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748 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW 

The double negation in KXD? ify ~f». ^3» (Eccles. iii. n) is by no 
means necessarily intended "to strengthen the negation," as the 
author believes ; it maybe equal to the Latin "fieri non potest quin" 
(comp. J. Q. R., I, p. 36, note 4). 

The second chapter, for which the author claims originality, 
contains the rules concerning the use of the participle. Like the 
infinitive, the participle is considered as a noun, and' is frequently 
placed by the side of the subject without the copula; the latter 
must be supplied, and its tense and person must be determined by the 
context. It is, however, not necessary that the same- tense should 
be supplied which the preceding or following verb has. All possible 
cases are enumerated, and illustrated by numerous examples. 

For the other chapters of the book no originality is claimed ; they 
are in treatment and arrangement similar to the corresponding 
sections of the ordinary text-books of the Hebrew Grammar. One 
point may, however, be noticed. There is a peculiar wavering 
between the old and the new nomenclature of the tenses and the 
vav which modifies their meaning. The author seems to follow the 
rule recommended by Koheleth: TP ™ ^ HtO DM DD TnNnt5> 31D. 
Instead of the English terms, he has the Hebrew "OJ? and *lViy, 
translated in parenthesis by actio perfecta and actio imperfecta. The 
Latin agrees with the modern "perfect" and "imperfect"; the 
Hebrew with the old and more correct "past" and "future." 
The same wavering is noticed with regard to the vav before the 
finite verb; it is called vav conversive, but its force to effect 
a change of the tense is not openly admitted. 

Notwithstanding these few criticisms I recommend the book to 
students of the Hebrew language ; it testifies not only to the author's 
perfect mastery of the Hebrew Grammar, but also to his skill in 
explaining and teaching its peculiarities. 

M. Fkiedlander. 

ST. WILLIAM OF NORWICH. 

"The Life and Miracles of St. William of Norttrich," oy Thomas of 
Monmouth. Edited by A. Jessopp and M. R. James. (Cambridge: 
Pitt Press.) 

This admirably edited book is notwithstanding in some way 
a disappointment. This is in no sense due to the editors, who have 
performed their respective tasks with a skill and thoroughness which 
might have been anticipated from two such experts as Canon 
Jessopp and Dr. James. The text of the unique MS. discovered 



CRITICAL NOTICES 749 

tmder romantic conditions has been edited with such care that 
scarcely a single passage has been left doubtful, and the translation 
is both faithful and readable, -while the notes and introduction give 
almost all the supplementary information the reader could desire. 
The document thus restored to us is full of interest to the student of 
English history, and even more so to the few interested in Anglo- 
Jewish history. It must always remain a memorable monument 
of English scholarship, and would add, if that were possible, to the 
reputation of its distinguished editors. 

But, from the particular point of view in which the book must 
be regarded in these pages, it fails to satisfy the expectations which 
its discovery raised. One had hoped for a flood of light on the social 
conditions of the Jews of the time, a period for which we have 
scarcely any temporary record. Instead of this, there are but 
a couple of Jews mentioned by name ; and what is said of them 
and the other Jews, apart from their connexion with the so-called 
martyrdom, is not particularly significant or instructive. But, above 
all, we are disappointed in the hope that this publication would 
throw full light upon the circumstances attending the death of 
the boy William, and the rise of the myth of the Blood Accusation 
which has had such fatal and tragic results ever since. It is true 
that, as will be seen, the volume shows the flimsy character of 
the evidence on which the local Church, if not the Papacy, accepted 
the theory of martyrdom. It shows how frail are the foundations on 
which this huge structure of malice and hatred has been erected, but 
the very failure of evidence makes it more difficult to understand the 
rise of the myth, and, though we may guess, we cannot be certain as 
to whom we are to credit with its erection. 

