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JWST 240 Chapter Notes - Chapter reading: Wilhelm Marr, Indo-European Languages

Jewish Studies
Course Code
JWST 240

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Antisemitism is a problematic term invented in the 1870s by
German journalist Wilhelm Marr to describe the hatred of Jews
The movement started around the time at Germany and soon
spread to Austria, Hungary, France and Russia and was a reaction
to the emancipation of the Jews and their entry into non-Jewish
There was a need to establish a new paradigm for the anti-
Jewishness which sounded more neutral, objective and scientific
Jews by virtue of their emancipation had become equal citizens
before the law in European societies that had abandoned
discrimination based on religious differences
Antisemitism grounded itself in racial and ethnic feelings provided
a way around this problem
By focusing the attention on permanent, unchanging
characteristics of Jews as a social and national group the anti-
semites hoped to legitimize Jewish equality
The term Semitic was derived from the Biblical Shem, one of
Noah's three sons and designated a group of cognate languages
including Hebrew, Arabic, Aramaic, Babylonian, Assyrian and
Ethiopic rather than an ethnic or racial group
The term aryan became popular at this time and referred to the
Indian branch of Indo-European languages
Aryans were people speaking Sanskrit and related
languages and who invaded India in prehistoric times and
subjugated its indigenous inhabitants
Indians and Iranians were Aryans but Germans and North
Europeans were not any more than European Jews who no
longer spoke Hebrew
Antisemitism never really meant a hatred of Semites - for
example, Arabs but rather a hatred of all Jews
Antisemitism is not natural and ignores the facts that Jews have
often been welcomed by the surrounding society; that their
equality of status and integration was accepted as a binding legal
Reading: Antisemitism
Saturday, January 11, 2020
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