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Anti-Semitism and its Metaphysical Origins

  • Date Published: February 2015
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9781316236215

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About the Authors
  • This book articulates a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of Jew hatred as a metaphysical aspect of the human soul. Proceeding from the Jewish thinking that the anti-Semites oppose, David Patterson argues that anti-Semitism arises from the most ancient of temptations, the temptation to be as God, and thus to flee from an absolute accountability to and for the other human being.

    • Grounded in Jewish texts and teachings, this book takes a distinctively Jewish approach to understanding Jew hatred
    • The book is truly multidisciplinary: it incorporates the disciplines of history, philosophy, theology, psychology, sociology, literature, and cultural studies
    • Although thoroughly analytical, this book is written with passion and a profound sense of the ethical urgency that stems from the tradition that the anti-Semite is anti
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'David Patterson's remarkable book offers a new method for a provocative evaluation of anti-Semitism. It uses a 'Jewish approach to understanding Jew hatred' and sees the roots of this hatred springing from ancient, metaphysical origins. Analyzing the human ambition for unlimited power, it argues that longing to kill God drives the desire to kill the Jews. Incisive, lucid and extremely well researched, this work opens up new questions and gives new answers to the urgent issue of the hatred of the Jews.' Zsuzsanna Ozsvath, Leah and Paul Lewis Chair of Holocaust Studies, Ackerman Center for Holocaust Studies, University of Texas, Dallas

    'David Patterson transforms the proposition of the first theological conversation in Genesis: 'You will be like God' into his hermeneutical instrument to explore the metaphysical origins of anti-Semitism and what drives this scourge of humankind's history. His extensive acquaintance with ancient, medieval, modern and postmodern Jewish and non-Jewish sources grounds and elaborates his thesis that anti-Semitism is the manifestation par excellence of deicide. This is a fascinating, intriguing and evocative study truly worthy of our serious engagement.' Martin Rumscheidt, College of Arts and Sciences, Case Western Reserve University

    'Anti-Semitism and its Metaphysical Origins is a relentless investigation into this dangerous phenomenon. With broad erudition and systematic analysis, it surely makes us better-informed students. But the book does more than that. With fiercely energetic prose, David Patterson teaches us about anti-Semitism from a God-centered vantage point. To this end, he recruits gems of Torah to provoke a sea change in our thinking about the subject - and about ourselves.' Alan Rosen

    'Daring, brilliant, comprehensive, challenging, disturbing - those words describe David Patterson's magisterial interpretation of anti-Semitism. From now on, no attempts to understand and resist anti-Semitism will be sound unless they grapple with Patterson's provocative thesis: Anti-Semitism originates in humanity's craving to be rid of God and ethical obligation. That deadly temptation ultimately entails destruction of Jewish life and tradition, the most enduring and persistent sources that bear witness to the living God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the divine commandment against murder, and the injunction to love one's neighbor as oneself.' John K. Roth, Edward J. Sexton Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Claremont McKenna College

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2015
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9781316236215
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: anti-Semitism as deicide
    1. Preliminary explanations
    2. The arrogation of God: Christian theological anti-Semitism
    3. Islamic jihadism: religious-fanatic anti-Semitism
    4. The elimination of God: philosophical anti-Semitism in modern thought
    5. National socialist anti-Semitism
    6. Antihistorical anti-Semitism: Holocaust denial
    7. Anti-Zionist anti-Semitism
    8. Jewish Jew hatred
    9. Sounding the depths of the anti-Semitic soul: Arthur Miller's Focus
    Concluding reflection: the messianic side of the soul of Adam.

  • Author

    David Patterson, University of Texas, Dallas
    David Patterson holds the Hillel Feinberg Chair in Holocaust Studies at the Ackerman Center for Holocaust Studies at the University of Texas, Dallas. A winner of the National Jewish Book Award and the Koret Jewish Book Award, he has published more than thirty books and 150 articles and book chapters. His most recent books include Genocide in Jewish Thought (Cambridge, 2012), A Genealogy of Evil: Anti-Semitism from Nazism to Islamic Jihad (Cambridge, 2010), Emil L. Fackenheim: A Jewish Philosopher's Response to the Holocaust (2008), Open Wounds: The Crisis of Jewish Thought in the Aftermath of Auschwitz (2006), Wrestling with the Angel (2006), Along the Edge of Annihilation (1999), and Sun Turned to Darkness (1998). He is the editor and translator of The Complete Black Book of Russian Jewry (2002) and the co-editor of the Encyclopedia of Holocaust Literature (with Alan L. Berger, 2002).

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