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Full description for Judeophobia

  • Aiming to take a fresh look at what the Greeks and Romans thought about the Jews, this book firmly locates the origins of anti-semitism in the ancient world. Hellenistic Egypt is established as the generating source, with roots extending back into Egypt's pre-Hellenistic past. A pattern of ingrained hostility to an alien culture emerges from Greek and Roman writing, when a whole spectrum of comments on Jews and their religion are surveyed. The writings focus on the topics most interesting to the pagan classical world: the Exodus, or expulsion from Egypt as they interpreted it, the nature of the Jewish god, food restrictions, laws relating to the sabbath, and so on. The author also explores key incidents in ancient Near Eastern history, the destruction of the temple in Elephantine in 400 BC and the riots in Alexandria in 38 AD, asking the question what fuelled these attacks on the Jewish community. The book then points to a deep-seated ethnic resentment, originating in the Egyptian hatred of Jews, which was then transported to Syria-Palastine and then to Rome where it aquired a new element, the fear of this small community. Later, when Christianity was adopted by the Roman Emperor Constantine, the author asserts that Christian theology also added to the anti-semitic attitudes of the ancient world.