The Latin Talmud and Inter-Faith Dialogue during the Middle Ages (LATTAL)

Organization profile

Organisation profile

While polemics and dialogue between Judaism and Christianity are as old as the Christian religion itself, one can clearly distinguish different periods, trends and intensities in the relations between the faiths. A significant landmark in this complex and long history is the translation of large sections of the Talmud, the most important Jewish post-biblical text. When during the 13th century Christian theologians started to examine and translate the Talmud from Hebrew and Aramaic into Latin, they were faced with a huge body of texts which represented centuries of legalistic and homiletic materials. The discovery of this immense post-biblical Jewish literature became a source of fascination for Christians who believed that this text, which encompasses every aspect of Jewish life, was fundamental both for refuting the Jewish faith and for substantiating the truth of Christianity. This realization heralded a rethinking of the place of Jews in Christian society and redefined Christian-Jewish dialogue and polemic. Researching into the reception of the Talmud in the Christian world, our group addresses vital questions of Jewish and Christian identity, still relevant to the 21st century. Among other things, it envisages the edition of the various Latin translations of the Talmud and studies the historical and doctrinal aspects of the Christian-Jewish disputations of the Middle Ages and their consequences for the perception of the Jews in Europe.