The Jewish Faith Essay

The Jewish Faith Essay

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From the time of Jesus Christ’s death until the late modern period, the hate and discrimination of Jews stemmed from their supposed role in Christ’s death, the nature of the “separateness” of the Jewish faith, and their unwillingness to convert to Christianity. These reasons are of a distinct religious nature, rooted in Jewish law and religious customs. The Jewish faith was an example of opposition to the surging popularity of the Catholic Church, and this very clearly placed the Jewish people on the outer perimeters of European society. Jews were thusly discriminated against in their respective lands, this being, however, on the basis of religion alone. Beginning in the modern period, many Jews did, in fact, give up a good deal of their “separateness”, including the traditional dress and their languages, and became quite homogenized into their respective societies. In accordance to the form of discrimination Jews faced before the late modern period, one thinks that once the acculturation commenced, oppression would cease to exist. This was not the case, however, as the end of the 18th and the beginning of 19th century in Europe brought with it a new movement: nationalism. The nationalist movements in Europe were fueled and highlighted by the interest in “classifying” and dividing persons among nations, the concept of classification stemming from the scientific revolution. The Jews found themselves yet again on the outer rim of society, although for a different reason, their native language and culture not attributed to any nation in Europe. The Jewish people, without a homeland or “true” identity, were considered aliens who had inherent characteristics, which in turn made them an undesirable people. Jews in Europe were now consi...


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...ors in everything, but not in his desire to be a Jew and to remain one.” Thusly, Marr perfectly illustrates in his piece the aforementioned “new” antisemitism.
As illustrated by Marx and Marr in the 19th century writings, the “new” antisemitism that the European Jewry faced was distinct and quite distant when compared with antisemitic sentiments of the past. The movement toward nationalism in Europe in the late 18th and 19th centuries gave way to the “new” antisemitism, as the Jews found themselves on the outskirts of nationalistic societies brought together by common languages and culture. The “new” antisemitism had little, if anything to do with the Jewish faith, but with the very nature of the people that belonged to it. As Houston Stewart Chamberlain wrote in his piece Foundations of the 19th Century, Jews were seen as an “…alien people, everlastingly alien.”

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