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Book Talk: The Murder of William of Norwich at the Boston Athenaeum

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Book Talk: The Murder of William of Norwich at the Boston Athenaeum

The Murder of William of Norwich

E.M. Rose

In 1144, the mutilated body of William of Norwich, a young apprentice leatherworker, was found abandoned outside the city's walls. The boy bore disturbing signs of torture, and a story spread that it was a ritual murder, performed by Jews in imitation of the Crucifixion as a mockery of Christianity. The outline of William's tale eventually gained currency far beyond Norwich, and the idea that Jews engaged in ritual murder became firmly rooted in the European imagination.

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