Christianity and Anti-Semitism: A Troubling History
Led by Brent Maner
During the season of Lent--a time set aside for reflection, prayer, and penitence--this Sunday School class will examine the horrible place of anti-Jewish violence in Christian history. We will use the insights of historians and theologians to unpack the descriptions of Jews in the New Testament and in early Christianity that became features of Western anti-Semitism from the Middle Ages to the present day. We will also strengthen our own commitment to justice and our belief in God’s universal love by considering the efforts by religious leaders to overcome this troubling history through prayer, atonement, and interfaith dialogue
Feb. 18, Week 1 Overview of the class
Please read: Anti-Defamation League’s Brief History of Anti-Semitism, 4 pages
- How many times does this brief overview refer to Christianity and religious institutions?
Feb. 25, Week 2 A Medieval turning point
Please read: “Making a Martyr: William of Norwich and the Jews” by Miri Rubin (History Today, June 2010), 6 pages
Two options to access:
1) If you are part of the K-State community, please download this article through K-State Libraries. Go to: http://www.lib.k-state.edu/. Type “Making a Martyr: William of Norwich” into the main “Search It” box, choose “View It” under the first item; choose one of the databases; log in. It cannot be posted to the church web site for copyright reasons.
2) If you are not a part of the K-State community, you can access via the State Library of KS databases. 1. Go to the State Library of KS databases: https://kslib.info/422/Online-Databases. Select Academic Search Premier. Type or copy and paste into the search box: Making a martyr William of Norwich. You should see one article, click on the PDF option at the bottom of the record to see the version with pictures
- Note how the story of William of Norwich’s death coincides with Passover and Holy Week.
- How do the images (mostly religious art) depict the story of William of Norwich?
Please read the following short article for this week: "Holy Week and the Hatred of the Jews: How to Avoid Anti-Judaism this Easter," by Amy-Jill Levine
March 11, Week 4 Offending passages: Paul and the Jews
March 18, Week 5 Martin Luther and the Jews
Resources that I’ve been using to prepare for the class:
David Nirenberg, Anti-Judaism: The Western Tradition (2013)
Helmut Walser Smith, The Butcher’s Tale: Murder and Anti-Semitism in a German Town (2003)
Clark Williamson, Has God Rejected His People? Anti-Judaism in the Christian Church (1982)