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DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-J059-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved April 20, 2024, from

Article Summary

Anti-Semitism is a form of racism which sees Jews as a dangerous and despicable group in society. It has solid philosophical sources in the work of German Idealism which emphasized the distinctiveness of Judaism and how it has been superseded by Christianity. Both Kant and Hegel made a sharp distinction between Judaism and what they regarded as more rational religions, and they questioned the capability of the Jewish people for playing an integral role in the state. Sartre used the notion of anti-Semitism to show how a sense of self-identity is created by the attitudes of others towards the individual and the group. That is, what makes Jews Jews is the fact that there is anti-Semitism, and there is nothing that Jews can do about anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism is a problem for the anti-Semites themselves; anti-Semitism, by Sartre’s account, is in fact an attempted solution to the difficulties of taking free and authentic decisions. Anti-Semitism has played an important role in Jews’ self-definition, in attitudes to the State of Israel and to the religion of Judaism itself.

Citing this article:
Leaman, Oliver and Clive Nyman. Anti-Semitism, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-J059-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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