Host Desecration Legends in Czech Medieval Literature: Violence against Judaism, Polemic against Hussitism

4 February 2015 - 5 PM

Daniel Soukup (Palacký University, Olomouc and ÚČL, AV ČR)

The paper focuses on the group of medieval texts related to the cases of the Host desecration accusation in the Czech lands and surrounding regions. In the 15th century the narrative of Jews torturing Eucharist functioned on the one hand as a traditional tool of the legitimization of anti-Jewish persecutions, and on the other hand as a widely comprehensible theological abbreviation defining the Catholic doctrine against Hussitism and heresy in general. Although the Jewish elements of these profanation legends are largely topical and hagiographic, the essence of these stories is based on the real events of the anti-Jewish violence. The bleeding Host itself served as symbol of Catholic attitude to the theological definition of Eucharist, and controversy with the Hussite movement.


Modern Jewish History Seminar

The seminar is intended to provide a platform for academic discussion about the latest research on Jewish history especially of the last three centuries. Though primarily focused on the Jews of central and east central Europe, the seminar also includes topics related to the Jews of other regions. The seminar is further enriched by including topics not directly concerned with Jews, but enabling one to see Jewish history from other perspectives (for instance, the perspective of other marginalized communities).

Despite our preference for the methods of historical research, the organizers welcome multidisciplinary approaches to the topics, including those of sociology, political science, religious studies, and art history.

The seminar is held in the library of CEFRES, Na Florenci 3, Prague 1 always at 5:30 p.m. The language of the seminar is English. The seminar is organized by Kateřina Čapková and Michal Frankl. Since 2018/2019 the seminar is included into the MA program of the Prague Center for Jewish Studies at the Charles University. Due to Michal Frankl’s stay abroad this academic year, all the questions and suggestions should be sent to Kateřina Čapková (