Judaism on Trial

BookJudaism on Trial

Judaism on Trial

Jewish-Christian Disputations in the Middle Ages

The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization


October 1st, 1984

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Hyam Maccoby's now classic study focuses on the major Jewish—Christian disputations of medieval Europe: those of Paris (1240), Barcelona (1263), and Tortosa (1413–14). It examines the content of these theological confrontations with a sense of present-day relevance, while also discussing the use made of scriptural proof-texts. Part I provides a general thematic consideration of the three disputations and their social and historical background. Part II is a complete translation of the account of the Barcelona Disputation written by Nahmanides, one of the greatest figures in the history of Jewish learning, and was Jewish spokesman at the disputation. Part III contains Jewish and Christian accounts of the Paris and Tortosa disputations.

A new introduction reviews the relevant literature that has been published since the original edition appeared.

'A classic text of three famous disputations ... When the book first appeared in 1982 it received much praise, and it certainly deserves the new paperback edition which has now been brought out.'
European Judaism
'For those coming to this book for the first time, Judaism on Trial is a fascinating and gripping account; for students, it has enough material to bear re-reading and studying in depth. Its strength is not only that it is a most scholastic and erudite work, but that it makes compulsive reading. We await his further works with anticipation and excitement.'
Alan Orchover, Jewish Book News & Reviews
'Maccoby has rendered an important service in making their salient features available in English. ... certainly not only for scholars in that Maccoby has blended this learning with an exposition of the issues involved that is accessible to the layman. Both Jew and Christian will learn much from the records of these confrontations, which are important in Jewish history.'
Lionel Kochan, Jewish Chronicle
'A superb work of committed scholarship ... Judaism on Trial is a work full of interest to those already familiar with the material it contains, and compelling reading for those who are not. Maccoby has done a fine job in recapturing the intellectual and social drama of the confrontations. ... Altogether an impressive addition to the already outstanding Littman Library of Jewish Civilization.'
Jonathan Sacks, Jewish Journal of Sociology
'Prefaced by a most competent introduction ... should be obligatory reading for both the student of Jewish history and the intelligent layman not only because of its literary and expositional merits, which are considerable, but because it highlights an important stratagem of the medieval Church in its attempts to convert contemporary Jewry to the dominant faith.'
Sydney Leperer, Le'ela


Author Information

The late Hyam Maccoby was Emeritus Fellow of the Leo Baeck College, London, and Visiting Professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Leeds from 1998 until his death. He published many books and articles on rabbinic literature, Jewish—Christian relations, Christian origins, and the origins of antisemitism. Among his writings are Revolution in Judaea (1980), The Sacred Executioner (1982), The Mythmaker (1986, second edition 1998), Early Rabbinic Writings (1988), Judas Iscariot and the Myth of Jewish Evil (1992), awarded the Wingate Prize, A Pariah People: The Anthropology of Antisemitism (1996), and Ritual and Morality: The Ritual Purity System and its Place in Judaism (1999).

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Half Title2
Title Page4
Introduction to the Paperback Edition6
List of Abbreviations11
Part I: The Three Disputations: General Considerations18
1: The Paris Disputation, 124020
2: The Barcelona Disputation, 126340
3: The Vikuah: Textual Considerations77
4: Biographical Notes on the Chief Persons Present at Barcelona80
5: The Tortosa Disputation, 1413-1483
Part II: The Barcelona Disputation: Texts96
6: Introductory Note on the Vikuah98
7: The Vikuah of Nahmanides: Translation and Commentary103
8: The Christian Account of the Barcelona Disputation148
Part III: The Paris and Tortosa Disputations: Texts152
9: The Vikuah of R. Yehiel of Paris: A Paraphrase154
10: The Christian Account of the Paris Disputation164
11: A Hebrew Account of the Tortosa Disputation169
12: The Christian Account of the Tortosa Disputation188
General Index234
Index of Quotations241