Pope Gregory I (“the Great”) was one of the most influential Church leaders of the medieval period. His policy on the treatment of Jews in Christian Europe, known by the Latin phrase “Sicut Judaeis,” instituted an official if ambivalent position that lasted from the sixth century to the beginnings of the modern era.
That was interesting but how does the doctrine of witness fit into the Spanish inquisition?
Brilliant question, Ms Abramson! Two quick responses. First of all, bear in mind that one must distinguish between official policy and actual practice. Gregory’s intent is very clear, but it is difficult to implement any policy over so many centuries and such a large territory. There are frequent departures from the Sicut Judaeis over the course of Jewish history, particularly when one considers the gap between the literate high church and the populist lower clergy. The thirteenth century was an especially difficult time. Second, the Spanish Inquisition was exceptional (like just about everything in Spanish Jewish history). Technically, it was not directed at Jews per se, rather “conversos” or “new Christians,” Jews who were professing Christianity but secretly practicing Judaism. Brilliant question!