chapter  6
The Anti-Jewish Sermons of John of Capistrano
Matters and Context
ByFilippo Sedda
Pages 31

This chapter illustrates the rich collection of John of Capistrano's sermons to highlight their contents and arguments-controversial or not-addressed to the Jews. It shows a rich symbolic power that was able to evolve into functional stereotypes in the anti-Jewish polemic of John of Capistrano. John of Capistrano was one of the so-called 'four pillars' of the Franciscan Observance who were involved in the reform of the Franciscan Order. John uses the exegetical arguments taken from the Hebrew Bible, based on the interpretation of individual words, like 'Iesus' or 'virgo', and he accuses the Jews of corrupting and correcting their own sacred texts. The worst sin of the Jews is their blindness-that is, their inability to see the manifestations of God in the Old and New Testament. The Observant friar not only uses the typical anti-Jewish arguments but also seems to draw on a rich repertoire of personal metaphors that enrich the clichés of this centuries-old dispute.