Valentinian II CoinProhibition of Christians Converting to Judaism

“We punish the crime of Christians passing over to altars and temples by abrogating their power to bequeath in testament. Also those who despised the dignity of the Christian religion and name and polluted themselves with the Jewish contagions shall be punished for their disgraceful acts. Those, however, who preferred, at any time, to frequent the Manichaeans’ execrable hideouts and their abominable retreats, shall be visited always and perpetually by the punishment established by our father Valentinian in his divine decision, and decreed not less frequently in our verdicts. Indeed, the instigators of this persuasion, who misled slipping minds to their peculiar fellowship, shall be visited by the same punishment as those guilty of such a deviation, moreover, we order that the nefarious perpetrators of this crime shall suffer generally harsher penalties than usual, according to the decision of the judges and to the nature of the crime. We establish, however, a time limit for trials such as this, in order that the deceased shall not be disturbed by the perpetual injury of an accusation, and that inheritance trials definitely settled with the passage of time shall not be revived into eternally inflamed conflicts. If someone shall accuse a deceased person of a desecration and desertion of the Christian religion and maintain that he passed over to the sacrileges of the temples or to the Jewish rites or to the Manichaeans’ infamy, and claim that on these grounds he was on no account capable of bequeathing in testament, he shall prefer private charges and obtain the opening of the future trial of this kind within five consecutive years, as is established in cases of ‘dereliction of duty’. On condition that it should be demonstrated-he shall testify in public and prove his accusation-that during the lifetime of the person whose transgression is the cause for accusation he was present of this crime and offence; and let him not accuse for this transgression as though he was ignorant of it, he who tacitly acquiesced, in the supreme name, with perfidy” and treacherously consented to crimes.”

Source: Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations