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Cleansing the temple: The Munich Gruftkirche as converted Synagogue

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Chapter Summary

This chapter distinguishes and outlines three key phases in the Munich Gruftkirche’s 350- year history. The first phase concerns the transformation of synagogue into a Marian chapel in the wake of the expulsion of 1442, a process that entailed the retrofitting of the building, the consecration of altars, the procurement of indulgences, the (presumed) installation of a cult-image and, later in the century, the promotion of a pilgrimage. The second phase concerns the renewal of the shrine and its pilgrimage in the first half of the seventeenth century. During the third stage, concentrated around the Gruftkirche’s tricentennial in the mid-eighteenth century, anti-Jewish myths made their dramatic reappearance in the form of revived ritual murder tales; in this process local myths of long-standing notoriety were retrospectively linked to the old synagogue, leading to the shrine’s redefinition and historicization as a species of “atonement chapel” (Sühnekapelle).

Keywords: anti-Jewish myths; Gruftkirche; Marian chapel; Munich; Sühnekapelle; synagogue



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