On Anti-Judaism

It would be churlish to end on such a note. A good book—and Anti-Judaism is a very good one indeed—raises more questions than it answers. Nirenberg makes perfectly clear, with good reason, the questions that concern him most. Martin Luther’s onslaughts on the Jews were even more violent and destructive than those of his Catholic predecessors. Nirenberg shows that they arose in the first place from biblical interpretations hammered out in controversy with Luther’s theological antagonists. This, not actual conversions for which little real evidence exists, was the basis of his anxiety that the world was converting to Judaism. Nirenberg concludes, ‘I am not interested in contributing to arguments, so often dominated by apologetics and anachronism, about whether Martin Luther was an anti-Semite or an architect of the Holocaust. My point is that Luther’s reconceptualization of the ways in which language mediates between God and creation was achieved by thinking with, about, and against Jews and Judaism.’ Generalized to embrace the whole of Western intellectual history, this becomes a point of great importance. It will take some time to absorb its implications.

"The Quarrels of Others: On Anti-Semitism" The Nation -http://bit.ly/YwqvQf

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