|Jewish History Sourcebook:
Antisemitism: Its History and Causes, 1894
Note: Bernard Lazare
This public domain text, in a messy format, was made available at an anti-semitic
website with the following note:
This book overturns the ideological basis of both antisemitism and the Jewish
apologetic literature. Its starts from the facts and athorough study of the
relationship of the Jewish communities with their non-Jewish social environment. It is a
REPLY to Drumont's confused antisemitism and to its mirror image in the fantasies
entertained by many Jews on their own history. LAZARE died in 1903, before he could assess
the development of Zionism, of which he was both one of the builders and one of the
One will find Lazare's book cited at many anti-semitic websites and in in anti-semitic
publications. The reason for this is that Lazare conducted a major reveiw of the history
of anti-semitism and, to a very large decree, can be read as having put the blame on Jews
This, however, is a misreading of his work. From the way he is cited by anti-semites it
may come as something of a surprise to note that Lazare, a journalist, was famous as
the first defender of Captain Dreyfus - the first Drefusyard. Moreover, he was
perhaps the first French Jewish intellectual to commit fully to Zionism as a political
solution. Here are comments by Aron Rodrigue.
Bernard Lazare has interested commentators and historians not only for his contribution
to the revision of the Dreyfus case but also for his distinction as the first French Jew
to make the transition from an almost self-hating endorsement of total assimilation as a
solution to the Jewish problem to a full embrace of the cause of Zionism. Lazare's
deserved reputation as the first Dreyfusard in the public sphere became magnified by the
extraordinary pen of Charles Péguy, who elevated him to the rank of a Jewish Prophet, an
incarnation of the essence of the Jewish "mystique," of the Jewish
- Aron Rodrigue. "Rearticulations of French Jewish Identities after the Dreyfus
Affair", Jewish Social Studies Volume 2, Number 3 [online at http://www.indiana.edu/~iupress/journals/jss-art.html ]
The material presented by Lazare is a valuable addition to online data about the
history of Anti-semitism. Many of Lazare's explanations can be, and should, be challenged.
But this is the work of a man trying to understand a phenomenon of hatred, not the work of
a self-hating Jew.
Chapter One: GENERAL CAUSES OF ANTISEMITISM
Chapter Two: ANTI-JUDAISM IN ANTIQUITY
Chapter Three: ANTI-JUDAISM IN CHRISTIANANTIQUITY: FROM THE
FOUNDATION OF CHURCH OF CONSTANTINE
Chapter Four: ANTISEMITISM FROM CONSTANTINE TO THE EIGHTH
Chapter Five: ANTI-JUDAISM FROM THE EIGHTH CENTURY TO THE
Chapter Six: ANTI-JUDAISM FROM THE TIME OF THE REFORMATION TO
THE FRENCH REVOLUTION
Chapter Seven: ANTI-JUDAIC LITERATURE AND THE PREJUDICES
Chapter Eight: MODERN LEGAL ANTI-JUDAISM
Chapter Nine: MODERN ANTISEMITISM AND ITS LITERATURE
Chapter Ten: THE RACE
Chapter Eleven: NATIONALISM AND ANTISEMITISM
Chapter Twelve: THE REVOLUTIONARY SPIRIT IN JUDAISM
Chapter Thirteen: THE JEW AS A FACTOR IN THE TRANSFORMATION
Chapter Fourteen: THE ECONOMIC CAUSES OF ANTISEMITISM
Chapter Fifteen: THE FATE OF ANTISEMITISM
PORTIONS of this book, which at various times appeared in the newspapers and
periodicals, received the honour of being noticed and discussed. This has induced me to
write the few lines that follow.
It has been my intention to write neither an apology nor a diatribe, but an impartial
study in history and sociology. I dislike antisemitism; it is a narrow, one-sided view,
still I have sought to account for it. It was not born without cause, I have searched for
its causes. Whether I have succeeded in discovering them, it is for the reader to decide.
An opinion as general as antisemitism, which has flourished in all countries and in all
ages, before and after the Christian era, at Alexandria, Rome, and Antiachia, in Arabia,
and in Persia, in mediaeval and in modern Europe, in a word, in all parts of the world
wherever there are or have been Jews such an opinion, it has seemed to me, could not
spring from a mere whim or fancy, but must be the effect of deep and serious causes.
It has, therefore, been my aim to draw a full-size picture of antisemitism, of its
history and causes, to follow its successive changes and transformations. Such a study
might easily fill volumes. I have, therefore, been obliged to limit its scope, confining
myself to broad outlines and omitting details. I hope to take up, at no distant day, some
of its aspects which could only be hinted at here, and I shall then endeavour to show what
has been the intellectual, moral, economic and revolutionary role of the Jew in the world.
Paris, 25 April, 1894.
[Page numbers in brackets]
Chapter One: GENERAL CAUSES OF ANTISEMITISM
To make the history of antisemitism complete, omitting none of the manifestations of
this sentiment and following its divers phases and modifications, it is necessary to go
into the history of Israel since its dispersion, or, more properly speaking, since the
beginning of its expansion beyond the boundaries of Palestine.
Wherever the Jews settled after ceasing to be a nation ready to defend its liberty and
independence, one observes the development of antisemitism, or rather anti-Judaism; for
antisemitism is an ill chosen word, which has its raison d'etre only in our day,
when it is sought to broaden this strife between the Jew and the Christians by supplying
it with a philosophy and a metaphysical, rather than a material reason. If this hostility,
this repugnance had been shown towards the Jews at one time or in one country only, it
would be easy to account for the local causes of this sentiment. But this race has been
the object of hatred with all the nations amidst whom it ever settled. Inasmuch as the
enemies of the Jews belonged to divers races, as they dwelled far apart from one another,
were ruled by different laws and governed by opposite principles; as they had not the same
customs and differed in spirit from one another, so that they could not possibly judge
alike of any subject, it must needs be that the general causes of antisemitism have always
resided in Israel itself, and not in those who antagonized it.
This does not mean that justice was always on the side of Israel's persecutors, or that
they did not indulge in all the extremes born of hatred; it is merely asserted that the
Jews were themselves, in part, at least, the cause of their own ills.
Considering the unanimity of antisemitic manifestations, it can hardly be admitted, as
had too willingly been done, that they were merely due to a religious war, and one must
not view the strife against the Jews as a struggle of polytheism against monotheism, or
that of the Trinity against Jehovah. The polytheistic, as well as the Christian nations
combated not the doctrine of one sole God, but the Jew.
Which virtues or which vices have earned for the Jew this universal enmity? Why was he
ill-treated and hated alike and in turn by the Alexandrians and the Romans, by the
Persians and the Arabs, by the Turks and the Christian nations ? Because, everywhere up to
our own days the Jew was an unsociable being.
Why was he unsociable ? Because he was exclusive, and his exclusiveness was both
political and religious, or rather he held fast to his political and religious cult, to
All through history we see the conquered peoples submit to the laws of the conqueror,
though they may guard their own faith and beliefs. It was easy for them to do so, for with
them a line was drawn between their religious teachings which had come from the gods, and
their civil laws which emanated from legislation and could be modified according to
circumstances, without inviting upon the reformers the theological anathema or execration;
what had been done by man could be undone by man. Thus, if the conquered rose up against
the conquerors, it was through patriotism alone, and they were actuated by no other motive
but the desire to regain their land and their liberty. Aside from these national
uprisings, they seldom took exception to being subjected to the general laws; if they
protested, it was against particular enactments which placed them into a position of
inferiority towards the dominant people; in the history of the Roman conquests we see the
conquered bow to Rome when she extended to them the laws which governed the empire.
Not so with the Jewish people. In fact, as was observed by Spinoza,1 "the laws
revealed by God to Moses were nothing but laws for the special government of the
Hebrews." Moses,2 the prophet and legislator, assigned the same authority for his
judicial and governmental enactments, as for his religious precepts, i.e., revelation.
Not only did Yahweh say to the Jews, "Ye shall believe in the one God and ye shall
worship no idols," he also prescribed for them rules of hygiene and morality; not
only did he designate the territory where sacrifices were to be offered, he also
determined the manner in which that territory was to be governed. Each of the given laws,
whether agrarian, civil, prophylactic, theological, or moral proceeded from the same
authority, so that all these codes formed a whole, a rigorous system of which naught
could be taken away for fear of sacrilege.
In reality, the Jew lived under the rule of a lord, Yahweh, who could neither be
conquered, nor even assailed, and he knew but one thing, the law, i.e., the
collection of rules and decrees which it had once pleased Yahweh to give to Mosesa law
divine and excellent, made to lead its followers to eternal bliss; a perfect law which the
Jewish people alone had received.
With such an idea of his Torah, the Jew could not accept the laws of strange nations;
nor could he think of submitting to them; he could not abandon the divine laws, eternal,
good and just, to follow human laws, necessarily imperfect and subject to decay. Thus,
wherever colonies were founded by the Jews, to whatever land they were deported, they
insisted, not only upon permission to follow their religion, but also upon exemption from
the customs of the people amidst whom they were to live, and the privileges to govern
themselves by their own laws.
At Rome, at Alexandria, at Antioch, in Cyrenaica they were allowed full freedom in the
matter. They were not required to appear in court on Saturday;3 they were even permitted
to have their own special tribunals, and were not amenable to the laws of the empire; when
the distribution of grains occurred on a Saturday their share was reserved for them until
the next day,4 they could be decurions, being at the same time exempt from all practices
contrary to their religion;5 they enjoyed complete self-government, as in Alexandria; they
had their own chiefs, their own senate, their ethnarch, and were not subject to the
general municipal authorities.
Everywhere they wanted to remain Jews, and everywhere they were granted the privilege
of establishing a State within the State. By virtue of these privileges and exemptions,
and immunity from taxes, they would soon rise above the general condition of the citizens
of the municipalities where they resided; they had better opportunities for trade and
accumulation of wealth, whereby they excited jealousy and hatred.
Thus, Israel's attachment to its law was one of the first causes of its unpopularity,
whether because it derived from that law benefits and advantages which were apt to excite
envy, or because it prided itself upon the excellence of its Torah and considered itself
above and beyond other peoples.
Still had the Israelites adhered to pure Mosaism, they could,
doubtless, at some time in their history, have so modified that Mosaism as to retain
none but the religious and metaphysical precepts; possibly, if they had no other sacred
book but the Bible they might have merged in the nascent church, which enlisted its first
followers among the Sadducees, the Essenes, and the Jewish proselytes. One thing prevented
that fusion and upheld the existence of the Hebrews among the nations; it was the growth
of the Talmud, the authority and rule of the doctors who taught a pretended tradition. The
policy of the doctors to which we shall return further made of the Jews sullen beings,
unsociable and haughty, of whom Spinoza, who knew them well, could say: "It is not at
all surprising that after being scattered for so many years they have preserved their
identity without a government of their own, for, by their external rites, contrary to
those of other nations, as well as by the sign of circumcision, they have isolated
themselves from all other nations, even to the extent of drawing upon themselves the hate
of all mankind."6
Man's aim on earth, said the doctors, is the knowledge and observance of the law, and
one cannot thoroughly observe it without denying allegiance to all but the true law. The
Jew who followed these precepts isolated himself from the rest of mankind; he retrenched
himself behind the fences which had been erected around the Torah by Ezra and the first
scribes,7 later by the Pharisees and the Talmudists, the successors of Ezra, reformers of
primitive Mosaism and enemies or the prophets. He isolated himself, not merely by
declining to submit to the customs which bound together the inhabitants of the countries
where he settled, but also by shunning all intercourse with the inhabitants themselves. To
his unsociability the Jew added exclusiveness.
With the law, yet without Israel to put it into practice, the world could not exist,
God would turn it back into nothing; nor will the world know happiness until it be brought
under the universal domination of that law, i.e., under the domination of the Jews.
Thus the Jewish people is chosen by God as the trustee of His will; it is the only people
with whom the Deity has made a covenant; it is the choice of the Lord. At the time when
the serpent tempted Eve, says the Talmud, he corrupted her with his venom. Israel, on
receiving the revelation from Sinai, delivered itself from the evil; the rest of mankind
could not recover. Thus, if they have each its guardian and its protecting constellation,
Israel is placed under the very eye of Jehovah; it is the Eternal's favoured son who has
the sole right to his love, to his good will, to his special protection, other men are
placed beneath the Hebrews; it is by mere mercy that they are entitled to divine
munificence, since the souls of the Jews alone are descended from the first man. The
wealth which has come to the nations, in truth belongs to Israel, and we hear Jesus
Himself reply to the Greek woman: "It is not meet to take the children's bread and so
cast it unto the dogs."8 This faith in their predestination, in their election,
developed among the Jews an immense pride. It led them to view the Gentiles with contempt,
often with hate, when patriotic considerations supervened to religious feeling.
When Jewish nationality was in peril, the Pharisees, under John Hyrcanus, declared
impure the soil of strange peoples, as well as all intercourse among Jews and Greeks.
Later, the Shamaites advocated at a synod complete separation of the Jews from the
heathens, and drafted a set of injunctions, called The Eighteen Things, which
ultimately prevailed over the opposition of the Hillelites. As a result Jewish
unsociability begins to engage the attention of the councils of Antiochus Sidetes;
exception is taken to "their persistence in shutting themselves up amidst their own
kind and avoiding all intercourse with pagans, and to their eagerness to make that
intercourse more and more difficult, if not impossible."9 And the high priest
Menelaus accuses the law before Antiochus Epiphanes, "of teaching hatred of the human
race, of prohibiting to sit down at the table of strangers and to show good-will towards
If these prescriptions had lost their authority when the cause which had produced and,
in a way, justified them, had disappeared, the evil would not have been great. Yet we see
them reappear in the Talmud and receive a new sanction from the authority of the doctors.
After the controversy between the Sadducees and the Pharisees had terminated in the
victory of the latter, these injunctions became part of the law, they were taught with the
law and helped to develop and exaggerate the exclusiveness of the Jews.
Another fear, that of contamination, separated the Jews from the world and made their
isolation still more rigorous. The Pharisees held views of extreme rigour on the subject
of contamination; with them the injunctions and prescriptions of the Bible were
insufficient to preserve Man from sin. As the sacrificial vases were contaminated by the
least impure contact, they came to regard themselves contaminated by contact with
strangers. Of this fear were born innumerable rules affecting everyday life: rules
relating to clothing, dwelling, nourishment, all of which were promulgated with a view
to save the Israelites from contamination and sacrilege; all these rules might properly be
observed in an independent state or city, but could not possibly be enforced in foreign
lands, for their strict observance would require the Jews to flee the society of Gentiles,
and thus to live isolated, hostile to their environment.
The Pharisees and the Rabbinites went still farther. Not satisfied with preserving the
body, they also sought to save the soul. Experience had shown them that Hellenic and Roman
importations imperiled what they deemed their faith. The names of the Hellenistic high
priests, Jason, Menelaus, etc., reminded the Rabbinites of the times when the genius of
Greece, winning over one portion of Israel, came very near conquering it. They knew that
the Sadducean party, friendly to the Greeks, had paved the way for Christianity, as much
as the Alexandrians and all those who maintained that "none but the legal provisions,
clearly enunciated in the Mosaic law were binding, whereas all other rules growing from
local traditions or subsequently issued, could lay no claim to rigorous observance.10
It was under Greek influence that the books and oracles originated which prepared the
minds for Messiah. The Hellenistic Jews, Philo and Aristobulus, the pseudo- Phocylides and
the pseudo-Longinus, authors of the Sibylline oracles and of the pseudo-Orphics, all these
successors of the prophets who continued their work, led mankind to Christ. And it may be
said that true Mosaism, purified and enlarged by Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, broadened
and generalized by the Judaeo-Hellenists, would have brought Israel to Christianity, but
for Ezraism,Pharisaism and Talmudism, which held the mass of the Jews bound to strict
observances and narrow ritual practices.
To guard God's people, to keep it safe from evil influences, the doctors exalted their
law above all things. They declared that no study but that of the law alone became an
Israelite, and as a whole life-time was hardly sufficient to learn and penetrate all the
subtleties and all the casuistry of that law, they prohibited the study of profane
sciences and foreign languages. "Those among us who learn several languages are not
held in esteem," said Josephus; contempt alone was soon thought insufficient, they
were excom municated. Nor did these expulsions satisfy the Rabbinites. Though deprived of
Plato, had not the Jew still the Bible, could he not listen to the voice of the prophets?
As the book could not be proscribed, it was belittled and made subordinate to the
Talmud; the doctors declared: "The law is water, the Mishna is wine." And the
reading of the Bible was considered less beneficial, less conducive to salvation than the
reading of the Mishna.
However, the Rabbinites could not kill Jewish curiosity with one blow; it required
centuries. It was as late as the fourteenth century, after Ibn Ezra, Rabbi Bechai,
Maimonides, Bedares, Joseph Caspi, Levi Ben Gerson, Moses of Narbonne, and many others,
were gone, all true sons of Philo and the Alexandrians, who strove to verify Judaism by
foreign philosophy; after Asher Ben Yechiel had induced the assembly of the rabbis at
Barcelona to excommunicate those who would study profane sciences; after Rabbi Shalem, of
Montpellier had complained to the Dominicans of the Moreh Nebukhim, and this book,
the highest expression of the ideas of Maimonides, had been burnedit was only after all
this that the rabbis ultimately triumphed.12
Their end was attained. They had cut off Israel from the community of nations; they had
made of it a sullen recluse, a rebel against all laws, foreign to all feeling fraternity,
closed to all beautiful, noble and generous ideas; they had made of it a small and
miserable nation, soured by isolation, brutalized by a narrow education, demoralized and
corrupted by an unjustifiable pride.13
With this transformation of the Jewish spirit and the victory of sectarian doctors,
coincides the beginning of official persecution. Until that epoch there had only been
outbursts of local hatred, but no systematic vexations. With the triumph of the
Rabbinites, the ghettos come into being. The expulsions and massacres commence. The Jews
want to live aparta line is drawn against them. They detest the spirit of the nations
amidst whom they livethe nations chase them. They burn the Morehtheir Talmud is burned and
they themselves are burned with it.14
It would seem that no further agency was needed to render the separation of the Jews
from the rest of mankind complete and to make them an object of horror and reprobation.
Still another cause must be added to those just mentioned: the indomitable and tenacious
patriotism of Israel.
Certainly, every people was attached to the land of its birth. Conquered, beaten by the
conquerors, driven into exile or forced into slavery, they remained true to the sweet
memories of their plundered city or the country they had lost. Still none other knew
the patriotic enthusiasm of the Jews. The Greek, whose city was destroyed, could elsewhere
build anew the hearth upon which his ancestors bestowed their blessings; the Roman who
went into exile took along with him his penates; Athens or Rome had nothing of the mystic
fatherland like Jerusalem.
Jerusalem was the guardian of the Tabernacle which received the divine word; it was the
city of the only Temple, the only place in the world where God could efficiently be
worshipped and sacrifices offered to Him. It was only much later, at a very late day, that
prayer houses were erected in other towns of Juda, or Greece, or Italy; still in those
houses they confined themselves to the reading of the law and theological discussion; the
pomp of Jehovah was known nowhere but at Jerusalem, the chosen sanctuary. When a temple
was built at Alexandria, it was considered heretical; indeed, the ceremonies which were
celebrated there had no sense, for they ought not to be performed anywhere but in a true
temple; so St. Chrysostom, after the dispersion of the Jews and the destruction of their
city, was justified in saying: "The Jews offer sacrifices in all parts of the earth
except there where the sacrifice is permitted and valid, i.e., at Jerusalem."
All Jews of the period of dispersion sent to Jerusalem the didrachm tax for the
maintenance of the temple; once in their lives they came to the holy city, as later the
Mohammedans came to Mecca; after their death they were carried to Palestine, and numerous
craft anchored at the coast, loaded with small coffins which were thence forwarded on
It was because in Jerusalem only, in the land given by God to their ancestors, their
bodies would be resurrected. There those who had believed in Yahweh, who had observed his
law and obeyed his word, would awake at the sound of the last trumpet and appear before
their Lord. Nowhere but there could they rise at the appointed hour; every other land but
that washed by the yellow Jordan was a vile land, fouled by idolatry, deprived of God.
When the fatherland was dead, when adversity was sweeping Israel all over the world,
after the Temple had perished in flames, and when the heathens occupied the holiest
ground, mourning over bygone days became everlasting in the soul of the Jew. It was over;
they could no longer hope to see on the day of mercy the black buck carry away their sins
into the desert, neither could they see the lamb killed for the passover night, or bring
their offerings to the altar; and, deprived of Jerusalem during life, they would not
be brought there after death.
God ought not to abandon his children, reasoned the pious; and naive legends came to
comfort the exiles. Near the tombs of the Jews who die in exile, they said, Jehovah opens
long caverns through which the corpses roll as far as Palestine, whereas the pagan who
dies there, near the consecrated hills, is removed from the chosen land, for he is
unworthy of remaining there where the resurrection will take place.
Still that did not satisfy them. They did not resign themselves to visiting Jerusalem
merely as pitiable pilgrims, weeping before the ruined walls, many of them so maddened by
grief as to let themselves be trampled upon by horses' hoofs, embracing the ground while
moaning; they could not believe that God, that the blessed city had abandoned them; with
Judah Levita they exclaimed: "Zion, hast thou forgotten thy unfortunate children who
groan in slavery ?"
They expected that their Lord would by his mighty right hand raise the fallen walls;
they hoped that a prophet, a chosen one, would bring them back to the promised land; and
how many times, in the course of ages, have they left their homes, their fortunes they who
are reproached of being too much attached to worldly goodsin order to follow a false
Messiah who undertook to lead them and promised them the return so much longed for !
