Ethnicity, Race and Racism: Catholic-Jewish Relations Lecture

23rd Jun 2011 - 2:30pm

Edge Hill University

‘Murdered in Odium Fidei: A Case Study of Jewish-Catholic Relations in Late 19th and Early 20th Century England’

Simon Mayers presents ‘Murdered in Odium Fidei’, a thematic case study of Jewish-Catholic relations in England in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, on Thursday 23rd June 2011 at Edge Hill University.

Jewish-Catholic relations have not received a great deal of attention within existing examinations of modern English history. The aim of Simon Mayers’ project is to partially fill this gap in the historiography for the late nineteenth and early twentieth century by examining the documents associated with religious and communal institutions, Jewish and Catholic newspapers, the published and unpublished works of Jewish and Catholic literary figures, and oral testimonies.

This paper uses Catholic and Jewish reactions to one particular narrative, the blood libel myth, as a thematic case study to present a partial overview of findings from all of these types of sources. Almost without exception the English Catholic discourse did criticise the blood libel accusation whilst arguing that a refutation of the libel is not incompatible with the admission that in some cases innocent Christian children were murdered by fanatical Jews in odium fidei (hatred of the faith). It was also suggested that sometimes the child victims were crucified by Jews in a staged mockery of the Passion of Jesus. The Anglo-Jewish response was usually gratitude for these refutations of the blood libel myth despite their equivocal aspects.

Simon Mayers is a third year PhD candidate at the Centre for Jewish Studies in the University of Manchester, where he also obtained an MA in Jewish Studies with distinction. His PhD project, funded by the AHRC, examines Jewish-Catholic relations in England during the late 19th century and early 20th century. He has a particular interest in the narratives of G.K. Chesterton and Israel Zangwill, and the discourse found in Jewish and Catholic newspapers, as well as a general interest in all themes related to Jewish-Christian relations.

The paper is presented in Room M39 in the Main Building at the Ormskirk Campus from 2:30pm. For further information on this event, please contact James Renton on 01695 584217 or email rentonj@edgehill.ac.uk.