Its purpose was, allegedly, to eliminate the so-called foetor
Only submit to baptism," they enjoined us, their words translated into Yiddish by a mincing convert, "and you will no longer menstruate; your dorsal appendages will drop off and you will lose your foetor
Most importantly, when faced with the "awful, blasphemous horror, and the unbelievable loathsomeness and moral foetor
[that] came from the simple touches quite beyond the power of words to classify"; when confronted by Pickman's skill in "daemonic portraiture," whereby "the nauseous wizard had waked the fires of hell in pigment, and his brush had been a nightmare-spawning wand" (18-19); even the urbane viewer, represented by Pickman's colleagues, cannot look upon his work with the objectifying gaze common to an aesthetic contemplation of art.
11) At this point Arnim quickly shift s to yet another stock idea of medieval antisemitism, the idea of a peculiar Jewish stench or foetor
It possesses the desirable qualities of rendering the teeth beautifully white; destroying the foetor
arising from carious teeth, which contaminates the breath; and stopping the progress of the scurvy in the gums: at the same time, that it is incapable of either chemically or mechanically injuring the enamel.
With a whiff of foetor
judaicus, this passage makes a strong correlation between Jew and excrement, pointing to the sewer as the place where a Jew can be found; perhaps he belongs there.
Shapiro's book rehearses fantasies about the Jewish body (the foetor
judaicus, and dark-skinned, effeminized men who menstruate and breast-feed).
It would have been interesting to consider more carefully what was at stake culturally in the feminizing of the Jew: for example, the myth of the former foetor
judaicus (36), or the alignment of the Jew and the female prostitute (39) which was a more resilient myth sustained right through to Hitler's paranoid ramblings on 'Race and Nation' in Mein Kampf.