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

4 February 2015 - 5 PM

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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.

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