The Byzantine period and Judaism

The Byzantine period counts numerous writings against the Jews. Two historical events in particular called the Greeks’ attention to them. In the Persian wars, followed immediately by the Arab conquest, the Jews appeared as an ethnic group, which gave serious reasons to suspect their loyalty to the empire: hence the forced conversions of Jews to Christianity, against which especially Gregory the Great reacted.

Then followed the polemic against iconoclasm, which found cordial support among the Jews. We should mention ps.-Gregentius, Dispute with Herbanus the Jew CPG III, 7009; Bardenhewer 5,25; Beck 386 and 407; ps.-Leontius of Byzantium, Book on the Heresies, Action II CPG III, 6823: attributed to Leontius Scholasticus; Beck 375-376; Altaner 547; Leontius of Neapolis, Five Discourses Against the Jews CPG III, 7885, fragments; Bardenhewer 5, 139; Beck 456; Anastasius the Sinaite, who wrote against the Jews, but the Dispute with the Jews is not his CPG III, 7772; Bardenhewer 5, 43; Beck 443; Jerome of Jerusalem, Dialogue on the Holy Trinity Between a Jew and a Christian CPG III, 7815: fragments; Bardenhewer 5,47; Beck 447-448; John of Damascus, Reply to the Jews CPG III, 8092;

Beck 479; Theodore Abu Qurra, Dispute with a Jew PG 97, 1529-1533 opusc. X; Bardenhewer 5,65; Beck 488; and Nicephorus II, patriarch of Constantinople, who wrote a book against the Jews, probably lost R. Janm, DTC 11,454; Beck 490. To this period also belong some anonymous and pseudonymous works: the 137th Question of ps.

Athanasius to Duke Antiochus CPG III, 7795: little more than a collection of testimonia, Dialogue of Athanasius and Zacchaeus CPG II, 2301, Dialogue of Timothy and Aquila CPG III, 7794: set in Alexandria at the time of patriarch Cyril, Doctrine of the Newly Baptized James CPG III, 7793: set in Carthage: the Jew James, forcibly baptized at the time of Heraclius, embraces Christianity interiorly after long and exhaustive talks with other truly converted Jews; Beck 447, The Trophies of Damascus CPG III, 7797; composed toward the end of the 7th c. in Arab-ruled Damascus; Beck 448, Dialogue of the Jews Papiscus and Philo with a Monk CPG III, 7796; this dialogue was used by ps.-Anastasius the Sinaite, cited above; Bardenhewer 5,47.

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