Anti-Judaism: The Western Tradition

Front Cover
W. W. Norton & Company, Feb 4, 2013 - History - 624 pages
1 Review

“Exhilarating . . . a scholarly tour de force. The story Nirenberg has to tell is not over.”—Adam Kirsch, Tablet

This incisive history upends the complacency that confines anti-Judaism to the ideological extremes in the Western tradition. With deep learning and elegance, David Nirenberg shows how foundational anti-Judaism is to the history of the West.

Questions of how we are Jewish and, more critically, how and why we are not have been churning within the Western imagination throughout its history. Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans; Christians and Muslims of every period; even the secularists of modernity have used Judaism in constructing their visions of the world. The thrust of this tradition construes Judaism as an opposition, a danger often from within, to be criticized, attacked, and eliminated. The intersections of these ideas with the world of power—the Roman destruction of the Second Temple, the Spanish Inquisition, the German Holocaust—are well known. The ways of thought underlying these tragedies can be found at the very foundation of Western history.

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - joeydag - LibraryThing

I found this history truly rewarding, but it was a difficult read. The author has researched in the field of the history of ideas and produced an amazing analysis of how Western Civilization has used ... Read full review

ANTI-JUDAISM: The Western Tradition

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A complicated, ultimately rewarding history tracing how the engagement with "Jewish questions" have shaped 3,000 years of Western thought.Nirenberg (Medieval History and Social Thought/Univ. of ... Read full review


Philosophical Struggles with Judaism from Kant to Heine
Drowning Intellectuals

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2013)

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.

Bibliographic information