chapter  13
Preaching to the Jews in Early Modern Rome
Words and Images
ByMartine Boiteux
Pages 27

This chapter demonstrates the way in which word and image were combined in preaching by handful of examples. For the supreme pontiff, the Jewish community in Rome was a minority to be tolerated, controlled, and, consequently, protected. Written documents prove that different forms of obligatory preaching were imposed upon the Jews. The images used to round out the preaching testify to an activity that prioritized an appeal to the senses over addressing reason. These militant images were meant both to encourage Jewish conversion and to reinforce Christian faith. A new phase in the conversion policy began in the 1540s, in conjunction with the work of the Council of Trent, which created an atmosphere of reformist and messianic fervour in the battle against deviance and in the development of Marian devotion. This new policy, which would remain in place until the eighteenth century, was firmly based on preaching to the Jews-attending such sermons soon became compulsory.