In the first place, the book, though seemingly at first sight 
a contemporary record of the facts, turns out to be written by 
a stranger who was not in Norwich at the time of the alleged 
martyrdom, and even his account was composed nearly thirty years 
after the event. For the author of The Life and Passion of William 
of Norwich, was one Thomas of Monmouth, who appears to have 
been transferred to Norwich somewhere about 1150, six years later 
than the death of the little lad. He was thus absent from Norwich 
during the whole time when any sort of investigation was made into 
the disappearance of the boy William, and all he reports to us is 
based on hearsay evidence of the most unsubstantial character. Nor 
are his motives in compiling the book above suspicion. His position 
in his monastery was that of sacrist to the martyr, some of whose 
relics he confesses to have stolen. It was therefore to his direct 
interest to enhance the sanctity of the particular services on which he 



750 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW 

was engaged ; and it is for this reason that he enlarges much more 
upon the miracles than upon the martyrdom. 

Nor were the sources from which Thomas got his hearsay evidence 
less disinterested than himself. For it appears that when the lad's 
body was discovered by one Henry of Sprowston, on Saturday, 
March 26, 1144, which was the first day of Passover in that year, 
he did not even take the trouble to carry the body to Norwich, and 
only returned on the following (Easter) Monday to give it casual 
burial. The first suggestion of a " martyrdom " comes from the 
relatives of the boy, who had missed him in the interim. The family 
afterwards told a curious story, given by Thomas, to account for 
the absence of the lad from their house. On Monday, March 21, 
a mysterious emissary had induced the boy's mother, a widow, to let 
him go to become a scullion to the Archdeacon of Norwich. This does 
not agree with another statement which emanated from the family that 
the boy was seen to enter the Jews' quarter. At any rate, it was not 
till nearly a week after the boy had left his mother's house that his 
uncle, his brother, and his cousin, go out to Thorpe Wood to see if the 
boy whose body had been discovered and already buried, was their 
little relative. Then follows a most remarkable circumstance. 
When they removed the earth which had been thrown lightly upon 
the body it was distinctly seen by them to move twice. This renders 
it extremely probable that the boy, when found on the Saturday, was 
not dead at all, but in some cataleptic fit. This is strongly confirmed 
by the fact, noticed at the time, that there were no signs of decompo- 
sition about the body, though, if he had been "murdered" on the 
preceding Wednesday, almost a week had elapsed. The same idea, 
indeed, seems to have occurred to the spectators of this striking 
incident, the boy's own relatives. Yet they took no steps to 
resuscitate him, but, merely satisfying themselves with his identity, 
covered the body up again. It is thus probable that the true authors 
of the death of William of Norwich were his own relatives. Shortly 
afterwards, Godwin Sturt, the boy's uncle, in open synod of the 
diocese, accuses the Jews of having murdered little William, and it is 
at once seen what ecclesiastical capital can be made out of such an 
accusation. Aimar, Prior of Lewes Priory, at once begs the body for 
his own priory, and that at once draws the attention of the Norwich 
authorities to the valuable property they might possess in the lad's 
remains. They refuse Aimar's request, and give the body burial in 
the monks' cemetery. The boy's relatives also find their account in 
the sanctity which little William had acquired. His brother Robert 
obtained a post in the monastery on the strength of his connexion 
with the martyr, and his mother had ultimately the distinction of 



CRITICAL NOTICES 751 

being buried in the monks' cemetery, much to the scandal of the 
more sober-minded of the monks. Godwin, the boy's uncle, traded 
for years on the possession of a gag with which he alleged the boy 
had been gagged by the Jews. Later on, the same Godwin seemed 
to have done a thriving trade in providing sacred candles for 
believers in the martyrdom of St. William. There is a very 
significant passage on page 192 of this volume in which Godwin, 
before allowing the teazle or gag to be used, demands to know from 
a poor woman what offering she had brought to obtain his help. It 
was thus, undoubtedly, to Godwin Sturt's interest that the death of 
the boy William should be interpreted as a case of martyrdom, and it 
is significant that the whole accusation comes from him in the first 
instance. 

