A fuzzy distinction: Anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism

Jeanne Favret-Saada


Scholarly contributions on the responsibility of the churches for the extermination of the Jews during the Second World War contrast Nazi "anti-Semitism" (the aversion toward the Jews as a racial group) with Christian "anti-Judaism" (the Christian aversion toward the Jewish religion), as one would oppose the new to the old, the modern to the traditional, the political to the religious, science to theology. The author shows, using four examples (Léon Poliakov, Hannah Arendt, Colette Guillaumin, Thomas Nipperdey & Reinhard Rürup), that this distinction induces one to ignore the churches' actions in the process that led from the invention of the word anti-Semite in 1879 to the destruction of the Jews by the Nazis.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14318/hau4.3.021