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Antisemitism and the Politics of History

A sophisticated contribution to debates in both the academic and the public realms regarding the nature of antisemitism today.
This groundbreaking anthology addresses the history and challenges of using “antisemitism” and related terms as tools for historical analysis and public discourse. Drawing together over twenty essays by prominent scholars from Europe, Israel, and the United States, the volume encourages readers to rethink assumptions regarding the nature and meaning of Jewish history and the history of relations between Jews and non-Jews.

The book begins with a revised and updated version of David Engel’s seminal essay “Away from a Definition of Antisemitism.” Subsequent contributions by renowned specialists in ancient, medieval, and modern history, religious studies, and other fields explore the various and changing definitions and uses of the term “antisemitism” in a range of contexts, including ancient Rome and Greece, the Byzantine Empire, medieval Europe, early modern and modern Europe, North America, and the United Kingdom. The volume also includes a section that focuses on the Second World War, including the Holocaust and its memory. Engel offers a contemporary response to conclude the book.
First published in Hebrew in 2020 as a special issue of the journal Zion: A Quarterly for Research in Jewish History in cooperation with the Zalman Shazar Center in Jerusalem, this compelling collection has already had an impact on the study of antisemitism in Israel. It is certain to become a critical resource for scholars, policymakers, and journalists researching antisemitism, Holocaust studies, and related fields.

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Table of Contents

Part I: Introduction
1) Guy Miron and Scott Ury: Antisemitism: On the Dialectical Relationship between a Historical Concept and Contemporary Debates
2) David Engel: On the Evolution of the Concept “Antisemitism” and Its Use as an Aggregate Category (already in English)

Part II: Antisemitism and Historiography: Theoretical Perspectives
3) Amos Morris-Reich: History and Noise
4) Susannah Heschel: Towards an Erotohistoriography: The Sensory and Emotional Dimensions of Antisemitism
5) Stefanie Schüler-Springorum: Towards Entanglement

Part III: Anti-Judaism in the Pre-Modern Era: “The Longest Hatred”?
6) Adi Ophir and Ishay Rosen-Zvi: Separatism, Judeophobia, and the Birth of the Goy: On Chickens and Eggs
7) Youval Rotman: Antisemitism à la Byzantine: Jews, Muslims, and Iconoclasts as Religious Rivals in Byzantium
8) Tzafrir Barzilay: The Term “Antisemitism” as a Category for the Study of the History of Jews in the Middle Ages

Part IV: Relations between Jews and Non-Jews in the Modern Era
9) Ofri Ilany: Feverish Preference: Philosemitism and Its Critiques
10) Gershon Bacon: Cautious Use of the Term “Antisemitism” for Lack of an Alternative: Interwar Poland as a Case Study
11) Eli Lederhendler: Does the Term “Antisemitism” Still Hold Theoretical Value for Historians? Perspectives from the American Case
12) Arie M. Dubnov: “Fog in Channel – Continent Cut Off”? Some Remarks on Antisemitism, Pride, and Prejudice in Britain, 1830–1982
13) David Feldman: Antisemitism and Islamophobia

Part V: The Holocaust and the Study of Antisemitism
14) Havi Dreifuss: In Favor of the Conceptual Category of Antisemitism in Holocaust Studies
15) Amos Goldberg and Raz Segal: “Antisemitism” as a Question in Holocaust Research: A Response to David Engel
16) Karma Ben Johanan: Is Christian Antisemitism Possible? A History of an Intra-Catholic Debate (1965–2000)
17) David Engel, Response

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