Jews in Catholic ecclesiastic legislation in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Discusses the influence of the Catholic clergy on legislation concerning Jews in Poland in the 16th-18th centuries. The basic segregation of Jews had been declared at the first Polish ecclesiastic synod in 1267 and remained a feature of synod resolutions through the 18th century, but many restrictions against Jews were not enforced by local authorities. Pastoral epistles issued by bishops provided detailed instructions for carrying out synod resolutions, but these varied according to the personal views of the bishops and the circumstances in the various towns. Discusses epistles issued by bishops, some harsh, others lenient, as well as sermons delivered by them, which sometimes had great influence. Restrictions against Jews were difficult to implement, but the Church made great efforts in certain instances - e.g. the prohibitions against employment of Christians by Jews and Jewish trade on Sundays - but the power of the Church could not overrule economic interests, especially of the nobility. Even clerics violated synod restrictions, while Polish burghers who feared economic competition demanded that they be implemented.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-39
Number of pages14
JournalKwartalnik Historii Zydów
StatePublished - 2004

RAMBI Publications

  • Rambi Publications
  • Jews -- Poland
  • Judaism -- Relations -- Christianity
  • Christianity and other religions -- Judaism
  • Jews -- Lithuania
  • Christianity and antisemitism -- History -- 1500-1800


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