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For this reading response, we’ll be looking at the plague, which swept from China to Europe. In Europe, there were several instances in which Jews and/or entire Jewish communities were blamed for the plague and either sentenced to death or slaughtered as a result. There are some accounts of this found here in “The Black Death and the Jews: 1348-1349”: https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/jewish/1348-jewsblackdeath.asp

The sources have a few different perspectives, so it is important to think about motive. The Catholic Church officials said that the Jews were not responsible for the plague, but the individual authorities did not always uphold that perspective. As you review the source, what do they suggest about the role of the church and motives for the persecution of the Jews? What other kinds of responses did Europeans have to this outbreak and what motivated them? Consider how these responses fit in with the broader European culture and European conduct during the Crusades.

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