Friday, November 1, 2013

How the Roman Edict for Toleration Meant to Attack Judaism

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                       

                                                            Emperor  Constantine I
Life in Italy in the early 300's had not yet become a Christian state.   Emperor Galerius was the son of a Greek shepherd.  He went on to become a Roman soldier who rose in power and finally ruled the land with Emperor  Diocletian.  They persecuted Christians in 303.  Galerius said they were dangerous enemies of the empire.   "The Emperor Galerius himself issued another edict in 304 requiring everyone in the empire to sacrifice to the gods of the empire on pain of death or forced labor. Persecutors imprisoned churchmen, destroyed precious Bible manuscripts, and executed hundreds of Christians."

He became ill and issued the decree as a change of heart.  He decided he couldn't stop the Christian belief so he took over and expected those that had become hidden Christians to be out in the open about it and be Christians.  ""Amongst our other measures for the advantage of the Empire, we have hitherto endeavored to bring all things into conformity with the ancient laws and public order of the Romans. We have been especially anxious that even the Christians, who have abandoned the religion of their ancestors, should return to reason."
Noting that some Christians had betrayed their faith out of fear while others endured torture, Galerius decided illogically that "we, with our wonted clemency, have judged it wise to extend a pardon even to these men and permit them once more to become Christians and reestablish their places of meeting..."
What he was after was Christian prayers to be for the Roman state.  "Prayer seems to be the point of the edict. . Did he hope for a miracle? If so, he was disappointed. He died a week after issuing the edict.
Up until 311, Christianity was a very Jewish religious group.  It was like a branch of Judaism in a sense being the people involved mostly were Jews, and the events involved were on Jewish soil.  By being assimilated into the Roman Empire, it all changed.  Everything Jewish was erased.  The First Council in Nicaea in 325 fixed all that.  Now there was Judaism, almost destroyed with Jerusalem burned in 70 CE, Christianity and paganism with the planned attacks  still on Judasim.  
The edict of Toleration actually established the supremacy of Christianity.  This was issued by Constantine I, called The Great.  He was the first Christian emperor of Rome.  This edict of his was issued at Milan, Italy in 312 CE.  

By 315 his decrees became very ant-Semitic.  What they did was to cancel  Jewish exemptions from municipal office and prohibited  proselytization or interference with Jewish converts to Christianity.

Constantine's legislation initiated the legal degradation of Jews that was so characteristic of the Middle Ages.

The First Crusade was led in 1096 in northern France to win Palestine back from the Moslems who sprung up in 600 CE.  The Crusaders killed Jews  as they rode through Europe on the way to the Holy Land and then killed both Jews and Muslims there as well.  They looked the same to the crusaders.  The battle was on, slaughtering in France and the Rhineland. Jerusalem was captured in 1099.   The 2nd Crusade occurred in the same places in 1147-9.  The 3rd Crusade happened in 1189-92 when English nobles took part prominently which led to attacks on Jews in many places there, especially in York in 1190.

A later Shepherds' Crusade in 1320 saw Jews attacked in southern France and northern Spain.  This was the start of an age of unmitigated suffering for medieval Jewry.  It started the displacement of Italian Jews from a comfortable position in society to their  fall and brought on their economic ruin.  Contrary to this fall, it did stimulate a demand for credit and gave the Jewish people financial operations in some countries of Europe that improved their lot.

"In much of Europe during the Middle Ages, Jews were denied citizenship and its rights, barred from holding posts in government and the military, and excluded from membership in guilds and the professions."  

"The idea that the Jews were evil persisted in the Protestant Reformation. Luther's reliance on the Bible as the sole source of Christian authority only fed his fury toward Jews for their rejection of Jesus. “We are at fault for not slaying them,” he wrote. “Rather we allow them to live freely in our midst despite their murder, cursing, blaspheming, lying and defaming.” Such views were emphasized by the Nazis. They were renounced by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in 1994. 

 Yet, I have to defend one Lutheran Minister from Eastern Oregon  who gave me literature to read about how Jews had been terribly treated in so much of our history.  He also gave me hundreds of pictures to use in a speech he asked me to give about Israel. I was given 3 months to prepare my presentation.   He has been the only minister so far to my knowledge who as actually asked for this.  We in our group of defending Israel have begged other ministers to allow us into their churches to allow us to give a power point presentation about Israel and have rudely turned us down while allowing Muslim groups in all the time.  This is right here in Portland, Oregon.   Needless to say, I was so moved by my own findings, that I made arrangements after that and made aliyah to Israel.  I thank this wonderful man who must have also been so moved by our history who encouraged me, knowingly or not.  He didn't even know that my maternal grandmother was Swedish and that my mother was a convert to Judaism.  I bless that man for helping to bring about the best part of my life. 

Here we are again defending ourselves in the BDS propaganda against Jewish Israel, with Israel taking the place of Jews in anti-Semitism.  Again, it is major Protestant groups who are the leaders of this attack in their preference of Muslim Palestinians  who want to take all of Israel with the start on Jerusalem. We've been replaced in their minds for better things;  themselves, and cast into the garbage cans as unnecessary rubbish.  

The New  Standard Jewish Encyclopedia

No comments:

Post a Comment