History of Antisemitism I: Antiquity to Late Eighteenth Century
This course surveys the causes — religious, political, socioeconomic, social psychological, and intellectual — of antisemitism and its manifestations, from antiquity to the dawn of the Enlightenment. Students gain insights into the historical development and impact of this “longest hatred.” The course then considers the reasons of why a study of the history of antisemitism is important for the general population and for Jews in particular. This course describes a variety of theories attempting to account for antisemitism. Following this, the course will proceed with a chronological examination of the history of this phenomenon, beginning in antiquity and ending with the dissolution of the Polish Jewish community at the end of the eighteenth century. It will discuss antisemitism in both western and Islamic civilizations as well as Jewish responses to antisemitism during this period.