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p. 414. The culture of irrationalismlocked

  • Steven Beller


Why has antisemitism been defined as ‘irrational’ hostility to Jews? This cultural approach was a reaction against the rationalist claim that all human experience and endeavour could be reduced to rational, calculable objects and relations. ‘The culture of irrationalism’ looks at the strong link between German cultural ‘irrationalism’, Romanticism, and antisemitism, and how influential people in the arts contributed to this. Even irrational thinkers who opposed antisemitism, such as Friedrich Nietzsche, also contributed in some way to the antisemitic thrust of German irrationalist culture. Jews, as allies of rationalist modernity, became the targets of many of those in Central and Eastern Europe who suffered from the dislocations of economic modernization.

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