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p. 9p. 10p. 112. The burden of the pastlocked

  • Steven Beller


To understand the emergence and success of antisemitism in the late 19th and 20th centuries, the significance of the centuries-long heritage of hostility between Christians and Jews needs to be recognized. This conflict over beliefs led to the institutionalization within medieval European Christendom of the Jews as a protected minority. ‘The burden of the past’ considers the legacy of Jewish–Christian relations in creating the phenomenon of antisemitism and the stereotypical image of Jews in the minds of non-Jewish people in Europe. Anti-Jewish prejudice was a necessary condition of antisemitism’s success, but the circumstances in which an atavistic prejudice became the basis for a modern political movement were also salient.

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