Anselm of Canterbury:
How to Treat a Convert (before 1100)
Anselm the archbishop to Lord Prior Arnulf and Archdeacon William [wisheth] health and
the blessing of God.
With the inmost affection of my heart I order you and beg your religion to take care of
this Robert, with that joyful piety and pious joy with which all Christians ought to help
and assist one fleeing from Judaism to Christianity. Let no poverty or other
accident which we can avert cause him to regret having left his parents and their Law for
Christ's sake. . . . Do not let him and his little family suffer any harsh want, but let
him rejoice that he has passed from perfidy to the true faith, and prove by our piety that
our faith is nearer to God than the Jewish. For I would prefer, if necessary, that
there should be spent in this all that belongs to me from the rents of the archdeaconry,
and even much more, rather than that he who has fled out of the hands of the devil to the
servants of God should live in misery amongst us. . . . For his misery both in victual and
in clothing touches my heart. Release my heart from this wound if you love me.
Source: St. Anselm Epist. iii., cxvii, ed. Joseph Jacobs, The Jews of Angevin
England: Documents and Records (London, 1893), p. 12
Scanned by Elka Klein.
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© Paul Halsall, November 1998