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The Drawing of the Mark of Cain: A Socio-historical Analysis of the Growth of Anti-Jewish Stereotypes

Dik van Arkel
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 592
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  • Book Info
    The Drawing of the Mark of Cain
    Book Description:

    Antisemitism is an exceptional historical phenomenon. Its history goes back at least 2000 years and has manifested itself in many countries and in a wide range of societies. However, it is not a universal phenomenon. Many countries have no tradition of anti-Semitism and even in those where anti-Semitism periodically raises its head, there have been long periods where it appears to have lain dormant. But it has never altogether disappeared, and all the large-scale social changes of the past two millennia have given it extra impetus. This definitive study tackles the complex roots and manifestations of anti-Semitism over the centuries, tracing the rise of anti-Jewish stereotypes and the circumstances in which racial prejudice may have tragic concequences. This book will quickly become a classic text for students and researchers in this persistent and worldwide prejudice. This title is available in the OAPEN Library -

    eISBN: 978-90-485-0620-0
    Subjects: History, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-6)
  3. Preface
    (pp. 7-10)
    H. Floris Cohen, Leo A.C.J. Lucassen and Robert J. Ross
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 11-20)
    Chris Quispel

    To Van Arkel, anti-Semitism is not a given, nor is it something that happens wherever there is a Jewish community. Though it is probably difficult to find a serious historical study that actually takes such a viewpoint, many authors take surprisingly little time to explain the basic question, “why the Jews”? The unspoken assumption seems to be that somehow Jews became the ideal scapegoats. Blaming the Jews could explain a large number of societal evils and consequently led to discrimination and persecution. While there may be a large amount of truth in such a view, some fundamental questions remain unanswered....

  5. CHAPTER 1 The Historiographical Background
    (pp. 21-88)

    In the early 1930s, when loudmouthed and small-brained Brownshirts began to call Jews names and were beating them up, the world looked on, stunned, perhaps in dismay, but without doing anything; there were no boycotts, nor were other means of pressure applied, until after theKristallnachtof November 1938, when it was too late. Most Western countries, preoccupied with unemployment and depression at home, only grudgingly granted right of asylum to some of the increasing number of refugees. Appeasement was then the dominating trend in foreign policy. The Soviet Union and the Far East had more than enough problems of...

  6. CHAPTER 2 Abortive Anti-Semitism?
    (pp. 89-118)

    The main purpose of this chapter is to argue its superfluity. There definitely were various forms of anti-Semitism in pagan antiquity, in the above sense of prejudicial animosity towards a people dispersed among the nations, whose religion and customs were societally unacceptable, as is formulated by the oldest recorded anti-Semite, Haman in Esther III, 8. Such animosity was aroused by a suspicion aimed at “strangers within the gate”. It was articulated in terms of various societal belief systems, diverse but often syncretized religious concepts, or sheer social contempt.

    We will argue, however, that whatever the various pagan articulations of rejection...

  7. CHAPTER 3 The Origins
    (pp. 119-140)

    Because the first Christians were Jews who developed a deviating conviction about messianism, which for some implied a temporary sectarianism within, but for others secession from, Judaism, we may surmise that the law of “secession friction”, mentioned in the previous chapter is applicable. Moral indignation about the unfaithfulness to the once common ideology could result in Ranulf’s “disinterested tendency to inflict punishment”, particularly when the secessionists belong to the “middle class” in the sense he uses it. Considering the social layers in which Christianity first spread, this could in this case explain much of the animus of the New Testament....

  8. CHAPTER 4 Stigmatization, Nascent Hostility, and Social Distance
    (pp. 141-162)

    However much the Church may have grown after Constantine’s conversion, this did not mean that its position was henceforth secure and uncontested. Julian the Apostate did pose a threat, and so did the remnants of traditional paganism,¹ the heretical Germanic invaders and the pagan Huns. Although the Council of Nicaea in 325 had condemned Arianism, and its doctrine that Christ was of different substance from God (heter-ousios) and accepted Athanasian consubstantiality (homo-ousios), Constantine and his immediate successors still tried to swing the Church towards Arianism. As long as the Church was thus in a state of turmoil, the Judaizing tendencies...

  9. CHAPTER 5 Jewish-Gentile Relations in Eastern Christendom and the Permissiveness-cum-Terrorization Hypothesis
    (pp. 163-192)

    Early Christian Egypt represents an instance of a situation where social distance preceded Christian stigmatization. Quarrels with native Jews had been endemic since the days of the Persian occupation.¹

    Even though the beliefs constituting the source of the difficulties had entirely disappeared in the late fourth and early fifth centuries, and the old conflicts had thus lost all meaning, and even though Egyptians had imbibed Jewish traditions with the acceptance of the new faith, there is no reason to assume that this would result in a sharp increase in interaction. On the contrary, severed from the Jews who lived in...

  10. CHAPTER 6 A Dead Reckoning: The Growth of an Anti Jewish Stereotype in Western Europe
    (pp. 193-246)

    Where, in Merovingian and Carolingian times, as will be demonstrated below, social relations between Jews and Christians were remarkably friendly, a reversal of the attitude of popularity to hatred took place roughly at the time of the first Crusade, and it is a baffling problem to interpret the change in relatively so short a period. It is so complex a problem indeed, that it seems appropriate to conduct the investigation by making a first dead reckoning on the basis of the reasoning so far and a general socioeconomic and broader history than that of Jewish-Gentile relations. A minimal reference to...

