Carben (Karben), Victor von

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CARBEN (Karben), VICTOR VON (1422–1515), apostate and anti-Jewish writer. He claimed to have been a rabbi before becoming converted to Christianity at the age of 49 and leaving his wife and children. In 1480 he took part in a disputation with Jews before the archbishop of Cologne at Poppelsdorf, near Bonn, which is said to have led to an expulsion of Jews. In 1485 he became a member of the theological faculty of Cologne University. His main work, though probably written in German (c. 1504), was published in Latin under the title De vita et moribus Judaeorum ("Life and Customs of the Jews", Cologne, 1509; Paris, 1511); enlarged versions of the work appeared as Opus aureum ac novum… (Cologne, 1509) and Confutatio Judaeorum; contra errores Judaeorum (1504); it was also published in a German adaptation as Juden Buechlein (Strasbourg 1519, 1550). The book contained the usual accusations against the Jews and the Talmud alleging their hatred of Christianity and Christians, and of apostates in particular, their greed, revolting superstitions, etc. It has been suggested that the real author was the Dominican friar Artwin de *Graes, who used material supplied by Carben; probably the Latin version should be ascribed to de Graes. Carben published another anti-Jewish tract in the form of a dialogue between a Jew and a Christian, Propugnaculum fidei Christianae… (Cologne, 1518, 1550; also in German, Strasbourg, 1519). In the *Pfefferkorn-*Reuchlin controversy over the confiscation of the Talmud, Carben was among the experts appointed by Emperor Maximilian both in 1509 and in 1510.


Graetz, Gesch, 9 (18913), 66, 93; Graetz, Hist, 4 (1949), 422ff.