Peter of Cluny°

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PETER OF CLUNY ° (also named Peter the Venerable ; Petrus Venerabilis ; c. 1090–1156), abbot of Cluny, France. Peter was a contemporary of *Bernard of Clairvaux, a prolific author, and counselor of kings and princes. On the eve of the Second Crusade, because of his advice to King *Louisvii to adopt harsh measures against the Jews, the authority of the abbot of Clairvaux had to be exerted for their protection. Peter was associated with the translation of the Koran into Latin carried out in Spain. His travels to Spain resulted in two polemical treatises against Islam, and in an anti-Jewish polemic, Adversus Judaeorum inveteratum duritiam (completed c. 1140). This work is set in the form of a dialogue and refers three times to oral *disputations with Jews. It is based mainly on the views of *Petrus Alfonsi, from whom Peter was the first in France to borrow criticisms alleging the "foolishness" and "insanities" of the Talmud and the midrashic texts. Peter, however, also refers to other texts not mentioned by Petrus Alfonsi. As he had no knowledge of Hebrew Peter could not have read the texts himself, but the source from which he drew them is unknown. The most important passage mentioning Jewish contemporaries is a reference to a "Jewish king" in Rouen. Thirty-four manuscripts of this work (some of them translations) have been preserved, testifying to its popularity.


pl, 179 (1899), 507–650; G. Constable and J. Kritzeck, Petrus Venerabilis (1956); S. Lieberman, Sheki'in (Heb., 1939).

[Bernhard Blumenkranz]