Thousands were attracted by Serenus, Moses of Crete, Alroi, and massacred in the
expectation of the happy day.
With the Talmudists these sentiments of popular enthusiasm, this mystic heroism
underwent a transformation. The doctors taught the restoration of the Jewish empire; in
order that Jerusalem might be born anew from its ruins, they wanted to preserve the people
of Israel pure, to prevent them from mixing with other people, to inculcate on them the
idea that they were everywhere in exile, amidst enemies that held them captive. They said
to their disciples: "Do not cultivate strange lands, soon you will cultivate your
own; do not attach yourself to any land, for thus will you be unfaithful to the memory of
your native land; do not submit to any king, for you have no master but the Lord of the
Holy Land, Jehovah; do not scatter amongst the nations, you will forfeit your salvation
and you will not see the light of the day of resurrection; remain such as you left your
house; the hour will come and you will see again the hills of your ancestors, and
those hills will then be the centre of the world, which will be subject to your
Thus all those complex sentiments which had in olden days served to build up the
hegemony of Israel, to maintain its character as a nation, to develop a high and powerful
originality, all those virtues and vices which gave it the spirit and countenance
necessary to preserve a nation; which enabled it to attain greatness and later to defend
its independence with desperate valour worthy of admiration; all that, after the Jews had
ceased to be a State, combined to shut them up in the most complete, the most absolute
This isolation has been their strength, in the opinion of some apologists. If they mean
to say that owing to it the Jews have survived, so much is true; if the conditions are
considered, however, under which the Jews have preserved their identity as a people, it is
obvious that this isolation has been their weakness, and that they have survived up to
modern times, as a race of pariahs, persecuted , often martyred. Moreover, it is not only
to their seclusion that they owe this surprising persistence. Their extraordinary
solidarity, due to their misfortunes, and mutual support count for very much; and even in
our day, when they take part in public life in some countries, having abandoned their
sectarian dogmas, this very solidarity prevents them from dissolving and disappearing as a
people, by conferring upon them certain benefits to which they are by no means
This solicitude for worldly goods, which is a marked feature of the Hebrew character,
has not been without effect upon the conduct of the Jews, especially since they left
Palestine; by directing them along certain avenues, to the exclusion of all others, this
feature of their character has drawn upon them the most violent animosities. The soul of
the Jew is twofold: it is both mystic and positive. His mysticism has come down from the
theophanies of the desert to the metaphysical dreaming of the kabbala; his positivism, or
rather his rationalism, manifests itself in the sentences of the Ecclesiastes as well as
the legislative enactments of the rabbis and the dogmatic controversies of the
theologians. Still if mysticism leads to a Philo or Spinoza, rationalism leads to the
usurer, the weigher of gold; it creates the greedy trader. It is true that at times these
two states of the mind are found in just opposition, and the Israelite, as it occurred in
the middle ages, can split his life into two parts: one devoted to meditation on the
Absolute, the other to business.
 Of the Jewish love for gold, there can be no question here. Though it may have
grown so abnormal with this race as to have become well-nigh the only motive of their
actions, though it may have engendered a violent and exasperated antisemitism, yet it
cannot be classed among the general causes of antisemitism. It was, on the contrary, the
effect of those very causes, and we shall see that it is partly the exclusiveness, the
persistent patriotism, and pride of Israel, that has driven it to become the hated usurer
of the whole world.
In fact, all the causes we have just enumerated, if they be general, are not the only
ones. I have called them general, because they depend upon one constant element: the Jew.
Still the Jew is only one of the factors of antisemitism; he provokes it by his presence,
but he is not the only one that determines it. The nations among whom the Israelites have
lived, their manners, their customs, their religion, the philosophy even of the nations in
whose midst Israel has developed determine the particular character of antisemitism, which
changes with time and place.
We shall trace these modifications and variations of antisemitism through the course of
ages down to our epoch; and we shall examine whether, in some countries at least, the
general causes I have attempted to deduce are still operating, or whether the reasons for
modern antisemitism must not be sought elsewhere.
1 Tractatus theologico-politicus.
2 When I say "Moses assigned," it is not to maintain that Moses himself
elaborated all the laws which pass under his name, but merely because he is credited with
having revised them.
3 Cod. Theod., book II, title III, §2. Cod. Just., book I, title IX,
4 Philo, Legat. ad Cai.
5 Dig., book I, title III, §3. (Decisions by Septimius Severus and Caracalla.)
6 Spinoza, Tractatus theologico-politicus.
7 The Dibre Sopherim.
8 Mark, vii, 27.
9 Derembourg, Geographie de la Palestine.
10 Graetz, Histoire des Juits, b. II, p. 469.
11 Ant. Jud., xx, 9.
12 The Jewish thought still had a few lights in the fifteenth and sixteenth century.
But those among the Jews who produced anything mostly took part in the struggle between
philosophy and religion, and were without influence upon their co-religionists; their
existence is therefore no denial of the spirit inculcated on the masses by the rabbis.
Besides, one meets, throughout that period, none but unimportant commentators, physicians
and translators; there appears no great mind among them. One must go as far as Spinoza to
find a Jew truly capable of high ideas; it is wellknown how the Synagogue treated Spinoza.
13 "Insolentia Judaeorum," spoken of by Agobard, Amolon and the
polemists of the Middle Ages means nothing but the pride of the Jews, who consider
themselves the chosen people. This expression has not the sense forced into it by modern
antisemites, who, it may be noted, are poor historians.
14 The Roman laws, the Visigothic ordinances and those of the Councils will probably be
cited; yet nearly all these measures proceeded principally from Jewish proselytism. It was
not until the thirteenth century that the Jews were radically and officially separated
from the Christians, by ghettos, by symbols of infamy (the hat, the cape, etc.). See
Ulysse Robert, Les Signes d'infamie au Moyen Age. (Paris, 1891.)
Chapter Two: ANTI-JUDAISM IN ANTIQUITY
MODERN antisemites who are in quest of sires for themselves, unhesitatingly trace the
first demonstrations against the Jews back to the days of ancient Egypt. For that purpose
they are particularly pleased to refer to Genesis, xliii, 32, where it is said: "The
Egyptians might not eat bread with the Hebrews; for that it is an abomination unto the
Egyptians." They also rely upon a few verses of the Exodus, among them the following:
"Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we; come on,
let us deal wisely with them, lest they multiply." (Exodus, i, 9, 10.)
It is certain that the sons of Jacob who came to the land of Goshen under the Shepherd
Pharaoh Aphobis, were treated by the Egyptians with the same contempt as their brothers,
the Hyksos, referred to in hieroglyphic texts as lepers, called also
"plague" and "pest" in some inscriptions.15 They arrived at that very
epoch when a very strong national sentiment manifested itself against the Asiatic
invaders, hated for their cruelty; this sentiment soon led to the war of independence,
which resulted in the final victory of Ahmos I., and the enslavement of the Hebrews.
However, unless one is a violent anti-Jew, it is impossible to perceive in those remote
disturbances anything beyond a mere incident in a struggle between conquerors and
There is no antisemitism until the Jews, having abandoned their native land, settle as
immigrants in foreign countries and come into contact with natives or older settlers,
whose customs, race and religion are different from those of the Hebrews.
Accordingly, the history of Haman and Mordecai may be taken as the beginning of
antisemitism, and the antisemites have not failed so to do. This view is, perhaps, more
correct. Though the historical reality of the book of Esther can scarcely be relied upon,
still it is worthy of note that its author puts into the mouth of Haman some of the
complaints, which, at a later period, are uttered by Tacitus and other Latin writers.
"And Haman said unto the king, Ahasuerus: there is a certain people scattered
abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws
are diverse from all people; neither keep they the king's laws." (Esther, iii, 8.)
The pamphleteers of the middle ages, of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and of
our own time, say nothing else; and if the history of Haman is apocryphal, which is highly
probable, still it cannot be denied that the author of the Book of Esther has very ably
brought out some of the causes, which for many centuries exposed the Jews to the hatred of
Yet we must go to the period of Jewish expansion abroad, to be enabled to observe with
certainty that hostility against them, which by a peculiar misuse of terms has in our days
been called antisemitism.
Some traditions refer the entrance of the Jews into the ancient world to the epoch of
the first captivity. While Nabu- Kudur-Ussur led away to Babylonia a portion of the Jewish
people, many of the Israelites, to escape from the conqueror, fled to Egypt, to Tripoli,
and reached the Greek colonies. Tradition brings back to the same period the arrival of
the Jews in China and India.
Historically, however, the wanderings of the Jews across the globe commence in the
fourth century before our era. About 331 B.C. Alexander transported some Jews to
Alexandria, Ptolemy sent some of them to Cyrenaica, and about the same time Seleucus led
some of them to Antioch. When Jesus was born Jewish colonies flourished everywhere, and it
was among them that Christianity recruited its first adherents. There were Jews in Egypt,
in Phoenicia, in Syria, in Coele-Syria, in Pamphylia, in Cilicia, and as far as Bithynia.
In Europe they had settled in Thessalia, Boeotia, Macedonia, Attica and Peloponnesus. They
were to be found in the Great Isles, on Euboea, on Crete, on Cyprus, and at Rome. "It
is not easy to find a place on earth," says Strabo, "which has not received that
Why were the Jews hated in all those countries, in all those cities? Because they never
entered any city as citizens, but always as a privileged class. Though having left
Palestine, they wanted above all to remain Jews, and their native country was still
Jerusalem, i.e., the only city where God might be worshipped and sacrifices offered in His
Temple. They formed everywhere republics, as it were, united with Judea and Jerusalem, and
from every place they remitted monies to the high priest in payment of a special tax
for the maintenance of the Templethe didrachm.
Moreover, they separated themselves from other inhabitants by their rites and their
customs; they considered the soil of foreign nations impure and sought to constitute
themselves in every city into a sort of a sacred territory. They lived apart, in special
quarters, secluded among themselves, isolated, governing themselves by virtue of
privileges which were jealously guarded by them, and excited the envy of their neighbours.
They intermarried amongst themselves and en tertained no strangers, for fear of pollution.
The mystery with which they surrounded themselves excited curiosity as well as aversion.
Their rites appeared strange and gave occasion for ridicule; being unknown, they were
misrepresented and slandered.
At Alexandria they were quite numerous. According to Philo,16 Alexandria was divided
into five wards. Two were inhabited by the Jews. The privileges accorded to them by Caesar
were engraved on a column and guarded by them as a precious treasure. They had their own
Senate with exclusive jurisdiction in Jewish affairs, and they were judged by an ethnarch.
They were ship-owners, traders, farmers, most of them wealthy; the sumptuousness of their
monuments and synagogues bore witness to it. The Ptolemies made them farmers of the
revenues; this was one of the causes of popular hatred against them. Besides, they had a
monopoly of navigation on the Nile, of the grain trade and of provisioning Alexandria, and
they extended their trade to all the provinces along the Mediterranean coast. They
accumulated great fortunes; this gave rise to the invidia auri Judaici. The growing
resentment against these foreign cornerers, constituting a nation within a nation, led to
popular disturbances; the Jews were frequently assaulted, and Germanicu, among others, had
great trouble protecting them.
The Egyptians took revenge upon them by deriding their religious customs, their
abhorrence of pork. They once paraded in the city a fool, Carabas by name, adorned with a
papyrus diadem, decked in a royal gown, and they saluted him as king of the Jews. Under
Philadelphus, one of the first Ptolemies, Manetho, the high-priest of the Temple at
Heliopolis, lent his authority to the popular hatred; he considered the Jews descendants
of the Hyksos usurpers, and said that that leprous tribe had been expelled for sacrilege
and impiousness. Those fables were repeated by Chaeremon and Lysimachus. It was not only
popular animosity, however, that persecuted the Jews; they had also against them the
Stoics and the Sophists. The Jews, by their proselytism, interfered with the Stoics; there
was a rivalry for influence between them, and, notwithstanding their common belief in
divine unity, there was opposition between them. The Stoics charged the Jews with
irreligiousness, judging by the sayings of Posidonius and Apollonius Molo; they had a very
scant knowledge of the Jewish religion. The Jews, they said, refuse to worship the gods;
they do not consent to bow even before the divinity of the emperor. They have in their
sanctuary the head of an ass and render homage to it; they are cannibals; every year they
fatten a man and sacrifice him in a grove, after which they divide among themselves his
flesh and swear on it to hate strangers. "The Jews, says Apollonius Molo, are enemies
of all mankind; they have invented nothing useful, and they are brutal." To this
Posidonius adds: "They are the worst of all men."
Not less than the Stoics did the Sophists detest the Jews. But the causes of their
hatred were not religious, but, I should say, rather literary. From Ptolemy Philadelphus,
until the middle of the third century, the Alexandrian Jews, with the intent of sustaining
and strengthening their propaganda, gave themselves to forging all texts which were
capable of lending support to their cause. The verses of Aeschylus, of Sophocles, of
Euripides, the pretended oracles of Orpheus, preserved in Aristobulus and the Stromata of
Clement of Alexandria were thus made to glorify the one God and the Sabbath. Historians
were falsified or credited with the authorship of books they had never written. It is thus
that a History of the Jews was published under the name of Hecataeus of Abdera. The most
important of these inventions was the Sibylline oracles, a fabrication of the Alexandrian
Jews, which prophesied the future advent of the reign of the one God. They found
imitators, however, for since the Sibyl had begun to speak, in the second century before
Christ, the first Christians also made her speak. The Jews would appropriate to themselves
even the Greek literature and philosophy. In a commentary on the Pentateuch, which has
been preserved for us by Eusebius,l7 Aristobulus attempted to show that Plato and
Aristotle had found their metaphysical and ethical ideas in an old Greek translation of
the Pentateuch. The Greeks were greatly incensed at such treatment of their literature and
philosophy, and out of revenge they circulated the slanderous stories of Manetho, adapting
them to those of the Bible, to the great fury of the Jews; thus the con- fusion of
languages was identified with the myth of Zeus robbing the animals of their common
language. The Sophists, wounded by the conduct of the Jews, would speak against them in
their teaching. One among them, Apion, wrote a Treatise against the Jews. This
Apion was a peculiar individual, a liar and babbler, to a degree uncommon even among
rhetors, and full of vanity, which earned him from Tiberius the nickname "Cymbalum
mundi." His stories were famous; he claimed to have called out, by means of magic
herbs, the shade of Homer, says Pliny.
Apion repeated in his Treatise against the Jews the stories of Manetho, which
had been previously restated by Chaeremon and Lysimachus, and supplemented them by quoting
from Posidonius and Apollonius Molo. According to him, Moses was "nothing but a
seducer and wizard," and his laws contained "nothing but what is bad and
As to the Sabbath, the name was derived, he said, from a disease, a sort of an ulcer,
with which the Jews were afflicted, and which the Egyptians called sabbatosim, i.e.,
disease of the groins.
Philo and Josephus undertook the defence of the Jews and fought the Sophists and Apion.
In Contra Apionem, Josephus is very severe on his adversary. "Apion,"
says he, "is as stupid as an ass and as imprudent as a dog, which is one of the gods
of his nation." Philo, on the other hand, prefers to attack the Sophists in general,
and if he mentions Apion at all, in his Legatio ad Caium, it is merely because
Apion was sent to Rome to prefer charges against the Jews before Caligula.
In his Treatise on Agriculture he draws a very black picture of the Sophists,
and insinuates that Moses has compared them to hogs. Nevertheless, in his other writings,
he advises his co-religionists not to irritate them, so as to avoid all provocation to
disturbances, but to await patiently their chastisement, which will come on the day the
Jewish Empire, the empire of salvation, will be established on earth.
Philo's injunctions were not heeded; the exasperation on both sides often led to
violent riots and massacres of Jews; the latter, however, valiantly defended themselves.19
At Rome the Jews had a powerful and wealthy colony as early as the first year of the
Christian era. If Valerius Maximus may be trusted they first came to the city about 139
B.C., during the consulate of Popilius Loenus and Cajas Calpwinius.20
Certain it is that, in 160 B.C., an embassy from Judas Maccabee arrived in Rome to
negotiate an alliance with the Republic against the Syrians; other embassies followed, in
143 and 139.21
The settlement of the Jews at Rome probably dates from that time. Under Pompey they
came in numbers, and as early as 58 B.C., they had quite a settlement. Turbulent and
formidable, they were an important factor in politics. Caesar availed himself of their
support during the civil wars and lavished favours upon them; he even granted them
exemption from military service. Under Augustus the distribution of free bread was
postponed for them whenever it fell due on Saturday. The Emperor gave them permission to
collect the didrachm which was sent to Palestine, and he ordered the sacrifice of one or
two lambs to be offered in his behalf at the Temple of Jerusalem for all time to come.
When Tiberius became emperor, there were at Rome 20,000 Jews, who were organized in
colleges and sodalitates.
Except the Jews of prominent families, like the Herods and the Agrippas, who mixed in
public life, the Jewish masses lived in retirement. The majority resided in the dirtiest
and busiest quarter of the city, the Transtiberinus. They were to be seen near the Via
Portuensis, the Emporium and the Great Circus, in the Campus Martius, and in Suburra,
beyond the Capenian Gate, on the banks of the Egerian Creek, and near the sacred grove.
They were engaged in retail trade and the sale of second-hand goods; those at the Capenian
Gate were fortune tellers. The Jew of the Ghetto is already there.
At Rome the same causes were at work as at Alexandria. There, also, the excessive
privileges of the Jews, the wealth of some of them, as well as their unheard-of luxury and
ostentation, excited popular hatred. This resentment was aggravated by deeper and more
important reasons of a religious character; it may even be maintained, strange as it may
seem, that the motive of Roman anti-Judaism was religious.
The Roman religion resembled in nothing the admirable and profoundly symbolic
polytheism of the Greeks. It was ritual rather than mythical; it consisted of customs
closely connected with the doings of everyday life, as well as with all sorts of public
acts. Rome was one body with its gods; its greatness was bound, as it were, with the
rigorous observance of the practices of their national religion; its glory depended upon
the piety of its citizens, and it seems that the Roman must have had, like the Jew,
that notion of a covenant between the deities and himself, which was to be scrupulously
lived up to by both parties. Somehow or other, the Roman was always in the presence of his
gods; he left his hearth, where they abode, only to find them again in the Forum, on the
public highways, in the Senate, even in the fields, where they kept watch over the power
of Rome. At all times and on all occasions sacrifices were offered; the warriors and the
diplomats were guided by auguries, and all authority, civil as well as military, partook
of the priesthood, for the officer could not perform his duties unless he knew the rites
and observances of the cult.
It was this cult that for centuries sustained the Republic, and its commandments were
faithfully obeyed; when they were changed, when the traditions became adulterated, when
the rules were violated, Rome saw its glory fade, and its agony commenced.
Thus the Roman religion preserved itself for a long time without change. True, Rome was
familiar with foreign cults; she saw the worshipers of Isis and Osiris, those of the great
Mother and those of Sabazius; still, though admitting them into her Pantheon, she gave
them no place in her national religion. All these Orientals were tolerated; the citizens
were allowed to practice their superstitions, provided they were harmless; but when Rome
perceived that a new faith was subversive of the Roman spirit, she was pitiless, as in the
case of the conspiracy of the Bacchantes, or the expulsion of Egyptian priests. Rome
guarded herself against the foreign spirit; she feared affiliation with religious
societies; she was afraid even of Greek philosophers, and the Senate, in 161, upon the
report of the praetor Marcus Pomponius, barred them from entering the city.
From this, one may understand the feeling of the Romans toward the Jews, Greeks,
Asiatics, Egyptians, Germans, or Gauls, while bringing with them their rites and beliefs,
made no objection to bowing before Mars of the Palatine, or even before Jupiter Latiaris.
They conformed within certain limits, to the rules of the city, to its religious customs;
at all events, they showed no opposition. Not so the Jews. They brought with them a
religion as rigid, as ritualistic, as intolerant, as the Roman religion. Their worship of
Yahweh excluded all other worship; thus they shocked their fellow citizens by refusing to
swear to the eagles, whereas the eagle was the deity of the legion. As their religious
faith was blended with the observance of certain social laws, the adoption of this faith
was pregnant with a change of the social order. Therefore the Romans were worried by
its establishment in their midst, for the Jews were eager to make proselytes.
The proselytic spirit of the Jews is attested by all the historians, and Philo justly
says: "Our customs win over and convert the barbarians and the Hellenes, the
continent and the isles, the Orient and the Occident, Europe and Asia, the whole world,
from end to end."
The ancient nations, at their decline, were deeply attracted by Judaism, by its dogma
of divine unity, by its morals; many of the poor people were attracted by the privileges
accorded to the Jews. These proselytes were divided into two great classes: those who
accepted the circumcision and thereby entered into the Jewish community, thus becoming
strangers to their families, and those who, without complying with the requisites for
admission to the community, nevertheless gathered around it.
These conversions, generally by suasion and at times by force, as when the rich Jews
converted their slaves, were bound to create a reaction. It was this chief cause, together
with the secondary causes previously referred to, viz., the wealth of the Jews, their
political influence, their privileged condition, that led to anti-Judaic demonstrations at
Rome. The majority of Roman and Greek writers from Cicero on bear witness to this state of
Cicero, who was a disciple of Apollonius Molo, inherited his teacher's prejudices; he
found the Jews in his way: they were with the popular party against the party of the
Senate, to which he belonged. He feared them, and we can see from some passages of Pro
Flacco, that he hardly dared to speak of them, so numerous were they around him and in
the public place. Nevertheless, one day he burst forth. "Their barbarous
superstitions must be fought," says he; he accuses them of being a nation "given
to suspicion and slander," and proceeds by saying that they "show contempt for
the splendour of the Roman power,"22 They were to be feared, according to himthose
men who, detaching themselves from Rome, turned their eyes towards the far away city, that
Jerusalem, and supported it by denaries which they drew from the Republic. Moreover, he
reproached them for winning citizens over to the Sabbatarian rites.
