chapter
of Venice
of honorable human of marriage itself signifies the paradoxical of opposites (man and woman), and its engrafting mystery (two shall
Pages 35

In the Elizabethan era of widespread religious intolerance, Christian love of Jews and Judaism proves a complex affair. Since Christianity is supposed to be a religion of love-love of God and His human creations, or as Paul puts it, a religion in which faith ideally operates through love (Gal. 5.6)-Elizabethans should love the Jewish believer as a person created by God and capable of salvation. The question of belief as opposed to the believer, however, produces a divided position. Elizabethan Christians appreciate the true belief of ancient Judaism (the Hebrew Bible) which made possible the advent of their Messiah (hence the Old Testament is bound with the New in their Bible), but they reject as false the belief of contemporary Judaism which denies Christ and the New Testament. Solomon Rappaport observes that "the system and ideas leading to philo-Semitism, a notable tendency existing throughout the history of Gentile-Jewish relations, has attracted scant attention"; however, "one of the strongest motives in philo-

Although David Katz tends to mention only "the stock references from Marlowe and Shakespeare to demonstrate ... the demonic aspect of the Jew," he stresses primarily scholarly and religious motives for the English philo-Semitic movement, visible from at least the early part of the Jacobean era, especially the growth of Hebrew and Old Testament studies and the belief that the Jews would play a major role in English history, as in the eschatological view of the millenarians supporting the conversion of the Jews before the End of Days (Philo-Semitism 4, 6, 10, 244). Between Rappaport and Katz we encounter what might be described as an alpha and omega trajectory for Christian relations with Jews, in which Jews seem to be valued primarily not for themselves but as a means to an end, whether at the beginning of Christian salvation history or at its end. Such philo-Semitic views can well be seen as a disenfranchisement of the Jews, views that do not measure up to our modem standards of religious toleration and equality. However, given the developmental history of ideas, our standards for toleration, whether religious, racial, national, or sexual, had not yet evolved for the general Elizabethan populace.4 Therefore, we best approximate an understanding of this foreign time and culture insofar as we can discover some of their ideas and values within specific contexts. One illuminating context for our plays is the Bible.