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Pope John XXII

Pope John XXII (Jacques Duèse; b. c. 1245) was the pope at Avignon, 1316–34. Pragmatically adapting his attitude to suit the current situation, John XXII could be called neither benevolent nor severe in his dealings with the Jews. He wished to encourage the conversion of the Jews and advised employing a convert with a perfect knowledge of Hebrew and Aramaic to teach these languages to Christians (1319); he also allowed converts to keep their possessions (1320).

In 1320, he intervened on at least five occasions to protect the Jews from the Pastoureaux. However, in this same year, he once more determined to seize the Talmud and other Jewish books and considered expelling the Jews from Church lands. Although the expulsion order was revoked on the payment of large sums by a delegation of Jews from Rome, John XXII nevertheless proceeded to burn the Talmud in 1322, at the same time instituting local expulsion orders. He confirmed the jurisdiction of the Inquisition over converts who, suspected of Judaizing practices, had found refuge in monasteries (1317; 1322); only when Church revenue from the Jews was endangered, as in Apulia in 1328, did John take back from the Inquisition, for a temporary period, the jurisdiction over the Jews.


Milano, Italia, 148; P. Browe, Judenmission im Mittelalter (1942), 208, 259; S. Grayzel, in: HUCA, 23 (1950/51), 37–80.

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.