It is this last charge that recurs most frequently in the writings of the polemists,
the poets and the historians. The Jewish religion, which charmed those who had
penetrated its essence, was repulsive to others who had a scant knowledge of it and
regarded it as a heap of absurd and dismal rites. The Jews are nothing but a superstitious
nation, says Persius ;23 their Sabbath is a lugubrious day, adds Ovid;24 they worship the
hog and the ass, affirms Petronius.25
Tacitus, well informed as he is, repeats, with regard to Judaism, the fables of Manetho
and Posidonius. The Jews, says he, are descended from lepers, they honour the head of an
ass, they have infamous rites. He further specifies his charges, which, one would say, are
those of modern French Nationalists: "All those who embrace their faith," says
he, "undergo circumcision, and the first instruction they receive is to despise the
gods, to forswear their country, to forget father, mother and children." And he warms
up by saying: "The Jews consider as profane all that is held sacred with us."26
Suetonius and Juvenal repeat the same thing; the principal charge reads: "They have a
particular cult and particular laws; they despise the Roman laws."27 This is likewise
the complaint of Pliny: "They despise the gods."28
Seneca has the same grudge, still with the philosopher other motives supervene. There
was a rivalry between Seneca, the Stoic, and the Jews, the same as there had been between
the Stoics and the Jews at Alexandria. He quarreled less with their contempt of the gods
than with their proselytism which thwarted the spread of the doctrine of the Stoics. He
thus gives expression to his displeasure: "The Romans," says he regretfully,
"have adopted the Sabbath."29 And, further speaking of the Jews, he says in
conclusion: "This abominable nation has succeeded in spreading its usages throughout
the whole world; the conquered have given their laws to the conquerors."30 Seneca's
view was in accord with the attitude of both the Republic and the Empire, by which
measures were adopted from time to time to check Jewish proselytism. Under Tiberius, in
the year 22, a senatus-consult was directed against the Egyptian and Judaic superstitions
and four thousand Jews, says Tacitus, were deported to Sardinia. Caligula subjected them
to vexatious persecution; he encouraged the doings of Flaccus in Egypt, and Flaccus,
sustained by the Emperor, robbed the Jews of the privileges granted to them by Caesar; he
took away from them their synagogue and directed that they might be treated as in
habitants of a captured city. Domitian imposed a special tax upon Jews and those who led a
Judaic life, hoping by the levy of the tax to stop conversions, and Antoninus Pius
prohibited the Jews from circumcising other than their sons.
Anti-Judaism manifested itself not only at Rome and Alexandria, but wherever there were
Jews: at Antioch, where great massacres occurred; in Lybia, where, under Vespasian, the
governor Catullus stirred up the populace against them; in Ionia, where, under Augustus,
the Greek cities, by an understanding among themselves, forced the Jews either to renounce
their faith or to bear the entire burden of public expenditures.
Yet it is impossible to speak of the persecution of the Jews without speaking of the
persecution of the Christians. For a long time Jews and Christians, these hostile
brothers, were included in the same contempt, and the same causes which made the Jews
hateful made the Christians hateful as well. The disciples of the Nazarene brought into
the ancient world the same deadly principles. If the Jews taught the people to leave their
gods, to abandon husband, father, child and wife, and to come to Jehovah, Jesus also said:
"I have not come to unite, but to separate." The Christians, like the Jews,
refused to bow to the eagle; like the Jews they would not lie prostrate before idols. Like
the Jews, the Christians knew another country than Rome; like the Jews, they would be
oblivious of their civic, rather than their religious duties.
Thus, during the first years of the Christian era, the Synagogue and the ancient Church
were despised alike. Simultaneously with the Jews "a certain chrestus''31 and his
followers were driven from Rome. Each side endeavoured to convince the people that it
ought not to be mistaken for the other, and no sooner did Christianity make itself heard
than it rejected, in its turn, the descendants of Abraham.
15 Inscription of Aahmes, chief of the mariners, cited in Ledrain's Histoire du
peuple d'Israel, I, p. 53.
16 In Flaccum.
17 Preparatio Evangelica.
18 Josephus, Contra Apionem, book II, ch. 6.
19 Philo, In Flaccum.
20 Valerius Maximus, I, 3, 2.
21 Maccab. viii., 11, 17-32- xii, 1-3; xiv, 16-19, 24.-Josephus, Antiqu. Jud.,
xii, 110; xiii, 5, 7, 9 Mai; Script. vet., 111, part 3, p. 998.
22 Pro Flacco.
23 Sat., V.
24 Ars amatoria, I, 75, 76.
25 Fragm. poet.
26 Tac., Hist., v. 4, 5.
27 Juvenal, Sat., xiv, 96, 104.
28 Hist. nat., xii, 4.
29 Epistle xv.
30 De superstitione, fragm. xxxvi.
31 Suetonius, Claud., 25.
Chapter Three: ANTI-JUDAISM IN
CHRISTIANANTIQUITY: FROM THE FOUNDATION OF CHURCH OF CONSTANTINE
THE Church is the daughter of the Synagogue; she owes her early development to the
Synagogue; she grew in the shade of the Temple, and from her first infant cry she opposed
her mother, which was quite natural, for they were divided by a wide divergence of
In the first centuries of the Christian era, during the apostolic age, Christian
communities sprang forth from Jewish communities, like a swarm of bees escaping from a
beehive; they settled on the same soil.
Jesus was not yet born when the Jews had built their prayer-houses in the cities of the
Orient and the Occident; their expansion to Asia Minor, Egypt, Cyrenaica, Rome, Greece and
Spain has already been noted. By their unceasing proselytism, by their preaching, by the
moral influence they exercised over the nations amidst whom they lived, they paved the way
This immense class of proselytes won over by the Jews, this God-fearing multitude, was
ready to receive the broader and more humanitarian teachings of Jesus, those teachings
which the universal Church, from its very inception, undertook to adulterate and to turn
away from their true meaning. These converts whose numbers steadily increased during the
first century before Christ, were free from the national prejudices of Israel; they
Judaized, but their eyes were not turned toward Jerusalem, and, one may say, the fervid
patriotism of the Jews rather checked the conversions. The Apostles, or at least some of
them, completely separated the precepts of the Jewish faith from the narrow idea of
nationality; they built upon the foundation of Jewish work accomplished before and thus
won for themselves the souls of those who had received the Jewish seed. The Apostles
preached in the synagogues. In the cities, where they arrived, they went straight to the
prayer-houses and there made their propaganda and found their first helpers; later a
Christian community was founded, side by side with the Jewish community, and the original
Jewish nucleus was increased by all those whom they had convinced among the Gentiles.
Without the existence of Jewish colonies Christianity would have encountered much
greater obstacles; it would have had greater difficulties in establishing itself. As has
been stated, the Jews in ancient society enjoyed considerable privileges; they had
protective charters assuring them an independent political and judicial organization and
freedom of worship. These privileges facilitated the development of the Christian
churches. For a long time the associations of the Christians were not distinguished by the
authorities from Jewish associations, the Roman government taking no cogni zance of the
division between the two religions. Christianity was treated as a Jewish sect, thus
benefiting by the same advantages; it was not only tolerated, but, in an indirect way,
protected by the imperial governors.
Thus, on the one hand, unwillingly, the Jews were unconscious auxiliaries of
Christianity while, on the other hand, they were its enemies, for which there were
numerous reasons. It is known that Jesus and his teachings enlisted their first following
among the Galilean provincials who were despised by the Jerusalemites for having yielded
more than others to foreign influences. "Can there any good thing come out of
Nazareth?" they said. These humble folks of Galilee, though much attached to the
Judaic rites and customs, in which respect they were perhaps stricter than the
Jerusalemites, were ignorant of the Law and were therefore despised by the haughty doctors
of Judea. This scorn likewise followed the first disciples of Jesus, some of whom,
besides, belonged to the disreputable classes, such as e.g., the publicans.
Nevertheless, while the origin of the primitive Christians brought upon them the scorn
of the Jews, it was not enough to excite their hatred; graver reasons were required for
that, foremost among them was Jewish patriotism.
The birth and early development of Christianity coincided with the time when the Jewish
nation attempted to shake off the yoke of Rome. Offended in their religious feelings, ill-
treated by the Roman administration, the Jews felt a yearning for liberty, which grew
with their hatred of Rome. Bands of zealots and assassins traversed the mountains of
Judea, entering the villages and wreaking vengeance upon Rome by striking those of their
brethren who bowed to the imperial authority. Plainly, these zealots and assassins who
attacked the Sadducees for mere complacency towards the Roman procura tors, could not
spare the disciples of Him to whom the words were attributed, "Render unto Caesar the
things which are Caesar's."
Absorbed in the expectation of the coming Messianic reign, the Jewish Christians of
those days were "men without a country"; the thought of free Judea no longer
made their hearts throb, though some, like the seer of the Apocalypse, had a horror of
Rome, still they had no passion for captive Jerusalem, which the zealots strove to
liberate; they were unpatriotic.
When all Galilee rose in response to the appeal of John of Gischala, they held aloof,
and when the Jerusalemites triumphed over Cestius Gallus, the Jewish Christians,
indifferent to the outcome of this supreme struggle, fled from Jerusalem, crossed the
Jordan and sought refuge at Pella. In the last battles which Bar Giora, John of Gischala
and their faithful gave to the Roman power, to the trained legions of Vespasian and Titus,
the disciples of Jesus took no part; and when Zion was reduced to ashes, burying under its
ruins the nation of Israel, no Christian met his death amidst the destruction.
One may well understand what could have been the treatment accorded, in those days of
exaltation, before, during and after the insurrection, to the Jewish and Gentile
Christians, who, with St. Paul, counseled submission to the power of Rome. The patriotic
indignation roused by the nascent Church was seconded by the wrath of the rabbis against
Originally the relations between the Jewish Christians and the Jews were fairly
cordial. The followers of the Apostles, as well as the Apostles themselves, recognized the
sanctity of the ancient law; they observed the rites of Judaism and as yet had not placed
the worship of Jesus side by side with that of the one God. The development of the dogma
of the divinity of Christ made a breach between the Church and the Synagogue. Judaism
could not admit of the deification of a man; to recognize any one as the son of God was
blasphemy; and as the Jewish Christians had not severed their connections with the Jewish
community, they were disciplined. This accounts for the flagellation of the Apostles and
the new con- verts, the stoning of Stephen and the beheading of the Apostle James.
After the capture of Jerusalem, after that storm which left Judea depopulated, the best
of her sons having perished in battle, or in the circus where they were delivered to the
beasts, or in the lead mines of Egypt, during this third captivity called by the Jews the
Roman exile, the relations between the Jews and Jewish Christians became still more
strained. Their country being dead, Israel gathered around their doctors. Jabne, where the
Sanhedrin reconvened, replaced Zion without extinguishing its memory, and the conquered
attached themselves still more closely to the Law which the sages commented upon.
Thenceforth, those who assailed that Law, which had become the most cherished heritage
of the Jew, were to be treated as enemies worse than the Romans. The doctors accordingly
fought the Christian doctrine which was making proselytes amidst their flock. "The
Gospels must be burnedsays Rabbi Tarphonfor paganism is not as dangerous to the Jewish
faith as the Jewish Christian sects. I should rather seek refuge in a pagan temple than in
an assembly of Jewish Christians." He was not the only one who thought so, and all
the rabbis comprehended the danger threatening Judaism from Jewish Christianity.
Some modern interpreters of the Talmud have gone to the rabbinical discussions and
decisions of that epoch for weapons against the Jews, accusing them of blind hatred
against anything that did not bear the mark of Israel; they do not seem, however, to have
carried into their researches the requisite scientific spirit and good faith.
Originally, all Talmudical inhibitions contemplated the Jewish Christians alone. The
Tanaim wanted to preserve the faithful from Christian contamination; for this purpose the
Gospels were likened to books on witchcraft, and Samuel Junior, by order of the patriarch
Gamaliel, inserted in the daily prayers a curse against the Jewish Christians, Birkat
Haminim, which has furnished the foundation for the charge that the Jews curse Jesus
thrice a day.
While the Jews thus sought to separate themselves from the Christians, the Church,
swayed by a great religious movement, was forced to cast away Judaism. To conquer the
world, to become a universal creed, Christianity had to rid itself of Jewish
particularism, to break the narrow chains of the ancient law, so as to be able to
spread the new one. This was the work of St. Paul, the true founder of the Church, who
opposed to the exclusiveness of the Jewish-Christian doctrine the principle of
As is well known, the struggle between these two tendencies in the nascent
Christianity, which were symbolized by Peter and Paul, was long and bitter. The whole
apostolic service of Paul was a long battle against the Judaizing. On the day when the
Apostle declared that in order to come to Jesus one need not pass through the Synagogue
nor accept the sign of the old covenant, the circumcision, on that very day all ties which
bound the Christian Church to its mother were torn and the nations of the world were won
over by Jesus.
The resistance of the Judaizing who wanted to belong to Jesus and at the same time to
observe the Sabbath and the Passover, was in vain; their prejudice against the conversion
of the Gentiles was of no avail. After Paul's journey to Asia Minor the cause of
Catholicism was won. The Apostle was braced up by an army, and that army arrayed against
the Jewish spirit the Hellenic, Antioch against Jerusalem.
The great bulk of the Jewish Christians tore themselves away from the narrow doctrine
of the little community of Jerusalem; the ruin of the holy city led them to doubt the
efficacy of the ancient law. It was good for the further development of the Church.
Ebionism met its death. If Christianity had followed the Jerusalemites it would have
remained a small Jewish sect. Having rid itself of the Ebionites and the Jewish Christians
and cut loose from its mother, Christianity allowed the nations to come to it without
forfeiting their individuality.
To safeguard its supremacy, the Church had to fight the Jewish spirit in two forms. The
first was that noted above, the Judaic positivism, hostile to anthropomorphism and
deification of heroes. Nevertheless this positivism has maintained its existence
throughout the ages so that a history of the Jewish current in the Christian Church could
be written, beginning with early Ebionism down to Protestantism, including among others
the Unitarians and Arians.
The second form is the mystic form represented by the Alexandria and Asiatic gnosis.
The Alexandrian Jews, as known, were influenced by Platonism and Pythagorism; Philo
himself was the forerunner of Plotinus and Porphyry in this renovation of the meta-
physical spirit. Aided by Hellenic doctrines the Jews interpreted the Bible and
scrutinized the mysteries contained therein, construing them into allegories and further
Proceeding from monotheism and the conception of a personal God as their religious
point of departure, the Jews of Alexandria were bound to come metaphysically to pantheism,
to the idea of a divine substance, to the doctrine of intermediaries between man and the
Absolute, i.e., to emanations, to the Eons of Valentinus and the Sephiroths of Kabbala. To
this Jewish fund were superadded the contributions of Chaldean, Persian and Egyptian
religions, which coexisted at Alexandria; at that time were elaborated those extraordinary
Gnostic theogonies, so multifarious, so varied, so madly mystical.
When Christianity was born, the gnosis was already in existence; the Gospels brought
new elements into it; it speculated on the life and words of Jesus, as it had speculated
on the Old Testament, and when the Apostles, in their early preaching, addressed
themselves to the Gentiles, they were confronted with the Gnostics, and primarily the
Jewish Gnostics. Peter met them at Samaria in the person of Simon the Magician; Paul faced
them at Colosse, at Ephesus, at Antioch, wherever he came with his Gospel, and possibly he
fought Cerinthus; John himself fought them, and, in the Epistles of the Apocalypse he
opposed the Nicolaites who were "of the Synagogue of Satan."
After having escaped the danger of crystallizing into a barren Jewish community, the
Church was thus exposed to the new danger of Gnosticism, which, if triumphant, would have
resulted in splitting it up into small sects and breaking its unity.
All preachers of the Christian religion had to contend against this gnosis; traces of
that fight are found in the Epistles of Paul to the Colossians and Ephesians, in the
pastoral letters, in the second Epistle of Peter, in the Epistle of Jude and in the
Apocalypse. They did not confine themselves to persecuting the Jewish spirit in the
gnosis; as soon as the Pauline spirit had triumphed over Peter, they declared war to the
Judaizing tendencies within the Church, as well as to the Jews themselves.
We find all these sentiments reflected in the writings of the Apostle Fathers, with a
growing desire to separate Christianity from Judaism; and with the development of the
dogma of the divinity of Jesus, the Jews became the abominable people of Deicides,
which they had not been originally. The Pauline traditions resound in the beginning of
the second century in the seven letters of Ignatius of Antioch addressed to the churches
of Rome, Magnesia, Philadel phia, Ephesus, Smyrna and Tralles and to the Bishop Polycarp.
Still in face of these hostile demonstrations the Jews were not inactive and proved
very dangerous adversaries. It was under the fire of their criticism that the dogma was
constructed; it was they who, by their subtle exegetics, by their firm logic, forced the
teachers of Christianity to give precision to their arguments. Their hostility worried the
theologians; though having severed themselves from Judaism, they wanted to win over the
Jews to their side; they believed that the triumph of Jesus would only be assured on the
day when Israel would recognize the power of the Son of God; indeed, this belief has
survived under different forms throughout the ages. It would seem as though the Church
were not satisfied of the legitimacy of its faith until the day when the people of whom
its God had come were converted to the Galilean.
This work was taken up by the apologists of Christianity, and their apologetic
prepossession was mixed with violent enmity. Thus the Letter to Diognetus, which has been
preserved for us in the work of St. Justin, and was written to refute the errors of the
adversaries of the Christians, may be considered as one of the first anti-Jewish writings.
The unknown author of this brief epistle, in his vigorous attack upon the Millenarian
ideas, speaks of the Jewish rites as superstitions. The motives are not the same as those
which actuated the unknown author of the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, for he
wanted, and so he declared, to convert the Jews and convince them of the excellence of the
word of Christ.
The most thorough of the apologists of that epoch is assuredly Justin, the philosopher.
His Dialogue with Tryphon will remain a model of this kind of dialogical polemics, of
which we have another sample from the same epoch in the Altercation of Jason and Papiscus,
from the pen of the Greek Ariston of Pella; the latter dialogue was reproduced in the
fifth century by Evagrius, in his Altercation of Simon and Theophilus. Justin, a native of
Samaria, and well acquainted with the Judeans, puts all the objections of the Jewish
exegetes into the mouth of Tryphon, meant to represent Rabbi Tarphon, who vigorously
fought against the apostolic evan gelization. The author attempts to persuade him that the
New Testament is in accord with the Old, and to reconcile monotheism  with the theory
of Messiah as the Word incarnate. At the same time, replying to Tryphon's reproach that
the Christians have abandoned the Mosaic law, he maintains that it was merely a
preparatory law. Justin attacked the Judaizing tendencies in both forms, viz., Jewish
Christianity on the one hand, and, on the other, Alexandrinism, which would admit the Word
only as a temporary irradiation of the One Being. He closes with the warning:
"Blaspheme not the Son of God; listen not to the Pharisees; ridicule not the King of
Israel, as you are doing daily." The irony of the Jews he met with sarcasm directed
against the rabbis: "Instead of expounding the meaning of the prophecies your
teachers indulge in tomfoolery; they are anxious to ascertain why male camels are referred
to in this or that passage, or why a certain quantity of flour is required for your
oblations. They are worried to know why an alpha is added to the original name of Abraham.
This is the subject of their studies. As to things essential, worthy of meditation, they
dare not speak of them to you, they do not attempt to explain them, and they prohibit you
from listening to our interpretation."
The last complaint is important, it indicates the character of the struggle for the
conquest of souls in which Judaism was defeated. The second century is one of the most
momentous epochs in the history of the Church. The dogma, still uncertain in the first
century, is then formulated and defined; Jesus advances toward divinity and attains it,
and his metaphysics, his worship, his conception, are blended with Judeo-Alexandrian
doctrines, with Philo's theories of the Word of God, the Chaldean memra and the Greek
logos. The Word is born, it becomes identified with the Galilean; in Justin's apologetics
and the fourth Gospel, we see the work completed. Christianity has become Alexandrian, and
its most ardent upholders, its defenders, even its orators, are at that hour the Christian
philosophers of the Alexandrian school: Justin, the author of the fourth Gospel, and
While this dogmatic transformation was going on, the idea of a universal church gained
strength. Bonds of union were formed between the small Christian communities, detached
from Jewish congregations; the more their numbers increased the stronger became the ties,
and this conception of unity and catholicity kept pace with the growing expansion of
This expansion could not proceed undisturbed. Christian preaching addressed itself to
all the Jewries of Asia Minor, Egypt, Cyrenaica and Italy, wherever there was an
unorthodox element among them, the Hellenized Jews whom the Christian teachers sought to
win over to their side. The propagandists likewise spoke to the anxious masses who had
already lent their ears to the Jewish word. The Jews witnessed the failure of their
influence and, perhaps, of their hopes; at all events, they saw their beliefs, their
faith, attacked by the neophytes; the feeling of the Jews against the Christians was as
bitter as that of the Christians when they saw the obstacles which the Jewish preachers
put in their way. Furious hatred was mutual, and the parties were not content with
Platonic hatred. The Christian congregations, unlike the Jewish communities, were not
recognized by the law; they were considered enemies of law and a danger to the Empire.
