By John Y.B. Hood
Hood's research contends that Aquinas's writings stay immune to or skeptical of anti-Jewish tendencies in thirteenth-century theology. Aquinas units out just to make clear and systematize acquired theological and canonistic teachings at the Jews.
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Extra info for Aquinas and the Jews
Literary skills and international contacts enabled Jews to carve out a vital social niche. Throughout Europe, bishops and wealthy laymen routinely consulted Jewish physicians. Jewish merchants played an important role in commerce, especially in the luxury trade, thanks largely to their contacts in Spain and the Middle East. Wealthy Jews also provided venture capital for trading voyages and occasionally loaned sizable sums to princes and monasteries. Eminent Jews were sometimes employed as clerks, tax collectors, or salaried officials in the emerging political bureaucracies, though this was more common in Spain than in France, England, or the Empire.
This context of interaction and competition produced Jerome's complex attitude toward Judaism and Jews. 11 This rabbinic influence is revealed most clearly in the way Jerome prefaced his typically patristic "spiritual" exegesis of the Old Testament with a real effort to ground his interpretations in the literal meaning of the text. Eight hundred years later, when Andrew of St. 12 Augustine had also given a patristic imprimatur to medieval scholars who looked to Jews for help in uncovering the literal meaning of the Old Testament, but it was Jerome who was their true guide along this path.
His Pastoral Rule, his Momlia in Job, and his many extant letters had an enormous influence on Latin Christianity. In these writings, Gregory almost always refers to Jews in harsh and negative terms. For Gregory, the Jews are blind, stubborn, and arrogant. Above all, they are "carnal"; that is, they are so concerned with the literal sense of scripture that they cannot comprehend its deeper spiritual meanings. Gregory never doubted that Jews in a Christian society should be controlled and degraded.
Aquinas and the Jews by John Y.B. Hood