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The Devil and the Jews

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A JPS bestseller, this is the definitive work of scholarship on the medieval conception of the Jew as devil—literally and figuratively. Through documents, analysis, and illustrations, the book exposes the full spectrum of the Jew’s demonization as devil, sorcerer, and ritual murderer. The author reveals how these myths, many with origins traced to Christian Europe in the l A JPS bestseller, this is the definitive work of scholarship on the medieval conception of the Jew as devil—literally and figuratively. Through documents, analysis, and illustrations, the book exposes the full spectrum of the Jew’s demonization as devil, sorcerer, and ritual murderer. The author reveals how these myths, many with origins traced to Christian Europe in the late Middle Ages, still exist in transmuted form in the modern era.


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A JPS bestseller, this is the definitive work of scholarship on the medieval conception of the Jew as devil—literally and figuratively. Through documents, analysis, and illustrations, the book exposes the full spectrum of the Jew’s demonization as devil, sorcerer, and ritual murderer. The author reveals how these myths, many with origins traced to Christian Europe in the l A JPS bestseller, this is the definitive work of scholarship on the medieval conception of the Jew as devil—literally and figuratively. Through documents, analysis, and illustrations, the book exposes the full spectrum of the Jew’s demonization as devil, sorcerer, and ritual murderer. The author reveals how these myths, many with origins traced to Christian Europe in the late Middle Ages, still exist in transmuted form in the modern era.

30 review for The Devil and the Jews

  1. 5 out of 5

    [Name Redacted]

    Brilliant. Despite having been published in 1943, this is something I could happily assign to my students today. One of the earliest and most exhaustive explorations of European persecutions and conceptions of Jewishness, from the fall of Rome to the rise of the Nazis. The specific focus is on the European understandings of Jews as sorcerers and Satanists and how that influenced the ways in which they were legislated against and misrepresented by their non-Jewish neighbors. I especially apprecia Brilliant. Despite having been published in 1943, this is something I could happily assign to my students today. One of the earliest and most exhaustive explorations of European persecutions and conceptions of Jewishness, from the fall of Rome to the rise of the Nazis. The specific focus is on the European understandings of Jews as sorcerers and Satanists and how that influenced the ways in which they were legislated against and misrepresented by their non-Jewish neighbors. I especially appreciated his wry asides, dripping with a sense of the black humor inherent in his people's tragic history. EG: In describing Dio Cassius' sensationalistic and largely fabricated account of the Jewish revolt in North Africa (the ancient consul-cum-historian claimed that the Jewish rebels engaged in cannibalism, washed themselves with gentile blood & dressed in the entrails of slaughtered goyim), Trachtenberg wryly notes: "The ferocity of the American Indian of dime novel fame pales ingloriously before Dio Cassius’ blood-curdling description…" Comparing Dio Cassius to pulp authors like Zane Grey? YES.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Seth J. Vogelman

    Infinitely disturbing.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Hirsch

    This book really shows how the dichotomy between scholarly and popular is a false one, or at least that it can be when the scholar has a very clear mind and significant compositional powers. "The Devil and the Jews" is a book brimming with information on the religious mind of the Medieval world, its customs, forebears, and offshoots, but it is also in no small part humorous, mordant, suffused with a poignant and sad irony. Yes, it's a great piece of scholarship, but it's also a lament, a jeremia This book really shows how the dichotomy between scholarly and popular is a false one, or at least that it can be when the scholar has a very clear mind and significant compositional powers. "The Devil and the Jews" is a book brimming with information on the religious mind of the Medieval world, its customs, forebears, and offshoots, but it is also in no small part humorous, mordant, suffused with a poignant and sad irony. Yes, it's a great piece of scholarship, but it's also a lament, a jeremiad, incidentally, first published in 1943. For those of you who are not history buffs, 1943 was not a very good year to be Jewish in Europe. The book focuses its study on the late Middle Ages to the Renaissance, but reaches at least as far back as the reigns of Justinian and Nero. It gives this thoroughgoing treatment in order to argue its central thesis, which is that antisemitism started as an offshoot or perhaps adjunct to one of many interfaith squabbles in the Middle Ages (between Catholics and Protestants, various charismatic sects, gypsies, Saracens, Gnostics). This theological squabbling led to sectarian bloodletting when cultural and economic tension between Jews and Gentiles reached a boiling point. Dr. Joshua Trachtenberg shows that many of the charges lobbed at Jews, ritual murder, the gathering of blood and other bodily fluids for unholy sacrament, had previously been levelled by pagans against the early Christians, and that many times religious and secular authorities were not in agreement with each other, or with their citizens, about how to resolve the "Jewish Question." We know the unfortunate answer to the question that got proffered around the midpoint of the 20th century by a man my professor used to refer to as Evil Charlie Chaplin. One has to wonder if Herr Trachtenberg knew the extent of the nightmare himself when he created this book that does what all great scholarly works do, inasmuch as it increases the stock of human knowledge? Unfortunately, he's no longer with us and we can't ask him. Highest recommendation, with some photos included.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Denise Blumenfeld

