Anti-Judaism has been called "a total or partial opposition to Judaism—and to Jews as adherents of it—by persons who accept a competing system of beliefs and practices and consider certain genuine Judaic beliefs and practices as inferior." [Langmuir (1971, 383), [] cited by Abulafia (1998, part II, 77).] Christian anti-Judaism is a Christian theological position in opposition to Jewish belief and practice.

History of anti-Judaism

Anti-Judaism in the Roman Empire

In Rome and throughout the Roman Empire, religion was an integral part of the civil government. Emperors proclaimed themselves as gods on Earth, and demanded to be worshiped accordingly.Lazare, Bernard. "op cit". p. 63] This created religious difficulties for Jews, who were prohibited from worshiping any other god then that of the Hebrew Bible. Religious differences created civil problems in the relations between Rome and its Jewish subjects, as well as for worshipers of Mithras, worshipers of Sabazius, and Christianity.Lazare, Bernard. "op cit". p. 64]

Early Christianity and the Judaizers

Christianity commenced its existence as a sect within Judaism. It was seen as such by the early Christians, as well as Jews in general. The wider Roman administration would not have understood any distinction. Christianity inherited Jewish monotheism, scriptures (the Old Testament or Septuagint), liturgy, and moralism.

The main point of divergence by the Christian community from its Jewish roots was the Christian belief that Jesus was the long awaited Messiah. Another point of divergence was the questioning by the Christian community of the applicability of the Law of Moses (the Torah). [Taylor, "op cit", p. 127-8] The two issues came to be linked in a theological discussion within the Christian community as to whether the coming of the Messiah could or did annul some or all biblical law in what came to be called a New Covenant.

The circumcision controversy was probably the first issue during which the theological argument was conducted in terms of anti-Judaism, with those who argued for the view that biblical law continued to be applicable being labelled "Judaizers" or "Pharisees" (eg. ] and thus competition for the religious loyalties of gentiles drove anti-Judaism. [Taylor, "op cit", p. 7] The debate and dialogue moved from polemic to bitter verbal and written attacks one against the other. To Tarfon (d. 135 CE) is attributed a statement about whether scrolls could be left to burn in a fire on the Sabbath. A disputed [Daniel Boyarin, Border Lines - The Partition of Judaeo-Christianity (2006) pg 57-58] [ Kuhn (1960) and Maier (1962) cited by Paget in ‘The Written Gospel’ (2005), pg 210] [ Friedlander (1899) cited in Pearson in ‘Gnosticism, Judaism and Egyptian Christianity’ (1990)] [ Rabbinic discussion of gilyonim: [] ] interpretation identifies these books with the Gospels (q.v. Gilyonim): "The Gospels must be burned for paganism is not as dangerous to the Jewish faith as Jewish Christian sects."cite book
title=Antisemitism: Its History and Causes
authorlink=Bernard Lazare
publisher=International Library
location=New York
] The anonymous "Letter to Diognetus" was the earliest apologetic work in the early Church to address Judaism.Lazare, Bernard. "op cit". p. 56] Saint Justin Martyr (d. 165 CE) wrote the apologetic "Dialogue with Trypho", [ [ "Dialogue of Justin, Philosoper and Martyr, with Trypho, a Jew."] ] a polemical debate giving the Christian assertions for the Messiahship of Jesus by making use of the Old Testament contrasted with counter-arguments from a fictionalized version of Tarphon.Lazare, Bernard. "op cit". p. 57] "For centuries defenders of Christ and the enemies of the Jews employed no other method" than these apologetics. Apologetics were difficult as gentile converts could not be expected to understand Hebrew; translations of the Septuagint into Greek prior to Aquila would serve as a flawed basis for such cross-cultural arguments,Lazare, Bernard. "op cit". p. 60] as demonstrated by Origen's difficulties debating Rabbi Simlai.

Though Emperor Hadrian was an "enemy of the synagogue", the reign of Antonius began a period of Roman benevolence toward the Jewish faith. [Taylor, "op cit", p. 48] Meanwhile, imperial hostility toward Christianity continued to crystallize; after Decius, the empire was at war with it. [Taylor, "op cit", p. 49] An unequal power relationship between Jews and Christians in the context of the Greco-Roman world "generated anti-Jewish feelings among the early Christians. [Taylor, "op cit", p. 47] Feelings of mutual hatred arose, driven in part by Judaism's legality in the Roman Empire; in Antioch, where the rivalry was most bitter, Jews most likely demanded the execution of Polycarp.Lazare, Bernard. "op cit". p. 59]

From Constantine to the eighth century

When Constantine and Licinius were issuing the Edict of Milan, the influence of Judaism was fading in the Land of Israel and seeing a rebirth outside the Roman Empire in Babylonia. By the third century the Judaizing heresies were nearly extinct in Christianity. The Council of Nicea ended Passover celebrations for ChristiansLazare, Bernard. "op cit". p. 65] by devising rules for determining the date of Easter to ensure it will never fall on the same day as Passover.Fact|date=October 2008

