By John Y.B. Hood
Hood's examine contends that Aquinas's writings stay proof against or skeptical of anti-Jewish developments in thirteenth-century theology. Aquinas units out just to make clear and systematize bought theological and canonistic teachings at the Jews.
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Additional resources for Aquinas and the Jews
The Thirteenth-Century Context 29 Notably, his calls for tolerance were not explicitly based on theological considerations, but on humanitarian grounds. He urged Christians to treat Jews with kindness and compassion rather than with hatred and violence, arguing that such an attitude both was demanded by the Gospel and would be more effective in leading the Jews to accept Christianity. In sum, Gregory believed Jews should be protected but kept in their place. "16 For the next four centuries, Gregory's attitude had little influence on the Jewish policies either of his successors or of western European monarchs.
Much more commonly, Jews of modest means loaned small sums to peasants and townsmen, usually taking a pledge as security. European Jews had little choice but to turn to moneylending, and Jewish lenders and pawnbrokers performed a vital economic function. But the results of this trend were disastrous. Consumer loans were the source of most of the trouble. When peasants and townsmen needed cash to make a purchase or pay an overdue bill, they often borrowed money from Jews, providing some object of value as security for the loan.
He sent Donin to William of Auvergne, the bishop of Paris, with a letter instructing William to command the kings of France, England, Aragon, and Castile to confiscate all Jewish books on the first Sabbath of the following Lent (March 3, 1240) and hand them over to the Dominicans and Franciscans. The Dominican and Franciscan priors in Paris were authorized to destroy any books found to contain blasphemy or doctrinal error. Only Louis IX of France complied with this order, and before proceeding against the Jewish books he allowed Rabbi Yehiel ben Joseph the opportunity to defend them before a tribunal of clerics.
Aquinas and the Jews by John Y.B. Hood