Montclair State University

Fall Semester 2012, MR 11:30-12:45, Dickson Hall 436

The Archeology of Anti-Semitism

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, etc.).

The Text Used for This Course is:

Goldstein, P. 2012. A Convenient Hatred: The History of Antisemitism. Facing History and Ourselves.

The above-listed test is available in paperback. It is strongly recommended that students equip themselves with own copies. Copies are available in the bookstore or at a discount.

The texts of the assigned readings are available in electronic form.

Topics and Reading Assignments:

In addition to the assigned readings, the student is required to writer a five to six page (double spaced, 10-12 pitch font size) review on a problem related to the subject of the course (30 % of the final grade). Titles of the essays must be submitted by October 25 to the instructor for approval. (Use a 3X5 index card.) Due date for the essay: December 13.

There will be two exams for the course (30 % each). The exam questions will be based on the assigned readings illuminated by class discussions and video presentations. The questions will require multiple-choice, and short essay-type answers.

Date of the Mid-Term Exam: October 18, 2012

Date of the final exam: December 13, 2012

Date of the Make-Up Exam: December 17, 2012, 1:00-3:00 pm.

Ten percent of the final grade will be given for class participation.

Office Hours by appointment. Office Location: DI 421 (Professor Pastor’s Office)


September 6.

Introduction: The Longest Hatred

Showing Part I. of the documentary film The Longest Hatred. VT 3045.

September 10, 13

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

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

Presentation: Archeology of Anti-Semitism

September 17, 20


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

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

Presentation: Ethnocentrism

September 24, 27

Competing Narratives of Jewish Historiography

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

Reading: Dimont, M.I. 1962. Jews, God and History. New York: Signet Book. 13-73

Presentation: Competing Narratives of Jewish Historiography

October 1, 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 Tacitus.

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


The Jews in Alexandria

The Jews is Rome

October 8, 11

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. London. Pp.189-260.

Presentation: Christian anti-Judaism

Ocober 15, 18

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.

Video: Der Ewige Jude VT 938 (68 mins.)

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

Presentation: Emergence of Modern Political Anti-Semitism

October 22, 25

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.

Reading: 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.” Ed. Gilman, S.L., Katz, S.T. 1991. Anti-Semitism in Crisis. New York: New York University Press. 154-172.

October 29, November 1

Resurfacing of the past: Modern Blood Libel

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.

Video: Judit Elek’s Rafters

Reading: 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

Presentation: Resurfacing of the past: Modern Blood Libel

November 5, 8

The culture of paradox

The position of the stranger. The Jewish intellectual in Eastern and Central Europe. Traps of assimilation. Conflicting intergroup experiences.

Reading: Gilman, S. 1986. Jewish Self-Hatred. Anti-Semitism and the Hidden Language of the Jews. Baltimore, London: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 139-208.

Presentation: The Culture of Paradox

November 12, 15

Structure and Content of the Anti-Semitic Mind.

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

Reading: 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: W.W. Norton. Pp. 446-385.

Presentation: Eichmann's lecture

November 19,

Anti-Semitism in Hungary

The offer of assimilation: achievements and illusion. Defeat in World War I. Institutionalization of anti-Semitism.

Reading: Kádár, G., Vági, Z. 2001.Self-Financing Genocide. The Gold Train, The Becher Case and the Wealth of Hungarian Jews. Budapest, New York: CEU Press. Pp. 3-171.

Presentation: Jews in modern Hungary

November 26, 29

The road to Holocaust

The trauma of modernity. Categorization, classification, exclusion, depersonalization, ghettos, transportation, selection, annihilation.

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

Presentation: The road to Holocaust

December 3, 6

The cast

The cast: Perpetrators, victims, spectators, Rescuers. Escape. Script analysis based on the database of DEGOB set in 1946 among survivors.

Video: Interview with Agnes Heller about her exeperiences of escape in 1944 from the ghetto of Budapest.

Presentation: The cast

Presentation: Eichmann

December 10, 13

Coping with the Past.

Repression and recreation of memory. The problem of naming. Anti-Semitism without Jews. Israel and the new anti-Semitism.

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

Presentation: Aftermath of the Holocaust