This episode, we examine the persecution of Jews that occurred during the plague years of 1348-1350, including the record of well-poisoning interrogations, the pope’s attempt to quell the violence, and a Jewish account of the persecutions and resistance. 

Today’s Texts

  • “Appendix 2: Examination of the Jews Accused of Poisoning the Wells.” The Epidemics of the Middle Ages, by J.F.C. Hecker and translated by B.G. Babington, 3rd ed., Trübner & Co., 1859, pp. 70-74. Google Books.
  • Clement VI. Bull of 1 Oct. 1348 [Latin text]. Acta Salzburgo-Aquilejensia, edited by Alois Lang, vol. 1, VerlagsBuchhandlung Styria, 1903, pp. 301-302. Google Books.
  • Joseph ha-Kohen. The Chronicles of Rabbi Joseph Ben Joshua Ben Meir, the Sphardi. Translated by C.H.F. Bialloblotzky, vol. 1, Richard Bentley, 1835. Google Books.


Consulted for translation comparisons

  • Horrox, Rosemary, translator and editor. The Black Death. Manchester Medieval Sources, Manchester UP, 1994.
  • “Quamvis perfidiam Iudeorum.” Translated into French by Claire Chauvin, RELMIN, Université de Nantes, 2013,

Music credit: Hershman, Mordechai, performer. “Rochel Mevake Al Bonaiho.” 1921. Audio. Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

Image: Photo of Chillon Castle on Lake Geneva,  by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay.