In early 838, Bodo declared that he was embarking to make a pilgrimage to Rome, but instead went to Muslim Spain, where he converted to Judaism. His conversion was regarded as a rejection of the Carolingian culture, as well as of the Christian faith. He took the Jewish name of Eleazar, had himself circumcised and married a Jewish woman. In 839, Bodo moved to Saragossa, where he incited the government of the Caliphate of Cordoba and the people to persecute the Spanish Christians. Léon Poliakov claims that this conversion is "evidence" of the high regard in which Jews were held in Carolingian France.
Correspondence with Álvaro
In 840 Bodo began a correspondence with a Christian intellectual, Pablo Álvaro of Cordova, also in Muslim Spain. Alvaro was born a Jew, 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. 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!
- Cabaniss, Allen. "Bodo-Elezazar: A Famous Jewish Convert". 43. Institute for Advanced Study: 313–328. JSTOR 1453233.
- Richard Gottheil & Hermann Vogelstein. Bodo "Bodo" Check
|url=value (help). Jewish Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2010-05-10.
- Riess, Frank. "From Aachen to Al-Andalus: the journey of Deacon Bodo (823–76)". John Wiley & Sons. Retrieved 2010-05-10.
- Poliakov, Leon, The History of Anti-Semitism, Volume 2: from Mohammad to the Marranos page 107, University of Pennsylvania Press: 2003
- Alan D. Corré. "The Bishop's Letter". University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. Retrieved 2010-05-10.