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mjhurst  mjhurst is offline
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Join Date: 24 Jul 2003
Location: California, U.S.A.
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Images from The Jews in Christian Art, (1996)


In another thread, I mentioned Heinz Schreckenberg's The Jews in Christian Art (1996). Here are some illustrations from that.

"German eighteenth-century engraving. On earth the misdeeds of the Jews are punished by hanging (upside-down with a dog); in hell, which is depicted as a mine, they have to endure a similar humiliating punishment: they have to ride on a pig, which they abhor, but may still read while doing so. This is presumably directed satirically against the study of the Talmud as a chief passion of the Jews, which does not prevent them from going to hell." (Page 250.)


This artist may not have been personally familiar with the practice, as the dog in the image is hanged by the neck, defeating its purpose of tormenting the victim. Alternatively, hanging the dog in a more humane and less degrading fashion than the Jew might have been a symbolic statement.


Thomas Murner's anti-Jewish poem, Entehrung Maria, (1515) was printed with 12 illustrations. The final two show an offending Jew dragged on a board, then hung head down over a fire, with dogs to torment him further. Being dragged by a horse to the place of execution corresponds to the description Timothy Betts quoted from a 1393 Lombardy edict. The model for these woodcuts was provided by a cycle of pictures commissioned in 1477 by the later Emperor Maximilian I in the Franciscan church in Colmar (destroyed in 1792.) The crime was desecrating an image of the Virgin, in Cambron, Belgium. (Page 362.)


"The Jew Ansteet is hanged upside down with two dogs on 10 July 1553 in Weissenstein, Swabia; woodcut in the Swiss Chronicle of Johann Stumpf, printed in Augsburg, 1586. While this form of execution was not exclusively reserved for Jews, in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries it was preferred for these offenders as a particularly humiliating and painful form of execution, since the dogs, whom anxiety made particularly aggressive in this situation, tended to bite the Jew, who was fettered and defenceless, and inflict severe wounds on him." (Page 360.) Ansteetís offense was refusing conversion. He was finally persuaded, baptized while still hanging, and "pardoned" by simple hanging with a noose. (Who says Christians donít show compassion for their fellow man?) Note the close similarity between this image and the one from Murner.


"Execution of Jews. Contemporary single-leaf print with engraving, Vienna 1642." (Page 365.)

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