From this there was but one step to violence; this accounts for the periods of suffering
the Church had to go through. The Church, in those evil days, could not count upon its
rival, the Synagogue, for assistance; in some places where the struggle between the Jews
and the Christians had reached an acute stage the Jews, recognized by Roman legislation
and possessed of vested rights, would join the citizens of the towns in dragging the
Christians before the court. In Antioch, for example, where the enmity between those two
sects was most bitter, in all probability, the Jews, like the pagans, demanded the trial
and execution of Polycarp. They are said to have fed with great eagerness the stake upon
which the bishop was burned.
Still, not everywhere was the strife marked with such bloody manifestations. The
controversy was always very lively, yet it must be said it was not conducted with equal
weapons. The Bible was their common arsenal, but the Christian teachers had but a scant
knowledge of it. They did not know Hebrew and used the Septuagint version, which they
interpreted very freely, often relying, in support of their dogma, upon passages
interpolated into the Septuagint by falsifiers for the good of the cause. The Greek
speaking Jews did not hesitate to do the same, so that the Septuagint, a bad translation
as it was, full of absurdities, became available for any purpose.
These controversies, which continued through long centuries, were not always courteous.
Simultaneously with touching legends concerning Jesus, scandalous stories were invented.
To humiliate their enemies, the Jews attacked him of whom the former made their God, and
to the deification of Jesus they opposed the stories of the soldier Pantherus, of
abandoned Mary; these were taken up by philosophers hostile to Christianity, and Origen
refuted them in his Contra Celsum, meeting abuse with abuse.
Amidst these battles was born a theological anti-Judaism, purely ideological, which
consisted in rejecting as bad or worthless anything coming from Israel. This sentiment is
evidenced by Tertullian's De Adversus ludaeos. In that work the fiery African attacked
circumcision, which, he said, brought no salvation, but was a simple sign for
distinguishing Israel; when Messiah would come he would substitute spiritual for bodily
circumcision; he attacked the Sabbath, the temporal Sabbath, to which he opposed the
But this special anti-Judaism, which we find again in Octavius, by Minucius Felix; in
De Catholicae Ecclesiae Unitate, by Cyprian of Carthage; in Instructiones Adrersus Gentium
Deos, by the poet Commodian, and in Divinae Institutiones, by Lactantius, was mixed with
the desire to convince the Jews of the truth of the Christian religion, of the soundness
of its beliefs, its dogmas and principles; hence the ambition to make proselytes among
them. This anti- Judaism crossed with the efforts which the Church was making to arrive at
universality, and during the first three centuries remained purely theoretical. We shall
further see how, since Constantine and the triumph of the Church, this anti-Judaism was
transformed and more precisely defined.
Chapter Four: ANTISEMITISM FROM CONSTANTINE TO
THE EIGHTH CENTURY
FOR three centuries the Church had to contend against those with whom the greatness of
Rome was inseparable from the secular worship of the Gods. Still, the resistance of the
civil authorities, of the priests and philosophers, could not arrest the march of the
Church; persecutions, hatred, hostility enhanced its power of propaganda; it addressed
itself to those whose spirit was troubled, whose conscience was vacillating, and to them
it brought an ideal and that moral satisfaction which they lacked. Moreover, at that hour
when the Roman Empire was rending all over, when Rome, having abdicated all power and
authority, received its Caesars from the hands of the legions, and competitors for the
purple bobbed up in every nook of the provinces, the Catholic Church offered to that
expiring world the unity it was seeking.
Yet, while offering intellectual unity to the world, the Church at the same time was
ruining its institutions, customs and manners. In fact, at Rome, as well as in the Empire,
all public functions were at once civil and religious, the magistrate, the procurator, the
dux being invested with priestly functions; no public act was performed without rites; the
government was, in a manner, theocratic; this ultimately came to be symbolized in the
worship of the Emperor. All those who wanted to withdraw from that worship were held to be
enemies of Caesar and the Empire; they were considered bad citizens. This sentiment
explains the Roman dislike of Oriental religions and of the Jews; it explains the measures
adopted against the worshipers of Yahweh, and still more the severity shown towards the
worshipers of Mithra, of Sabazius and particularly towards the Christians, for the latter
were not foreigners like the Jews, but rebel citizens.
The triumph of Christianity was brought about by political considerations, and so, to
make its victory and domination lasting, it was obliged to adopt many of the ceremonial
observances of ancient Rome. When the Christians had increased in numbers, and formed
a considerable party, they were saved and could see the dawn of victory glimmer, for now a
pretender to the throne could find support among them and use their services to solidify
his authority. So it happened with Constantine, and Constantius, perhaps, foresaw it when
he commanded the Gallic legions. The victorious church succeeded to Rome. She inherited
its haughtiness, its exclusiveness, its pride, and almost without any transition period
the persecuted turned persecutrix, wielding the power by which she had been fought,
holding the consular fasces and hatchet and commanding the legionaries.
While Jesus was taking possession of the superb city and his universal reign was
commencing, Judaism was in agony in Pales tine; the teachers of Tiberias were powerless to
hold the young Judeans and the "illustrious, most glorious, right reverend"
patriarch had but the shadow of authority. The flourishing Jewish schools were in
Babylonia; the centre of Israel's intellectual life was transferred thither; still
wherever Christianity endeavoured to extend its influence it had to reckon and to contend
with the influence of Judaism; though since the close of the third century the latter was
of little importance, at least directly. Indeed, at that time the Judaizing heresies were
nearly extinct. The Nazarenes, those circumcised Christians attached to the old law, who
are mentioned by St. Jerome and St. Epiphanius, were reduced to a handful of meek
believers, who had found refuge at Berea (Alep), at Kokabe in Batanea, and at Pella, in
the Decapolis. They spoke the Syro-Chaldaic language; a remnant of the primitive Church of
Jerusalem, they no longer exerted any influence, swamped as they were amidst
Still, though Ebionism was dying out, Judaizing continued; the Christians attended the
synagogues, celebrated the Jewish holidays, and the contentions over the Passover were
still on. A large faction in the churches of the Orient insisted upon celebrating the
Passover at the same time as the Jews. It required the action of the Nicaean Council to
free Christianity of this last and weak bond by which it had still been tied to its
cradle. After the Synod all was over between the Church and the Temple, officially, and
from the orthodox standpoint, at least; it required, however, the action of further
councils to prevent the faithful from conforming to the old usage, and it was not until
341 A.D., when the Council of Antioch had excommunicated the Quartodecimans that unity
of the celebration of the Easter was effected.
Since the Church had become armed, anti-Judaism underwent a transformation. Purely
theological in the beginning, confined to arguments and controversies, it defined itself
and became harsher, more severe and aggressive. Beside writings, laws appeared; the
enactment of laws resulted in popular manifestations. The writings themselves underwent a
change. Throughout the centuries of persecution, apologetics had flourished, and a vast
literature had come into being, born of the need felt by the Christians to convince their
adversaries. They addressed themselves now to the Jews, now to the pagans, now to the
emperors, and all of them, Justin, Athenagoras, Tatian, Aristo of Pella, Melito,
endeavoured to prove to Caesar that their doctrines were not dangerous to the public weal;
that even without sacrificing to the gods, they could be loyal subjects, as obedient as
the pagans and morally superior. They argued with the Jews that it was they, the
Christians, that were the only faithful to tradition, for they fulfilled the prophecies
and the least details of their dogmas were foreseen and announced by the Scriptures.
Triumphant Christianity was no longer in need of apologists; Caesar had been converted and
Cyril of Alexandria, the author of a book against Julian the Apostate, was the last of the
apologists. As regards Israel, the Christians persisted, even to our own day, in
demonstrating to them their stubbornness; it was done in a less insidious and less
convincing manner; they spoke as masters, and from the middle of the fifth century,
apologetics proper ceased, reappearing only much later considerably modified and
They no longer tried to win over the Jews to Christ; indeed, a few years sufficed to
show to the theologians the futility of their efforts, and the effect of their reasoning,
based most frequently upon a fantastic exegesis or a few absurdities of the Alexandrian
translation of the Bible, was lost on these stubborn men, who listened only to their own
teachers and clung the stronger to their faith the more it was despised. To arguments was
added insult; the Jew was regarded less as a possible Christian than as an unrepenting
deicide. They denounced those men, whose persistence was so shocking and whose very
presence marred the complete triumph of the Church. Pains were taken to forget the Jewish
origin of Jesus and the Apostles; to forget that Christianity had grown in the shade
of the Synagogue. This oblivion perpetuated itself, and today who in all Christendom would
acknowledge that he bows to a poor Jew and a humble Jewess of Galilee?
The Fathers, the bishops, the priests, who had to contend against the Jews treated them
very badly. Hosius in Spain; Pope Sylvester; Paul, bishop of Constantine; Eusebius of
Caesarea,32 call them "a perverse, dangerous and criminal sect."
Some, like Gregory of Nyssa,33 remain on dogmatic ground, and merely reproach the Jews
for being infidels, who refuse to accept the testimony of Moses and the prophets on the
Trinity and Incarnation. St. Augustine34 is more vehement. Irritated by the objections of
the Talmudists he brands them as falsifiers, and declares that one need seek no religion
in the blindness of the Jews, and that Judaism may serve only as a term of comparison to
demonstrate the beauty of Christianity. St. Ambrose35 attacked them from another side; he
took up anew the charges of the ancient world, those which had been used against the first
Christians, and accused the Jews of despising the laws of Rome. St. Jerome36 claimed that
an impure spirit had seized the Jews. Having learned Hebrew in the schools of the rabbis,
he said, referring doubtless to the curses pronounced against the Mineans and distorting
their meaning: "The Jews must be hated, for they daily insult Jesus Christ in their
synagogues"; and St. Cyril of Jerusalem37 abused the Jewish patriarchs, claiming that
they were a low race.
We find all these theological and polemical attacks combined in the six sermons
delivered at Antioch, by St. John Chrysostom38 against the Jews; an examination of those
homilies will give us an understanding of the methods of discussion, as well as the
reciprocal attitude of Christians and Jews and their mutual relations.
The Jews, says Chrysostom in the first of his sermons, are ignoramuses, who lack all
understanding of their own law, and are consequently impious. They are wretches, dogs,
bull- headed; their people are like a herd of brutes, like wild beasts. They have driven
Christ away, therefore they are capable of evil only. Their synagogues may be likened to
playhouses, they are dens of brigands, the abode of Satan. Being obliged to admit that the
Jews are not ignorant of the Father, he adds that this is not enough, since they have
crucified the Son and reject the Holy Ghost, and that their souls are the abode of the
devil. Therefore they must be mistrusted; the Jewish disease must be guarded against.
In the second sermon these diatribes are resumed; Chrysostom appears in it much worried
over the influence exerted by the Jews. "Our sheep," he exclaims, "are
surrounded by Jewish wolves," and he reiterates the warning: Avoid them; avoid their
impiety; it is not significant controversies that separate us from them, but the death of
Christ. If you think that Judaism is true, leave the Church; if not, quit Judaism.
The other four sermons are chiefly theological. Availing himself of the invectives of
the prophets, Chrysostom calls the Jews thieves, impure, debauchees, rapacious, misers,
crafty, oppressors of the poor; they have filled the measure of their crimes by immolating
Jesus. He does not content himself with all that. He advances arguments upon controversies
which must have been very lively at Antioch. He defends the Church; he shows that Israel
is dispersed in consequence of the death of Christ; he draws from the prophets and the
stories of the Bible proofs of the divinity of Jesus, and he recommends to his flock to
stay away from the sermons of those Jews who call the cross an abomination and whose
religion is null and useless to those who know the true faith. In short, says he in
conclusion, it is absurd to consort with men who have treated God with such indignity and
at the same time to worship the Crucified.
These homilies of Chrysostom are characteristic and valuable. One finds there already
the policy which the Christian preachers were to pursue throughout the ages to follow;
that mixture of argument and apostrophizing, of suasion and abuse, which has remained
peculiar to anti-Jewish preaching. Especially worthy of notice is the part of the clergy
in the development of anti-Judaism originally religious anti- Judaism, for social
anti-Judaism arose much later in Christian society. These sermons portray, in a live
picture, the relations between Judaism and Christianity in the fourth century; these
relations continued for a long time, until about the ninth century. The Jews had not
arrived yet at that exclusive conception of their individuality and their nationality
which was the work of the Talmudists. Their proselytic ardour was not dead; they were not
conscious of the fact that they had forever lost their moral power over the world, and
they struggled on. They persuaded pagans and Christians to Judaize, and they found
followers; if need be they would make converts by force; they did not hesitate to
circumcise their slaves. They were the only foes the Church had to face, for paganism
was quietly passing away, leaving in the souls but legendary survivals, which have not
entirely died out even to this day. If paganism, through its last philosophers and poets,
still opposed the diffusion of Christianity, it no longer sought, since the fourth
century, to regain those whom Jesus held by his bonds. The Jews, however, had not given
up; they deemed themselves in possession of the true religion, upon as good a title as the
Christians, and in the eyes of the people their assertion had the attraction flowing from
In the morning of its triumph the Church as yet did not hold that universal ascendancy
which it gained later; it was still weak, though powerful; but those who directed it
aspired to universality, and they could not help considering the Jews as their worst
adversaries; they had to strain themselves to the utmost to weaken Jewish propaganda and
proselytism. In this the Fathers followed a secular tradition; upon this battle ground
they are unanimous, and there are legions of theologians, historians and writers who think
and write of the Jews the same as Chrysostom: Epiphanius, Diodorus of Tarsus, Theodore of
Mopsuestia, Theodoret of Cyprus, Cosmas Indicopleustes, Athanasius the Sinaite, Synesius,
among the Greeks; Hilarius of Poitiers, Prudentius, Paulas Orosius, Sulpicius Severus,
Gennadius, Venantius Fortunatus, Isidore of Seville, among the Latins.
However, after the edict of Milan, anti-Judaism could no longer confine itself to oral
or written controversies; it was no longer a quarrel between two sects equally detested or
despised. Before his conversion, Constantine, who originally declined to grant any
exclusive privileges to Christians, accorded, by the edict of tolerance, to everyone the
right to observe the religion of his choice. The Jews were thus put on an equal footing
with the Christians; the pagan pontiffs, the priests of Jesus, the patriarchs and teachers
of Israel enjoyed the same favour and were exempt from municipal taxes. But in 323, after
the defeat and death of Licinius, who had reigned in the Orient, Constantine, the victor
and lord over the Empire, supported by all the Christians of his states, showed them
marked preference. He made them his great dignitaries, his counselors, his generals, and
thenceforth the Church had the imperial power at its disposal to build up its dominion.
The first use it made of this authority was to persecute those who were hostile to the
Church; it found Constantine quite obedient to its wishes. On the one hand, the
emperor prohibited divination and sacrifices, closed the temples, ordered the gold and
silver statues of the gods to be melted for the embellishment of the churches; on the
other hand, he consented to repress Jewish proselytism and revived an ancient Roman law
which prohibited the Jews from circumcising their slaves; at the same time he deprived
them of many of their former privileges and barred them from Jerusalem, except on the
anniversary of the destruction of the Temple, and that upon payment of a special tax in
silver. Thus, by aggravating the burdens which were oppressing the Jews, Constantine
favoured Christian proselytism, and the preachers were not slow to represent to the Jews
the advantages baptism would bring.
Still, in spite of his hostility to the Jews, perhaps factitious, since the
authenticity of the letter written in a violent language and attributed to him by
Eusebius39 cannot be vouched for, he took pains to protect them against the attacks of
their own renegades. Under his successors, no such reservation was made. The Church was
now all-powerful with the emperors. Catholicism became the established religion, the
Christian worship was the official worship, the importance of the bishops increased from
day to day, as well as their influence. They inculcated upon the minds of the emperors
those sentiments with which they were inspired themselves, and while their anti-Judaism
manifested itself in writings, imperial anti Judaism found expression in statutes. These
laws, inspired by the clergy, were directed not only against the Jews, but against
Christian heretics as well. Indeed, during the fourth century, so fertile in heresies, the
orthodox themselves were at times disturbed when heretical theologians led the emperors.
Of these laws, all of which were enacted from the fourth to the seventh century, the
majority are directed against Jewish proselytism. The penal statutes directed against
those who circumcise Christians are reaffirmed;40 the offense is made punishable by exile
for life and confiscation of property. The Jews are prohibited from owning Christian
slaves;41 they are not allowed to marry Christians; such unions are treated like criminal
fornication.42 Other laws encourage Christian propaganda and proselytism among the Jews,
either directlyby protecting the apostates43 and enjoining Jews from disinheriting their
converted sons and grandsons44 or indirectly, by vexatious legislation against Jews. Their
privileges were curtailed. It was decreed that the moneys which were sent by the
Israelites to Palestine should be paid into the imperial treasury;45 they were debarred
from holding public office;46 they were assessed with hard and oppressive curial taxes;47
they were practically deprived of their special tribunals.48 The vexations were not
confined to that; the Jews were harassed even in the observance of their religion; the law
undertook to regulate the manner of observing the Sabbath;49 they were ordered not to
celebrate their Passover before Easter, and Justinian went as far as to prohibit them from
reciting the daily prayer, the Schema, which proclaimed one God, as against the Trinity.
Still, notwithstanding the favourable disposition of Emperor Constantine, the Church
was not given a free hand in everything. While restricting the religious liberties of the
pagans and the Jews, he was obliged to act with caution; the worshipers of the gods were
still numerous under his reign, and he dared not provoke dangerous disturbances. The Jews
benefited to some extent by this hesitation. With Constantius everything changed.
Constantine, who was baptized only on his deathbed by Eusebius of Nicomedia, was a skeptic
and a politician, who used Christianity as a tool; Constantius was an orthodox, as
fanatical and intolerant as the clergy and the monks of his day. With him, the Church
became dominant, and wielded its power for revenge; it seems the Church was eager to make
its erstwhile persecutors pay dearly for all it had suffered at their hands. No sooner was
it armed than it forgot its most elementary principles, and directed the secular arm
against its adversaries. The pagans and the Jews were persecuted with utmost severity;
those who offered sacrifices to Zeus, as well as those who worshipped Jehovah, were
maltreated: anti-Judaism went together with anti- paganism.
The Jewish teachers of Judea were exiled, they were threatened with death if they
persisted in giving instruction, they were compelled to flee from Palestine, while in
other provinces of the empire they were denied the rights of Roman citizenship. While the
Roman legions, on expedition against King Shabur II, of Persia, were camping in Judea, the
Jews were treated like inhabitants of a conquered country. They were heavily taxed; they
were forced to bake bread for the soldiers on Sabbath and on holidays.
In the cities, monks and bishops denounced pagans and Jews, inciting against them the
Christian populace and leading fanatical mobs in assaults upon temples and synagogues.
Under Theodosius I, and under Arcadius, synagogues were burned at Rome and at
Callinicus, in Mesopotamia. Under Theodosius II, at Alexandria, St. Cyril stirred up the
mob, hermits invaded the city, massacred all the Jews and pagans they met, assassinated
Hypathia, plundered synagogues, set the libraries on fire, defying the efforts of the
prefect Orestes whom the emperor later disavowed. At Imnestar, near Antioch, Simon, the
ascetic, acts likewise, and under Zeno similar scenes are enacted at Antioch. A fury of
destruction takes possession of the Christians; one might say, they wish to destroy all
traces of the old world to prepare the sweet reign of Christ.
Still the Jews did not behave passively in the face of their enemies, they had not, as
yet, acquired that stubborn and touching resignation which became their characteristic
To the vehement discourses of the priests they replied by dis courses, to acts they
responded by acts; to Christian proselytism they opposed their own proselytism and vowed
execration on their apostates. Violent sermons were preached in the synagogues. Jewish
preachers thundered against Edom, i.e., against Rome, the Rome of the Caesars which had
become the Rome of Jesus, and which was now ravishing the faith of the Jews after having
ravished their nationality. They did not content themselves with rhetorical common-places,
they excited their brethren to revolt. While Gallus, Constantius's nephew, governed the
Oriental provinces, Isaac of Sepphoris raised the Judeans, being aided in his undertaking
by a fearless man, Natrona, whom the Romans called Patricius. The Jews took up arms, but
they were severely repressed by Gallus and his general, Ursicinus. Women, children, and
old men were butchered, Tiberias and Lydda were half destroyed, Sepphoris was razed to the
ground and the catacombs of Tiberias were filled with fugitives who were hiding for months
to escape detection and death.