After his defeat of Licinius in 323 CE, Constantine showed Christians marked political preference. He repressed Jewish proselytism and forbade Jews from circumcising their slaves.Lazare, Bernard. "op cit". p. 72] Jews were barred from Jerusalem except on the anniversary of the Second Temple's destruction (Tisha B'Av) and then only after paying a special tax in silver. He also promulgated a law which condemned to the stake Jews who persecuted their apostates by stoning.Lazare, Bernard. "op cit". p. 73] Catholicism became the state religion (q.v. Christendom) of the Roman Empire. "No sooner was [the Church] armed than it forgot its most elementary principles, and directed the secular arm against its enemies."Lazare, Bernard. "op cit". p. 73-5]

From the middle of the fifth century, apologetics ceased with Cyril of Alexandria.Lazare, Bernard. "op cit". p. 66] This form of anti-Judaism had proven futile and often served to strengthen Jewish faith. With Christianity ascendant in the Empire, the "Fathers, the bishops, and the priest who had to contend against the Jews treated them very badly. Hosius in Spain; Pope Sylvester I; Eusebius of Caesaria call them 'a perverse, dangerous, and criminal sect.'"Lazare, Bernard. "op cit". p. 67-8] While Gregory of Nyssa merely reproaches Jews as infidels, other teachers are more vehement. St. Augustine labels the Talmudists as falsifiers; St. Ambrose recycled the earlier anti-Christian trope and accuses Jews of despising Roman law. St. Jerome claims Jews were possessed by an impure spirit. St. Cyril of Jerusalem claimed the Jewish Patriarchs, or Nasi, were a low race.

All these theological and polemical attacks combined in St. John Chrysostom's six sermons delivered at Antioch. Chrysostom, an archbishop of Constantinople, (d. 407 CE) is very negative in his treatment of Judaism, though much more hyperbolic in expression. [Saint John Chrysostom: [ "Eight Homilies Against the Jews"] ] While St. Justin's "Dialogue" is a philosophical treatise, St. Chrysostom's homilies "Against the Jews" are a more informal and rhetorically forceful set of sermons preached in church. Delivered while Chrysostom was still a priest in Antioch, his homilies deliver a scathing critique of Jewish religious and civil life, warning Christians not to have any contact with Judaism or the synagogue and to keep away from the rival religion's festivals.

"There are legions of theologians, historians and writers who write about the Jews the same as Chrysostom: Epiphanius, Diodorus of Tarsus, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Theodoret of Cyprus, Cosmas Indicopleustes, Athanasius the Sinaite among the Greeks; Hilarius of Poitiers, Prudentius, Paulus Orosius, Sulpicius Severus, Gennadius, Venantius Fortunatus, Isidore of Seville, among the Latins."Lazare, Bernard. "op cit". p. 70-1]

From the fourth to seventh centuries, while the bishops taught anti-Judaism in writing, the Empire enacted a variety of civil laws against Jews, such forbidding them from holding public office, and an oppressive curial tax.Lazare, Bernard. "op cit". p. 73-5] Laws were enacted to harass their free observance of religion; Justinian went so far as to enact a law against Jewish daily prayers. Both Christians and Jews engaged in recorded mob violence in the waning days of the Empire.Lazare, Bernard. "op cit". p. 76-80]

The pattern wherein Jews were relatively free under pagan rulers until the Catholic conversion of the leadership, as seen with Constantine, would be repeated in the lands beyond the now collapsed Roman Empire. Sigismund of Burgundy enacted laws against Jews after coming to the throne after his conversion in 514;Lazare, Bernard. "op cit". p. 87] likewise after the conversion of Reccared, king of the Visigoths in 589, which would have lasting effect when codified by Reccesuinth in the Visigothic Code of Law.Lazare, Bernard. "op cit". p. 86] This code inspired Jews to aid Tariq ibn-Ziyad in his overthrow of Roderick, and under the Moors they regained their usurped religious freedoms.

After the eighth century

Beginning with the eighth century, legislation against heresies grew more severe. The Church, once confining itself to only the powers of canon law increasingly appealed to secular powers, and heretics such as the Vaudois, Albigenses, Beghards, Apostolic Brothers, and Luciferians were "treated with cruelty"Lazare, Bernard. "op cit". p. 116-7] which culminated in the 13th century establishment of the Inquisition by Pope Innocent III. Jews were not ignored by such legislation, as they instigated Christians to judaizations, either directly or unconsciously, by their existence. They sent forth metaphysicians such as Amaury de Béne and David de Dinan; the Pasagians followed Mosaic Law; the Orleans heresy was a Jewish heresy; the Albigens taught Jewish doctrine as superior to Christian; the Dominicans preached against both the Hussites and their Jewish supporters and thus the imperial army sent to advance on Jan Ziska massacred Jews along the way. In Spain, where Castilian custom (fueros) had granted equal rights to Muslims, Christians, and Jews, Gregory XI instituted the Spanish Inquisition to surveil Jews and Moors wherever "by words or writings they urged the Catholics to embrace their faith".