    Les comparto que en mi calidad de judía practicante y tras venir leyendo desde la semana pasada las atrocidades acerca de la expulsión de los judíos de España y la Inquisición, pensé que este texto me deprimiría y su lectura se me haría cuesta arriba. Sin embargo, muy por el contrario y para mi asombro, el texto me resultó irónica y ridículamente divertido. Pienso que tal vez este sentido del humor tan propio de los judíos ashkenazíes es una de las cosas que nos permite sostenernos cuando el ent Les comparto que en mi calidad de judía practicante y tras venir leyendo desde la semana pasada las atrocidades acerca de la expulsión de los judíos de España y la Inquisición, pensé que este texto me deprimiría y su lectura se me haría cuesta arriba. Sin embargo, muy por el contrario y para mi asombro, el texto me resultó irónica y ridículamente divertido. Pienso que tal vez este sentido del humor tan propio de los judíos ashkenazíes es una de las cosas que nos permite sostenernos cuando el entorno (en este caso el texto) refleja una realidad tan espantosa. Tal vez sea parte del relato histórico inconsciente que nos permite reinos de nosotros mismos y de nuestras desgracias, quién sabe. El texto relata acerca del origen católico de la asociación de los judíos como aliados con el demonio y cómo se ve reflejado este discurso tanto en las élites como en el pueblo, en diferentes expresiones artísticas y literarias.

  5. 5 out of 5

    βαβυλών

    Horrifying catalogue of reasons, some real (they wash their hands a lot!) but overwhelmingly imagined (they piss on the Eucharist!), that contributed to centuries of anti-Semitic oppression, violence and murder. Required reading for those hack ass occultists dallying in Kabbalah and "solomonic" magic. Horrifying catalogue of reasons, some real (they wash their hands a lot!) but overwhelmingly imagined (they piss on the Eucharist!), that contributed to centuries of anti-Semitic oppression, violence and murder. Required reading for those hack ass occultists dallying in Kabbalah and "solomonic" magic.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Velvetink

    pdf bookfinder

  7. 5 out of 5

    Helen

  8. 4 out of 5

    Woland Smithers

  9. 4 out of 5

    Renee

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rozachcz

  11. 4 out of 5

    Katarzyna Domagala

  12. 5 out of 5

    Amber A DeFio

  13. 4 out of 5

    Aharon

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ruby Wells

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jakob Breunig

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ciechorka

  17. 4 out of 5

    Chris

  18. 4 out of 5

    Megan

  19. 5 out of 5

    Aron

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Hurley

  21. 5 out of 5

    Chloe

  22. 4 out of 5

    Johnny

  23. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jon Panofsky

  25. 5 out of 5

    Amy

  26. 5 out of 5

    Velvetink

    [Joshua_Trachtenberg]_The_Devil_and_the_Jews_The_(BookFi.org)pdf

  27. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Barros

  28. 4 out of 5

    Drama Sylum

  29. 5 out of 5

    Matt Hammes

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jordan Seigfreid

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