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Jews and Heretics in Catholic Poland
A Beleaguered Church in the Post-Reformation Era

$46.99 (C)

  • Date Published: April 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521109918

$ 46.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • Contrary to the common contention that the Catholic Church triumphed in Counter-Reformation Poland, this study reveals that from the rise of the Reformation and the rapid dissemination of its new ideas, the Catholic Church was overcome with a strong sense of insecurity. The beleaguered Church sought to separate Catholics from non-Catholics: Jews and heretics. This process helped form a Polish identity that led to racial anti-Semitism and to the exclusion of even most assimilated Jews from the category of Poles. The book portrays Jews not only as victims of Church persecution but as active influential participants in Polish society.

    • Clearly written with an undergraduate audience in mind
    • Challenges the popular understanding of the counter-reformation in Poland
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    Reviews & endorsements

    “Teter makes a major contribution in illuminating the complexities of Poland's 18th century. Essential.” --Choice

    "This volume not only fills a gaping hole in the historical literature on Polish Catholicism and Polish-Jewish relations, but it does so with admirable professionalism. Jews and Heretics in Catholic Poland will remain the standard work on Catholic Judeophobia in early-modern Poland for years to come. . . . Should be read not only by specialists in early-modern religious history, but by anyone interested in the history of antisemitism, Jewish- Catholic relations, or Polish history more generally. --Journal of the American Academy of Religion

    "Teter is correct in distinguishing the power of the Polish Church from that in many other European countires, especially given the power of the Polish nobility, which by the eighteenth century was basically a republic of the Magnates. Some nobles attracted to Protestantism returned to the Church to keep their political power. The Polish triangle of pwer, a system of checks and balances, included the Church, the nobles, and the monarch. She also correctly stresses the ebb and flow of the privileges of Jews depending on the vicissitudes of the Polish state at the time. She makes the good point that the Church would co-operate with other powers in so far as the outcome would be good for the Church itself." - Helena J. Czosnyka, St. Louis School of Pharmacy

    "Teter has touched on a very important problem and posed a challenging thesis. She provides a myriad of examples to illustrate her conclusions...This book should find its way to libraries and seminars dealing with religious issues of Commonwealth, as well as of Europe."
    Jakub Basista, American Historical Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2009
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521109918
    • length: 312 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.46kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Preface and acknowledgements
    Map of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
    1. 'One Mystical Body … Only One Shepherd': church ideal of spiritual and social hierarchy
    2. The upset social order: Nobles and the Jews in Poland
    3. Heresy and the fleeting 'Triumph of the Counter-Reformation'
    4. 'Bad and cruel Catholics': Christian sins and social intimacies between Jews and Christians
    5. 'A shameful offence': The Nobles and Their Jews
    6. 'Countless Books against common Faith': Catholic insularity and anti-Jewish polemic
    7. 'Warding off heretical depravity': 'Whom does the Catholic church reject, condemn and curse?'
    Conclusion: did the Counter Reformation triumph in Poland? Glossary

  • Author

    Magda Teter, Wesleyan University, Connecticut
    Magda Teter is Assistant Professor of History at Wesleyan University. She is the recipient of the Koret Foundation publication prize and has been published in English, Polish and Hebrew in such journals as Jewish History, AJS Review and Gal-Ed.

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