When the accusation was brought against the Jews before the 
Sheriff, he, in accordance with all the law of the time, refused to 
submit them to the jurisdiction of the Dean and Chapter of Norwich ; 
they had the right to be judged by the King and his judges. They 
were then asked to submit themselves to ordeal, to which they 
seemed willing, but only demanded a delay, as was natural, con- 
sidering the inflamed passions of the mob. The delay was refused 
them, and the whole of the Jewry of Norwich was taken into the 
castle for protection. No attempt at any legal proceedings against 
them was ever afterwards made, a most significant proof to my mind 
of their entire innocence. The editors have, I think, missed a point 
with regard to the attitude of the Sheriff towards the Jews. If they 
had been guilty of murder, it was as much his interest to convict them 
of it as it was to the interest of the boy's relatives to prove a martyr- 
dom. One of the earliest items relating to Jews in the Pipe Rolls 
refers to the enormous fine of 2,000 marks paid by the Jews of 
London for killing a man. The Sheriff would have been able to pay 
the whole ferm of his county if he could have convicted the Jews of 
Norwich of murder. The fact that the Sheriff and his brother were 
afterwards shown to be deeply indebted to the Jews was another 
proof that it was not from motives of interest that the Sheriff 
defended the Jews, and persisted in declaring their innocence. 

The evidence against them which Thomas of Monmouth was 
enabled to scrape together is indeed of the flimsiest possible 
character. The lad was said to have been seen by a cousin of his 
entering the house of a Jew named Eleazer, afterwards murdered by 
one of his debtors. That fact is just possible, though the family 
source of the statement renders it somewhat suspicious. Then 
a Christian woman, name not given, is said to have caught sight 
of the boy, crucified, through a chink in the door, and to have 

VOL. IX. 3 D 



752 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW 

supplied hot water for washing of the body. But this unnamed 
witness was never produced in any of the proceedings, and readers 
of Silas Marner will remember how rustic witnesses get to believe 
they have seen whatever they have been asked */ they have seen. 
On the other hand, there is a touch of verisimilitude about the hot 
water which Jews use to bathe dead bodies. Next there is the 
statement of one Aelward Ded, that he had met some Jews carrying 
the corpse in a sack to Thorpe Wood. This statement was only made 
on his deathbed five years afterwards, when Ded explained his inter- 
mediate silence by threats from the Sheriff, though the said Sheriff 
had been then dead three years. Now the finding of the body in 
Thorpe Wood is to my mind one of the strongest points against 
any connexion of the Jews with the deed. Thorpe Wood is on the 
opposite side of the town from the Jewry, and to convey the body 
there the Jews would have had to pass through the whole of the 
English burg, whereas it would have been much easier for them to 
have deposited the body in the grove on their side of the town. If 
Aelward Ded did actually make such a deathbed confession, it is 
almost the sole hint we have of the true author of the mischief which 
threw little William into a state of catalepsy. If the family story 
was true that William had gone as scullion to the Archdeacon of 
Norwich, that would, at any rate, account for the boy being in 
Thorpe Wood. Finally, we have the statement of Theobald, 
a renegade Jew of Cambridge, that it was the custom among Jews 
to sacrifice a boy for Passover in some European city fixed by lot, 
and that the lot, which had been taken at Narbonne, had fallen upon 
Norwich. It is this statement that is the foundation of the myth of 
the Blood Accusation. 

I observe that Mr. Zangwill, in reviewing the book, cast 
doubt on the very existence of this Theobald of Cambridge, but 
there is one point in his so-called statement which could scarcely 
have been invented by Thomas, for the latter was not likely to have 
known that Narbonne was the chief seat of Jewish learning at the 
time. Our editors have a suggestion that the only previous case 
known of Jews murdering a Christian lad, and mentioned by Socrates, 
the ecclesiastical historian, was possibly part of a Purim frolic. 
Now I should imagine that the statement which Thomas puts into 
Theobald's mouth might have been a wilful misunderstanding of 
some such reference. On his part, Theobald may have stated that 
the Jews pretended to hang boys as Haman, but really in mockery of 
Christ. Both Thomas and William's family would have found it to 
their interest to describe it as a custom of the Jews to hang Christian 
boys in mockery of Christ. Altogether there seem two alternative 



