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date: 23 June 2024


The Oxford Companion to United States History
Leonard DinnersteinLeonard Dinnerstein

A term coined in Germany in 1879, “Anti-Semitism” means hostility toward Jews. Rooted in Christian teachings, this antagonism dates back almost two thousand years. Assumptions about “Jewish” responsibility for the death of Jesus pervaded Christian theology well into the twentieth century. The worst manifestations of European anti-Semitism occurred during crisis times when people blamed Jews for social ills. These malevolent ideas were based not only on theological beliefs but also on erroneous assumptions about Jewish religious, economic, and political predilections. Jews were believed to kill gentile children and use their blood for religious ceremonies; in different centuries they were censured as usurers, “blood-sucking” economic predators, and plotters against Christian governments.... ...

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