Religious antisemitism

Religious antisemitism is aversion to or discrimination against Jews as a whole based on religious beliefs, false claims against Judaism and religious antisemitic canards. It is sometimes called theological antisemitism.

Some scholars have argued that modern antisemitism is primarily based on nonreligious factors. John Higham being emblematic of this school of thought. However, this interpretation has been challenged. In 1966 Charles Glock and Rodney Stark first published public option polling data showing that most Americans based their stereotypes of Jews on religion. Further opinion polling since in America and Europe has supported this conclusion.[1]


Father Edward Flannery, in his The Anguish of the Jew: Twenty-Three Centuries of Antisemitism, traces the first clear examples of specific anti-Jewish sentiment back to Alexandria in the third century BCE. Flannery writes that it was the Jews' refusal to accept Greek religious and social standards that marked them out. Hecataetus of Abdera, a Greek historian of the early third century BCE, wrote that Moses "in remembrance of the exile of his people, instituted for them a misanthropic and inhospitable way of life." Manetho, an Egyptian historian, wrote that the Jews were expelled Egyptian lepers who had been taught by Moses "not to adore the gods." The same themes appeared in the works of Chaeremon, Lysimachus, Poseidonius, Apollonius Molon, and in Apion and Tacitus. Agatharchides of Cnidus wrote about the "ridiculous practices" of the Jews and of the "absurdity of their Law," and how Ptolemy Lagus was able to invade Jerusalem in 320 BCE because its inhabitants were observing the Sabbath.[2]