Emperors Declare Jews Pretending Christian Conversion to Avoid Debt Must Pay Anyway

Emperors Declare Jews Pretending Christian Conversion to Avoid Debt Must Pay Anyway

Emperor Honorius
Source: portableantiquities

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Emperors Arcadius and Honorius order that any Jews who pretend to convert to Christianity in order to avoid paying their debts will be forced to pay those debts.

The emperors' decree says:

"If Jews are harassed by a criminal charge or by debts then pretend that want to be subject to Christian law in order to avoid the criminal charges or debts by taking refuge in the church, they must be driven away.

They cannot be received as Christians until they pay off all their debts or have been cleared of criminal charges." [CTh 9.45.2]

Because of how many special privileges have been extended to Christians and Christian institutions, it's no surprise that many non-Christians would want to benefit from them as well by pretending to be Christians — or at least avoid some of the onerous burdens being put on non-Christians.

Roman authorities need to take steps to prevent this, otherwise the point of the privileges — encouraging and promoting conversion to Christianity — would be undermined.

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Emperors of Rome: Honorius

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