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Anti-Judaism: The Western Tradition Paperback – March 3, 2014

ISBN-13: 978-0393347913 ISBN-10: 0393347915 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Learned and disquieting. . . . Anti-Judaism identifies a persistent and pervasive thread in the fabric of Western thought that no future commentary . . . will be entitled to ignore.” (R. I. Moore - Nation)

“Chilling. . . . Nirenberg offers his painful and important history so that we might recognize these patterns [of intolerance and violence] in hopes of not falling into them yet again.” (Michael S. Roth - Washington Post)

“Brilliant, fascinating.” (Michael Walzer - New York Review of Books)

“[A] magisterial work of intellectual history.” (Publishers Weekly)

About the Author

David Nirenberg is the Deborah R. and Edgar D. Jannotta Professor of Medieval History and Social Thought at the University of Chicago, where he is also director of the Neubauer Family Collegium for Culture and Society.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (March 3, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393347915
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393347913
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 0.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,723 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

This is a book that everyone must read if you want to understand the intellectual aids virus of the West !
Butch
I give the book my highest rating based on its thoroughness and scrupulous reliance on primary source material.
Stephen Shucard
Although not the most pleasant story I liked to have a good and trustfull book in my hands to read and reread.
hendrik j huyser

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

84 of 95 people found the following review helpful By William Garrison Jr. VINE VOICE on February 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
“Anti-Judaism” by David Nirenberg (Feb. 2013). Oh, yes, there are many books discussing some portion of anti-Judaism (antisemitism), but what I found particularly different about this book is extensive review of anti-Judaism not only from the early Christian era condemning the “Christ Killers”, but also from even older hatreds: from Egyptians and Romans before the advent of Christianity. The author acknowledges that the Egyptian and Roman hatred wasn’t so overtly outright antisemitism, but the author opined that this era is “an early example of how a people’s sense of their past and present place in the world could be articulated through the construction of a fundamental opposition to Jews and Judaism” (p. 24). The author acknowledges that the anti-Jewish history c. 550-250BCE is murky, but I believe he strives well in trying to bring together – at times – even opposing and conflicting stories in seeing the development of the perception of Jews as being “the other” people than those they are living amongst: as the Jews opposed the local multiple gods and held their Purim celebration (p. 31), and at times warred against the Egyptians. There is simply too much history to review herein, but the author reviews much. The author reviews the development as to how early Christian theologians condemned Jews en mass starting shortly after Jesus’ death: including the views of Luke & Paul. The author presents an informative review as to how the apostles’ viewed two desires: “the desire to understand Jesus’ gospel as the fulfillment of God’s promise beyond Abraham’s descendants … and the desire to extend that promise beyond Abraham’s descendants in the flesh” (p. 56).Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
This book is called Anti- Judaism. It is not a book which focuses on the actions of Jews themselves. It does not focus too on relating historical instances of cruelty and persecution of Jews.It rather focuses on the thought of 'others' about Jews, and how that thought has enabled them to justify and promote their own religious and political biases. Included in this long list of Jews haters, are key figures who were themselves Jewish in origin,most prominently Paul, Spinoza and Marx.

The long story in Thought related here which begins in seventh century B.C. Egypt and covers Early Christianity, the Early Church fathers , Islamic origins, Medieval Europe, the Reformation, Shakespeare's England, the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, Nineteenth Century Idealist Thought, relates how Hatred and Demonization are formidable weapons in ideological struggles. Nirenberg traces how ideas from one period and world carry into others. One such idea; of Judaism's anti- spiritual character carries all the way through various Christian and even anti-or post-Christian Western periods.

Nirenberg's narrative powers are formidable. He makes understandable a paradox I have always had problems with, the way opposing groups -those with completely opposite ideologies make Judaism their primal enemy.

The tale is a sad and maddening one as it says something deeply true not about the Jews, but about humanity and human thought. For me it provided understanding of a dimension of anti- Semitism that I had been vaguely aware of but never really understood.

A masterwork of scholarship, if a deeply troubling one at that.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By S. Lev-Ami on April 24, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Nirenberg shows how the development of two religions needed to not only separate themselves from their source, but denigrate it as well in order to vindicate their own philosophies, and how this has resulted in historical animus against not only the practitioners of Judaism but Judaism itself. Very thought-provoking.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Howard L. Milkman on May 29, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a subject that is so emotional for me that I can hardly talk about it. Nirenberg gives me that background, histrory and
analysis with which I should have started. His analysis seems so original and so apt that it brings an increased awareness to the
history of all religions.
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50 of 66 people found the following review helpful By UBG on February 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What an incredible work of scholarship!
A brilliant analysis of the fear/hatred that never sleeps, that is
always old and always new. That can never stop re-inventing itself because
differentiation from the Jew and his Judaism has been essential to the self-identification
and ultimately the self-worth of so many cultures.
Hatred and fear of the Jew and his thought has been and still is fundamental to the West and to Islam.
Its most current permutation is to be found in the obsessive demonization of Israel and Zionism.
Who are these people and how did they get to be so...essential...to
the identities of so many? What a mystery.
Nirenberg has done some very hard thinking here. Well done !!!
I really dig this book!
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By patricia del ricci on June 17, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read a lot of history books and I wanted to know why the Jews were always treated so poorly as a group. This book answered many of my questions by describing time periods that are relevant to their history. I also questioned why the world allowed what happened in Europe in the 1930's and 40's to be a disgrace to humanity.
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