Bodo (bishop)

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Bodo (c. 814[1] – 876) was the palace deacon to Frankish Emperor Louis the Pious (814 to 840). In early 838, Bodo intended to make a pilgrimage to Rome but instead converted to Judaism.[2] His conversion was regarded as a rejection of the Carolingian culture and the Christian faith.[3] Bodo left the Carolingian Kingdom for Muslim Spain in 839. He took the Jewish name Eleazar, had himself circumcised and married a Jewish woman. In 839 Bodo moved to Saragossa,[4] where he incited the Moorish government and the people to persecute the Spanish Christians.[citation needed] Léon Poliakov notes that this conversion is evidence of the high regard in which Jews were held in Carolingian France.[5]

Correspondence with Álvaro[edit]

In 840 Bodo began a correspondence with a Christian intellectual Pablo Alvaro of Cordova (Cordova was also a Muslim area of Spain).[2] Alvaro was born a Jew,[2] but had converted to Christianity. Because Bodo and Alvaro were both converts, they began a dialogue to try to convince each other to go back to their old faith.[2] Some of their letters have been preserved.

The source of the following letter is disputed, but it is attributed to Bodo:

As for your assertion that Christ is God, joined with the Holy Spirit, and you worship him because he had no human father, then along with him you ought to worship Adam the father of the human race, who had neither father nor mother, whose flesh, blood, bones and skin were created from clay. Breath was put in him by the Holy Spirit, and he became an intelligent being. Then too, Eve was created from Adam's rib without a father or mother, and breath came into her and she became intelligent. So worship them too![6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cabaniss, Allen. "Bodo-Elezazar: A Famous Jewish Convert". Institute for Advanced Study. JSTOR 1453233. 
  2. ^ a b c d Richard Gottheil & Hermann Vogelstein. Bodo "Bodo". Jewish Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2010-05-10. 
  3. ^ Riess, Frank. "From Aachen to Al-Andalus: the journey of Deacon Bodo (823–76)". John Wiley & Sons. Retrieved 2010-05-10. 
  4. ^ "This is another evidence of the prestige of Spanish Judaism at that time." Poliakov, Leon, The History of Anti-Semitism, Volume 2: from Mohammad to the Marranos page 96, University of Pennsylvania Press: 2003
  5. ^ Poliakov, Leon, The History of Anti-Semitism, Volume 2: from Mohammad to the Marranos page 107, University of Pennsylvania Press: 2003
  6. ^ Alan D. Corré. "The Bishop's Letter". University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. Retrieved 2010-05-10. 

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainJewish Encyclopedia. 1901–1906.