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Anti-Judaism: The Western Tradition

Anti-Judaism: The Western Tradition

Sunday, January 26, 2014 - 2:00 pm

Listen to audio from the program

“a magisterial work of intellectual history.”

                                                              — Publishers Weekly

Scholar and author David Nirenberg discussed his new book, Anti-Judaism: The Western Tradition, critically acclaimed for its wide-ranging explanation of why so much of the world has spent so much energy thinking about Jews and Judaism.

David Nirenberg is the Deborah R. and Edgar D. Jannotta Professor of Medieval History and Social Thought at the University of Chicago, where he also serves as director of the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society. His research focuses on the ways in which Jewish, Christian, and Islamic societies have interacted with each other over the ages. His books include Communities of Violence: Persecution of Minorities in the Middle Ages, and Judaism and Christian Art. Dr. Nirenberg is a frequent contributor to publications including The Nation, The New Republic, and the London Review of Books.

A World Without Jews

In Tablet Magazine, Adam Kirsch says, "The title of David Nirenberg’s new book, Anti-Judaism: The Western Tradition, uses a term pointedly different from the one we are used to. The hatred and oppression of Jews has been known since the late 19th century as anti-Semitism...What is the difference, then, between anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism? The answer, as it unfolds in Nirenberg’s scholarly tour de force, could be summarized this way: Anti-Semitism needs actual Jews to persecute; anti-Judaism can flourish perfectly well without them." Read the review >


This was the 2014 Horwitz Family Lecture in Jewish History, generously endowed by the Horwitz Charitable Fund.