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Anti-Judaism: The Western Tradition

In Anti-Judaism, David NIRENBERG, Rebekah Devine, W.W. Norton on February 25, 2015 at 5:55 pm

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2015.02.06 | David Nirenberg. Anti-Judaism: The Western Tradition. New York: W. W. Norton & Company: 2014. pp. 610. ISBN: 9780393347913.

Reviewed by Rebekah M. Devine, Wheaton College.

Many thanks to W.W. Norton for providing a review copy.

David Nirenberg’s Anti-Judaism: The Western Tradition is self-avowedly a history of thought (p. 7), a history that seeks to demonstrate how the idea of the ‘Jew’ has been used as a derogatory shorthand for anyone who is ‘other.’ To use the example from the epigraph to the book, why is it that the 17th century English poet George Herbert can write that anyone who loves “this world’s delights before true Christian joy” has made a “Jewish choice”? How is it that Jews, Jewishness, and Judaism have become, in the history of Western Tradition, shorthand for all manner of “sins” like small-mindedness and greed?

As Nirenberg concedes in the introduction, the three thousand year scope of his investigation will be problematic for some historians. Read the rest of this entry »

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