Page 169 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 39

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STOW / SOLOMON GRAYZEL
163
This structure, however, tended — in Grayzel’s view— to point to
the greater difficulties which the Jews would confront from the
thirteenth century and onward.
It was this idea which then bothered Grayzel in succeeding
years. He felt that he could not rest on the findings of his earlier
days and that he must rethink his position — hardly a normal
procedure for a man nearing his eightieth birthday. But this he
did, and in 1979 (
Essays on the Occasion of the Seventieth Anniversary
ofDropsie University)
there appeared “Popes, Jews and Inquisition
from ‘
Sicut
’ to ‘
T u r b a t o
a penetrating study of papal dealings
with Jews especially in the second half of the thirteenth century.
Here Grayzel came to the conclusion, which, in fact, he had
already begun moving toward in his 1972, “Changes in Papal
Policy toward the Jews in the Middle Ages” (Fifth World Congress
of Jewish Studies, vol. 2), that while the popes formally adhered to
the principles of
Sicut,
they were not fully devoted to the ideals
they were espousing. Rather, they were concerned primarily with
restraining the Jews and keeping their potentially threatening
ways in check. Through such bulls as
Turbato Corde,
which permit­
ted the papal inquisition to inquire into the activites of converted
Jews — most or all of whom Grayzel saw as forced converts — the
popes opened the door which enabled the inquisition to interfere
in the activities of the Jews themselves and so cause them no little
distress.
Solomon Grayzel thus leaves a legacy of no little distinction. For
he was not only a scholar of great knowledge, a teacher of great
devotion, a servant of the Jewish community and a leader of rare
modest qualities. He was, beyond that, a man who, throughout his
long and successful career, was never afraid to confront his work,
his ideas, and his very self anew. He was a man who kept the
injunction, to choose life, before himself at all times.*
*A fine biography of Dr. Grayzel, including the milestones in his career and listing
specific publication data, was written by A. Alan Steinbach and appeared in
Jewish Book Annual,
vol. 28 (1970), 110-115. It should be consulted by interested
readers.