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Conscience and ConversionReligious Liberty in Post-Revolutionary France$
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Thomas Kselman

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780300226133

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300226133.001.0001

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Prodigal Sons and Daughters?

Prodigal Sons and Daughters?

Jewish Converts and Catholic Proselytism

(p.80) 3. Prodigal Sons and Daughters?
Conscience and Conversion

Thomas Kselman

Yale University Press

This chapter portrays several prominent Jewish converts to Catholicism, whose stories troubled the Jewish community of France in the first half of the nineteenth century. It focuses in particular on Alphonse and Théodore Ratisbonne, from a banking family in Strasbourg, who founded the Congregation of Our Lady of Sion, a women’s order dedicated to the conversion of Jews. The aggressive proselytism of the Congregation in the 1840s generated public controversy about religious freedom and conversion. Hostile exchanges in the press over the work of the Congregation led to heightened tension between Catholics and Jews and a paradoxical situation in which greater religious liberty was accompanied by a stricter enforcement of religious boundaries.

Keywords:   Jewish-Christian relations, Antisemitism, David Drach, Alphonse Ratisbonne, Théodore Ratisbonne, Marian apparitions

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