Medieval Antisemitism (Essential Lectures in Jewish History) Dr. Henry Abramson

Depiction of Host Desecration in Sternberg, Germany (1492). Diebold Schilling the Younger [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Depiction of Host Desecration in Sternberg, Germany (1492). Diebold Schilling the Younger [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Concise video lecture describing the four main expressions of antisemitic ideology in the medieval period.  Warning: images are disturbing.


Breaking the history of antisemitism into four major periods (Ancient Xenophobia, Early Christian Anti-Judaism, Medieval Jew-hatred, and Modern Antisemitism), Dr. Abramson focusses on the third period to look at the ideological basis for the false charges of ritual murder, blood libel, and desecration of the host, ending with a discussion of the Judensau image.

22 thoughts on “Medieval Antisemitism (Essential Lectures in Jewish History) Dr. Henry Abramson

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  1. Medevial anti-Semitism is a very interesting topic to learn about. It seems based on a perception that gentiles simply could not shake. Similar forms anti-Semitism exist today,and it is fascinating to compare the two. Thanks!

  2. Thank you for the informative video. It is very interesting to see the evolution of antisemitism throughout the ages. Especially since it started out no different than any other nation but evolved into something that was used as a means to keep the mobs busy and for those in power to maintain that power by creating a scapegoat.

  3. Antisemitis (a modern word) is fascinating among the various people that used it as an excuse to achieve certain goals. Even the superstitious lower classes used it to gain. It is also merely a mindset that became part of culture’s collective psyche.

  4. It is mind boggling to see how illogical anitsemistism is. It evolved from an ancient xenophobia to a pathological and bizarre string of lies and fictitious stories about Jews. Because antisemitism is emotional and not logical, it is something that has always been around, and, unfortunately, is still heavily prevalent today. So even in times of apparent peace, there is always a form of antisemitism brewing, just waiting to rear its ugly head.

  5. “Breakaway minyan that went viral.” – Greatest description of Chrisitianity I’ve ever heard.

  6. Wow! I wonder if antisemitism would’ve grown to be so rampant without Christianity. Would the holocaust have happened if Christianity never existed?

  7. Incredibly interesting that despite the immense antisemitism throughout the ages the Jews have survived and even thrived at many points in history.

    “All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?”
    – Mark Twain

    Mark Twain was very antisemitic yet he realized the contribution such a small nation contributes to the world and is astonished they have survived throughout the ages.

  8. We can learn a very important lesson from these events. Although the jews were accused of nonsensical acts, and depicted in the most unrealistic obscene fashion, nonetheless they were made believable in order to give credence to their acts of violence against jews. This proves the theory that those that those with antisemitic views can be hateful for no other reason then baseless hatred without any given thought or research.

  9. Very Interesting video and a video that really hits home, being a Jew. Antisemitism isn’t to be taken lightly in the slightest. In the ancient period, antisemitic just didn’t make sense. People hated on the Jews for absolutely no reason. It all started with none true stories, and its so much easier to hate than to love so people decided just to hate. I believe antisemitism comes from a hateful place in ones heart,simply because that person knows its the truth deep down. Interesting to see how all this hate started a few thousand years ago.

  10. I found it interesting how overtime antisemitism grew. For example when Christianity was born they respected Jews and gave them certain protections. However, as timed passed and Christianity grew, antisemitism grew along with it.

  11. Medevil Antisemitism is absolutely repulsive! Its incredible that people can be convinced to believe such outrageous claims. Your lecture was insightful and all too clear, thank you.

  12. Having been exposed to the era of Medieval Antisemitism, I am extremely stunned. I had not realized the extent of which the Jews had suffered. It is astounding to see that despite the “hate” and ostracism the Jews maintained the strength to continue on retaining their identity. It is even more remarkable to see how people actually went to such great extremes when conspiring against the Jews.

  13. Wow. It’s crazy to see how horrible things could get through simple hatred. Truly vile. I don’t know if the Jews necessarily had a choice in the matter, but it honestly shouldn’t have been something hard to see that becoming a tax collector of the Latifundia would not be a likable job. Plus with their track record of exile and massacre…. why did they agree to it at all?

  14. What an amazing lecture! So informative. It seems interesting to me that early antisemitism wasn’t anything other than xenophobia, while so many terrible things happened to the Jews at the time of destruction of the temple. It’s hard to say that those actions were regular war behavior.
    One question remains unanswered, why is it so that gentiles throughout the medieval times so badly hated the Jews? It’s beyond human understanding that one would kill people just for being too successful.

  15. Thank you for such a good lecture, although it’s hard to say “I enjoyed it”. Weren’t the uneducated masses just the peasants, living in poverty and ill treated, which was producing frustration, anger and hatred and instead of going against their suppresors it was through them easily to directed the feelings towards people acting differently? Our wars are starting still with a “good” lie, steering up emotions. Nothing different.
    What is the vaccination? Education, living standard, happiness, awareness, trust …?

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