Jewish Influence on Christian Reform Movements

Jewish Influence on Christian Reform Movements

Jewish Influence on Christian Reform Movements

Jewish Influence on Christian Reform Movements

Excerpt

This work is a study of a few typical "Reform Movements" or heresies in the history of Catholicism during the Middle Ages and of Protestantism during the Reformation era. It has been undertaken with a view to describing and analyzing the contributions by Jews and Judaism to the rise and development of these movements. I have selected for detailed investigation the Iconoclastic Controversy of the ninth century, the Catharist, Waldensian, Passagian and Judaizing heresies of the eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth centuries, because they typify "Reform" tendencies within Catholicism. To illustrate similar tendencies in Protestantism, I have chosen the Hussite movement during the fifteenth century, the Pre-Reformation period; the Lutheran movement in Germany and the Swiss revolt led by Zwingli, both during the Reformation period; the Unitarian movement promoted by Michael Servetus during the sixteenth century, and the Puritan movement in England and America, both during the Post-Reformation era. Any century of Christian history would have yielded an equally rich harvest of information; those, however, which I have designated, are among the most significant, and the movements which arose during them have been little investigated from the standpoint of their Jewish aspects. In the first division of my study I have traced the sources, content and scope of Jewish influence, laying particular emphasis upon the instruction given to Christian Hebraists by Jewish teachers, and thereby furnishing an introduction to the individual Reform movements which are then described. I feel certain that the general principles which can be deduced from a detailed consideration of these groups will prove valuable in an investigation of other movements in the history of Christian-Jewish relationships.

Obviously it has been impossible to include within these pages the entire story of Jewish influence on Christian religious development. The late Joseph Jacobs in Jewish Contributions to Civilization, published at Philadelphia in 1919, five years after my own study had been begun, has given a survey of Jewish . . .

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