Eötvös Loránd University

2011/12 Academic year, Spring


Instructor: György Csepeli

Aim of the course

Anti-Semitism is one of the most intriguing problems in human society. The basic aim of this course is to provide students with insights into this complex web of issues by analysis of the psychological, sociological, economic, political and last but not least historical facets separately. Special emphasize will be given to the social history of Central Europe which is the geographical place from where the unprecedented events of the Holocaust were originated. Fiction and documentary films as sources will be demonstrated.


There will be a mid-term and final exam. Students are expected to attend the lectures and participate in the discussions. A double spaced term paper, not exceeding 15 pages but not less than 10 pages, will have to be submitted at the end of the semester. The title and the outline of the paper will have to be submitted for approval before the student embarks on research and writing.


Students should consult with websites found as a result of Google search (wikipedia, anti-semitism research resources, reports on global anti-Semitism, konfliktuskutato.hu etc.).

The Texts Used for This Course Are:

Browning, C.R. 1993. Ordinary men. Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland. Harper. Perennial.

Dimont, M. I. 1962. Jews, God and History. Chicago: Signer Book.

Elon, A.2002. The Pity of All. A history of Jews in Germany. 1743-1933.Metropolitan Books. Henry Holt and Co.

Furet, F.(ed.) 1989. Unanswered Questions. Nazi Germany and the Genocide of the Jews. New York: Schocken Books.

Gruen, E.S. 2002. Diaspora, Jews and Greeks and Romans. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Novick, P. 1999. The Holocaust in American Life. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Nicholss, W. 1993. Christian Antisemitism. London: Jason Aronson.

Topics and Reading Assignments:

II. 14.

1. Introduction: The Longest Hatred

The interdisciplinary matrix of understanding the symptoms of Anti-Semitism. History, sociology, political science, social psychology, literary criticism.


Arendt. H. 1968. Antisemitism. San Diego, New York, London.  A Harvest/HBJ Book.


2. Ethnocentrism

The nature of human groups. Basic processes of group formation. Relations between large groups. Clashing group realities. Majorities and minorities.


Wistrich, R.S. 1994.Antisemitism. The Longest Hatred. New York: Shocken Books. 3-13


3. Competing Narratives of Jewish Historiography

The Portable God: The Jewish innovations (divine invisibility, written creed, sin). 13-73.


Dimont, M.I. 1962. Jews God and History. New Yort: Signet Book. 13-


4. Pagan Responses to Jewish Presence

Decline of Greek antiquity and the rise of the Roman Empire. Ethnocentric misunderstanding. List of accusations against Jews. Apion and Tacit.


Gruen, E.S. 2002. Diaspora. Jews amidst Greeks and Romans. Cambridge. Harvard University Press. 15-83.


5. Christian anti-Judaism

Novelty of anti-Jewish perception: the metaphysical dimension. Psychological techniques of widening the divide between Jews and Christians. The role of medieval social structure in the formation of religious anti-Jewish prejudice.


Nicholls, W. 1998. Christian Antisemitism. Northavale, New Jersey, London: 189-260.


6. Emergence of Modern Political Anti-Semitism

Transition from feudalism to capitalism. Rationalization, secularization and individualization. Resistance to social entropy.  Modernization niches and Jewish skills. Emancipation and ressentiment.


Elon, A. 2002. The Pity of It All. A History of Jews in Germany 1743-1933. New York: Metropolitan Books. 185-295.


7. Film: Ewige Jude


8. The Stock of Knowledge of Modern Anti-Semitism

History of the term “Anti-Semitism.” Ideology and Weltanschauung. Nation state by default on German soil. Racism. The “Jewish question”. Perverse utopia.


Sokel, W.H. Dualistic Thinking and the Rise of Ontological Antisemitism in Nineteenth-Centrury Germany. From Schiller’s Franz Moor to Wilhelm Raabe’s Moses Freudenstein. In

Gilman, S.L., Katz, S.T. (eds) 1991.Anti-Semitism in Crisis.  New York: New York University Press.  154- 172.

IV. 17.

9. Film. Judit Elek’s Rafters


10. Resurfacing of the past: Modern Blood Label

From the mid-fifteenth century to the early seventeenth  century Jews were persecuted and tried for the alleged murders of Christian boys and girls.  The idea of child sacrifice and blood symbolism played resurfaced in the ritual murder trial against the Jews in Hungary in 1882.


Pro-Chia Hsia, R. 1988. The Myth of the Ritual Murder. Jews and Magic in Reformation Germany.  New Haven, London: Yale University Press pp. 1—13


11. Structure and Content of the Anti-Semitic Mind.

Adolf Eichmann’s presentation about the “Judenfrage” in Berlin, in 1937.


Cesarani, D. 2006. Becoming Eichmann. Rethinking the Life, Crimes, and Trial of a ‘Desk Murderer’. Da Capo Press. pp. 61-90

Adorno, T.W.  Types and Syndroms. In Adorno, T.W., Frenkel-Brunswik, E., Levinson, D.J., Sanford, N.R. 1950. The Authoritarian Personality.New York, London. W.W. Norton pp. 446-385.

V. 15.

12. The road to the Holocaust

The trauma of modernity. Categorization, classification, exclusion, depersonalization, ghettos, transportation, selection, annihilation. The cast: Perpetrators, victims, spectators, Rescuers. Escape.


Roth, J.K. Berenbaum, M. (eds.)1989. Holocaust. Religious and Philosophical Implications.  New York: Paragon House. pp. 99-258.

Wistrich, R.S. 1994.Antisemitism. The Longest Hatred. New York: Shocken Books.  pp. 195-268