BLOOD LIBEL: The Damascus Affair of 1840

Ronald Florence, Author . Univ. of Wisconsin $35 (257p) ISBN 978-0-299-20280-4

On February 6, 1840, Father Thomas, a Capuchin monk, and his assistant disappeared in the vicinity of Damascus after paying a not unusual visit to the city's Jewish quarter. Within a day, the small, multidenominational Christian community banded together, claiming, "The Jews sacrificed the Father." This blood libel (the charge that Jews killed Christians to use their blood in religious rituals) shattered the relative peace in which the Jewish community had lived under Muslim rule. Two Jews confessed under torture and then died in prison, unleashing a massive assault in which 65 Jewish schoolboys (some as young as five) and 75 men were imprisoned. As the situation dramatically escalated—a noted rabbi converted to Islam and the French, British and American consuls became involved with the prosecution—the case became an international cause célèbre and eventually a goad to political change in the area. This is great material, and Florence, a novelist (Zeppelin ) and historian, handles it with dramatic flair and meticulous documentation. While this is not as complete a historical account as Jonathan Frankel's magisterial 1997 The Damascus Affair, it's an excellent work of popular history. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 09/13/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.