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Last update - 13:57 24/02/2008
Historian recants theory that Jews killed Christian child in ritual murder
By Adi Schwartz
Tags: christianity, Judaism, Israel 

A Jewish historian over the weekend published an edited version of his book on the killing of a Christian child in the Italian city of Trento in 1475, denying that the Jews implicated in the murder were in any way involved.

In the new edition, Bar-Ilan University Professor Ariel Toaff writes: "Jews were not involved in ritual murder, which was an entirely Christian stereotype."

"There was no relationship whatsoever between the so-called 'ritual of blood' and ritual infanticide," Toaff stated.
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Toaff caused controversy when he wrote in his 2007 book that he did not rule out the possibility that the murder was carried out by Jews who intended to use the youth's blood in a Passover ritual.

The remark sparked a huge backlash from Israeli and foreign historians who said his claims were unsubstantiated and demanded its immediate removal.

In response, Toaff agreed to pull the book from stores and write a new introduction that clarified his opinion that the Jews of Trento were not involved in the murder.

In his new introduction, the scholar wrote that some on the fringe of Jewish Ashkenazi society often used dried blood in religious ceremonies.

"In the rural reality of medieval Germany, Jewish households, like Christian ones, often had a vial of blood, recommended for use in diverse eventualities," Toaff wrote.

According to Toaff, blood was often donated by living people, sometimes children, who were paid for their services. It was then dried and used in ointments and powders.

In the wake of the uproar surrounding the book's publication, Toaff left Israel and is currently residing in Italy. His father, a revered and well-known Italian rabbi, presided over Rome's Jewish community after World War I.

Before he published his second edition, Toaff rejected a request to change the book's provocative title "Pasque di Sangue" (Passover of Blood), but agreed to change the illustration on the cover.

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  1.   this happens when you get so specialized and see no future this happens when you get so specialized and see no future 05:37  |  ralph 24/02/08
  2.   Bar-Ilan University Professor Ariel Toaff Bar-Ilan University Professor Ariel Toaff 09:11  |  Avrum 24/02/08
  3.   While I sympathize with Prof. Toaff in some ways... While I sympathize with Prof. Toaff in some ways... 09:29  |  DJStahl 24/02/08
  4.   Why did he have to go back to Italy? Why did he have to go back to Italy? 11:47  |  A Jew 24/02/08
  5.   Best Possible Outcome Best Possible Outcome 12:11  |  Ovadiah ben Avraham 24/02/08
  6.   #3: The source of the "meme" is more basic #3: The source of the "meme" is more basic 12:18  |  Ovadiah ben Avraham 24/02/08
  7.   why did Toaff need to retract his theory? why did Toaff need to retract his theory? 12:49  |  Ani 24/02/08
  8.   blood libel & Prof. Toaff: George Orwell:"certain ideas are so blood libel & Prof. Toaff: George Orwell:"certain ideas are so 14:04  |  Jak 24/02/08
  9.   #4 to a Jew #4 to a Jew 15:35  |  Theodor 24/02/08
  10.   Re #6 peaceable and other sorts Re #6 peaceable and other sorts 23:32  |  DJStahl 24/02/08
  11.   scholarlly change scholarlly change 00:36  |  yuval 25/02/08
  12.   Ovadiah RE: blood / host Ovadiah RE: blood / host 00:45  |  yuval 25/02/08
  13.   blood blood 02:09  |  a real Jew 25/02/08
  14.   Benjamin Franklin on Blood Libels: Benjamin Franklin on Blood Libels: 02:24  |  Yechiel 25/02/08
  15.   Yuval: Stay in Hell Yuval: Stay in Hell 02:25  |  Simeon 25/02/08
  16.   okay so now we know why christians of that time kept blood what okay so now we know why christians of that time kept blood what 02:36  |  ralph 25/02/08
  17.   then like now it was priests who sexually abused then killed kids then like now it was priests who sexually abused then killed kids 02:37  |  ralph 25/02/08
  18.   Re #12, 13: Yuval, ARJ -- ick Re #12, 13: Yuval, ARJ -- ick 04:08  |  DJStahl 25/02/08
  19.   source of info for book source of info for book 05:06  |  Yigal 25/02/08
  20.   Re #19 confessions under torture, etc. Re #19 confessions under torture, etc. 06:20  |  DJStahl 25/02/08
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