Under the reign of Phocas the Jews of Antioch, tired of persecutions, outrages and
massacres, one day rushed upon the Christians, assassinated the patriarch Anastasius the
Sinaite, and took possession of the city. Phocas sent against them an army with Kotys in
Command, the Jews at first repelled the imperial legions, but unable to hold out against
large enforcements brought to Antioch, they were subdued and massacred, maimed, or
banished. Their submission, however, was merely apparent; they were awaiting an
opportunity to renew the struggle; the opportunity soon presented itself. When Chosru
II, king of Persia, marched against the Byzantine empire, to avenge his son-in-law,
Mauritius, whose throne had been usurped by Phocas, the Jews joined the king. Sharbarza
invaded Asia Minor, disregarding the peace proposals of Heraclius, who had just dethroned
Phocas, and he saw the Jewish warriors of Galilee flock under his banners. Benjamin of
Tiberias was the soul of the revolt; he armed and led the rebels. The Jews wanted to
reconquer Palestine and restore it to that purity which to them had been polluted by the
Christian cult. They burned the churches, sacked Jerusalem, destroyed the convents,
raising on their way all their co-religionists, and joined by the Israelites of Damascus,
Southern Palestine, and the Isle of Cyprus, they besieged Tyre, but were forced to raise
the siege. For fourteen years they were masters of Palestine, and the Christians of
Palestine were in great numbers converted to Judaism. Heraclius drew them away from the
Persians, who had not lived up to their promise to surrender to their allies the holy city
of Jerusalem; he reached an understanding with Benjamin of Tiberias, promising to the Jews
impunity and other advantages; but when the emperor reconquered his provinces from Chosru,
he ordered, at the instigation of monks and the Patriarch Modestus, to massacre those with
whom he had treated. When Julian the Apostate, after repealing the restrictive laws of
Constantine and Constantius against the Jews, wanted to reconstruct the Temple of
Jerusalem, the foreign Jewish communities remained deaf to the imperial appeal; they had
become estranged from their national cause, at least directly. With all the Jews of that
time, the restoration of the Kingdom of Judah was intimately bound with the advent of
Messiah and they could not expect it from a crowned philosopher; they had but to await the
heavenly king who had been promised them; this sentiment persisted throughout the ages.
With the death of the last patriarch Gamaliel VI, the phantom of royalty and of a Jewish
nationality passed away and there was left to Israel but the chief of exile, the exilarch
of Babylonia, who disappeared in the eleventh century.
In Persia and Babylonia, the Jews lived since their captivity, after the ruin of
Jerusalem many more sought refuge in that admirable and fertile country, where they were
given land to farm on and lived happily under the benevolent rule of the Arsacidae. They
founded schools at Sora, Nachardea and Pumbaditha, and made numerous proselytes. But
in the middle of the third century the dynasty of the Arsacidae, who were very unpopular,
fell with Artaban, and Ardashir founded the dynasty of the Sassanides. It was a national
and religious movement. The Neo-Persians or Guebres execrated the Hellenizing Arsacidae
who had abandoned the fire worship. The triumph of Ardashir was the triumph of the Magi,
who raged against the Hellenizing, the Christians of Edessa and the Jews, for the
anti-Judaism of the Magi was combined with anti-Christianity; so the hostile brothers were
persecuted simultaneously, still the Jews, more feared for their numbers and their
strength, suffered more in consequence, in those troublous days. However, those
persecutions were never of long duration. After suffering oppression at the end of the
third century from Shabur II, who led away 70,000 Jewish prisoners from Armenia to
Ispahan, the Israelites were for many years left undisturbed; but in the sixth and the
seventh century under Yezdigerd II, under Pheroces, and under Kobad, restrictive measures
were adopted at the instigation of the Magi. The Jews were prohibited from celebrating the
Sabbath; their schools were closed, the Jewish tribunals were abolished. During the reign
of Kobad, Mazdak, the Magus, was the originator of these persecutions. Mazdak, the founder
of the sect of Zendiks, preached communism and deprived the Jews and Christians of their
wives and property. Under the leadership of the Exilarch Mar Zutra II, the Jews rebelled,
and, according to Persian chronicles, they defeated the partisans of the Magus and founded
a state, whose capital was Mahuza, a city inhabited by Persian converts to Judaism. This
state existed for seven years until Mar Zutra was defeated and killed.
Since then the Jews, in Persia, witnessed alternately peace and trouble; happy under
Chosroes Nushirvan and Chosru II, oppressed under Hormisdas IV, they ultimately tired of
their precarious situation, and, in concert with the Christians of the Sassanide kingdom
aided Omar to capture the throne of Persia, thus contributing to the triumph of Mohammed
and the Arabs.
Still the Jews had little to rejoice at under the Mussulman yoke. Their first
settlement in Arabia, disregarding the legends which trace it as far back as Joshua or
Saul, must date from the time of the captivity, or of the destruction of the first Temple.
The original nucleus was swelled by fugitives from Judea, who reached Arabia at the time
Palestine was conquered by the Romans. In the beginning of the Christian era there
were in Arabia four Jewish tribes, whose centre was Medina.
The Jews accomplished a moral and intellectual conquest of the Arabs, whom they
converted to Judaism; at least they made them adopt its rites. The kinship between the two
peoples made it easy, the more so that, in Yemen, the Jews had in their turn adopted
Arabian customs, which differed but little from the early Jewish customs. They were
farmers, shepherds and warriors, at times freebooters and poets. Divided into small
groups, fighting among themselves and taking part in the quarrels which divided the Arab
tribes, they at the same time founded schools at Yathrib, built temples and propagated
their religion as far as the Himyarites with whom their traders were in regular
intercourse. In the sixth century, under the reign of Zorah-Dhu-Nowas, all Yemen was
Jewish. With the conversion of one Arab tribe of Nedjran to Christianity, difficulties
began; they were, however, of short duration, for Christian propaganda was cut short in
Arabia by Mohammed. Mohammed was nursed by the Jewish spirit; fleeing from Mecca, where
his preaching had aroused against him the Arabs who were true to old traditions, he sought
refuge at Medina, the Jewish city, and as the apostles found their first adherents among
the Hellenic proselytes, so he found his first disciples among the Judaizing Arabs.
Likewise, the same religious causes embittered Mohammed and Paul to hatred. The Jews
rebelled against the preaching of the prophet, they heaped ridicule upon him, and Mohammed
who had until then been inclined to compromise with them, violently repudiated them and
wrote the celebrated Sura of the Cow, in which he unmercifully inveighed against them.
When the prophet had assembled an army of followers he no longer confined himself to
abuse, he marched against the Jewish tribes, vanquished them, and decreed that
"neither Jews nor Christians" should be accepted as friends. The Jews rose and
allied themselves to those Arabs who rejected the new doctrines, but the extension of
Mohammedanism triumphed over them. By the time of Mohammed's death they had been reduced
to extreme weakness; Omar completed the work. He drove out of Chaibar and Wadil Kora the
last Jewish tribes, as well as the Christians of Dedjran, for Christians and Jews alike
polluted the sacred soil of Islam.
Wherever Omar carried his arms, the Jews, oppressed by reason of that very affinity
which united them with the Arabs, favoured the second caliph, who took possession of
Persia and Palestine. Omar enacted severe laws against the Jews, who had assisted his
antagonist; he subjected them to restrictive legislation, prohibited the erection of new
synagogues, forced them to wear dress of a particular colour, enjoined them from riding on
horseback, and imposed upon them a personal and a land tax. Christians were treated
likewise. Nevertheless the Jews enjoyed greater liberty under Arab rule than under
Christian domination. On the one hand, the legislation of Omar was not rigorously
enforced; on the other hand, aside from a few manifestations of fanaticism, the
Mussulmanic mass, in spite of religious differences, showed a friendly disposition towards
them. And later, with the expansion of Islam, the Arabs were hailed as liberators by all
the Western Jews.
The condition of the Western Jews since the destruction of the fragile Roman empire and
the rush of barbarians upon the old world, was subject to all the vicissitudes of the
times. The Csesars, those poor Caesars who bore the names of Olybrius, Glycerius, Julius
Nepos, and Romulus Augustulus, fell, but the Roman laws remained; and if for short periods
they were not enforced against the Jews, they still remained in effect, and the German
sovereigns could make use of them at pleasure.
From the fifth to the eighth century the fortunes of the Jews wholly depended upon
religious causes which were external to them, and their history among those who were
called barbarians is bound with the history of Arianism, its triumph and defeats. So long
as the Arian doctrine predominated, the Jews lived in a state of relative welfare, for the
clergy and even the heretical government were busy fighting against orthodoxy and little
worried about the Israelites, who, to them, were not the enemies to be crushed. Theodoric,
however, was an exception. No sooner was the Ostrogoth empire established than the king
prohibited the erection of synagogues and endeavoured to convert the Jews.50 He protected
them, however, against popular outbreaks, and compelled the Roman Senate to rebuild the
synagogues which had been set on fire by the Catholic mobs which rose against the Arian
Still in Italy, under the Byzantine dominion so harassing to them, or under the more
indifferent Lombard rule, for the Arian and the pagan Lombards scarcely took notice of the
existence of Israelthe Jews were guarded against the zeal of the lower clergy and
their flocks by the benevolence of the pontifical authority, which, from the earliest days
of its power, seems to have desired, with rare exceptions, to preserve the synagogue as a
living testimony of its victory.
In Spain the condition of the Jews was quite different. From time immemorial they
freely settled in the peninsula; their numbers increased under Vespasian, Titus and
Hadrian, during the Judean wars and after the dispersion; they owned large fortunes, they
were wealthy, powerful and respectable and exerted a great influence upon the population
among whom they lived. The imprint received by the peoples of Spain from Judaism, endured
for centuries, and that land was the last to witness once more the contest, with almost
equal weapons, between the Jewish and the Christian spirit. More than once Spain came very
near becoming Jewish, and to write the history of that country until the fifteenth century
means to write the history of the Jews, for they were intimately connected in a most
remarkable way, with its literature and intellectual, national, moral and economic
development. The church, from its very establishment in Spain, contended against Jewish
tendencies and proselytism, and it was only after a struggle of twelve centuries that it
succeeded in completely extirpating them.
Until the sixth century the Spanish Jews lived in perfect happiness. They were as happy
as in Babylonia, and they found a new mother country in Spain. The Roman laws did not
reach them there and the ecclesiastical ordinances of the Council of Elvira, in the fourth
century which enjoined Christians from intercourse with them, remained a dead letter.
The Visigothic conquest did not change their condition and the Arian Visigoths confined
themselves to persecuting the Catholics. The Jews enjoyed the same civil and political
rights as the conquerors; moreover, the Jews joined their armies and the Pyrenean frontier
was guarded by Jewish troops. With the conversion of King Reccared everything changed; the
triumphant clergy heaped persecution and vexation upon the Jews, and from that hour (589
A.D.) their existence became precarious. They were gradually brought under severe and
meddlesome laws which were drafted by the numerous councils, held during that period in
Spain, and were enacted by the Visigoth kings. These successive laws are all combined in
the edict promulgated, in 652, by Receswinth; they were re-enacted and aggravated by
Erwig, who had them approved by the twelfth council of Toledo (680).51 The Jews were
prohibited from performing the right of circumcision and observing the dietary laws, from
marrying relatives until the sixth generation, from reading books condemned by the
Christian religion. They were not allowed to testify against Christians or to maintain an
action in court against them, or to hold public office. These laws which had been enacted
one by one, were not always enforced by the Visigoth lords, who were independent, in a
way, but the clergy doubled their efforts to procure their strict enforcement. The object
of the bishops and the dignitaries of the church was to bring about the conversion of the
Jews and to kill the spirit of Judaism in Spain and the secular authority lent them its
support. From time to time the Jews were put to the choice between banishment and baptism;
from that epoch dates the origin of the class of Marranos, those Judaizing Christians who
were later dispersed by the Inquisition. Until the eighth century the Spanish Jews lived
in that state of uncertainty and distress, relying only upon the transitory good will of
some kings like Swintila and Wamba. They were liberated only by Tariq, the Mohammedan
conqueror, who destroyed the Visigothic empire with the aid of the exiled Jews joining his
army and with the support of the Jews remaining in Spain. After the battle of Xeres and
the defeat of Roderick (711), the Jews breathed again.
About the same epoch a better era dawned for them in France. They had established
colonies in Gaul in the days of the Roman republic, or of Caesar, and they prospered,
benefiting by their privileges of Roman citizenship. The arrival of the Burgundians and
Franks did not change their condition, and the invaders accorded them the same treatment
as the Gauls. Their history was subject to the same fluctuations and rhythms as in Italy
and Spain. Free under pagan or Arian dominion, they were persecuted as soon as orthodoxy
became dominant. Sigismund, king of the Burgundians, after his conversion to Catholicism
enacted laws against them which were confirmed by his successors.52 The Franks, being
ignorant of the very existence of the Jews, were wholly guided by the bishops, and after
Clovis they naturally began to apply to the Jews the provisions of the Theodosian Code.
These provisions were aggravated and complicated by ecclesiastical authority which left to
the secular power the duty of enforcing and compelling the observance of its decrees.
From the fifth to the eighth century that part of the canon law relating to the Jews was
worked out in Gaul. The laws were formulated by the councils and approved by the edicts of
the Merovingian kings.
The chief concern of the church, during those three centuries, seems to have been to
separate the Jews from the Christians, to prevent Judaizing among the faithful and to
check Israelite proselytism. This legislation which had, towards the eighth century,
become extremely severe in dealing with the Jews and the Judaizing, was not enacted at one
stroke; beginning with the council of Vannes, of the year 465, the synods first confined
themselves to platonic injunctions. The clergy at that epoch had but very scant authority
and could inflict no penalties; it was not before the sixth century that the support of
the Frank chiefs enabled it to enact penal legislation, which originally applied only to
clerical offenders against the decisions of the councils, but later was extended to
Nevertheless, one must not imagine the condition of the Jews at that epoch as very
miserable. On the Jewish, as well as on the Christian side, one notices a mixture of
tolerance and intolerance which is accounted for either by a mutual desire to make
converts, or even to some extent by reciprocal religious good-will. The Jews took an
interest in public life, the Christians ate at their tables; they shared in their joys and
sorrows, as well as in factional fights. Thus they are seen, at Arles, to unite with the
Visigothic party against the bishop Caesarius,53 and later to follow the funeral of the
same bishop, crying: Vae! vae! They were the clients of great seignors (as witnessed by
two letters of Sidonius Apollinaris),54 and the latter helped them to evade the vexatious
ordinances. In many regions the clergy visited them, a great many Christians went to the
synagogues, and the Jews likewise attended Catholic services during the mass of the
catechumens. They resisted, as far as possible, the numerous efforts to convert them, at
times attended with violence, notwithstanding the recommendations of certain Popes,55 and
they boldly engaged in controversies with theologians who endeavoured to persuade them by
the same means as the Fathers of former ages. We shall return to these controversies and
writings when we shall come to study the anti-Jewish literature.
Thus, as shown above, during the first seven centuries of the Christian era,
anti-Judaism proceeded exclusively from religious causes and was led only by the
clergy. One must not be misled by popular excesses and legislative repression, for they
were never spontaneous, but always inspired by bishops, priests, or monks. It was only
since the eighth century that social causes supervened to religious causes, and it was
only after the eighth century that real persecution commenced. It coincided with the
universal spread of Catholicism, with the development of feudalism and also with the
intellectual and moral change of the Jews, which was mostly due to the influence of the
Talmudists and the exaggerated growth of exclusiveness among the Jews. We shall now
proceed to examine this new transformation of anti- Judaism.
32 Demonstratio Evangelica.
33 Testimonium adversus Judaeos ex Tetere Testamento, Migne, P. G.,. XLVI.
34 Oratio adversus Judaeos, Migne, P. L. XLII.
35 De Tobia, Migne, P. L. XIV.
36 Ep. CLI, Quaest. 10, Migne, P. L. XXII.
37 Ep. CLI, Quaest, 10, Migne, P. G., XXXIII.
38 Adversus Judaeos, 10, Migne, P. C., XLVIII.
39 Eusebius, Vita Constantini, III, 18, 20.
40 Codex Justinianeus, 1. I, tit. IX, 16.
41 Codex Theodosianus, 1. XVI, tit. IX, 3, 4, 5.
42 Codex Justinianeus 1. I, tit. IX, 6.
43 Cod. Theod., b. XVI, tit. viii, 5.
44Ó Code Theodosien, 1. XVI, tit. VIII, 28.
45 Codex Justinianeus, 1. I, tit. IX, 17 and Cod. Theodos., 1. XVI, tit.
VIII, . 14.
46 Codex Justinianeus, 1. I, tit. IX, 18.
47 Justinianus, Novellae, 45.
48 Codex Justinianeus, 1. I, tit. IX, 15.
49 Codex Justinianeus 1. I, tit. IX, 13, and Cod. Theod., 1. VIII, tit.
50 His course was probably influenced by his Minister Cassiodorus, who . seems to have
had scant sympathy for the Jews-he characterized them as scorpions, wild asses, dogs and
51 Leges Visigoth, 1. XII, tit. II, 5.
52 Lex Burgundionum, tit. XV, 1, 2, 3.
53 Vie de Saint Cesaire, Migne. Patrologie latine, t. LXVII.
54 Sidonius Apollinaris, 1. III, ep. IV, and 1. IV, ep. V.
55 Fredegaire (Chronique, XV), and Aumoin (Chroniqua Moissiacensis, XLV)
relate that, at the instigation of Emperor Heraclius, Dagobert gave to the Jews the choice
between death, exile and baptism. (Gesta Dagoberti, XXIV). The same is reported of
the Visigothic King Sisebut (see appendix to the Chronicle of Bishop Marius, A.D. 588; Dom
Bouquet, t. II, p. 19). Chilperich forced many Jews to be baptized. (Gregoire de Tours, H.
F., 1. VI, ch. XVII). Bishop Avitus compelled the Jews of Clermont to renounce their
faith, or leave the city. Gregoire de Tours, H. F., 1. V, ch. XI). Other bishops resorted
to force, and it required the interference of Pope St. Gregory to stop or at least
moderate their zeal. "The Jews must not be baptized by force, but brought over by
sweetness," says he in his letters addressed to Virgil bishop of Arles, to Theodore,
bishop of Marseilles, and to Paschasius, bishop of Naples. (Regesta Pontificum
Romanorum, ed. Jafle, nos. 1115 and 1879.) But the authority of the Pope was not
Chapter Five: ANTI-JUDAISM FROM THE EIGHTH
CENTURY TO THE REFORMATION
THE church reaches its final constitution in the eighth century. The period of great
doctrinal crises is at an end, dogma is settled and heresies will not cause it any trouble
until the Reformation. Pontifical primacy strikes deep root, the organization of the
clergy is henceforth solid, religion and liturgy are unified, discipline and canonic law
are settled, ecclesiastic property increases, the tithe is established, the federal
constitution of the Churchsub- divided into sufficiently autonomous circuitsdisappears,
the movement of centralization for the benefit of Rome is clearly outlined. This movement
came to an end, when the Carolingians had established the temporal power of the popes, and
the Latin church, strongly hierarchical before, became as centralized, in a comparatively
short time, as the Roman empire of yore, which the church's universal authority had thus
supplanted. Simultaneously Christianity spread further still and conquered the barbarians.
The Anglo-Saxon missionaries had set the examples in Saint Boniface and Saint Willibrod;
they had followers. The gospel was preached to the Alamans, the Frisians, the Saxons, the
Scandinavians, the Bohemians and the Hungarians, the Russians and the Wends, the
Pomeranians and the Prussians, the Lithuanians and the Finns. The work was accomplished at
the end of the thirteenth century: Europe was Christianized.
The Jews settled in the wake of Christianity as it kept spreading by degrees. In the
ninth century, they came from France to Germany, got thence into Bohemia, into Hungary and
into Poland, where they met another wave of Jewsthose coming by way of the Caucasus and
converting on their march several Tartar tribes. In the twelfth century they settled in
England and Belgium, and everywhere they built their synagogues, they organized their
communities at that decisive hour, when the nations were coming out from chaos, when
states were being formed and consolidated. They remained outside of these great
agitations, amid which conquering and conquered races were amalgamating and uniting one
with the other; and in the midst of these tumultuous combinations they remained
spectators, strangers and hostile to these fusions: an eternal people witnessing the rise
of new nations. However, their role was surely of account at all times; they were one of
the active elements of ferment of these societies in the process of formation.
In some countries, as e.g., in Spain, their history is in so high a degree interlinked
with that of the peninsula, that, without them it is impossible to grasp and appreciate
the development of the Spanish people. But if they had influenced its constitution by the
numbers of their converts in that country, by the support they had given in succession to
the various masters in possession of its soil they did so by seeking to bring to
themselves those among whom they lived and not by letting themselves be absorbed. Still,
the history of the Spanish Marranos is exceptional. Everywhere, though, as we shall see,
the Jews played a part of economic agents; they did not create a social state, but they
assisted after a fashion in establishing it, and yet they could not be treated with favour
among the organizations to whose formation they had lent aid. For this there was a serious
obstacle. All the states of the Middle Ages were molded by the church; in their essence,
in their very being, they were permeated with the ideas and doctrines of Catholicism; the
Christian religion gave the unity they lacked to the numerous tribes which had gathered
together into nations. As representatives of contrary dogmas, the Jews could not but
oppose the general movement, both by their proselytism, and by their very presence as
well. As the church led this movement it was from the church that anti-Judaism,
theoretical and legislative, proceeded, anti Judaism which the governments and the peoples
shared and which other causes came to aggravate. The social and religious state of affairs
and the Jews themselves gave origin to these causes. But they had remained ever
subordinated to those essential reasons which may be traced to the opposition, then
secular already between the Christian spirit and the Jewish spirit, between the universal,
and so to say, international Catholic religion, and the particularist and narrow Jewish
Only towards the end of the eighth century the activity of the Western Jews developed.
Protected in Spain by the Caliphs, given support by Charlemagne who let the Merovingian
laws fall into disuse, they extended their commerce which until then centered chiefly
in the sale of slaves. For this they were, indeed, particularly favoured by circumstances.
