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From Anti-Judaism to Anti-Semitism
Ancient and Medieval Christian Constructions of Jewish History


  • Date Published: January 2017
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316606599

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About the Authors
  • From its earliest days, Christianity has viewed Judaism and Jews ambiguously. Given its roots within the Jewish community of first-century Palestine, there was much in Judaism that demanded Church admiration and praise; however, as Jews continued to resist Christian truth, there was also much that had to be condemned. Major Christian thinkers of antiquity - while disparaging their Jewish contemporaries for rejecting Christian truth - depicted the Jewish past and future in balanced terms, identifying both positives and negatives. Beginning at the end of the first millennium, an increasingly large Jewish community started to coalesce across rapidly developing northern Europe, becoming the object of intense popular animosity and radically negative popular imagery. The portrayals of the broad trajectory of Jewish history offered by major medieval European intellectual leaders became increasingly negative as well. The popular animosity and the negative intellectual formulations were bequeathed to the modern West, which had tragic consequences in the twentieth century. In this book, Robert Chazan traces the path that began as anti-Judaism, evolved into heightened medieval hatred and fear of Jews, and culminated in modern anti-Semitism.

    • Stresses the fundamental complexity of Christian views of Judaism and Jews
    • Analyses how major Christian thinkers of antiquity described the overall trajectory of Jewish history - past, present, and future - in both positive and negative terms
    • Highlights the shift that occurs during the second half of the European Middle Ages, during which time damning imagery of the Jewish present emerged and portrayals of the Jewish past and future became increasingly negative
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Chazan's book offers valuable insight into the changing historical and social context of these Christian views of Judaism. … Highly recommended for upper-level undergraduates, graduate students, and scholars in European history and Christianity.' Bob Seltzer, CHOICE

    'In a period when the Internet spreads these calumnies globally, when Saudi Arabia can denounce al-Jazeera as a front for 'the Jews', and when criticism of Israeli policies can provide respectability for good old fashioned anti-Semitism, Chazan's study makes for sobering reading. The roots of Christianity may lie deep in Judaism, but the roots of anti- Semitism, alas, lie deep in Christianity.' Paula Fredriksen, Review of Biblical Literature

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2017
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316606599
    • length: 270 pages
    • dimensions: 227 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.39kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Jewish History: Classical Christian Constructions:
    1. The Synoptic Gospels
    2. Paul
    3. Eusebius
    4. Augustine
    Part II. Jewish History: Medieval Christian Constructions:
    5. The crusading epoch and spirit: Peter the Venerable
    6. The discovery of Jewish sources: the Pugio Fidei
    7. Introduction of medieval slanders: the Fortalitium Fidei
    8. Looking backward and looking forward: Martin Luther

  • Author

    Robert Chazan, New York University
    Robert Chazan is Scheuer Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University, where he was the founding chair of the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies. He has published many books on medieval Jewish history and numerous articles in American and foreign academic journals. His two recent books are The Jews of Medieval Western Christendom (2006) and Reassessing Jewish Life in Medieval Europe (2010), both published by Cambridge University Press. He is a Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America and the American Academy of Jewish Research.

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