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Antisemitism: Special Two-Part Presentation Browse

Aron Rodrigue: Traditions about Jews in Theology


Perhaps sometimes it is useful to be reminded of the fact that the very term “antisemite” is invented in the 1870s. And that I think sort of points to a very profound mutation that what would be called traditional anti-Judaism, which was part and parcel of Christian theology, was beginning to undergo. That is, say there were a whole host of centuries of traditions about Jews in theology but also deeply popularized in among the population in terms of superstitions and other sorts of beliefs never in fact fully sanctioned by church hierarchy, that went even far beyond some of the sort of what was considered classical teaching. A lot of those fed the kind of more pseudoscientific racializing theories that began to emerge and there we see from about the first half of the nineteenth century onwards up until the 1880s, the crystallization of notions of race, of the Indo-European or Aryan race versus the Semite race. And that added another register to a very complex phenomenon, that people who are part of the totality of the movement can be all along the spectrum. They could be more traditional, embedded in traditional anti-Judaism, religious-based views, and/or sometimes in fact neo-pagan racialist views but all of them as part of a very complex spectrum.

—Aron Rodrigue

Eva Chernov Lokey Professor of Jewish Studies, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California

"Perhaps sometimes it is useful to be reminded of the fact that the very term “antisemite” is invented in the 1870s"


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