In this Book

summary
Throughout most of Western European history, Jews have been a numerically tiny or entirely absent minority, but across that history Europeans have nonetheless worried a great deal about Judaism. Why should that be so? This short but powerfully argued book suggests that Christian anxieties about their own transcendent ideals made Judaism an important tool for Christianity, as an apocalyptic religion—characterized by prizing soul over flesh, the spiritual over the literal, the heavenly over the physical world—came to terms with the inescapable importance of body, language, and material things in this world.

Nirenberg shows how turning the Jew into a personification of worldly over spiritual concerns, surface over inner meaning, allowed cultures inclined toward transcendence to understand even their most materialistic practices as spiritual. Focusing on art, poetry, and politics—three activities especially condemned as worldly in early Christian culture—he reveals how, over the past two thousand years, these activities nevertheless expanded the potential for their own existence within Christian culture because they were used to represent Judaism. Nirenberg draws on an astonishingly diverse collection of poets, painters, preachers, philosophers, and politicians to reconstruct the roles played by representations of Jewish “enemies” in the creation of Western art, culture, and politics, from the ancient world to the present day.

This erudite and tightly argued survey of the ways in which Christian cultures have created themselves by thinking about Judaism will appeal to the broadest range of scholars of religion, art, literature, political theory, media theory, and the history of Western civilization more generally.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. restricted access Download |
  1. Title Page, About the Series, Copyright, Dedication, Epigraph
  2. restricted access Download |
  1. Contents
  2. restricted access Download |
  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xiii-xvi
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Introduction. Troubling Transcendence
  2. pp. 1-14
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 1. Painting between Christianity & Judaism
  2. pp. 15-78
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 2. Every Poet is a Jew
  2. pp. 79-127
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 3. Judaism as Political Concept
  2. pp. 128-164
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Notes
  2. pp. 165-198
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 199-220
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Index
  2. pp. 221-230
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Image Plates
  2. restricted access Download |

Additional Information

ISBN
9781611687798
Related ISBN
9781611687774
MARC Record
OCLC
910650496
Pages
248
Launched on MUSE
2015-06-03
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.