Why the Jews Should Be Kept Out of England

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By William Prynne

Transcribed and Edited by JR Books Online

William Prynne (1600–1669) was an English lawyer, author, polemicist, political figure and a prominent Puritan opponent of church policy under Archbishop of Canterbury William Laud. Although Prynne’s views were Presbyterian, he became known in the 1640s as an Erastian, arguing for overall state control of religious matters. In 1656, a proposal was made in the Parliament of England to lift the 13th-century residency ban for Jews. This prompted Prynne to write A Short Demurrer to the Jewes Long Discontinued Barred Remitter into England, a remarkable legal treatise against the proposal. It was printed in 1656 shortly before the Whitehall Conference and became influential in strengthening the public opinion against the readmission of the Jews. In particular, Prynne strongly doubted that the Jews could be converted to Christianity if allowed back. The return of the Jews to England was heavily promoted by Manasseh ben Israel, the famous Portuguese rabbi and author, while Oliver Cromwell desired their conditional readmission. In the end, the Parliament did not support any such proposal. The Jews only came back to England, in large numbers, with the restoration monarchy of Charles II (1660–1685). In his treatise, Prynne was mostly reciting from what he considered the uncontested legal record of England and other countries. He cited the Jewish ruinous usury, forgery of coins and royal charters, general criminality, ritual murders, etc. as main reasons why the 1290 expulsion had happened and why the Jews should not be readmitted in his time. This publication will be of interest to anyone fascinated by Puritanism, Protestantism or Jewish history in particular and Revisionist history in general. ——— Softcover, 220 pages, indexed, #1014.