Courtesy of Bild-Archiv Der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek, Wien/COD. 1179, FOL. 95D, d

A representative page from the Moralized Bible is shown here. Two narrow columns contain the text, a paraphrase of a biblical passage followed by a commentary, and each text is accompanied by an illustrated roundel to its right. (Every page has four biblical paraphrases, four commentaries and eight illustrations in all.) The page shown here paraphrases and comments on Leviticus 11:15–31. The top left roundel shows Moses with a raven and a hoopoe, which he declares abominations. The commentary that follows says that the raven symbolizes usurers and the hoopoe symbolizes corrupt bishops; the second roundel shows a usurious Jew (at right) hiding moneybags in the hood of his cloak, while a corrupt bishop (left) sells church offices. The next biblical passage declares that pelicans (though a lizard is shown), monkeys and weasels are not to be eaten; the commentary below equates pelicans and monkeys with robbers and deceivers. At the top of the right column, Moses curses serpents and toads; the commentary declares toads to mean “the great usurers.” In the last biblical passage on the page, Moses curses beetles and insects; the commentary says that the beetles are thieves who are headed for eternal damnation; they are shown as the cleric who sinfully embraces a woman and a second cleric holding a moneybag.

The moneybag is the single most common symbol associated with Jews in the Moralized Bible, despite the fact that most Jews did not make their living by lending money at interest. Author Lipton notes that the Moralized Bible also castigates corrupt Christian clerics and calls for the excommunication of Christian usurers. She suggests that the stereotype of Jews as moneylenders became intensified in the eyes of the people who created the Moralized Bible because their fellow Christians were acting in equally sinful ways.