CRITICAL NOTICES 753 

explanations of the facts, as far as we can extract them out of 
the mixture of hearsay and concoction given us hy Thomas of 
Monmouth. Either the lad William really became a scullion of the 
Archdeacon, and fell into a cataleptic fit while taking a walk in 
Thorpe Wood, perhaps on being frightened by the appearance of 
Aelward Ded, or he fell into the fit while visiting Eleazer's house in 
the Jewry, and the Jews, in fear of complications, removed his body 
to Thorpe Wood. Against the former supposition is the absence of 
any evidence that he ever did make his appearance in the Arch- 
deacon's house ; against the latter view is the unlikelihood of the 
Jews carrying the lad's body right across the city when they could 
just as easily have deposited it just outside the Jewry. The editors 
seem inclined on the whole to think that something was done to the 
boy by the Jews either by accident or in some grim jest. But they 
have not taken into account the difficulty of the place of discovery, if 
the Jews had anything to do with it, nor do they attach sufficient 
significance to the probability of the boy being alive even on the 
Easter Tuesday, though they appear to think it probable (p. lxix). 
The difficulty of the whole ease is, as the editors observe, attribution 
of the crime, if it was a crime, as a ritual murder to the Jews. If the 
myth had already been in existence, one could easily understand it 
being applied afresh to the Norwich Jews with the disappearance of 
the lad William. Now the myth was started by William's family, 
who were all ecclesiastics. The boy's body is found, with the head 
shaven or tonsured, and with marks of punctures by thorns, on the 
Saturday after Good Friday. The probability of some form of cruci- 
fixion having been gone through with the body is considerably raised 
by this fact, if we can trust to it. Now, if Jews resorted to such 
a measure, it could only be out of mere wanton cruelty and hatred ; 
but cannot we imagine fanatical Christians, of a low degree of 
culture, deriving from their crass views about the crucifixion that 
salvation will be brought down upon a lad and his family by under- 
going the form of crucifixion on Good Friday ? Cases have been 
known even of men committing suicide by crucifying themselves, 
and it is a well-known principle of folklore that the folk-mind 
considers a form as good as the reality. Suppose such an idea to have 
existed in William's family, suppose them to have gone through the 
form of crucifixion with the little lad on Good Friday, and a cataleptic 
fit to have supervened while the poor little lad was on the cross, almost 
all the facts of the case would be explained. The lies told by the 
family to account for his disappearance, the attribution by the family 
to the Jews of an idea which would be unfamiliar and repugnant to 
the Jews, but quite familiar and natural to themselves, the tonsured 

3D3 



754 THE JEWISH QUAKTERLY REVIEW 

scalp, the discovery the day after Good Friday in Thorpe Wood, near 
the boy's own home, the callousness with which no attempt was made 
to resuscitate the boy after rumours had been spread about attri- 
buting his disappearance to the Jews, and the absence of any 
pressure on the part of the family to bring the Jews to any form 
of trial involving the taking of evidence. One can also understand 
from this point of view how the family would attempt to get from 
some converted Jew or other some plausible support for their con- 
cocted accusation. On the whole this suggestion seems to me to 
account for more of the facts than the view favoured by our editors 
— that the lad had fallen a victim to some ill-treatment on the part 
of the Jews. This does not account for the crucial difficulty of the 
whole question, the rise of the myth; for one does not see why 
William's family, in that case, did not accuse the Jews of murder 
pure and simple. If they had themselves attempted some form of 
crucifixion-ritual, with which they would be perfectly familiar, why 
should they have attributed it to the Jews ? 

