BN.com Gift Guide

A Tale of Ritual Murder in the Age of Louis XIV: The Trial of Raphael Levy, 1669

Overview

In the late seventeenth century, France prided itself for its rationality and scientific achievements. Yet it was then that Raphaël Lévy, a French Jew, was convicted, tortured, and executed for an act he did not commit, a fiction deriving from medieval anti-Jewish myth: the ritual murder of a Christian boy to obtain blood for satanic rituals. When Lévy was accused of the ritual murder, it was the first accusation of blood libel for a century. Lévy's trial, however, became a forum for anti-Jewish accusations, and ...

See more details below
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (14) from $16.25   
  • New (7) from $19.81   
  • Used (7) from $16.25   
Sending request ...

Overview

In the late seventeenth century, France prided itself for its rationality and scientific achievements. Yet it was then that Raphaël Lévy, a French Jew, was convicted, tortured, and executed for an act he did not commit, a fiction deriving from medieval anti-Jewish myth: the ritual murder of a Christian boy to obtain blood for satanic rituals. When Lévy was accused of the ritual murder, it was the first accusation of blood libel for a century. Lévy's trial, however, became a forum for anti-Jewish accusations, and although the Holy Roman Emperor and a representative of King Louis XIV both tried to intervene, they were ignored by the parliament of Metz.

Pierre Birnbaum explores the cultural, political, and personal elements that led to the accusation and shows that the importance of this story goes beyond local history: at a critical moment in the construction of the nation-state, France was unable to impose its conception of law and order on local officials. Birnbaum reveals the echoes of Lévy's trial in the Dreyfus Affair and suggests that, amid the contemporary retreat of the state and the accompanying explosion of prejudice and violence, it is time to remember the tragic fate of Raphaël Lévy.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Birnbaum's meticulous study presents the political conflict which set the monarchy and the Parliament of Metz against one another, against the background of a centralized power not yet strengthened in this area. At the same time, it illuminates the strong anti-Jewish hostility of the local Christian world."—Anna Foa, European History Quarterly

"Pierre Birnbaum's study of a ritual murder trial in seventeenth-century France succeeds in achieving what good microhistories do best: it exposes readers to the fate of a relatively unknown historical event/figure in order to force us to reevaluate our understanding of the past . . . Birnbaum constructs a forceful and dramatic narrative of these harrowing events. The strength of his analysis lies in linking this seventeenth-century trial to twentieth-century political culture . . . This engaging book deserves to be widely read by researchers, students, and the general public."—Sara Beam, Canadian Journal of History

"As a distinguished historian of Third Republic France, Birnbaum judiciously exposes how the Lévy trial was used during the Dreyfus Affair . . . For academic libraries for undergraduate studies."—Roger S. Kohn, Association of Jewish Libraries

"Pierre Birnbaum, distinguished historian of Third Republic France, has recaptured a tale of 17th-century ritual murder in Lorraine which was cited as precedent by both accusers and supporters of Alfred Dreyfus 230 years later. Birnbaum describes the fabricated murder charges against the Jewish livestock-trader Raphaël Lévy and the epidemic of false accusation against the Jews of Metz for attacking an image of Christ at Eastertime, and reveals the political and economic tensions winding through the affair. A fascinating and deeply moving account of human resistance and mass fear."—Natalie Zemon Davis, University of Toronto

"Pierre Birnbaum's riveting microhistory of a forgotten ritual murder case from the 1660s unearths the fraught relations between Jews and Christians in Metz over a century before the French Revolution. He also demonstrates convincingly that the case played a major role in the anti-Semitic propaganda surrounding the Dreyfus Affair. In his brilliant reconstruction, Birnbaum's study takes its place among other classic accounts of ritual murder and blood libel trials from the middle ages and modernity."—David Biale, UC Davis

Read More Show Less

Product Details

Meet the Author

Pierre Birnbaum is a leading French historian and sociologist and Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Paris I—Panthéon-Sorbonne. His works available in English include The Jews of the Republic (Stanford, 1996) and Geography of Hope (Stanford, 2008).

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction: A Strange Encounter at Montigny-lès-Metz, February 2001 1

1 "Metz Covers the State": The Royal Order, Witches, and Jews 15

2 Neighborhood and Prejudices 30

3 The Social and Mental Universe of the Jews 46

4 The Myth of Ritual Murder 60

5 The Trial of Raphaël Levy, New Herod 91

6 Good Friday at Mayer Schwabe's: A Desecration of the Sacred Host? 107

7 Popular Threats and Royal Alliance 123

8 The Dreyfus Affair: A New Lévy Affair? 136

Conclusion 153

Notes 157

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)