From Anti-Judaism to Anti-Semisim

Ancient and Medieval Christian Constructions of Jewish History

Reddit icon
e-mail icon
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
LinkedIn icon
Robert Chazan
  • New York, NY: 
    Cambridge University Press
    , December
     270 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Carson Bay forthcoming.


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.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

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.


Add New Comment

Reading Religion welcomes comments from AAR members, and you may leave a comment below by logging in with your AAR Member ID and password. Please read our policy on commenting.

Log in to post comments