Christian Teaching and Anti-Semitism
Scrutinizing Religious Texts
Traditionally, the study of anti-Semitism was concerned with the objective factors which over the centuries have contributed to Christian hostility toward Jews. In particular the religious sources of this hostility were emphasized. Anti-Semitism was seen as the consequence of the fundamental point of conflict between the two traditions—that Christians affirm, while Jews deny, that Jesus is God’s Messiah—a conflict which was exacerbated by such other contributory features as the frequent misrepresentation of Jews and Judaism in Christian teaching. Since Hitler, however, it has been recognized that the religious explanation is unable to account for the hold that anti-Semitism may have on an individual, or on a whole people. The more recent tendency has consequently been to describe anti-Semitism chiefly in sociological or psychological terms, and to focus attention on the subjective factors involved.
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