Setting Boundaries: Early Medieval Reflections on Religious Toleration and their Jewish Sources
Olsen, Glenn W. (University of Utah)
Hebraic Political Studies, Vol. 2, No. 2 (Spring 2007)
The history of toleration has no beginning. Tolerance and intolerance, the instincts to welcome and to exclude, have been practiced by each individual and every people. From its beginnings, Judaism regarded itself as the religion of the chosen people that drew lines of separation between itself and others (especially in the matter of purity) while also welcoming the stranger. Christianity and Islam acted similarly. This paper explores ways in which Judaism’s approach to the problem of tolerating those with whom it could not comfortably live a shared life influenced its daughter faiths, especially Christianity.