Priscus

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PRISCUS

PRISCUS , a Jewish agent of the Frankish king Chilperic i (561–584). In 581 Chilperic engaged Priscus in a religious debate in the presence of Bishop *Gregory of Tours. Courageously rejecting the arguments of the king, Priscus stated that "God does not need to share Himself, and He does not divide His power with others." Priscus asked, "Can God be made a man, be born of a woman, be struck with rods, and condemned to death?" The king did not reply but Gregory, who brought all his oratorical talent to bear, quoted a great number of christological passages from the Bible and Apocrypha as evidence for the Christian truth. Nevertheless, all his arguments were of no avail as Priscus stood his ground.

When all the Jews of Paris were ordered to accept Christianity, Priscus, who was imprisoned, but later released, withstood the king's attempts to baptize him by force. On a Saturday, while on his way to the synagogue together with several men of his household, Priscus was assassinated by the convert Phatir and a band of his henchmen. Priscus was avenged by his relatives who killed Phatir.

bibliography:

Gross, Gal Jud, 497; A. Temko, in: Commentary, 15 (1953), 166–71; B. Blumenkranz, Les Auteurs chrétiens latins du Moyen Age (1963), 70–71; idem, Juifs et Chrétiens (1960), index; Baron, Social, 3 (1957), 52; 5 (1957), 114.

[Judah M. Rosenthal]