Vatican II—the Catholic Church’s commission that liberalized many Catholic practices—was a watershed for Jews, too. The most famous Jewish-related doctrine to come out of it, “Nostra Aetate,” bluntly denounced anti-Semitism, and perhaps most significantly, said that Jews today, and throughout history, should not be held responsible for Jesus’ death. Most often, Vatican II is celebrated by Jews as a great turning-point for Catholics, and something of a mea culpa for the Church’s problematic relationship with the Nazis. But
George Eliot and Umberto Eco were smitten with Isaac Casaubon, perhaps Renaissance Europe's leading man of letters, both writing novels inspired by him. It's obvious why: he was a bibliophile whose love for the classics, literature and art were matched only by the influence he once held: a revered scholar in France, an advisor to King James in England.