Host desecration is an anti-semitic myth similar to the blood libel myth. It started in late 13th century England and France (a century after the blood libel myth started), were it was claimed that Jew would steal consecrated host wafers and torture them. According to the theory of transubstantiation, a consecrated host wafer became the flesh of Christ, so it was believed that Jews would steal and torture these wafers to reenact the crucifixion of Christ. This myth portrayed Jews in an even worse light than before, since it implied that they believed that Jesus was the Messiah and Son of God, yet they still tortured him; if they didn't believe, then why would they go to the trouble of stealing an ordinary cracker and stabbing it with a knife?

In some variants of the myth, the stabbed wafer bled, causing the Jew to freak out and convert. Later this variant changed to the wafer bleeding, and the Jew, rather than converting in the face of this miracle, buried the wafer in an attempt to hide it; where the wafer was buried, a new spring burst forth from the ground. Regardless of the variation, many Jews were killed because of this myth until it started to wane with the advent of Protestantism.


Title: Antisemitism; The Longest Hatred
Author: Robert S. Wistrich
Publisher: Methuen London
ISBN: 0-413-65320-X

Title: Ideology of Death
Author: John Weiss
Publisher: Ivan R. Dee
ISBN: 1-56663-088-6

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