The History of Anti-Semitism

October 16, 2017 Needham $300.00 - $350.00 0
(Photo: tzahiV/iStock)
(Photo: tzahiV/iStock)

This course begins by introducing students to the medieval roots of antiJudaism in both the Christian and the Islamic traditions, and proceeds to show how various processes in the nineteenth century helped to transform those medieval roots into the distinctively modern phenomena of political and racial antisemitism.

Although this transformation looks different in the Christian West and the Muslim East, in both contexts similar factors drive the process: nationalism, the concept of race, modern economics, colonialism, and the battle for political power.

Interestingly, as recent scholarship has shown, in both contexts non-Jewish intellecuals often severely attacked the idea of Judaism—quite apart from actual, flesh and blood Jews—and this ended up shaping popular culture in powerful ways, changing how common people looked at real Jewish men and women.

The course also analyses factors in the contemporary scene that have created a climate of Islamic antisemitism in the Middle East and, to a lesser but still significant degree, a climate of far-right antisemitism in America.

We will analyze how older forms of antiJudaism and antisemitism have come to play a variety of roles in both these forms of antisemitism today, including the famous forgery “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” We will also study the specific historical details that led to the rise of what scholars call “radical Islamism” in the modern Islamic world, and its unfortunate contribution to the hatred of Jews.

Class begins on October 16, 2017 and meets Mondays 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. for 12 sessions, through January 22, 2018.

For more information and to register, click “Go” or contact Sara Riedner Brown, Associate Director, Me’ah at 617-559-8708 or

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Fact Sheet
Monday, October 16, 2017, 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Temple Beth Shalom
670 Highland Ave
Needham, MA 02494
$300.00 synagogue member
$350.00 non-member

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