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

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

by Pierre Birnbaum, Arthur Goldhammer
 

ISBN-10: 0804774048

ISBN-13: 9780804774048

Pub. Date: 10/03/2012

Publisher: Stanford University Press

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

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780804774048
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
Publication date:
10/03/2012
Series:
Stanford Studies in Jewish History and C Series
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.40(d)

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

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