like Nicholas Donin persuaded churchmen that the Talmud was filled
with blasphemies and attacks on Christianity.
In 1240, on orders from Pope Gregory IX, French clerics confiscated
hundreds of Talmud volumes. With Donin as prosecutor, the Talmud
was tried and convicted, and, in June 1242, twenty-four cartloads
of Talmudic and other Jewish books were burned in Paris.
A contemporary Jewish poet was moved to write this lament.
. . I am stunned: how can eating be pleasurable
After I have seen how they gathered your booty?
Gathered it throughout your isolated quarter,
Then burned the holy booty, so that you are unable to join
I know not how to find a straight path,
So burdened with the mourning are your paths of
To brew a cup of tears would be sweeter to me than honey;
Oh, that my legs might be chained in your irons.
To draw the waters of my tears would be sweet to my eye,
So they might be exhausted for all those who hold fast
to your cloak.
But those tears dry up as they drop on my cheeks,
For my pity has been aroused by the departure of your