Their communities were in constant communication, they were united by the religious bond
which tied them all to the theological centre of Babylonia whose dependencies they
considered themselves up to the decline of the exilarchate. Thus they acquired very great
facilities for exporting commerce, in which they amassed considerable fortunes, if we are
to believe the diatribes of Dagobard,56 and later those of Rigord,57 which, with all their
exaggeration of the property of the Jews must not, yet, be entirely rejected as unworthy
of credence.58 Indeed, with regard to this wealth of the Jews, especially in France and
Spain, we possess the testimonies of chroniclers and the Jews themselves, several of whom
reproached their coreligionists for devoting to worldly welfare much more time than to the
worship of Jehovah. "Instead of calculating the numerical value of the name of
God," says the Kabbalist Abulafia, "the Jews prefer to count their riches."
Parallel with the general advance we really see this preoccupation with wealth grow
among the Jews and their practical activity concentrating on a special business: I mean
the gold business. Here we must emphasize a point. It has often been said, and it is
repeated still, that the Christian societies had forced the Jews into this position of
creditor and usurer, which they have for a long time kept: this is the thesis of the
philosemites. On the other hand the antisemites assert that the Jews, from time
immemorial, had natural inclinations for commerce and finance, and that they but followed
their normal disposition, and that nothing had ever been forced upon them. In these two
assertions there is a portion of verity and a portion of error, or rather that there is
room to comment on them, and especially to give them a hearing.
At the time of their national prosperity the Jews, like all other nations, for that
matter, had a class of the rich, which proved itself as eager for gain and as hard to the
lowly as the capitalists of all ages and all nations have proven. The antisemites, as
well, who make use of the texts of Isaiah and Jeremiah, e.g., to prove the constant
eternal rapacity of the Jews, act very naively, and, thanks to the words of the prophets,
can but establishand puerile it is the existence, in Israel, of possessors and poor. If
they examined impartially the Judaic codes and precepts only, they would acknow ledge
that legislation and morals prescribed never to charge interest on debts.59 Taking all in
all, the Jews were, in Palestine, the least mercantile of the Semites, in this regard much
inferior to the Phoenicians and Carthaginians. It was only under Solomon that they entered
into intercourse with the other nations. Even at that time, it was a powerful corporation
of Phoenicians that was engaged in the banking business at Jerusalem. However, the
geographical position of Palestine prevented its inhabitants from devoting themselves to a
very extensive and considerable traffic. Nevertheless, during the first captivity and
through the contact with the Babylonians, a class of merchants had formed, and from it
came the first Jewish emigrants, who established their colonies in Egypt, Cyrenaica and
Asia Minor. In all cities that admitted them, they formed active communities, powerful and
opulent, and, with the final dispersion, important groups of emigrants joined the original
groups which facilitated their installation. To explain the attitude of the Jews it is,
accordingly, not necessary to fall back upon a theory of the Arian genius and the Semitic
genius. Indeed, we well know the traditional Roman cupidity and the commercial sense of
the Greeks. The usury of the Roman feneratores had no limit any more than had their bad
faith; they were encouraged by the very harsh laws against the debtorsa worthy daughter of
that law of the Twelve Tables which granted to the creditor the right of cutting pieces of
flesh from the live body of an insolvent borrower. In Rome gold was absolute master, and
Juvenal could speak of the "sanctissima divitiarum maiestas." 60 As to the
Greeks, they were the cleverest and boldest of spectators; rivaling the Phoenicians in the
slave-trade, in piracy, they knew the use of letters of exchange and maritime insurance,
and, Solon having authorized usury, they never did away with it.
As a nation the Jews differed in nothing from other nations, and if at first they were
a nation of shepherds and agriculturists, they came, by a natural course of evolution, to
constitute other classes among them. And devoting themselves to commerce, after their
dispersion, they followed a general law which is applicable to all colonists. Indeed, with
the exception of cases when he goes to break virgin soil, the emigrant can be only an
artisan or merchant, as nothing but necessity or allurement of gain can force him to leave
his native soil. Therefore, the Jews coming into Western cities acted in no way
differently from the Dutch or English when they established business offices.
Nevertheless, they came soon enough to specialize in the money business, for which they
have been so bitterly reproached ever since, and in the fourteenth century they
constituted quite a coterie of changers and lenders: they had become the bankers of the
The Middle Ages considered gold and silver as tokens possessing imaginary value,
varying at the will of the king, who could order its rate according to the dictations of
his fancy. This notion was derived from Roman law, which refused to treat money as a
merchandise. The church inherited these financial dogmas, combined them with the biblical
prescriptions which forbade loan on interest, and was severe, from its very start, against
the Christians and ecclesiastics even that followed the example of the teneratores, who
advanced money at 24, 48 and even 60 per cent., when the legal rate of interest was 12 per
cent. The canons of councils are quite explicit on this point; they follow the teaching of
the Fathers, Saint Augustin, Saint Chrysostom, Saint Jerome; they forbid loans and are
harsh against those clerics and laymen who engage in the usurer's business.
At the same time, in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the wage system was
established, the bourgeoisie developed, grew rich and acquired privileges and franchises:
capitalistic power was now born. Commerce having taken on a new form, the value of gold
increased and the passion for money grew with the importance which the currency had
Indeed, on one hand were the rich, on the otherthe peasants, landless, subject to the
tithe and prestations; workingmen dominated over by the capitalist laws. To cap it all,
perpetual wars, revolts, diseases and famines. Whenever the year was bad, the money gave
out, the crop failed, an epidemic came, the peasant, the proletarian, and the small
bourgeois were forced to resort to borrowing. Hence, by necessity there had to be
borrowers. But the church had forbidden loan at interest, and capital does not choose to
remain unproductive, but during the Middle Ages capital could only be either merchant or
lender, as money could be made productive in no other way. As far as the ecclesiastical
decisions had any influence, a great part of the Christian capitalists did not want to
begin an open revolt against their authority; there was also formed a class of reprobates
for whom the bourgeoisie and nobility often acted as silent partners. It consisted of
Lombards, Caeorsins, to whom the princes, the lords granted the privileges of loaning
on interest, gathering a part of the profits which were considerable, as the Lombards lent
money at 10 per cent. a month; or of unscrupulous foreigners, like Tuscan emigrants
settled in Istria who went in usury to such extremes that the community of Triest
suspended, in 1350, all execution for debts for three years. This did not take away the
ground from under the usurers, but as I have said they found obstacles which the church
placed in the way of their operations (the council of Lyons of 1215 wanted to declare the
wills of usurers void).
As for Jews, these obstacles did not exist. The church had no moral power over them, it
could not forbid them, in the name of the doctrine and dogma, to engage in money
exchanging and banking. Thus a religious conception of the functions of capital and
interest, and a social system which ran counter to this conception, led the Jews of the
Middle Ages to adopt a profession cried down but made necessary; and in reality they were
not the cause of the abuses of usury, for which the social order itself was responsible.
If they did not cultivate land, if they were not agriculturists, it is not because they
possessed none, as has often been said; the restrictive laws relative to the property
rights of the Jews came at a date posterior to their settlement. They own property, but
had their domains cultivated by slaves, for their stubborn patriotism forbade them to
break foreign soil. This patriotism, the notion which they attached to the sanctity of
their Palestinian fatherland, the allusion which they kept alive in them of the
restoration of that fatherland and this particular faith which made them consider
themselves exiles who would one day again see the holy cityall this drove them above all
other foreigners and colonists to take up commerce.
As merchants they were destined to become usurers, given the conditions which the codes
had imposed upon them and the conditions they had imposed upon themselves. To escape
persecution and annoyance they had to make themselves useful, even necessary, to their
rulers, the noblemen upon whom they depended, to the church whose vassals they were. Now
the nobleman, the Church despite its anathemasneeded gold, and this gold they demanded
from the Jews. During the Middle Ages gold became the great motive power, the supreme
deity alchemists spent their lives in search of the magistery which was to produce it, the
idea of possessing it inflamed the minds, in its name all kinds of cruelties were
committed, the thirst of riches laid hold of all souls; later on, for Cortez and Pizarro,
the successors of Columbus, the conquest of America meant the conquest of gold. The Jews
fell under the universal charmthe same under which the Templars had fallen and for them it
was particularly fatal, because of their state of mind and the civil status imposed upon
them. In order to exist, they turned brokers in gold, but this the Christians sought as
eagerly as they. More than that, under the constant menace of banishment, always acamp,
forced to be nomads, the Jews had to guard against the terrible eventualities of exile.
They had to transform their property so as to make it more convertible into money, that
is, to give it a more movable form, and they were the most active in developing the money
value, in considering it as a merchandise, hence the lending andto recoup for periodic and
unavoidable confiscationsthe usury.
The creation of guildsmerchant and craftguilds and their organization, in the
thirteenth century, finally forced the Jews into the condition to which they had been led
by the social conditions general and specialunder which they lived. All these
organizations were, so to speak, religious organizations, brotherhoods which none joined
but those who prostrated themselves before the standard of the patron saint. The
ceremonies attendant upon the initiation into these bodies being Christian ceremonies, the
Jews could not but be shut out from them: and so they were. A series of prohibitions
successively shut them out of all industry and all commerce, except that in odds and ends
and in old clothes. Those who escaped this disqualification did so by virtue of special
privileges for which they often paid too dearly.
However, this is not all; other more intimate causes were added to those I have just
enumerated, and all joined in throwing the Jew more and more out of society, in shutting
him up in the ghetto, in immobilizing him behind the counter where he was weighing gold.
An energetic, vivacious nation, of infinite pride, thinking themselves superior to the
other nations, the Jews wished to become a power. They instinctively had a taste for
domination, as they believed themselves superior to all others by their origin, their
religion, their title of a "chosen race," which they had always ascribed to
themselves. To exercise this kind of power the Jews had no choice of means. Gold gave them
a power which all political  and religious laws denied them, and it was the only one
they could hope for. As possessors of gold they became the masters of their masters, they
dominated over them, and this was the only way to deploy their energy and their activity.
Would they not have been able to display it in some other fashion? Yes, and they tried
it, but there they had to fight their own spirit. For many long years they had worked in
the intellectual line, devoted themselves to sciences, letters, philosophy. They were
mathematicians and astronomers; they practiced medicine, and, if the school of Montpellier
was not founded by them, they surely helped in developing it; they had translated the
works of Averroes and of the Arabic commentators of Aristotle; they had revealed the Greek
philosophy to the Christian world, and their metaphysicians Ibn Gabirol and Maimonides had
been among the teachers of the schoolmen. 61 Who stopped them in this advance? They
Their doctors endeavoured to confine Israel to the exclusive study of the law in order
to preserve Israel from outside influences, pernicious, it was said, to the integrity of
the law. Efforts to this effect had been made since the time of the Maccabees, when the
Hellenizers constituted a great party in Palestine. Beaten at first, or, at least, hardly
listened to, those who later acquired the name of obscurantists, kept at their task. When
Jewish intolerance and bigotry grew in the twelfth century, when exclusiveness increased,
the struggle between the partisans of profane science and their opponents became fiercer,
it blazed up after the death of Maimonides and ended in the victory of the obscurantists.
In his works, particularly in the Moreh Nebukhim (Guide of the Perplexed) 62 Moses Maimonides attempted to reconcile faith and science. As a convinced Aristotelian,
he wished to unite peripatetic philosophy with the Mosaic faith, and his speculations on
the nature of the soul and its immortality found followers and ardent admirers as well as
fierce detractors. As a matter of fact, especially in France and Spain, the Maimunists
were led to neglect the ritual practices and petty ceremonies of worship: bold
rationalists, they had allegoric interpretations for the biblical miracles, as the
disciples of Philo before them, and thus they escaped the tyranny of religious precepts.
They claimed the right of taking part in the intellectual movement of the time and
mingling in the society in which they lived without giving up their beliefs. Their
opponents clung to the purity of Israel, to the absolute integrity of its worship, its
rites, and its beliefs; in philosophy and science they saw the most deadly enemies of
Judaism and maintained that the Jews were destined to perish and scatter among the
nations, if they did not recover their wits and did not reject everything that was not of
the Holy Law.
In 1232, Rabbi Solomon of Montpellier issued an anathema against all those who would
read the Moreh Nebukhim or would take up scientific and philosophic studies. This
was the signal for the struggle. It was violent on both sides, and all weapons were
resorted to. The fanatical rabbis appealed to the fanaticism of the Dominicans, they
denounced the Guide of the Perplexed and had it burned by the inquisition. At the
instigation of a German doctor, Asher Ben Yechiel, a synod of thirty rabbis met at
Barcelona, with Ben Adret in the chair, and excommunicated all those who read books other
than the Bible and the Talmud, when under twenty-five years.
A counter-excommunication was proclaimed by Jacob Tibbon, who, at the head of all
Provencial rabbis, boldly defended condemned science. All was in vain: those wretched
Jews, whom everybody tormented for their faith, persecuted their coreligionists more
cruelly and severely than they had ever been persecuted. Those whom they accused of
indifference had to undergo the worst punishments; the blasphemers had their tongues cut;
Jewish women who had any relations with Christians were condemned to disfigurement: their
noses were subjected to ablation. Despite this, Tibbon's followers persisted. It was due
to them, that Jewish thought did not completely die out in Spain, France and Italy during
the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Even such men as Moses of Narbonne and Levy de
Bagnols, as Elias of Crete and Alemani, the teacher of Pico di Mirandola, as well as later
Spinoza, were all isolated men. As for the mass of Jews, it had completely fallen under
the power of the obscurantists. Hereafter it was separated from the world, its whole
horizon was shut out; to nourish its spirit it had nothing but futile talmudic
commentaries, idle and mediocre discussions on the Law.
Henceforth the Jew thought no longer. And what need had he of thinking since he
possessed a minute, precise code, the work of casuist legists, which could give answer to
any question that it was legitimate to ask ? For believers were forbidden to inquire into
problems which were not mentioned in this codethe Talmud. 
The Jew found everything foreseen in the Talmud: the sentiments, the emotions, whatever
they might be, were designated; prayers, formulas, all ready-made, supplied the means for
expressing them. The book left room neither to reason nor to freedom, inasmuch as in
instruction the legendary and gnomical portions were almost proscribedto lay stress upon
the law and ritual. True, by the tyranny they had exercised over their flock they
developed in each the ingenuity and spirit of craftiness necessary to escape from the net
which closed without pity; but they also increased the natural positivism of the Jews by
presenting to them as their only idea the material and personal happiness, a happiness
which one could attain on earth if one knew how to bind oneself to the thousand religious
laws. To attain this selfish happiness, the Jew, whom the prescribed ceremonies rid of all
care and trouble, was fatally led on to strive after gold, for under the existing social
conditions which ruled him, as they ruled all the people of that epoch, gold alone could
give him the gratification which his limited and narrow brain could conceive. He was
prepared to be changer, lender, usurer, one who strives after the metal, at first for the
pleasures it could afford and then afterwards for the sole happiness of possessing it; one
who greedily seizes gold and avariciously immobilizes it. The Jew having become such,
anti-Judaism became more complicated, social causes intermingled with religious causes;
the combination of these causes explains the intensity and gravity of the persecutions
which Israel had to undergo.
Indeed, the Lombards and Caeorsins, for instance, were the object of popular animosity;
they were hated and despised but they were not victims of systematic persecutions. It was
deemed abominable that Jews should have acquired wealth, especially because they were Jews.
Against the Christian who cheated him, and was neither better nor worse than the Jew, the
poor wretch when plundered felt less anger than against the Israelite reprobate, the enemy
of God and man. When the deicide, even so the object of terror, had become the usurer, the
collector of taxes, the merciless agent of the fiscthe terror increased; it became
intermingled with hatred on the part of the oppressed and downtrodden. The simple minds
did not seek the real causes of their distress; they only saw the proximate causes. For
the Jew was the proximate cause of usury; by the heavy interest he charged he caused
destitution, severe and hard misery; accordingly, it was upon the Jews that enmities 
fell. The suffering populace did not trouble themselves about responsibilities; they were
neither economists nor reasoners; they only ascertained that a heavy hand weighed upon
them: that was the hand of the Jew, and the people rushed upon him. They did not rush upon
him alone; when at the limit of their endurance, they often attacked all the rich,
indiscriminately killing Jews and Christians alike. In Gascony and southern France the Pastoureaux destroyed 120 Jewish communities, but the Jews were not their only victims; they
invaded castles, they exterminated the nobles and the propertied. Only that among the
Christians the propertied alone suffered violence at the hands of the rebels, the poor
were spared; among the Jews the rich and the poor were exterminated indiscriminately, for,
before any crime, they were guilty of being Jews.
At all events, the masses, restrained by authority and law rarely attacked the
capitalists in general; to goad them on to revolt a terrible accumulation of miseries was
necessary. But with reference to the Jews their ill-feeling was not restrained at all; on
the contrary, it was encouraged. This was a means to divert attention, and every now and
then kings, nobles or burghers offered their slaves a holocaust of Jews. This unfortunate
Jew was utilized for two purposes during the Middle Ages. They employed him as a leech,
let him swell up, fill himself with gold, then they made him clear; or, whenever popular
hatred was too bitter, he was subjected to corporal punishment which was profitable to the
Christian capitalists, who thus paid a tribute of propitiary blood to those whom they
To give satisfaction to their wretched subjects, the kings would from time to time
proscribe Jewish usury, would cancel debts; but oftenest they tolerated the Jews,
encouraged them, being sure to derive benefit from them through confiscation or by taking
their place as creditors. Nevertheless these measures were always but temporary, and
governmental anti-Judaism was purely political. They banished the Jews either to mend
their finances, or to elicit the gratitude of the small fry by partly relieving them of
the heavy burden of debt; but they would soon recall the Jews, as they could find no
better tax collectors. However, anti-Jewish legislation was, as we have said, most
frequently forced upon the royal power by the church, either by the monks or the popes and
synods. Even the regular clergy and the secular clergy acted upon different
The monks addressed themselves to the people, with whom they were in constant touch. In
the first place they preached against the Deicides, but they represented these deicides as
domineering, while they should have been bent forever under the yoke of Christendom. All
these preachers gave expression to popular grievances. "If the Jews fill their
granaries with fruit, their cellar with victuals, their bags with money and their chests
with gold," said Pierre de Cluny: 63 "it is neither by tilling the earth, nor by
serving in war, nor by practicing any other useful and honourable trade, but by cheating
the Christians and buying, at low price, from thieves the things which they have
stolen." They thundered against the "infamous" nation "which lives by
pillage," and while their invectives were prompted by zeal in proselytism, they posed
especially as avengers, who had come to punish "the isolence, avarice and
hardheartedness" of the Jews. And they found a hearing. In Italy, John of Capistrano,
"the scourge of the Hebrews," was stirring up the poor against the usury and
obduracy of the Jews. He continued his work in Germany and Poland, leading gangs of poor
wretches and desperadoes who exacted expiation for their sufferings from the Jewish
communities. Bernardinus of Feltre followed his example, but he was haunted by more
practical notions, among others by that of establishing mont-de-pietes to counteract the
rapacity of the lenders. He traveled all over Italy and Tyrol, demanding the expulsion of
the Hebrews, inciting insurrections and riots, causing the massacre of the Jews in Trent.
The kings, nobles and bishops did not encourage this campaign of the regulars. They
protected the Jews from the monk Radulphe in Germany; in Italy, they set themselves
against the preachings of Bernardinus of Feltre, who accused the princes of having sold
themselves to Yechiel of Pisa, the wealthiest Jew of the peninsula; in Poland, Pope
Gregory XI stopped the crusade of Jan of Ryczywol. The rulers had every interest to
suppress these partial uprisings; from experience they knew that when the bands of
starvelings were through slaughtering the Jews, they would kill those who possessed too
great wealth, those who enjoyed excessive privileges, or those lords, counts or barons,
whose power weighed too heavily on the shoulders of tax-payers.
As for the Church, it kept to theological anti-Judaism, and, being essentially
conservative, favouring the mighty and rich, it took care not to encourage the passions of
the people. I speak of the official Church, abounding in prebendaries; striving for
unity and centralization, cherishing dreams of universal domination; the Church of the
Synods, the law-making Church, and not the church of petty priests and monks which was
stirred by the same passions as agitated the lowly. But if the church sometimes interfered
in behalf of the Jews when they were the object of the mob's fury, it nursed this fury and
supplied it with fuel by combating Judaism, even though combating it from different
Faithful to its principles, it vainly persecuted the spirit of Judaism in all its
forms. It could not get rid of it, as this Jewish spirit had inspired it in its earliest
stages. It was impregnated with it as the beach-sands are impregnated with the sea-salt
which rises to their surface, and despite its efforts from the second century on to rebuff
its origin, to thrust far away all memory of its original foundation, it still preserved
the marks of it. In seeking to realize its conception of Christian states directed and
ruled over by the Papacy, the church strove to reduce all anti-Christian elements. Thus it
inspired Europe's violent reaction against the Arabs, and the struggle of the European
nationalities against Mahommedanism was a struggle at once political and religious.
Still the Moslem danger was external, but the internal dangers threatening the dogma
proved quite as grave for the church. Formerly benign and confining itself to canonic
penalties, hereafter it appealed to the secular powers, and the Vaudois, Albigenses,
Beghards, Apostolic Brothers, Luciferians were treated with cruelty. The limit of this
movement was reached in the inquisition which the Pope Innocent III. instituted in the
thirteenth century. Henceforth, a special tribunal, backed by civil authority, obedient to
its orders was to be the sole judge, and pitiless at that, of heresy.
