Religion 209b - Antisemitism and the Christian Tradition

Prof. Anne McGuire, Spring 1998

Course Description

This course offers an examination of the phenomenon of antisemitism in the history of Christianity, with a special focus on its ancient origins and contemporary manifestations in the United States. Topics include: Christian anti-Judaism and antisemitism in the history of Jewish-Christian relations; the theological, social, and cultural sources and contexts of negative representations of Judaism, the Jewish people, and the Jewish scriptures in Christian tradition; the role of the Christian tradition in shaping attitudes, stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination toward Jews and Judaism; contemporary efforts among Jews and Christians to resist and overcome anti-Judaism and antisemitism. This course fulfils the Social Justice requirement.

WWWeb Resources


Selected Course Readings

For March 4: An Infamous Forgery: The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion on "A Jewish World Conspiracy" against the Goyim

Excerpts from The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, Marsden translation.

For March 2: Church Documents on Jewish-Christian Relations


For February 25: Selections from Martin Luther

For February 16: Selections from John Chrysostom

For February 16: Selections from Augustine

Course Outline

  • I. Introduction to the Course: Anti-Judaism and Antisemitism in the History of Christianity (1/20-29)

    II. The Contexts of Christian Anti-Judaism and Antisemitism: The History of Jewish-Christian Relations from the New Testament through the Twentieth Century (2/2-3/6)

    III. The Holocaust and Post-Holocaust Contexts: Antisemitism and Resistance in the Twentieth Century (3/16-4/30)

    Course Requirements

  • participation in class discussion;
  • weekly one-page paper on reading assigned for class;
  • participation in a group project on a topic in the study of Antisemitism + in-class presentation;
  • a final research paper of 18-20 pages.

    Reading list

    The books listed below are available for purchase at the Haverford College Bookstore. Some additional readings will be placed on reserve in Magill Library.

  • Edward Flannery, The Anguish of the Jews
  • Malcolm Hay, The Roots of Christian Anti-Semitism
  • Elie Wiesel, Night
  • John RousmaniereA Bridge to Dialogue: The Story of Jewish Christian-Relations.
  • James Ridgeway.Blood in the Face: The Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nations, Nazi Skinheads, and the Rise of a New White Culture.
  • Michael Lerner and Cornel West, Jews and Blacks: A Dialogue on Race, Religion, and Culture in America
  • Howard Clark Kee, ed. Removing Anti-Judaism from the Pulpit.
  • Additional readings on Reserve in Magill Library

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