On the whole the probabilities, to my mind, are that the lad 
William of Norwich was not directly murdered by any one, but fell 
into a cataleptic fit while undergoing the form of crucifixion at the 
hands of his own relatives, who thought they were increasing his and 
their sanctity by going through the process with him which, to their 
minds, had brought salvation and sanctity to the whole world. 
When the mock crucifixion seemed to have turned into a real one, 
owing to the boy's fit, they determined to remove suspicion from 
themselves by attributing to the Jews a travesty of the feeling in 
their own mind. William was indeed a martyr, but a martyr to 
Christian, not to Jewish, bigotry. 

The fact that the boy was alive when reburied by his relatives 
throws, to my mind, a flood of light upon the whole problem. 
Whoever shaved his head, and crowned him with thorns, and gagged 
him, must have done so without any ultimate intention of finally 
silencing him by murder. They must therefore have had confidence 
in being able to preserve the boy's silence, even after he had been 
released from the cross, supposing him to have gone through some 
form of crucifixion. Now the Jews could have had no hold upon the 
boy, and would have been obliged to have silenced him by murder if 
the accusation of the family were true. But William's own relatives 
might have felt confident that they could keep him quiet, or might 
quite readily have been willing for the boy to tell his tale, if they 
thought that that would add to his and their sanctity. If therefore 
the boy was alive when reburied on the Tuesday by his relatives, 
it could only have been his family who had gone through the process 



CRITICAL NOTICES 755 

of crucifying with him, if any such process was undergone by the 
poor little lad. JoaEpH Jacobs> 



STRACK'S "BIBLICAL ABAMAIC." 

Grammatik des Biblischen Aramtiisch mit den nach Handschriften 
berichtigten Teocten undeinem WSrterbuch, von Prof. Db. Hermann 
L. Stkack. Leipzig, 1897. (38 + 46 pp. 1 ) 

It need only be said of this little volume that it fully confirms 
its author's great reputation as a practical scholar and teacher to 
ensure it a hearty welcome. For in whatever mood we find the 
Professor— whether as a controversialist relentlessly hostile to Jew- 
baiters in general and to ex-Court-'Chaplain StScker in particular, or 
shattering with one mighty blow the whole fabric of the Blood 
Accusation myth, or in his quieter moods as Hebrew grammarian, 
exegetist, Talmudist, or palaeographist— all his works are stamped 
with the well-known impress of German learning. In the wonderfully 
cheap, compact, and scholarly book before me Prof. Strack has 
furnished students with ample material for the study of the Aramaic 
portions of the Old Testament (Ezra iv. 7-vi. 18 and vii. 11-28 ; Dan. 
ii. i-vii. 28; Gen. xxxi. 47; and Jer. x. n). In the preface our 
author informs us that as long ago as 1879 he formed the idea of 
writing a Biblical-Aramaic Grammar, but postponed his work for 
fear of clashing with the work of his friend, Prof. Kautszch. His 
fears were groundless ; both grammars are entirely independent of 
each other, and are, in fact, treated from a different standpoint. 
Strack's grammar is intended for beginners, whilst the elaborate 
grammar of Prof. Kautzsch, with its detailed study of the syntax and 
full introduction to the comparative study of the Aramaic group of 
languages, caters for advanced students. Our text is based upon 
that of Baer's edition ; when the readings differ, Strack's is superior. 
Baer's variants are given in the foot-notes. Our author has, however, 
omitted to mention that Baer gives n t!V9 (with D) in Dan. vi. 13, and 
KItH???? (with small and large S) in Dan. vi. 20. The two editions 
should be used side by side. Baer gives a fuller list of paradigms, 
and a complete account of the Massoretic notes and variant readings 
of Ben-Asher and Ben-Naphtali. Strack does not give the tonic 
accents, nor does he vocalize the numerous Kethibs which abound 
in the Books of Daniel and Ezra. The new edition has two more 
paragraphs in the grammatical portion of the work— § 1, which is 

1 A review of the first edition of this work, by Prof. Bacher, appeared 
in J. Q. R., vol. VIII, p. 505.