  11. CHAPTER 7 Refutations and Predictions
    (pp. 247-286)

    On the basis of the dead reckoning as a reasonable conjecture, a number of predictions could and should be made. Ideally some of these should be refutable, because exposure of the conjecture to contrary evidence could result in corrections, and generate new hypotheses and insights, determining the further course of the investigation.

    A most desirable, truly Popperian¹ refutation would be evidence of a situation where all conditions so far deemed necessary and sufficient were met, and where yet no manifest and popular hostility towards Jews occurred. This would of necessity be a situation where inimical indoctrination is largely accepted, but...

  12. CHAPTER 8 A Prognosis Checked: A Survey of Medieval Jewish-Gentile Relations in England
    (pp. 287-304)

    The writing of a survey of Anglo-Jewish history, in particular a survey of Jewish-Gentile relations in medieval England, is made difficult by the relative abundance of information, rather than by the absence thereof, as is frequently the case in other areas. There is a good deal of excellent literature on the subject, but much of it is written from the point of view of medievalists’ interests in a particular period of English history and English political institutions, for example, money as a source of royal power, or the role money lending played in the redistribution of land¹ rather than as...

  13. CHAPTER 9 A Survey of Jewish-Gentile Relations in Italy
    (pp. 305-342)

    According to the argument of chapter VI, “dead reckoning”, medieval Italian attitude towards the Jews would be very different from that of medieval England. There is every reason to believe that the speculations of the “dead reckoning” can be verified. Cecil Roth, an eminent scholar in the field of Italo-Jewish history, has claimed that Italy is the only country in Europe which has never witnessed mass persecutions of Jews.¹ The exaggeration lies in the word “only”, for as far as Italy is concerned his claim seems to be largely justifiable. There is at first sight precious little evidence indeed of...

  14. CHAPTER 10 Early Medieval France and Germany up to 1096
    (pp. 343-374)

    In 496 a battle against the Alemanni turned the pagan Frankish warlord Clovis into another Constantine. His conversion had effects as lasting as those of his predecessor. His option for orthodoxy spelled doom for the Western Arianism of the Burgondian and Visigoth enemies, and gave new heart to Gallo-Roman Athanasianism, not perturbed by Monophysite or Nestorian quarrels. It therefore fostered the ethnic integration of the realm. Finally, it laid the foundation for that portentous alliance of the growing Frankish kingdom with the Holy See, which in the end would result in the “Latin” religious unity of the whole Transalpine world...

  15. CHAPTER 11 The Crusades
    (pp. 375-390)

    The massacre of Jews in the year of the first crusade is a watershed between a period of largely friendly Jewish-Gentile relations, or at least of not overt antagonism, and a period of increasing popular hostility. The events were portentous, not because there was a justified distrust among the members of the victim-group, resulting in retaliation – Jews as a small minority were not in a position even to consider it. They could only hope and pray for improvements – but because of that sinister process whereby exoneration of crimes committed results in new accusations. It is the victims who...

  16. CHAPTER 12 Accusatory Innovation
    (pp. 391-424)

    Léon Poliakov called the events of the first two crusadesfatidiques(“bearing foreboding”), announcing worse to come, thereby implying that the carnage was not an isolated event, but had an impact on the further development of anti-Semitism into modern times.¹

    If this is correct – and if it is not, each episode requires its own explanation – one may ask what the nature of the impact was. Did the massacres “merely” break down the barriers of moral restraint, facilitating future persecution, or did they have directly or indirectly an innovative and repeatable effect on the concept of the “evil Jew”...

  17. CHAPTER 13 Usury and Labour Ethics
    (pp. 425-456)

    In the 1870s and 1880s, the Viennese rabbi Dr. Bloch – who would later be the talk of all Vienna for exposing Prof. A. Rohling, the promoter of the ritual murder charge for the swindler and calumniator he was¹ – was lecturing to the workers of Floridsdorff, a working class district. His avowed aim in doing so was to prevent the workers from falling into the snares of the emerging anti-Semite agitators. As a result of some serious setbacks, Austrian socialism was weak at the time, the leaders imprisoned and the workers without guidance. The danger that in their distress...

  18. CHAPTER 14 The Problem of Popularization
    (pp. 457-482)

    Strange as this may sound, some of the “intellectual” (in the sense of requiring some learning) superstructures of later anti-Semitic ideology seem to have had their roots in the anthropologies and world views of some of the eighteenth century philosophes, champions of religious tolerance. When this is true, the question can legitimately be raised whether the period of the Enlightenment was a watershed in the articulation of anti-Semitic ideology. If so, given the irreligious trends then prevailing at that time, attacks were presumably of a socioeconomic nature, rather than religious, and were to all likelihood though related to the traditional...

  19. A Historiographical Epilogue
    (pp. 483-496)
    Chris Quispel

    This is the first publication of Van Arkel’s book, but it is not a new book. Though he has worked on its central themes until recently, the groundwork for this book was laid in the late 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. Consequently, literature from after around 1980 has not, as a rule, been taken into account.¹ Current discussions among historians of Jewish-gentile relations and the history of anti-Semitism do not find a place in Van Arkel’s book. This raises some fundamental questions. Most importantly, is it always necessary to read the latest books and articles to develop new and original ideas?...

  20. Notes
    (pp. 497-576)
  21. Index
    (pp. 577-592)