The Jews could not be overlooked in this legislation. They were persecuted not as
Jewsthe church wished to preserve the Jews as a living testimony of its triumphbut because
they instigated people to judaization, either directly or unconsciously, by the very fact
of their existence. Had not their philosophers sent forth metaphysicians like Amaury de
Bene and David de Dinan? What is more, were not certain heretics judaizing? The Pasagians
of Upper Italy observed the Mosaic law; the Orleans heresy was a Jewish heresy; an
Albigens sect maintained that the doctrine of the Jews was preferable to that of the
Christians; the Hussites were supported by the Jews; accordingly, the Dominicans
preached against the Hussites and the Jews, and the imperial army that advanced
against Jan Ziska massacred the Jews on its way.
In Spain, where the mingling of Jews and Christians was considerable, the Inquisition
was instituted by Gregory XI, who gave it its constitution, to survey the judaizing
heretics and the Jews and Moors, who, though not subjects of the Church, were subject to
the will of the Holy Office whenever "by their words or their writings they urged the
Catholics to embrace their faith." More than that, the popes recalled the canonic
decisions to the minds of the Kings of Spain, because the fueros, i.e., Castillian
customs which superseded the Visigothic laws, had granted equal rights to Jews, Christians
All these ecclesiastic measures reinforced the anti-Jewish sentiments of kings and
nations; they were the prime causes; they upheld a special state of mind, which political
motives emphasized with the kings; social motiveswith the nations. Owing to it,
anti-Judaism became general, and no class of society was free from it, for all classes
were more or less guided by the Church or inspired by its teachings, all of them were or
thought themselves harmed by the Jews. The nobility took offense at their riches; the
proletarians, the artisans and peasants, in a word the small people, were provoked by
their usury; as for the bourgeoisie, the merchant class, the dealers in money, it was in
permanent rivalry with the Jews, and their constant competition engendered hatred. The
modern contest between Christian and Jewish capital assumes shape in the fourteenth and
fifteenth centuries, the Catholic bourgeois looks with calm eyes on the murder of Jews,
which rids him of an often successful rival.
Thus everything concurred to make of the Jew a universal foe, and the only support that
he found during this terrible period of several centuries was with the popes, who, while
abetting the passions of which they made capital, still wanted to guard carefully this
witness of the excellence of the Christian faith. If the Church preserved the Jews, it
often was not without schooling and punishing them. The Church forbade giving them public
positions that might confer upon them authority over Christians, it instigated the kings
to adopt restrictive measures against them; it imposed upon them distinctive badges, the rouelle and hat; it shut them in those ghettoes, which the Jews had often accepted and even
sought in their eagerness to separate themselves from the world, to live apart,
without mixing with the nations, to preserve intact their beliefs and their race; so that
in many points the edicts bidding the Jews to remain confined in special quarters really
but sanctioned an already existing state of affairs. But the chief task of the Church was
to combat the Jewish religion dogmatically. However, controversies, numerous as they were,
did not suffice for this; laws were issued against the Jewish books. The reading of the Mishna in synagogues had already been prohibited by Justinian; after him no laws were passed
against the Talmud, until the time of Saint Louis. After the controversy between Nicholas
Donin and Yechiel of Paris (1240) Gregory IX ordered to burn the Talmud; this order was
repeated by Innocent IV (1244), Honorius IV (1286), John XXII (1320) and the anti-pope
Benedict XIII (1415). Moreover, the Jewish prayers were expurgated and the erection of new
synagogues was forbidden.
The civil laws expounded the ecclesiastical decrees and were inspired by them, as e.g.,
the laws of Alfonso X of Castile, in the code of Siete Partidas, 64 the
dispositions of Saint Louis, those of Phillip IV, those of the German emperors and the
Polish kings. 65 The Jews were forbidden to appear in public on certain days; a personal
toll was imposed upon them as if on cattle; they were sometimes forbidden to marry without
To the laws one must add the customsvexatious customslike that of Toulouse, which made
the syndic of the Jews subject to boxing on the ear. The mob insulted them during their
holidays and sabbaths; it profaned their cemeteries; on leaving the Mysteries and Passion
plays it would lay their houses waste.
Not content with vexing them, with expelling them, as did Edward I in England (1287),
Phillip IV and Charles VI in France (1306 and 1394), Ferdinand the Catholic in Spain
(1492), they killed the Jews everywhere.
When on their way to liberate the Holy Tomb, the Crusaders prepared themselves for the
Holy War by the immolation of Jews; whenever the black plague or a famine raged, the Jews
were sacrificed in holocaust to the angered divinity; whenever extortions, misery, hunger,
destitution maddened the people, they would avenge themselves on the Jews, who were made
victims of expiation. "What's the use of going to fight the Mohammedans," cried
Pierre de Cluny ,66 "when we have among us the Jews, who are worse than the
What was to be done against an epidemic unless to kill the Jews who conspired with the
lepers to poison the wells? And so they were exterminated in York and London, in Spain at
the instigation of St. Vincent Ferrer; in Italy, where John of Capistrano preached; in
Poland, Bohemia, France, Moravia, Austria. They were burned in Strassburg, Mayence,
Troyes. In Spain the Marranos mounted the scaffold by the thousands, elsewhere they were
ripped open with pitchforks and scythes; they were beaten to death like dogs.
What crimes could have deserved such frightful punishments? How poignant must have been
the afflictions of those beings ! In those evil hours they cuddled one to the other and
felt themselves brethren; the bond that joined them was fastened more tightly. To whom
could they tell their plaints and their feeble joys, if not to themselves ? From these
general desolations, from these sobs was born an intense and suffering brotherhood. The
ancient Jewish patriotism became still more exalted. These outcasts, maltreated all over
Europe, and marching with bespattered faces, got it into their heads to feel Zion and its
hills brought back to life, to conjure up what a supreme and sweet consolation !the
beloved banks of the Jordan and the lake of Galilee; they arrived there through an intense
Still, to understand exactly the position of the Jews during these Dark Ages, one must
compare it with that of the people surrounding them. The persecutions of the Jews would go
on now that their exclusive character would render them more sorrowful. In the Middle Ages
the proletarians and the peasants were not much better off; after being shaken up by
terrible upheavals, the Jews would enjoy periods of comparative tranquility, of which the
serfs knew nothing. Steps were taken against them, but what steps were not taken against
the Moriscoes, the Hussites, the Albigenses, the Pastoureaux, the Jacques, against the
heretics and the outcasts? From the eleventh to the end of the sixteenth century,
abominable years fell out, and the Jews suffered from it not a whit more than did those
among whom they lived. They suffered for other reasons, and traces of it were left
impressed in a different way. But as the manners had grown softer, hours of greater
happiness for them were born. We shall see what changes the Reformation and the
Renaissance were to bring about in their position.
56 De Insolentia Iudaeorum (Patrologie Latine, t. CIV).
57 Gesta Philippi Augusti.
58 For the position of Southern Jews at the time of Philip the Fair, cf. Simeon Luce
(Catalogue des documents du Tresor des Chartes (Revue des Etudes Juives, t. I, 3).
59 "Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of
victuals, usury of anything that is lent upon usury: unto a stranger (nokhri ) thou
mayest lend upon usury." Deuter. XXIII, 19-20.
Nokhri means a transient stranger; a resident stranger is ger.
"And if thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee; then thou shalt
relieve him: yea, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with thee.
Take thou no usury of him or increase." Levit. XXV, 35-36.
"Lord, who shall abide in Thy tabernacle?... He that putteth not out his
money to usury." (Psalm, XV, 1-5). "Even to a non-Jew," adds the Talmudic
cominentary (Makkoth, XXIV). Consult also: Exod. XXII 25; Philo, De Charitate;
Josephus, Antiquitates Judaeorum, IV, ch. VIII; Selden, VI, ch. IX.
60 The Hebrew Sibyl speaks of "the execrable thirst for gold, of the passion for
sordid gain which goads the Latins on to the conquest of the world."
61 Cf. S. Munk, Melanges de philosophie juive et arabe.
62 Guide des Egares (Translated by S. Munk).
63 Peter the Venerable, abbot of Cluny: Tractatus adversus Judaeorum inveteratam
duritiam (Bibl. des Peres Latins, Lyons).
64 Title XXIV.
65 General Statute of Ladislas Jagellon. Art. XIX.
66 Loc. cit.
Chapter Six: ANTI-JUDAISM FROM THE TIME OF THE
REFORMATION TO THE FRENCH REVOLUTION
WHEN the first breath of freedom swept over the world at the dawn of the sixteenth
century, the Jews were but a nation of captives and slaves. Cooped up in the ghettoes,
whose walls their own foolish hands helped only to make thicker, they were retired from
human society, and, for the most part, lived in a state of lamentable and heartrending
abjection. Their intellect had become atrophied, as they had themselves barred all the
doors and shut all the windows through which air and light might have come to them.
The number of those who had escaped this abasement was very limited, and the Jews who
succeeded in keeping a free brain and proud spirit were in the lowest minority. These were
mostly physicians, as medicine is the only science permitted by the Talmud; at the same
time there were philosophers occasionally, and we shall see the role they played in Italy
during the Renaissance.
Toward the end of the fifteenth century, the Jew had become the serf of the Imperial
Chamber in Germany; in France he was the king's serf, the serf of the lord, less even than
a serf, for a serf could still own something, while a Jew in reality had no property; he
a thing rather than a person. The king and the lord, the bishop or the abbot, could
dispose of all his belongings, i.e., of all that seemed to belong to him, since for
him the possibility of owning was purely fictitious. He was taxable at will; he was
subjected to fixed imposts, without prejudice to confiscations, and while, on the one
hand, the Church was making every effort to attract to it the Jew, on the other hand, the
baron and church dignitaries kept him in his condition. If he turned to Christianity he
lost his possessions in favour of the lord, who was anxious to make good the loss of the
taxes which he could no longer levy on the convert, and thus it was to his interest to
remain in the slaves' prison. He was looked upon as a beast, impure and useful at that, as
lower than a  dog or hog, to which the personal toll likened him, however; he was the
one forever accursed, he upon whom it was lawful, even meritorious, to shower the blows
which the Crucified had received in Pilate's pretorium.
The only country where the Jews could claim the dignity of human beings was closed to
them at the opening of the sixteenth century. The capture of Granada and the conquest of
the Moorish Kingdom had deprived the Jews of their last refuge. The whole of Spain became
Christian on the day (January 2, 1492) when Ferdinand and Isabella entered the Mohammedan
city. The holy war of the Spaniards against the infidels ended victoriously, and the Moors
in existence were cruelly persecuted in spite of the security which had been granted them.
The victory having aroused on the one hand fanaticism, and the national sentiment on the
other, Spain, now free from the Moors, wished to get rid of the Jews, whom the Catholic
king and queen expelled the very year of Boabdil's fall, while the Inquisition doubled the
severities against the Marranos and the descendants of the Moriscoes.
Still, the time of great sorrows had passed for the Jews, notwithstanding that the
circumstances to which they had been reduced were lamentable. They began to descend the
hill which they had so laboriously climbed, and if they found as yet no complete security
in their paths, they met with more humaneness, more pity. The manners soften at this
epoch, the souls become less rude, people actually acquire the idea of a human being; this
age when individualism increases, better understands the individuals; while personality
develops, more tenderness is displayed towards the personality of the other.
The Jews felt the effects of this state of mind. They were despised all the same, but
they were hated in a less violent way. It was still sought to attract them to
Christianity, but that was by persuasion. They were banished from a good many cities and
countries; they were driven from Cologne and Bohemia in the sixteenth century; the
trade-bodies of Frankfort and Worms, led by Vincent Fettmilch, forced them to leave those
cities; but as serfs of the Imperial Chamber, they were efficiently protected by their
suzerain. If Leopold I sent them out of Vienna, if later on Maria Theresa expelled them
from Moravia, these decrees of exile had but a temporary effect, their consequences were
felt but for a short time; and when the Jews re-entered the cities by virtue of un-
doubted tolerance, they were not molested. The massacres of Franconia and Moravia, the
funeral piles of Prague, were exceptions in the sixteenth century, and as for the
extermination ordered in Poland by Chmielnicki, in the seventeenth century, they reached
the Jews by ricochet only.
Hereafter there have been no systematic persecutions, except those kept up in Spain
against the Jewish converts, and in Portugal when introduced by the Pope Clement VII, at
the request of John III, and after the massacres of 1506. Even there the inquisition was
entrusted to the Franciscans, who had shown themselves less cruel than the Spanish
Still the Jews did not change. Such as we have seen them right in the Middle Ages, we
find them also at the moment of the the Reformation; morally and intellectually the mass
of the Jews was perhaps even worse. But if they had not changed, those by their side had
changed. People were less believing, and therefore less inclined to detest heretics.
Averroism had prepared this decadence of faith, and the part played by the Jews in the
spread of Averroism is well known; so that they thus had worked for their own benefit. The
majority of Averroists were unbelievers, or more or less assailed the Christian religion.
They were the direct ancestors of the men of the Renaissance. It is owing to them that the
spirit of doubt, as well as the spirit of investigation, had worked itself out. The
Florentine platonists, the Italian Aristotelians, the German humanists came from them;
thanks to them Pomponazzo composed the treatises against the immortality of the soul;
thanks to them, too, among the thinkers of the sixteenth century sprang up the theism
which corresponded with the decadence of Catholicism.
Animated by such sentiments, the men of this period could not glow with religious
indignation against the Jews. Other preoccupations engaged them, though, and they had to
abate two powerful authoritiesscholasticism and the supremacy of Rome. The struggles of
the preceding century, the schisms of the West, the license in the manners of the clergy,
simony, the sale of benefices and indulgences, all these had weakened the Church and
impaired the Papacy. There were protests rising against them on all sides. "The
clergy must be made moral," said the Father of the Vienna Synod (1311). The movement
of the Hussites, that of the Frerots, the Fraticellians, the Beghards, had already been a
protest against the wealth and corruption of the Church; but the Papacy was incapable
of reform, and the Reformation had to take place outside of and against it.
The Humanists were its promoters. Everything turned them away from Catholicism. The
Greeks of Constantinople, fleeing from the Turks, had brought to them the treasures of the
ancient literatures. By discovering a new world Columbus was to open for them unknown
horizons. They were finding new reasons for combating scholasticism, that old servant-maid
of the Church. The humanists were becoming sceptics and pagans in Italy, but in Germany
the emancipating movement which they helped to bring about was becoming more religious. To
beat the scholastics the humanists of the empire became theologians, and went to the very
sources in order to arm themselves better; they learned Hebrew, not as Pico di Mirandola
and the Italians had done, in the way of a dilettante or out of love for knowledge, but in
order to find therein arguments against their opponents.
During these years which ushered in the Reformation, the Jew turned educator, and
taught the scholars Hebrew; he initiated them into the mysteries of the kabbala after
having opened to them the doors of Arabic philosophy. Against Catholicism he equipped them
with the formidable exegesis which the rabbis had cultivated and built up during
centuries: the exegesis which protestantism, and later on rationalism, would make good use
of. By a singular chance the Jews, who had consciously or unconsciously supplied humanism
with weapons, had also given it the pretext for its first serious battle. The contest for
or against the Talmud was the forerunner of the disputes over the Eucharist.
The struggle started at Cologne, the city of the inquisition and capital of the
Dominicans. A converted Jew, Joseph Pfefferkorn, once more denounced the Talmud before the
Christian world, and, with the aid of the great inquisitor, Hochstraten, obtained from the
Emperor Maximilian an edict authorizing him to examine the contents of the Jewish books
and destroy those which blasphemed the Bible and the Catholic faith. From this decision
the Jews appealed to Maximilian, and succeeded in having the power originally conferred
upon Pfefferkorn transferred to the archbishop elector of Mayence. As his advisors the
archbishop took the doctors, the humanists, and among them Reuchlin, who felt no unbounded
sympathy for the Jews, having even attacked them once upon a time. But though he scorned
the Jews in general, he was a hebraizer for all that, and as such was doubtless more
interested in the Talmud than in the inquisitorial tribunal with its arrests. He,
therefore, violently fought the projects of Pfefferkorn and the Dominicans, and not only
declared that the books of the Israelites ought to be preserved, but even maintained that
chairs of Hebrew ought to be created in the universities. Reuchlin was accused of having
sold himself for the gold of the Jews. He replied with a terrible pamphlet, The Mirror
of the Eyes, which was condemned to be burned.
But new times were approaching; the storm foreseen by everybody broke over the Church.
Luther issued at Wittenberg his ninety-five theses, and Catholicism not only had to defend
the position of its priests, but was also forced to fight for its essential - tenets. For
a moment the theologians forgot the Jews, they even forgot that the spreading movement
took its roots in Hebrew sources.
Nevertheless, the Reformation in Germany and England as well was one of those movements
when Christianity acquired new force in Jewish sources. The Jewish spirit triumphed with
Protestantism. In certain respects the Reformation was a return to the ancient Ebionism of
the evangelic ages. A great portion of the protestant sects was semi-Jewish, the
anti-trinitarian doctrines were later preached by the protestants, by Michel Servet and
the two Socins of Sienna among others. Even in Transylvania anti-trinitarianism had
flourish since the sixteenth century, and Seidelius had asserted the excellence of Judaism
and of the Decalogue. The Gospels had been abandoned for the Old Testament and the
Apocalypse. The influence exercised by these two books over the Lutherans, the Calvinists
and especially the Reformers and the English revolutionists, is well known. This influence
continued to the nineteenth century; it produced the Methodists, Pietists, and
particularly the Millenaries, the men of the Fifth Monarchy, who in London dreamed with
Venner of a republic and allied themselves with the Levellers of John Lilburne.
Moreover, Protestantism, at its inception in Germany, endeavoured to win over the Jews,
and in this respect, the analogy between Luther and Mohammed is striking. Both had drawn
their teachings from Hebrew sources, both wished to have the remains of Israel stamp with
approval the new dogmas which they were formulating. But the Jews had always been the
stubborn people of the Scriptures, the people with the hard nape, rebellious against
injunctions, tenacious, fearlessly faithful to its God and its Law.
Luther's preaching proved vain, and the irascible monk issued a terrible pamphlet
against the Jews. 67 "The Jews are brutes," he said; "their synagogues are
pig-sties, they ought to be burned, for Moses would do it, if he came back to this world.
They drag in mire the divine words, they live by evil and plunders, they are wicked beasts
that ought to be driven out like mad dogs."
In spite of these violent outbursts and excitement, in spite of the numerous
controversies, which had taken place between the protestants and Jews, the latter were not
ill-treated in Germany; people had no spare time to busy themselves with them.
Overwhelmed with miseries, decimated by war, ruined, reduced to slavery, a prey to
destitution and famine, the peasants of the sixteenth century no longer went for the
Jewish money-lender or the Christian usurer, but they aimed higher; they attacked in the
first place a whole classof the richand then the social order as a whole. The revolt was
general; at first it was the peasants of the Netherlands, then, and chiefly, those of
Germany. All over the Empire they founded secret societies, the Bundschuh, 68 the
Poor Conrad, the Evangelic Confederation. The peasants of Speyer and of the banks of the
Rhine rose in 1503; the bands of Joss Fritz, in 1512; the peasants of Austria and Hungary,
in 1515; those of Suabia, in 1524; those of Suabia, Alsace and the Palatinate, in 1525.
All marched with the battle cry: "In Christ there is no longer master or slave."
The tradesmen joined them; knights, like Goetz von Berlichingen, placed themselves at
their head, and they massacred the nobles and set the castles and convents on fire. In
this formidable movement which convulsed a part of Europe until 1535, everywhere leaving
deep traces, the Jews had been neglected, they had ceased to be the scapegoat, and the
poor wretches, famished and miserable, no longer fell upon them.
Were they as happy in the Catholic countries? Yes, for there, too, they ceased to be
the chief and sole enemies of the Church, and it was no longer they that were feared. The
relaxation of religious ideas brought in Italy a rapprochement between a certain class of
Jews and the various classes of society. First, the humanists, the poets, visited the
Jewish scholars, philosophers and physicians. This familiarity had begun in the fourteenth
century, when Dante was seen to have for his friend the Jew Manoello, the cousin of the
philosopher Giuda Romano; it continued in the fifteenth and the sixteenth centuries.
Alemani was the teacher of Picodi Mirandola, Elias del Medigo publicly taught metaphysics
in Padua and Florence, Leo the Hebrew published his platonic dialogues on love. The Jewish
printers, like the scholar Soncino, were in constant touch with the literature of the
period; his library was the centre of Hebrew publications, and he even rivaled Aldo by
publishing Greek authors. Hercules Gonzago, bishop of Mantua and disciple of the Jew
Pomponazzo of Bologna, accepted the dedication of Jacob Mantino, who had translated the Compendium of Averroes, while other princes encouraged Abraham de Balmes in his work of
translation. 69 And not only the sceptical, even unbelieving faction, of the Hellenists
and Latinists, worshipers of Zeus and Aphrodite more than of Jesus, were on good terms
with the Jews, but the lord and the bourgeois were likewise. "There are," says
the bishop Maiol, "persons, and often persons of quality, both men and women, who are
so foolish and senseless as to take counsel with Jews over their most intimate affairs, to
their own detriment. They (the Jews) are seen visiting the houses and palaces of the great
ones, the dwellings of officers, councillors, secretaries, gentlemen, both in the city and
country." People did not content themselves with receiving Jews, they went to their
houses, and, what is more, attended their religious ceremonies. "There are among
us," says again Maiol, "some who visit and superstitiously revere the
synagogues"; and, addressing them, he exclaims: "You hear the Jews blow their
trumpets on the days of their festivities, and you run with your families to look at
them." Thus it went on during the seventeenth century. In Ferrara they went to hear
the sermons of Judah Azael, and, in 1676, Innocent XI threatened with excommunication and
a fine of fifteen ducats those who frequented the synagogues. After the terrible shock
which had just disturbed the Church, they more than ever wished to guarantee security to
the Catholic dogma. Julius III had the Talmud burned in Rome and Venice upon denunciation
by Solomon Romano, a converted Jew; Paul IV condemned it again at the request of another
convert, Vittorio Eliano; Pius V and Clement VIII did likewise.
