Protean Prejudice

Protean Prejudice : Anti-Semitism in England's Age of Reason

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Description

This book argues that prejudice during England's Age of Reason was not diminished, only diffused. In spite of scientific advances, the religious teachings of the past were still real factors in the attitudes of the time. Using original source materials previously overlooked or ignored by many historians of the period, the author finds hostility towards both Jews and Judaism still prominently present among those in the forefront of the Enlightenment. The absence of serious overt anti-Semitism during England's Age of Reason had little to do with the growing secularism and the 'enlightened' spirit of the times. In order to understand the persistent but relatively contained anti-Semitism during England's age of reason it must be put into the context of the protean prejudices found in the society at large. The growing presence of various religious, ethnic, racial, and national 'others' served to deflect the focus of prejudicial hatred against Jews, thus preventing the translation of deeply ingrained hatred of Jews into violent acts of anti-Semitism.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 280 pages
  • 160 x 237 x 23mm | 558g
  • Georgia, United States
  • English
  • 0788504320
  • 9780788504327

Review quote

The author's notion was to plumb the incredibly rich remains of English literary and journalistic history from that heady era to set anti-Jewish prejudice in its real setting within the context of English social and political history.?This is a wonderful achievement and [the] book deserves to be read by any and all who are interested in the history of the Jews as real Jewish people actually lived it in a given time and place. * Conservative Judaism * ...continues the careful reasoning and insightful analysis which Bernard Glassman first brought to the study of anti-semitism in Anti-Semitic Stereotypes Without Jews. This study of anti-semitism in England's Age of Reason provides incisive readings ofsome standard texts, and introduces us to some new and surprising historical and literary sources. This is important reading for anyone interested in the history of anti-semitism or in the created perceptions of any marginalized group. -- Thomas L. Amos, Waldo Library, Western Michigan University "This study of anti-Jewish prejudice in eighteenth-century England explores the factors leading to the absence of mob violence against Jews in this period. Glassman contests the conventional wisdom that attributes the improvement to the enlightened and tolerant attitudes engendered by the rise of a secular outlook. He shows that virulent anti-Jewish prejudice remained common in this period, but argues that it must be viewed in the context of other racial and religious prejudices, such as those against blacks, Gypsies and Quakers. Bigotry, he suggests, is rooted in the need for a scapegoat and is likely to shift its form like the mythical Proteus." * Jewish Book World * The author's notion was to plumb the incredibly rich remains of English literary and journalistic history from that heady era to set anti-Jewish prejudice in its real setting within the context of English social and political history....This is a wonderful achievement and [the] book deserves to be read by any and all who are interested in the history of the Jews as real Jewish people actually lived it in a given time and place. * Conservative Judaism * ...continues the careful reasoning and insightful analysis which Bernard Glassman first brought to the study of anti-semitism in Anti-Semitic Stereotypes Without Jews. This study of anti-semitism in England's Age of Reason provides incisive readings of some standard texts, and introduces us to some new and surprising historical and literary sources. This is important reading for anyone interested in the history of anti-semitism or in the created perceptions of any marginalized group. -- Thomas L. Amos, Waldo Library, Western Michigan University
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About Bernard Glassman

Rabbi Bernard Glassman is a visiting professor of history at the University of Massachusetts, a member of the faculty of Harvard-Radcliffe Hillel Institute of Jewish Studies, and Book Review Editor for Conservative Judaism Quarterly.
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