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Judeophobia: Attitudes toward the Jews in the Ancient World Paperback – October 1, 1998
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“A well-informed and intelligently argued book. It is also admirably readable.”―Jasper Griffin, New York Review of Books
“An elegant, persuasive, and comprehensive book...It is no exaggeration to say that Judeophobia changes the way we think about Judaism in the Greco-Roman world.”―Alan Mendelson, History [UK]
“In Judeophobia Peter Schäfer makes a major contribution to the social history of Judaism in antiquity...The book is written in a clear style appropriate for non-specialists. Non-English language terms are transliterated and, in most cases, translated the first time they are used. Schäfer's thesis is that the origins of anti-Semitism can be traced to three successive centers of conflict: Egypt, Syria-Palestine, and Rome. Schäfer's attempt to disentangle the unique aspects of the growth of anti-Semitism in each of these three centers is one of the most important contributions of the book...This book deserves to be read by anyone interested in the origins of anti-Semitism. Its main arguments will undoubtedly become a source for discussion and debate in future research. Schäfer deserves our thanks, both for his courage in pursuing a difficult topic with such frankness and for the numerous insights that he has contributed to research on this topic.”―Allen Kerkeslager, Journal for the Study of Judaism
“Schäfer has given us a masterly account of the early history of antisemitism.”―Robert Goldenberg, Shofar
“Schäfer demonstrates his mastery of the sources...[and] isolate[s] with great clarity key elements in the history of antisemitism.”―Nicholas De Lange, Patterns of Prejudice
From the Back Cover
- Publisher : Harvard University Press; Revised ed. edition (October 1, 1998)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 318 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0674487788
- ISBN-13 : 978-0674487789
- Item Weight : 15.7 ounces
- Dimensions : 6.13 x 0.8 x 9.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #866,497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Jewish beliefs and customs alienated them from the surrounding pagan culture. Their God, who insisted on no images being created of him, was a rejection of pagan beliefs. Apion "complains that the Jews 'do not worship the same gods as the Alexandrians'" (p 39).
Hecataeus and Manetho (3rd century B.C.) accused the Jews of being thrown out of Egypt due to leprosy.
One famous slur is first found in Mnaseas of Patara (about 200 B.C), that of accusing the Jews of ass-worship. Apion later wrote that Jews kept the head of an ass in the temple to worship "this allegation obviously ..meant to 'solve' the enigma of the mysterious cult in the Jerusalem Temple to which no foreigner had access" (p 60).
Added to the sneer of ass-worship was the lurid tale that the Jews caught a Greek every year and then sacrificed him.
Jewish proselytism was mentioned by a number of people in antiquity, and was apparently a source of anxiety.
Their refusal to work on the Sabbath seems to have first been mentioned by Agatharchides, who wrote that Pompey was able to conquer them due to their insistence on not fighting on the Sabbath.
Schafer explores both the Elephantine and Alexandrian outbursts against Jews. In Alexandria, Philo records a truly appalling level of hatred against the Jews. That they were stoned or clubbed to death. Then that they dragged the bodies through the streets "'until the corpses, their skin flesh and muscles shattered by the unevenness of the ground....were wasted to nothing''" (p 141). Philo regarded the Egyptians as the main source of anti-Jewish hatred.
Many ancient sources complain of the unsociability of the Jews. Manetho sniffs that they will "have intercourse with none save those of their own confederacy'" (p 172).
Cicero portrays them as being at odds with Roman traditional values. The satirist Juvenal poked fun at their Sabbath and circumcision.
Wonderful book, comprehensive and intelligent...but I found all the evidence of anti-Jewish sentiment distressed me. I have a Jewish stepfather and two Jewish stepsisters.