Usury became a proximate cause of much anti-Jewish sentiment during the Middle Ages.Lazare, Bernard. "op cit". p. 111-4] In Italy and later Poland and Germany, John of Capistrano stirred up the poor against the usury of the Jews; Bernardinus of Feltre, aided by the practical notion of establishing mont-de-piétés, called for the expulsion of Jews all over Italy and Tyrol and caused the massacre of the Jews at Trent.Lazare, Bernard. "op cit". p. 114-5] Kings, nobles, and bishops discouraged this behavior, protecting Jews from the monk Radulphe in Germany and countering the preachings of Bernardinus in Italy. These reactions were from knowing the history of mobs, incited against Jews, continuing attacks against their rich co-religionists.

The Church kept to its theological anti-Judaism and, favoring the mighty and rich, was careful not to encourage the passions of the people. But while it sometimes interfered on behalf of the Jews when they were the objects of mob fury, it was at the same time fueled the fury by combating Judaism; it persecuted Judaism in all its forms as it strove to reduce all anti-Christian elements at work in Europe.

In the Reformation

Martin Luther has been accused of antisemitism, primarily in relation to his statements about Jews in his book "On the Jews and their Lies", which describes the Jews in extremely harsh terms, excoriating them, and providing detailed recommendation for a pogrom against them and their permanent oppression and/or expulsion. According to Paul Johnson, it "may be termed the first work of modern anti-Semitism, and a giant step forward on the road to the Holocaust". [Johnson, Paul: "A History of the Jews" (1987), p.242] In contrast, Roland Bainton, noted church historian and Luther biographer, wrote "One could wish that Luther had died before ever this tract was written. His position was entirely religious and in no respect racial" [Bainton, Roland: "Here I Stand", (Nashville: Abingdon Press, New American Library, 1983), p. 297] .

Peter Martyr Vermigli, a shaper of Reformed Protestantism, took pains to maintain the contradiction, going back to Paul of Tarsus, of Jews being both enemy and friend, writing: "The Jews are not odious to God for the very reason they are Jews; for how could this have happened since they were embellished with so many great gifts...." [cite book
title=Peter Martyr Vermigli And The European Reformations: Semper Reformanda
first=Frank A.
publisher=Brill Academic Publishers
id=ISBN 9004139141

Contrasted with antisemitism

"The question of the relation of traditional Christian anti-Judaism and modern antisemitism" has "ignite [d] explosive debates" among scholars. [cite encyclopedia
title=The Encyclopedia of Christianity
coauthors=Geoffrey William Bromiley
volume=3, J-O
location=Grand Rapids, Michigan / Cambridge UK / Leiden / Boston
id=ISBN 0802824153
publisher=Wm. B. Eerdmans

Whereas, according to historian Gavin Langmuir, anti-Judaism is concerned with exaggerated accusations against Jews which nonetheless contain a particle of truth or evidence, antisemitism (which dates back in Europe to the twelfth and thirteenth centuries) reaches beyond unusual general inferences and is concerned with false suppositions.Abulafia (1998, part II, 77), referring to Langmuir (1971).] Thus Langmuir considers the labelling of Jews as 'Christ-killers' is anti-Judaic; accusations of well-poisoning, on the other hand, he regards as antisemitic. In his view, anti-Judaism and antisemitism have existed side by side from the twelfth century onwards and have strengthened each other ever since. [Abulafia (1998, part II, 77), citing Langmuir (1971, 383–389).] The blood libel is another example of antisemitism, though it is based in distorted notions of Judaism.

Anti-Judaism is also often distinguished from antisemitism based upon racial or ethnic grounds (racial antisemitism). "The dividing line was the possibility of effective conversion . . . a Jew ceased to be a Jew upon baptism." However, with racial antisemitism, "Now the assimilated Jew was still a Jew, even after baptism ... . From the Enlightenment onward, it is no longer possible to draw clear lines of distinction between religious and racial forms of hostility towards Jews... Once Jews have been emancipated and secular thinking makes its appearance without leaving behind the old Christian hostility towards Jews, the new term antisemitism becomes almost unavoidable, even before explicitly racist doctrines appear." [Nichols, William: "Christian Antisemitism, A History of Hate" (1993) p.314]

At several points in the history of Christianity, Chrysostom and Luther's writings have been used to justify antisemitism.

ee also

* Supersessionism
* Christianity and antisemitism
* Schisms among the Jews
* Criticism of Judaism
*Persecution of early Christians by the Jews
*New Covenant


* Abulafia, Anna Sapir (ed.)(1998). "Christians and Jews in Dispute : Disputational Literature and the Rise of Anti-Judaism in the West (c. 1000-1150)" (Variorum Collected Studies Series). Aldershot, Hampshire: Ashgate. ISBN 0-86078-661-7.

* Langmuir, Gavin (1971). "Anti-Judaism as the necessary preparation for anti-Semitism". "Viator", 2: p. 383.

External links

* [ Was St. John Chrysostom Anti-Semitic?]
* [ Anti-Semitism or anti-Judaism?]
* [ The Gospel of John and Christian Anti-Judaism]
* [ The Spanish Inquisition - Presentation with images and videos]

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