13th Century Intolerance Discussion Paper

Posted: May 7th, 2022

13th Century Intolerance Discussion Paper
350-500 word essay… During the 13 th century,…
**. Briefly explain intolerance in the thirteenth century. What groups were singled out for
attack? Why were they attacked? Do you think intolerance works the same way today?
Must use a quote from our textbook. I have posted an excerpt here for you to pull from. Please
work something in..
Persecution of the Jews : The Jews were the only religious minority in Christian
Europe that was allowed to practice a non-Christian religion. In the early Middle Ages,
Jews were actively involved in trade and crafts. Later, after being excluded from practicing
most trades by the guild system, some Jews turned to money-lending as a way to
survive. There is little certainty about the number of Jews in Europe. England had
relatively few Jews, probably 2,500 to 3,000, or one of every thousand inhabitants.
Larger numbers lived in southern Italy, Spain, France, and Germany. In southern Europe,
Jews served an important function as cultural and intellectual intermediaries between the
Muslim and Christian worlds. The religious enthusiasm of the High Middle Ages
produced an outburst of intolerance against the supposed enemies of
Christianity. Although this was evident in the Crusades against the Muslims., Christians
also took up the search for enemies at home, persecuting Jews in France and the
Rhineland at the time of the First Crusades. Jews in Speyer, Worms, Mainz, and Cologne
were all set upon by bands of Christian crusaders. A contemporary chronicler
described how a band of English crusaders who stopped at Lisbon, Portugal, en route
to the Holy Land “drove away the pagans and Jews, servants of the king, who dwelt in the
city and plundered their property and possessions, and burned their houses; and they
then stripped their vineyards, not leaving them so much as a grape or a clus-ter.”7 Even
people who tried to protect the Jews were in danger. When the archbishop of Mainz
provided shelter for the Jews, a mob stormed his palace and forced him to flee. Popes
also came to the Jews’ defense by issuing decrees ing that Jews were not to be
persecuted. Nevertheless, in the thirteenth century, in the super-charged religious
atmosphere created by the struggle with heretics, Jews were persecuted more and
more. Friars urged action against these “murderers of Christ,” referring to the
traditional Christian view of the Jews as being responsible for the death of Jesus, and
organized public burnings of Jewish books. The Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 decreed that
Jews must wear special clothing so that they could be distinguished from Christians. The
same council encouraged the development of Jewish ghettos, or walled enclosures,
not to protect the Jews but to isolate them from Christians. The persecutions and the new
image of the hated Jew stimulated a tradition of anti-Semitism that proved to be one of
Chris-tian Europe’s most insidious contributions to the Western heritage. By the end of
the thirteenth century, European kings, who had earlier portrayed themselves as
protectors of the Jews, had fleeced the Jewish communities of their money and
then renounced their protection. Edward I expelled all Jews from England in 1290.
The French king followed suit in 1306 but readmitted the Jews in 1315. They then left
of their own accord in 1322. As the policy of expulsion spread into central Europe, most
northern European Jews were forced to move into Poland as a last refuge.
Intolerance and Homosexuality: The climate of intolerance that characterized
thirteenth-century attitudes toward Muslims, heretics, and Jews was also evident
toward homosexuals. Although the church had condemned homosexuality in the early
Middle Ages, it had not been overly concerned with homosexual behavior, an
attitude also prevalent in the secular world. By the thirteenth century, however,
these tolerant attitudes had altered drastically. Some historians connect this change to
the century’s climate of fear and intolerance against any group that deviated from the
standards of the majority. A favorite approach of the critics was to identify homosexuals
with other detested groups. Homosexuality was portrayed as a regular practice of
Muslims and such notorious heretics as the Albigensians. Between 1250 and 1300, what
had been tolerated in most of Europe became a criminal act deserving of death. The
legislation against homosexuality commonly referred to it as a “sin against nature.”
This is precisely the argument developed by Thomas Aquinas , who formed Catholic
opinion on the subject for centuries to come. In his Summa Theologica, Aquinas
argued that because the purpose of sex was procreation, it could legitimately take place
only in ways that did not exclude this possibility. Hence, homosexuality was “contrary to
nature” and a deviation from the natural established by God. This argument and laws
prohibiting homosexual activity on pain of severe punishment remained the norm in
Europe and elsewhere in the Christian world until the twentieth century.
the works citation for this would be
Spielvogel, J. J. (2020). Western civilization. (p.296). Belmont; Wadsworth

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