Nicholas Donin and the Disputation of 1240 (This Week in Jewish History)

1413-disputation (1)

In 1240 Nicholas Donin, a Jewish convert to Christianity, engaged in a public debate with his former teacher, Rabbi Yechiel of Paris. Donin charged that the Talmud was a noxious document that prevented the Jews from embracing Christianity, and brought a total of 35 distinct accusations against this ancient holy text. Ultimately, 24 carriage loads of Talmuds, representing 10,000 priceless manuscripts were burned in Paris on June 6, 1242.

Personal note to my subscribers: I was so impressed with the NCSY Learnathon that my son Alexander completed, that I decided to join on my own! Please visitĀ http://learn.ncsy.org/learner/hmabramson/ to supportĀ this great organization that does so much for Jewish youth (and encourage me to study more Talmud)!

Nicholas Donin: The Dimensions of Medieval Jewish Self-Hatred

12th c. Depiction of Hell by Herrad of Landsberg. Note demons throwing Jews (with conical hats) into boiling vats, lower left. Via Wikimedia Commons.
12th c. Depiction of Hell by Herrad of Landsberg. Note demons throwing Jews (with conical hats) into boiling vats, lower left. Via Wikimedia Commons.

Nicholas Donin was an erstwhile Talmudic scholar who converted to Christianity and made a career of denouncing the Talmud. His charges, brought before the Pope, resulted in a massive destruction of priceless Jewish manuscripts in Paris, 1242. Part of the Jewish Biography as History lecture series by Dr. Henry Abramson.