Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 636
The law issued by King Ervig (AD 680-687) orders bishops and presbyters to inspect Jewish communities within their jurisdiction. The codification is known as the Lex Visigothorum (issued and revised several times between 569 and 702).
Qualiter concursus Iudeorum diebus institutis ad episcopum fieri debeat.
Omnis Iudeorum conventus, in quibuscumque locis vel territoriis habitare videntur, ad episcopum loci vel sacerdotem diebus sabbatorum vel ceterarum festivitatum, quas celebrare solent, concurrere et convenire debebit, nec in his et talibus diebus concesse sibi licentie pervagatione usuri sunt; sed quamdiu excursus dierum ipsorum pertranseat, de quorum celebritate suspicio vertitur, alibi citra sacerdotis sui conhibentiam nullo modo movebuntur. Diebus tamen sabbatorum concursus eorum, et lavacro nitidus et perceptione benedictionis devotus, ad episcopum vel sacerdotem semper est perventurus. Sane in locis illis, ubi sacerdotalis presentia defuerit, concursus eorum omnis vel conversatio aut cum iudicibus aut cum christianis honestissimis erit; qualiter sic eorum societati inhereant, ut audenter de eorum conversatione bonum perquisiti testimonium dicant. Mulieres sane Iudeorum, coniuges scilicet atque etiam filie, in prememoratis omnibus festivis diebus, quos errore proprio abutuntur, nec ullius erroris nec pervagationis repperiant locum. Id omnimode observabitur, ut viris earum presentibus provida episcoporum vel sacerdotum in eis ordinatio fiat, ut, quemadmodum viri earum de presentia se sacerdotali non differunt, ita et ipse per excursum omnium dierum ipsorum, electione sacerdotum atque pontificum, cum quibus vel qualibus honestissimis feminis commorari debeant, ordinentur. Si quis autem huic preceptioni visus fuerit evenire contrarius, publica decalvatione turpatus, centenorum flagellorum erit suppliciis feriendus. Id tantum precipue observandum est, ne quorumdam sacerdotum carnalium corda, dum virus libidinis execrabili contaminatione exagitat, occasiones quaslibet inquirant, per quas libidinis sue votum efficiant. Unde id artiori sanctione decernimus, ut sic omnis sacerdos hec instituta legum nostrarum in iam dictis feminis Hebreorum adinpleat , ut nullius peculiaritatis locum cum eisdem mulieribus habeat, per quod se sordidare cum eis intendat. Quod si quemlibet sacerdotum contigerit, ut zelum, quo pro Christi nomine uti debet, frequenter ad libidinis sue sibimet occasiones usurpet, tunc sacerdos ipse, ab hoc honore depositus, exilio erit perpetuo mancipandus.
(ed. Zeumer 1902: 450-451)
How assemblies of Jews shall visit the bishop on appointed days.
Every community of Jews, in whatever city or province they may be situated, shall visit the local bishop or priest upon the Sabbath, and upon all other festival days, when they are accustomed celebrating their rites; they shall not be permitted to wander about on said days; and during all such festivals, when they are suspected of performing their rites, they shall under no circumstances leave their homes without the permission of a priest. Each of said Jews on every Sabbath, after having bathed, shall visit a bishop, or a priest, and receive his blessing. And in localities where there is no priest, each of them shall visit the judges, or other approved Christians, and shall associate with them openly, in such a manner that, if inquiry be made, said persons may give favourable testimony concerning their Christian behaviour. Jewish women, that is to say, the wives and daughters of Jews, to the end that they may have no opportunity to commit any error or transgression upon the aforesaid festival days, when they are accustomed to practising their rites, shall act, in every respect, as may be prescribed by the bishops or the priests to their husbands when present; that, like their husbands, they may not absent themselves from ecclesiastical control, and on all the festival days observed by their sect, may associate with such respectable and devout Christian women as the priests or bishops may select. If anyone shall be proved to have violated this edict, he shall be punished with a hundred lashes, and have his head shaved. And, as priests are sometimes influenced by the execrable temptations of the flesh, it is hereby especially enjoined, that they shall not take advantage of opportunities of this kind, for the indulgence of the same. Wherefore, we decree, with all severity, that every priest shall strictly observe this law concerning Hebrew women, and shall not take advantage of any occasion by which he may be polluted with their company. And if, at any time, a priest should pervert the zeal which he should employ for the benefit of Christianity, for the purpose of indulging his licentious passions, he shall be deprived of his holy office, and be sentenced to perpetual exile.
(trans. P.S.Scott 1910: 404-405, slightly changed)


This is one of thirty four laws that are the original contribution of king Ervig to the codification revised during his reign. Twenty eigth of this laws concerned Jews (Collins 2004: 236).

Place of event:

  • Iberian Peninsula

About the source:

Title: Lex Visigothorum, Liber iudiciorum, Liber iudiciorum sive Lex Visigothorum
Origin: Toledo (Iberian Peninsula)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
Lex Visigothorum is a codification of law first composed during the reign of King Leovigild (569-586) on the basis of the Code of Euric, but the origin of all extant manuscripts is its revised version from the reign of King Recceswinth (649-672). The codification was also enlarged in the times of King Ervig (680-687) and Ecgica (687-702).
K. Zeumer ed., Liber iudiciorum sive lex Visigothorum, Monumenta Germaniae Historica. Leges nationum Germanicarum 1, Hannover, Leipzig 1902, 33-456.
The Visigothic Code (Forum Judicum), trans. S.P. Scott, Boston 1910
R. Collins, Visigothic Spain, 409-711, Oxford 2004.
J. Juster, "The Legal Condition of the Jews Under the Visigothic Kings Part I", Israel Law Review 11 (1976), 259-287.
J. Juster, "The Legal Condition of the Jews Under the Visigothic Kings Part II", Israel Law Review 11 (1976), 391-414.
J. Juster, "The Legal Condition of the Jews Under the Visigothic Kings Part III", Israel Law Review 11 (1976), 563-590.
K. Schäferdiek, Die Kirche in den Reichen der Westgoten und Suewen bis zur Errichtung der westgotischen katholischen Staatskirche, Berlin 1967.


Sexual life - Sexual activity
    Sexual life - Extramarital
      Described by a title - Sacerdos/ἱερεύς
        Public law - Secular
          Relation with - Woman
            Relation with - Jew
              Further ecclesiastical career - Lay status
                Administration of justice - Secular
                  Administration of justice - Corporal punishment
                    Administration of justice - Demotion
                      Administration of justice - Exile
                        Equal prerogatives of presbyters and bishops
                          Ritual activity - Blessing
                            Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: M. Szada, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER636,