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BONIFACE VIII. (BENEDICT GAETAN):

One hundred and ninety-eighth pope; born at Anagni, Italy; elected pope Dec. 24, 1294; died 1303. He succeeded Celestin V., who resigned six months after his election. Boniface cherished kindly feelings toward the Jews, and gave them many tokens of his solicitude for their welfare. The Roman Jews owed him much for having delivered them from a threatening danger. The Inquisition issued (Nov. 18, 1297) a bull according to which an accuser or witness could remain unrevealed to the accused when the latter was a person of influence. The Jews were naturally classed among the powerful persons; and a simple denunciation sufficed to condemn them. They appealed to Boniface; and the latter, by a bull dated June 13, 1299, declared all the Jews "unimportant" except those who were of recognized influence.

Boniface had for his physician a Jew named Isaac, to whom he was much attached.

Bibliography:
  • Revue Orientale, ii. 214;
  • Vogelstein and Rieger, Gesch. der Juden in Rom, i. 255 et seq.
G. I. Br.
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