In 2018, the shooter at a synagogue near San Diego, referred to Simon of Trent, a child whose death in 1475 led to one of the most notorious anti-Jewish trials, to justify his desire to kill. In 2020, Italian Archbishop Ambrogio Spreafico had to issue a statement condemning a vitriolic antisemitic painting depicting the killing of Simon of Trent. While charges that Jews poisoned wells and desecrated the communion host waned over the years, the blood libel survived. Following the paper trail across Europe, from England to Italy to Poland, from the twelfth to the twentieth century, Magda Teter shows how the blood libel became rooted in European imagination and why this myth persists today.
Magda Teter is Professor of History and Shvidler Chair in Judaic Studies at Fordham University. The author of Blood LIbel: On the Trail of an Antisemitic Myth (Harvard), Sinners on Trial: Jews and Sacrilege after the Reformation (Harvard), and Jews and Heretics in Catholic Poland (Cambridge), she has received fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim and Harry Frank Guggenheim foundations, Harvard, and was Mellon Foundation Fellow at the Cullman Center, New York Public Library. In 2020-2021, she is the NEH Senior Scholar at the Center for Jewish History.
Cosponsored by: Department of History, Center for Austrian Studies, Medieval Studies, Jewish Community Relations Council: Minnesota & the Dakotas