EVENT: Lecture from Professor Irven M. Resnick "A Wet-nurse Controversy: Jews, Christians, and later Medieval ‘Racism’" (May 31)

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The Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations (University of Southampton) invites you to register for the annual Reuter Lecture, this year given by Professor Irven M. Resnick (University of Tennessee at Chattanooga) and titled "A Wet-nurse Controversy: Jews, Christians, and later Medieval ‘Racism’". This talk is co-organised with the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Culture as part of their free study day, 'Identity, Culture and Language in the Pre-Modern World'.

Date: 31 May 2022 | Time: 6-7:30PM BST | Registration Link: https://www.southampton.ac.uk/parkes/news/events/2022/05/a-wet-nurse-controversy-jews-christians-and-later-medieval-racism.page

Event Details
Professor Resnick will look at the controversies triggered by the employment of Christian wet-nurses by Jews in the Middle Ages. Medieval Jews employed Christian wet-nurses despite repeated ecclesiastical condemnations, which typically did not prevail over social and economic interests. But in Etsi Judeos (July 15, 1205) Pope Innocent III, who complained loudly that Jews are unscrupulous usurers, thieves, blasphemers, and secret murderers of Christians, included an unsubstantiated rumour that has generated much scholarly debate: that “on the day of the Lord’s Resurrection (Easter),” after they have received the Eucharist, “the Jews make these women pour their milk into the latrine for three days before they again give suck to the children.” The controversy over wet-nurses did not end there, however. Churchmen will also prohibit Christians from employing Jewish wet nurses, to preserve Christian infants from the ‘stain’ of Jewish moral and physical depravity, turning to later medieval medicine and natural philosophy to affirm the racial inferiority of Jewish blood.  

About the Speaker
Professor Irven M. Resnick (University of Tennessee at Chattanooga), is a Professor and chair of excellence in Philosophy and Religion whose research focuses both on medieval Jewish-Christian relations and on the thirteenth-century philosopher-theologian and natural scientist, Albertus Magnus. He is the author of about 60 scholarly articles and the author, translator, or editor of eighteen volumes, including Marks of Distinction: Christian Perceptions of Jews in the High Middle Ages (2012; reissued in paperback in 2022) and Albertus Magnus and the World of Nature (2022, forthcoming). He has been a contributing member to the Center for the Study of Conversion and Inter-Religious Encounters at Ben-Gurion University (Israel), an Associate of the sub-faculty of Near and Middle Eastern Studies at Oxford University’s Oriental Institute, a Senior Associate of the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, and a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the University of London (Queen Mary).

Registration is free and all are welcome. This is an online event that will take place on Zoom. Please click here to register.