[JUDAICA] Pharetra Fidei Catholicae sive idonea disputatio inter christianos et judeos.

[Cologne], [Heinrich Quentell], [c. 1495]


4to. 12 unnumbered ll, a-b , 32 lines per page. Gothic letter. Small repair to t-p margin, reinforced in gutter, a few ms underlinings, one marginal pointer. A fine copy, first 2 ll. probably washed, in crimson crushed morocco by Rivière, gilt title to spine.

Second edition of this rare tract ‘ A quiver for the Catholic Faith’ (first published in 1494 in Leipzig in several variants), setting out more than 60 articles of Jewish doctrine, followed by their corresponding Christian understanding, in an attempt to show the Jews the errors of their ways for their proselytization. Comparing the Christian-Jewish relationship to that between the hunter’s bow and the fox, the text begins with advice to Christians in dealing with their Jewish neighbours, first learn where Jewish doctrine is erroneous, second understand that violence against Jews is not permitted except as self-defence, and when to seek a peaceful solution must be sought with all haste, third remember when many Jews are gathered together, a Christian among them should be silent except to answer questions, and should not seek confrontation, nor listen to many voices at once lest he be the one confused by false doctrine. The differing attitudes of Jews and Christians to each others’ beliefs are touched upon, with Christians freely accepting the common ground.

The Pharetra also deals with many specific points of theological difference. I.a., it questions the Jewish interpretation of the Trinity as being polytheistic and therefore directly contradictory to the teachings of the Old Testament; the face-to-face meeting of the prophet Jacob and God; that angels are not incarnate, not are they sent for the redemption of the world; that Jesus is not God; that Mary was not holy as she was not baptised; and the nature of the Messiah.

This very interesting work is attributed to Theobaldus de Saxonia or to Theobaldus, a Dominican subprior in Paris. It evidences an honest medieval attempt at a modus Vivendi, neither papering over differences nor failing in enthusiasm for Jewish conversion.

ISTC ip00576000; BMC I:296. Hain 12912. Vouillième: Köln, 939. Goff P576. Polain(B) 3680.
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