Philosemitism in History

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Too often philosemitism, the idealization of Jews and Judaism, has been simplistically misunderstood as merely antisemitism “in sheep’s clothing.” This book takes a different approach, surveying the phenomenon from antiquity to the present and highlighting its rich complexity and broad impact on Western culture. Philosemitism in History includes fourteen essays by specialist historians, anthropologists, literary scholars, and scholars of religion, ranging from medieval philosemitism to such modern and contemporary topics as the African American depictions of Jews as ethnic role models, the Zionism of Christian evangelicals, pro-Jewish educational television in West Germany, and the current fashion for Jewish "kitsch" memorabilia in contemporary East-Central Europe. An extensive introductory chapter offers a thorough and original overview of the topic. The book underscores both the endurance and the malleability of philosemitism, drawing attention to this important but widely neglected facet of Jewish–non-Jewish relations.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'Philosemitism in History by Karp and Sutcliffe is an eloquent and timely illustration of this particular academic faculty: combining insights from social, religious and intellectual history, literary criticism, media studies and cultural analysis, it offers a pertinent illustration of cumulative power of interdisciplinary dialogue, and it creates room for complexity at a time when public discourse seems to favour affirmation and readily marketable results.' Journal of Jewish Studies
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521873772
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2011
  • Pages: 356
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Jonathan Karp is Associate Professor of History and Chair of the Judaic Studies Department at Binghamton University, State University of New York. He is the author of The Politics of Jewish Commerce: Economic Thought and Emancipation, 1638–1848 (Cambridge University Press, 2008) and co-editor, with Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, of The Art of Being Jewish in Modern Times (2007).

Adam Sutcliffe is Senior Lecturer in European History, Department of History, King's College London. He is the author of Judaism and Enlightenment (Cambridge University Press, 2003) and co-editor, with Ross Brann, of Renewing the Past, Reconfiguring Jewish Culture: From Al-Andalus to the Haskalah (2004).

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Table of Contents

Introduction: a brief history of philosemitism Adam Sutcliffe and Jonathan Karp; Part I. Medieval and Early Modern Frameworks: 1. Philosemitic tendencies in medieval western Christendom Robert Chazan; 2. The revival of Christian Hebraism in early modern Europe Abraham Melamed; 3. The philosemitic moment? Judaism and republicanism in seventeenth-century European thought Adam Sutcliffe; Part II. Three European Philosemites: 4. William Whiston's Judeo-Christianity: millenarianism and Christian Zionism in early enlightenment England Adam Shear; 5. A friend of the Jews? The Abbé Grégoire and philosemitism in revolutionary France Alyssa Goldstein Sepinwall; 6. Ordinary people, ordinary Jews: Mór Jókai as Magyar philosemite Howard Lupovitch; Part III. The Cultural Politics of Philosemitism in Victorian Britain and Imperial Germany: 7. Bad Jew / good Jewess: gender and semitic discourse in nineteenth-century England Nadia Valman; 8. Anti'philosemitism' and anti-antisemitism in imperial Germany Lars Fischer; 9. From recognition to consensus: the nature of philosemitism in Germany, 1871–1932 Alan T. Levenson; Part IV. American Philosemitism: 10. Ethnic role models and chosen peoples: philosemitism in African-American culture Jonathan Karp; 11. Connoisseurs of angst: the Jewish mystique and postwar American literary culture Julian Levinson; 12. 'It's all in the Bible': evangelical Christians, biblical literalism and philosemitism in our times Yaakov Ariel; Part V. Philosemitism in Post-Holocaust Europe: 13. What is the opposite of genocide? Philosemitic television in Germany, 1963-1995 Wulf Kansteiner; 14. 'Non-Jewish, non kosher, yet also recommended': beyond 'virtually Jewish' in post-millenium Central Europe Ruth Ellen Gruber.

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