attitude of a medieval Christian toward the Jews could be closely related to, and often reflected in, his attitude toward the Old Testament and its law. In Damian's case, there is special reason for interest, because his anti-Jewish works deal almost exclusively with the Old Testament and because he is associated with the replacement of "die judging, wrathful, distant God of the Old Testament . . . by the loving, self-abnegating Son of the New Testament, with his weeping and charitable Mother."1 How real was this dichotomy in Damian's own eyes, and what were his feelings toward that part of the Bible which he shared with the Jews? These are questions that we shall try to answer in the second pan of this paper. (from Introduction)
Description: Scholarly article
Appears in Collections:Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies (BRGS): Faculty Publications

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