Popular preaching in medieval times

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In 1095 the Pope launched the first Crusade to conquer the Holy Land for Christianity from Islam. This encouraged many Christians in Europe to feel that it was right to fight against, and destroy, the enemies of Christianity. The most visible non-Christian minority in Europe was the Jews. Crusader enthusiasm led to increased oppression and persecution.

In 1144 in Norwich, England, a priest accused the Jews of using the blood of a Christian child for ritual purposes. This vicious lie has become known as the ‘blood libel’. It spread throughout the Christian world. It was particularly prominent at Easter time, when the story of the crucifixion (Jesus’ execution) is told. The ’blood libel’ has continued into the 21st century.

In addition, religious dramas started to be performed which told the stories in the Bible and showed the Jews as the enemies of Jesus, almost like pantomime villains.