In February 1840, an Italian monk and his servant disappeared in Damascus. Jews there were charged with ritual murder and tortured until they confessed. This 1997 book assesses the impact of the affair on the European and Jewish politics of the time and as the stuff of radically conflicting myths which eventually led to the Holocaust and the establishment of the Israeli state.
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'Jonathan Frankel's book pulls together much that was known, deflates a number of myths, and integrates a horrifying Jewish cause célébre into mainstream international history. His erudition, his impressive command of languages, and sensitivity in sifting through complex issues make The Damascus Affair an important addition to the growing literature in modern Jewish history.' The Times Literary Supplement
'To the historiography of 1840 this book is a singularly valuable contribution, excelling its predecessors by the wealth of material adduced, the insight into motives and policies and the sobriety of its conclusions.' English Historical Review
In February 1840, an Italian monk and his servant disappeared in Damascus. Many Jews in that city were charged with ritual murder and tortured until they confessed. The case turned into a cause célèbre across much of the western world, even becoming a factor in the major diplomatic conflicts of the period, and produced an explosion of polemics, fantastic theories, and strange projects. The religious revival and romanticism of the period provided fertile soil for every speculation. This 1997 book, the first since 1840 to analyse the affair, assesses the Damascus affair as a factor in European and Jewish politics of the time, as a chapter in Jewish history and historiography, and as the stuff of radically conflicting myths - myths which eventually fed into the Holocaust and the establishment of the state of Israel.
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