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Politics of Polemics: Marcin Czechowic on the Jews

The works of Marcin Czechowic (1536–1613), a leader of a Polish Radical Protestant sect known as the Arians, are often referred to as proof for the Jews’ close contacts with Radical Christians and the tolerant character of interreligious debates in early-modern Poland. In “Politics of Polemics,” Magdalena Luszczynska explores Arian-Jewish relations focusing on Czechowic’s two polemics that utilise contrasting images of the Jew. The first features an invented interlocutor, a spiritually blind, tradition-bound ‘hermeneutical Jew,’ while the second engages in depth with Jewish texts, beliefs, and practices drawing on the Christian Hebraist perception of the Jews as potential teachers of ‘sacred philology.’ The works are analysed in the context of Radical Protestant theology, the tradition of Christian-Jewish polemics, and Arian leadership contest. “Politics of Polemics,” providing an English-speaking reader with an unprecedented access to this unique polemical material, is a valuable source for the historians of the Radical Reformation and of Christian–Jewish relations in early-modern Poland.

Author Information

Magdalena Luszczynska, Mandel Scholion Center, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.
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Audience: Scholars interested in early-modern history, history of Reformation, Christian-Jewish relations.