This book provides an edited text, introduction, and the first English translation of a central document in the history of religious coercion in late antiquity: Severus of Minorca's Letter on the Conversion of the Jews. The Letter describes the forced conversion of the Jews of Minorca to Christianity in AD 418, allegedly under the influence of St Stephen's relics. Although ostensibly a hagiographical work, the Letter is fundamentally an anti-Jewish document, and therein lies its interest for historians. It offers a fascinating perspective on Jewish-Christian relations in a Mediterranean town, and on the motives for religious intolerance in the unsettled ages of the Germanic invasions. In addition, its wealth of information about a diaspora Jewish
community in the western empire makes it unique among the surviving sources.
Readership: Scholars and university students (graduate) of the early Church/Christianity, Jewish studies, and ancient history.
Edited and translated by Scott Bradbury, Associate Professor of Classical Languages and Literatures, Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts
"Bradbury's English version of the Latin text is accurate and lucid, and he achieves a commendable brevity in his endnotes." - Mark J. Edwards, Christ Church, Oxford, Journal of Jewish Studies, Vol. XLVIII, No. 1, Spring 1997
"the problems of this episode and the wider context of the story are explored, patiently but economically, in an excellent seventy-seven-page introduction, which is followed by a new text and facing translation ... Few monographs of this size make so clear a contribution to an important subject." - Fergus Millar, Brasenose College, Journal of Ecclesiastical History
"Bradbury here offers a critical Latin text with full apparatus, a clear, accurate, readable translation (the first in English), a judicious set of notes, and an extensive introduction of 77 pages which might serve as a model of the genre. His argument for date and authenticity ... is both clear and absolutely compelling. Would that the publisher can find a way to offer an inexpensive paperbound edition of this important Letter and Bradbury's unassuming but invaluable scholarship!" - David P. Efroymson, La Salle University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Journal of Early Christian Studies 12/97
"'...Bradbury's book is a piece of sound scholarship and will no doubt serve as the standard edition of Severus' Letter for a long time to come.'" - Jnl Theological Studies
"This slim volume brings to light an important and absorbing text that will surprise and delight scholars of Jewish-Christian relations ... the editor of this edition establishes the letter's authenticity; and the edition itself provides a clean text. I am confident that this publication will stimulate much new scholarship ... The Latin text is presented in a critical edition that appears to have been prepared with great care. It is clear, well punctuated, normalized, and easy to read. The text is accompanied (on the facing page) by a fluent English translation that is a model of the genre." - Willis Johnson, University of Chicago Divinity School, Bryn Mawr Classical Review, 15/12/98