quote:That stereotype comes from the historical position of Jews as money handlers due to many factors, including their inability to own land and the prohibition of working as money lenders by the Protestant church.
Can I just say that, although I agree with what everyone here is saying, this sentence was badly written? Just that it kind of makes Jews look as though they were the ones prohibited from working as money lenders by 'Teh Church'.
Jack 'Why am I nitpicking like this? Or have I got it wrong?' Dylan
I suspect teh Catholic Church had more to do with it, what with starting the whole thing, and all that. Although Luther was distinctly antisemitic.
I thought it was Teh Protestant Church, actually, and the prohibition was on making money through interest...I can check a book tonight.
Nah, the usury thing is as old as the Christian Church itself. You know the scene where Christ kicks out the moneylenders? Anyway, by the early medieval times people believed pretty strongly in the anti-usury bits but it's a fact of societal life that once you get big enough, some people are going to need to borrow capital in order to allow you to continue to grow. A loophole was "discovered" that Jews, since they aren't technically Christians, could lend money to Christians with interest. Jews at the time had already constructed a rather extensive trading system due to their status as the people who could move in and out of the Christian and Muslim worlds most easily and thus had money to lend. Eventually, all those stereotypes we associate with Jews cropped up, the Christians discovered the Talmud (which flew in the face of their belief that Judaism was an older religion that only existed to bear witness to the glory of Christianity), and eventually Christians learned to ignore the usury part and allowed their own to lend money.
Interestingly enough, Islam imported the prohibition against usury from the Judeo-Christian ethos and many Muslims still follow it. This creates special issues for realtors, etc. when it comes to buying houses and so on.