Monday, August 01, 2016

Ambrose and the burning of the synagogue

THIS DAY IN JEWISH HISTORY: 388 CE: Christians Burn Down Synagogue, Emperor Seethes. The appalled Emperor ordered the early Christians to compensate the Jews, but Bishop Ambrose would have none of that (David B. Green, Haaretz).
On August 1, 388, C.E., an angry mob of Christians in the town of Callinicum, in the Roman province of Osrhoene, burned a synagogue to the ground.

It was not the first time that a Jewish place of worship had been destroyed by Christians in the early decades after the adoption of Christianity by Emperor Constantine. But the responses elicited by the fire, first a condemnation by the current emperor, Theodosius, and then in reaction to that by a leading bishop, have gone down in history for the insight they give to the ambivalent attitudes held toward Jews in the ancient Christian world.