JULIAN OF TOLEDO:
Primate of Spain; born in Toledo (where he was also baptized); died in 690. He was the first of the long list of ecclesiastical princes who were of the Jewish race and who opposed and persecuted their former coreligionists. That he was "of Jewish origin" is stated by Isidor de Beja and Paul de Burgos. He was a man of great sagacity and discretion, prudent in judgment, very charitable, tempering severity with mildness. Nevertheless he was a party to the violent act committed by the Visigothic king Erwig, by which King Wamba was robbed of the crown—the same king whose memory Julian perpetuated in his history of Wamba. As a reward for his services Julian was raised to the primacy of Spain, which caused as much dissatisfaction among the Spanish clergy as the views formulated by him concerning the Trinity caused offense and anger at Rome.At the Councils of Toledo.
It was Julian who induced King Erwig to pass the severe laws against the Jews at the twelfth Council of Toledo, over which he presided. In 686, at the request of Erwig, he wrote "De Comprobatione Ætatis Sextæ Contra Judæos," intended to combat Judaism and to convert the Jews. The work deals with the Messianic prophecies of the Bible. Julian is honest enough to own in his dedication of the work to the king that "if the Jew be not improved by the book, at least the Christian may derive some benefit from it." He attempts to prove that Jesus was actually born in the sixth age, in which the Messiah was to come; "but," he adds, "this time should not be reckoned according to the Hebrew original, which has been falsified by the Jews, but according to the Septuagint, which is more trustworthy."
In spite of his enmity toward the Jews, Julian did not completely break off all association with them. He sent his book on the future life (written in 687) to Bishop Idalus of Barcelona, to whom it was dedicated, by a Jew named Restitutus. Idalus received the latter so ungraciously that he tore the gift from the hands of the bearer, and expressed his astonishment that Julian should have entrusted a book of spiritual content to an "unbelieving and godless Jew" and should have made "an animal a bearer of light."
- Felix, Vita Juliani, in España. Sagrada, v. 278;
- Rios, Hist. i. 517 et seq.;
- Helfferich, Der Westgothische Arianismus, p. 77;
- Grätz, Gesch. v. 164 et seq.