Disputation of Paris

Disputation of Paris
Rashi's Talmud Commentary.jpg
An early printing of the Talmud (Ta'anit 9b); with commentary by Rashi.
English nameTrial of the Talmud
Date12 June 1240 (1240-06-12)
LocationCourt of the reigning king of France, Louis IX
TypeDisputation
ThemeFour rabbis defended the Talmud against Donin's accusations
OutcomeTwenty-four carriage loads of Jewish religious manuscripts were set on fire in the streets of Paris

The Disputation of Paris (Hebrew: משפט פריזMishpat Pariz, French: Disputation de Paris), also known as the Trial of the Talmud (French: Procès du Talmud),, took place in 1240 at the court of the King Louis IX of France. It followed the work of Nicholas Donin, a Jewish convert to Christianity who translated the Talmud and pressed 35 charges against it to Pope Gregory IX by quoting a series of allegedly blasphemous passages about Jesus, Mary, or Christianity.[1] Four rabbis defended the Talmud against Donin's accusations.

Background

As part of its evangelistic efforts, the Catholic Church sought to win the beliefs of the Jews through debate. Western Christianity in the 13th century was developing its intellectual acumen and had assimilated the challenges of Aristotle through the works of Thomas Aquinas. In order to flex its intellectual muscle, the Church sought to engage the Jews in debate, hoping that they would see what it considered the intellectual superiority of Christianity.[2]

Paul Johnson cites a significant difference between the Jewish and Christian sides of the debate. Christianity had developed a detailed theological system; the teachings were clear and therefore vulnerable to attack. Judaism had a relative absence of dogmatic theology; it did have many negative dogmas to combat idolatry but did not have a developed positive theology. "The Jews had a way of concentrating on life and pushing death—and its dogmas—into the background."[3]

Other Languages
עברית: משפט פריז
slovenščina: Pariški disput
українська: Паризький диспут