Pablo Christiani

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Pablo Christiani , also Frai Paul , Pau Cristià and Paulus Christianus , (* in Montpellier ; † around 1274 in France ) was Nachmanides' main opponent as an anti-Jewish polemist at the disputation in Barcelona (1263).


Pablo Christiani was born as a Jew Saul in Montpellier. He studied under Rabbi Eliezer of Tarascon and Jacob Ben Elijah of Venice . After his conversion to Christianity, he entered the Dominican order . In accordance with his order, he saw his task in the conversion of his former fellow believers. Even before the disputation in Barcelona he is said to have debated with Meir ben Simon von Narbonne . When he had little success with his attempts to convert Jews in Provence , he moved his activities to Aragon .

Christian and Jewish scholars in dispute (woodcut 1483)

In 1263 Christiani took part in the four-day disputation of Barcelona . The defense was the Aragonese Dominican Raymond of Penyafort been initiated and was attended by King James I held. The representative of the Jewish side was Nachmanides (Rabbi Moses ben Nachman), one of the leading rabbinical authorities in Spain. Similar to Nikolaus Donin at the Paris disputation of 1240, Christiani referred to the Talmud in his argumentation and thus expanded the new anti-Jewish missionary strategy. As was customary in the Christian-Jewish disputes of the Middle Ages, the Jews were only allowed to answer the allegations, but not ask any questions themselves. After the disputation, both sides claimed victory for themselves.

After the disputation, the king ordered that Christiani and other Dominicans were allowed to preach in the synagogues and that the Talmud should be cleansed of blasphemous passages (alleged insults against Jesus and Mary). Since the Dominicans did not take measures far enough, they turned to Pope Clement IV , who then demanded that the king take stronger action against Nachmanides. Christiani was subsequently appointed as a member of a commission that was supposed to censor the Jewish writings.

In later years Christiani continued his missionary work in France. In 1269 he asked the French King Louis IX. took a sharper stance against the Jews and called on him to oblige them to wear the Jewish emblem . In France, Christiani took part in other religious talks against the Jews. Towards the end of his life he disputed with Rabbi Mordechai ben Joseph of Avignon .


  • Joseph Shatzmiller : Paulus Christiani: Un aspect de son activité anti-juive . In: Gerard Nahon, Charles Touati (eds.): Hommage à Georges Vajda: Etudes d'histoire et de pensée juives . Louvain 1980, pp. 203-17.
  • Jeremy Cohen: The friars and the Jews: the evolution of medieval anti-Judaism . Ithaca 1982. ISBN 0801414067
  • Jeremy Cohen: The Mentality of the Medieval Jewish Apostate: Peter Alfonsi, Hermann of Cologne, and Pablo Christiani . In: Todd Endelman, Jeffrey Gurock (eds.): Jewish Apostasy in the Modern World . New York 1987, pp. 20-47.
  • Robert Chazan : Daggers of Faith. Thirteenth-century Christian missionizing and Jewish response . Berkeley 1989. online
  • Robert Chazan: Barcelona and beyond. The disputation of 1263 and its aftermath , Berkeley 1992. online
  • CHRISTIANI, PABLO. In: Encyclopaedia Judaica . 2nd Edition. Volume 4, Detroit / New York a. a. 2007, ISBN 978-0-02-865932-9 , p. 637.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Cohen: The friars and the Jews (1982) 108th
  2. Cf. Ora Limor:  The Religious Discussion of Barcelona . In: Theologische Realenzyklopädie (TRE). Volume 28, de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 1997, ISBN 3-11-015580-X , pp. 651-652.
  3. Encyclopaedia Judaica, 2nd ed.