During the dogmatic and theological reaction which followed the Reformation, the Roman
Church, friendly to the Jews heretofore, came to be the only government, almost the only
power, systematically to persecute Judaism. Paul IV revived the ancient canonic laws and
had the Marranos burned; Pius V banished the Jews from his domains, except from Rome
and Ancona, after having issued his Constitution against the Jews, while the Spaniards, as
they penetrated further into Italy, were driving them from Naples, Genoa and Milan.
The other sovereigns had not the same motives as the popes to attend to the Jews. And
so, from the sixteenth century on, legislation against the Jews ceased. We find only the
edict of Ferdinand I against Jewish usuryin Germany; a few decrees in Poland, and much
later, the prohibitions of Louis XV and Louis XVI. Again to find anti-Jewish legislation,
it will be necessary to study modern Russia, Rumania and Serbia, which we shall shortly
Anti-Judaism consisted chiefly in molestations and outrages. The populace delighted in
jeering the Jews, and the grandees often gave them a chance to do it. Leo X, that
ostentatious pontiff, who was fond of buffooneryhe had at his side two monks to divert him
with their pleasantrieswould order races between Jews, and, being very shortsighted, would
watch them, glass in hand, from the heights of his balconies. During the carnival in Rome
the people would parody the burial of rabbis, and a Jew would be marched through the city
streets, mounted backward on a donkey and holding the animal's tail in his hand. On the
ghetto-gates a sow was carved, and they were often covered with obscene groups, in which
rabbis were represented. The sow symbolized the synagogueexactly as with the Israelites
the Roman Church was designated by the Hebrew name for hogand the Jews were constantly
reminded of it; a painter once even related at Wagenseil how he had painted a sow on the
door-leaf of the arch of a synagogue which he was engaged to adorn.
With the scholars, the learned and the theologians, anti-Judaism was becoming dogmatic
and theoretical. True they wanted to bring the Jews back, but by soft measures. It was no
longer a question of burning their books, but of translating them. It was said that now
that the Christian faith had struck deep enough roots, there was no danger to believers
from publishing Hebrew books, as had been done in the case of those of the Arians and
other heretics. Thus it would be possible to know the polemic practices of the Israelites,
and it would thus be possible successfully to combat them.
This study brought about a result quite different from that expected. By scrutinizing
the Jewish spirit one came nearer to the Jews, and thereby became more sympathizing
with them. Men, like Richard Simon, e.g., who had prepared themselves for scientific
exegesis, through talmudists and hebraizing researches, could not look with hatred upon
those from whom they held their knowledge. Others were anxious to know when the Jews would
be called to Christian communion. The seventeenth century was the most propitious time for
the disputes over the recalling of the Jews. In France this question as to whether the
Jews would be recalled at the end of the world or before itdivided Bossuet and the
Figurists led by Duguet. 70 In England the Millenaries proclaimed the return of the
Jews.71 In Germany also this opinion had its advocates, such as Bengal, e.g. In France,
not only did the convulsionaries of Saint-Menard proclaim the approaching entry of the
Jews into the Church, but some were seen entertaining these dreams until our days, and in
1809 President Agier fixed upon 1849 as the year of the conversion of the Jews.
All over Europe the Jews enjoyed the greatest tranquility during the eighteenth
century. In Poland alone they fared badly for having once lived too well. They had been
prosperous there up to the middle of the seventeenth century. Rich, powerful, they had
lived on an equal footing with the Christians, treated as though of the people amid whom
they lived; but they could not help giving themselves up to their usual commerce, their
vices, their passion for gold. Dominated by the Talmudists they succeeded in producing
nothing beyond commentators of the Talmud. They were tax collectors, spirit-distillers,
usurers, seigneurial stewards. They were the noblemen's allies in their abominable work of
oppression, and when the Cossacks of Ukraine and Little Russia had risen, under
Chmielnicki, against Polish tyranny, the Jews, as accomplices of the lords, were the first
to be massacred. It is said that over 100,000 of them were killed in ten years, but just
as many Catholics and especially Jesuits, were killed as well.
Elsewhere they were very prosperous. Thus, in the Ottoman Empire, they were simply
liable to the tax on foreigners and subject to no other restrictive regulations, but
nowhere was their prosperity so great as in the Netherlands and England. Marranos fleeing
the Spanish Inquisition had settled in the Netherlands in 1593, and thence settled a
colony in Hamburg, then, later on, under Cromwell, one in England, whence they had been
banished for centuries and whither Menasse-ben-Israel brought them back.  The Dutch,
as practical and circumspect a people as the English, utilized the commercial genius of
the Jews and turned it to their own enrichment. In France Henry II had authorized the
Portuguese Jews to settle in Bordeaux, where, on the strength of the granted privileges,
confirmed also by Henry III, Louis XIV, Louis XV, and Louis XVI, they acquired great
wealth in maritime commerce.
In the other cities of France there were few of them, and, besides, those residing in
Paris or elsewhere had settled there only because of the administrative tolerance. In
Alsace alone there was a great agglomeration.
Their splendid condition provoked no violent demonstrations; now and then protests
would be heard, they would say with Expilly: "With infinite grief one sees how such
base people, who had been received in the capacity of slaves, possess costly furniture,
lead a refined life, wear gold and silver on their garments, dress showily, perfume
themselves, study instrumental and vocal music and ride horseback for mere
diversion." At the same time, greater and greater toleration was shown them from day
to day; the world was drawing nearer to them. Were they, in turn, drawing nearer to the
world? No. They seemed more and more to attach themselves to their mystic patriotism; the
further they went, the more the dreams of Kabbala haunted them, with ever renewed
confidence they awaited the Messiah, and never had the pseudo-Messiahs been received with
so much enthusiasm as they were in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The
Kabbalists exhausted arithmetical combinations to calculate the exact date of the coming
of him, who was so longed for. Toward 1666, the date most commonly designated as the
sacred date, all Jews of the Orient were raised by the preachings of Sabbatai Zevi. From
Smyrna, where Sabbatai had proclaimed himself Messiah, the movement spread to the
Netherlands, and England even, and everybody expected the restoration of Jerusalem and of
the holy kingdom from the King of Kings, as Sabattai was called. The same enthusiasm was
displayed in 1755 when Frank appeared in Podolia as the new Messiah.
These hopes which the illuminism of the Kabbalists entertained helped to keep the Jews
apart, but those who were not seduced by the speculations of dreamers, were weighed down
by the yoke of the Talmud, a yoke at all events even ruder and more humiliating.
So far from decreasing, the Talmudic tyranny had even increased since the sixteenth
century. At this time Joseph Caro had edited the Shulchan Aruch, a Talmudic code,
whichaccording to the traditions inculcated by the rabbinistsset up as laws the opinions
of the doctors. Up to our time the European Jews had lived under the execrable oppression
of these practices. 72 The Polish Jews improved even upon Joseph Caro and refined the
already enormous subtleties of the Shulchan Aruch by making additions thereto, and
they introduced the method of Pilpul (pepper-grains) into their instruction.
Accordingly, as the world grew kinder to them, the Jewsat least the massesretired into
themselves, straightened their prison, bound themselves with tighter bonds. Their
decrepitude was unheard of, their intellectual sinking was equaled only by their moral
debasement; this nation seemed dead.
However, the reaction against the Talmud had proceeded from the Jews themselves.
Mordecai Kolkos, 73 of Venice, had already published a book against the Mishna; in the
seventeenth century, Uriel Acosta 74 violently fought the rabbis, and Spinoza 75 exhibited
little affection for them. But anti-talmudism displayed itself particularly in the
eighteenth century, at first among the mystics, such as, e.g., the Zoharites,
disciples of Franck, who declared themselves enemies of the doctors of the law. At any
rate these opponents of the rabbinites were unable to extricate the Jews from their
abjection. To begin this task, it was necessary for Moses Mendelssohn, a Jew and
philosopher at the same time, to array the Bible against the Talmud. His German version
(1779)was a great revolution. It was the first blow dealt to the rabbinical authority. The
Talmudists, too, who had once wished to kill Kolkos and Spinoza, violently attacked
Mendelssohn, and prohibited, under penalty of excommunication, to read the Bible which he
These outbursts of rage were of no avail. Mendelssohn had followers: young men, his
disciples, founded the periodical Meassef, which advocated the new Judaism,
endeavoured to snatch the Jews from their ignorance and humiliation, and prepared their
moral emancipation. As for political emancipation, the humanitarian philosophy of the
eighteenth century was working hard to bring it about. Though Voltaire was an ardent
Judoephobe, the ideas which he and the Encyclopaedists represented were not  hostile
to the Jews, as being ideas of liberty and universal equality. On the other hand, if the
Jews really were isolated in the various states, they still had some points of contact
with those surrounding them.
Capitalism had by this time developed among the nations; stock-jobbing and speculation
were born; the Christian financiers applied themselves to them with a zeal, just as they
had applied themselves to usury, just as they had, in the capacity of farmers-general,
collected imposts and taxes. The Jews could, therefore, take their place among those whom
"discounts were enriching at the public's expense, and who were masters of all
possessions of the French of all classes," as already Saint Simon was saying.
The economic objections which were raised against their possible emancipation had no
longer the same import as in the Middle Ages, when the church wanted to make the Jews the
only representatives of the class of money-brokers. As for the political objections, that
they formed a State within the State, that their presence as citizens could not be
tolerated in a Christian society and was even injurious to it, they remained valid until
the day when the French Revolution dealt its direct blow to the conception of a Christian
State. And so Dohm, Mirabeau, Clermont-Tonnerre, the Abbot Gregoire were right with regard
to Rewbel, Maury and the Prince de Broglie, and the Constituent Assembly obeyed the spirit
which had guided it since its inception when it declared on September 27, 1791, that the
Jews would enjoy in France the rights of actual citizens The Jews were on the threshold to
67 The Jews and their Lies, Wittenberg, 1558.
68 The confederate shoe.
69 Abraham de Balmes translated into Latin the greatest part of Averroes's writings,
and his translations were in use in the Italian universities until the end of the
70 On this point consult Duguet, Regles pour l'intelligence des Saintes Ecritures,
1723. Bossuet, Discours sur l'Histoire universelle, part II. Rondet, Dissertation
sur le rappel des Juifs, Paris, 1778. Anonymous, Lettre sur le proche retour des
Juifs, Paris, 1789, etc.
71 Gregoire, Histoire des sectes religieuses, t. II (Paris, 1825).
72 In Russia, Poland and Galicia they are extant even to-day.
73 Consult Wolf, Bibliotheca Hebraea, v. II, p. 798. Hamburg.
74 Exemplar vitae humanae (Published by Limbroch, 1687).
75 Tractatus Theologico-Politicus.
Chapter Seven: ANTI-JUDAIC LITERATURE AND THE
WE have studied only the legal and the popular anti-Judaism from the eighth century to
the French Revolution. We have seen how anti-Jewish legislation, at first canonic and
later civil, was little by little instituted. We have shown how the populace had been
partly prepared by the decrees of the popes, kings and republics, to hate and abuse the
Jews, and how far this exasperation of the people, the massacres it committed, the insults
and outrages it showered, had given the counter-blow to this legislation. We have shown
that up to the fifteenth century, the accusations weighing over the Jews, had grown each
year, so that they had reached their maximum at this period, and from then on went
decreasing, that the codes had ceased to be applied rigorously, that customs had gradually
fallen into disuse, that few, if at all, new laws were made, and that the Jew thus marched
However, there is a kind of anti-Judaism to which we have paid no special attention,
and which we must hereafter examine. While the Church and the monarchies issued laws
against the Jews, the theologians, philosophers, poets, and historians were writing about
them. It is the role, the working and the importance of this anti-Judaism of the pen that
we still have to examine.
Theological anti-Judaism, chronologically the first, naturally had apologetic ways at
its inception; it could not be otherwise as Judaism was fought only to glorify the
Christian faith and prove its excellence. As we have said, they ceased producing
apologetic writings towards the end of the fourth century; the young church, in the
intoxication of its triumph, did no longer think it necessary to prove its superiority,
and as representatives of the apologetic manner, we find in the fifth century only the Altercation
of Simon and Theopilus of Evagrivs ,76 in which the Altercation of Jason and
Papiscus of Aristo of Pella was imitated and even plagiarized; after that one has to
come to the seventh century to find the three books of Isidore of Seville directed against
the Jews. 77 
When scholasticism was born, apologetics reappeared. They had two ends in view: they
defended the Catholic dogmas and symbols, and they combated Judaism. They set themselves
against that judaizing which the church, its doctors, philosophers and apologists had
always feared, imagining the Jew as a sort of wolf that prowled around the sheep-fold in
order to carry the sheep away from a happy life. These were the sentiments that guided, e.g., Cedrenus 78 and Theophanes 79 when they wrote their Contra Judaeos, and Gilbert
Crepin, abbot of Westminster, in his Disputatio Judei cum Christiano de fide
The form of these writings was little varied; they reproduced almost servilely the
classic arguments of the Fathers of the Church, and their wording followed similar
patterns. To analyze one of them means analyzing all. Thus, e.g., Pierre de Blois's Against the Perfidy of the Jews, 81 enumerated through thirty chapters the
testimonies which the Old Testament, and especially the prophets, contain in favour of the
divine Trinity and Unity, of the Father and the Son, of the Holy Spirit, of the Messianism
of Jesus Christ, of the Davidic descent of the Son of Man, and of his incarnation. He
ended by proving, on the basis of the same authorities, that the Law had been transmitted
to the Gentiles, that the Jews had been doomed to reprobation, but that the remnants of
Israel would nevertheless one day be converted and saved.
Yet these writings, discussions, fictitious dialogues hardly, if at all, attained their
object. They were consulted by clergymen only, and were thus directed at converts; rabbis
read them in very rare cases; their own biblical exegesis and science being much superior
to those of the good monks, these latter rarely were at an advantage. At all events they
never convinced those whom they were to convince, and they could not effectively fight the
Jews, as they did not know the talmudic and exegetic commentaries, from which the Jews
drew their weapons and forces. Things changed in the thirteenth century. The works of
Jewish philosophers had spread and exercised considerable influence on the scholasticism
of the time; men like Alexandre de Hales had read Maimonides (Rabbi Moses) and Ibn Gebirol
(Avicebron), and they bore the impress of the teachings exposed by the Guide of the
Perplexed and the Fountain of Life. Curiosity was awakened, people wanted to
know Jewish thought and dialectics, at first for philosophical motives, then to fight
against the Jews with better success.
The Dominican Raymond de Penaforte, confessor of James I, of Aragon, and a great
converter of the Jews, bade the Dominicans to learn Hebrew and Arabic to be able better to
persuade and battle with the Jews. He established schools for the instruction of monks in
these two languages and was the pioneer of Hebrew and Arabic studies in Spain. He thus
started a line of apologists who were no longer contented with collecting the passages of
the Old Testament that foreshadowed the Trinity or prophesied the Messiah, but who
endeavoured to refute the rabbinical books and Talmudic assertions.
The best known among all these theological lampoons are those published by the
Dominican Raymund Martin, "a man as remarkable for his knowledge of Hebrew and Arabic
writings as for that of Latin works." 82 These squibs bear characteristic enough
titles: Capistrum Judaeorum (Muzzle of the Jews) and Pugio Fidei (Dagger of the
Faith). 33 The second had the greatest circulation. "It is well," Raymund
Martin said therein, "that the Christians take in hand the sword of their enemies,
the Jews, to strike them with it?"
During the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries the Pugio Fidei was quite in
vogue among the monks, especially the Dominicans, ardent defenders of the faith. It was
studied, consulted, plagiarized. The number of writings which were inspired by Raymund
Martin and for which the Pugio Fidei served as the prototype and even mould, was
considerable. Among others those of Porchet Salvaticus, 84 Pierre de Barcelona, 85 and
Pietro Galatini 86 may be named.
Still even Martin's knowledge was not perfect, and as we shall presently see, the
rabbis very often worsted their opponents in their controversies. The anti-Jews needed
better weapons: the Franciscan, Nicholas de Lyra, supplied them. He had made a careful
study of rabbinical literature, and his Hebraic attainments, their extent, variety and
solidity led to the belief that he was of Jewish origin, which is of little probability.
At all events, he was the precursor of modern exegesis, which is the daughter of Jewish
thought and whose rationalism is purely Jewish; he was the ancestor of Richard Simon.
Nicholas de Lyra declared that the literal explanation of the text of the Scriptures
should form the foundation of ecclesiastic science, and that the text and its meaning once
established four meanings should be derived therefrom: the literal, allegoric, moral
and anagogic. 87 Nicholas de Lyra expounded his researches in the Postilla and the Moralitates, collected and recast later into a larger work. Hereafter this was the arsenal to draw
upon in the polemics against the Jews, as well as for the defense of the Gospels against
the Jewish attacks, for Nicholas de Lyra had refuted, in his De Messia, the
criticisms passed on the Old Testament by the Jews. Numerous editions of Nicholas de
Lyra's works appeared, commentaries, notes and additions thereto were made, and in the
matter of exegesis even Luther was his pupil.
But praiseworthy as it was to combat the Jews, it was still more meritorious to
convince them, and most of the polemist monks did not forget that the conversion of Judah
was one of the aims of the church. While the councils took steps to convert the Jews, the
writers, on their part, endeavoured to be convincing, several of them, the more practical,
went so far as to seek ground for reconciliation. So, e.g., by making certain
concessionshe was even ready to accept circumcisionNicholas de Lyra wanted to unite all
religions into one, with the Trinity as its principal dogma. The ancient "obstinatio
Judaeorum" which maintained divine unity resisted these attempts, and the
overtures of the Christians were generally received with disfavour. However, conversions
were not infrequent, and I mean not only those brought about by violence, but also those
obtained by persuasion. These converted Jews played a very great role in the anti-Jewish
literature as well as in the history of the persecutions. Toward their coreligionists they
proved themselves the most cruel, unjust and treacherous of adversaries. This is generally
characteristic of converts, and the Arabs converted to Christianity or Christians turned
to Islam witness that this rule allows of very few exceptions.
A host of sentiments united in maintaining this bilious disposition among the
apostates. Above all they wished to give proof of their sincerity: they felt that a sort
of suspicion surrounded them at entering into the Christian world, and the affectation of
piety which they proclaimed did not seem sufficient to them to dispel the suspicions.
Nothing did they fear so much as the accusation of lukewarmness or sympathy with their
former brethren, and the way in which the Inquisition treated those it deemed relapsers,
was not calculated to diminish the fears entertained by the proselytes. Accordingly, they
simulated an excess of zeal which in many, if not all, upheld a  genuine faith. Some
of them, convinced of having found salvation in their conversion, made even efforts to win
over their coreligionists to the Christian faith; among these the church found several of
its most fearless and eagerly listened to converters. 88 Some even informed against the
Jews that they had abandoned the rigours of the ecclesiastical and civil laws. About 1475,
for instance, Peter Schwartz and Hans Bayol, both converted Jews, instigated the
inhabitants of Ratisbon to sack the Ghetto; in Spain, Paul de Santa-Maria instigated Henry
III of Castile to take measures against the Jews. This Paul de Santa-Maria, previously
known under the name of Solomon Levi of Burgos, was not an ordinary personality. A very
pious, very learned rabbi, he abjured at the age of forty, after the massacres of 1391,
and was baptized along with his brother and four of his sons. He studied theology at
Paris, was ordained priest, became bishop of Cartagena and afterwards chancellor of
Castile. He published an Examination of the Holy Writa dialogue between the
infidel Saul and the convert Paul and issued an edition of Nicholas de Lyra's Postilla,
supplemented by his Additiones and glosses. He did not stop at that in his
activity. He is generally found the instigator in all the persecutions which befell the
Jews of his time, and he hunted the synagogue with a ferocious hatred; and yet in his
works he confined himself to theological polemics. 89
But the Talmud was the great antagonist of the converts, and one that had to withstand
most of their wrath. They constantly denounced it before the inquisitors, the king, the
emperor, the pope. The Talmud was the execrable book, the receptacle of the most hideous
abuses of Jesus, the Trinity and the Christians; against it Pedro de la Caballeria wrote
his Wrath of Christ Against the Jews, 90 Pfefferkorn, his Enemy of the Jews, 91 in which he congratulated himself upon "having withdrawn from the dirty and
pestilential mire of the Jews," and Jerome of Santa Fe, his Hebreomastyx. 92
The Catholic theologians followed the example of the converts, most frequently they had
about the Talmud no other notions beyond those given them by the converts.
Usually auto-da-fes followed these denunciations of the Talmud, but they were, as a
rule, preceded by a disputation. This custom of disputations goes back to deep antiquity.
We know that already the Hebrew doctors held disputations with the apostles. On several
occasions rabbis and monks were seen contending in eloquence in  the presence of the
Emperors of Rome and Byzantium in order to convince their audience of the excellence of
their cause, and the Chazar King made up his mind to embrace Judaism only after a
discussion, in which a Jew, a Christian and a Mohammedan took part, so, at least, the
legend relates. 93 These discussions were, however, rarely public, the church feared their
consequences; it feared Jewish subtlety, clever at finding objections which embarrassed
the defenders of the Catholic faith and troubled the believer. There remained in use only
private discussions between ecclesiastical dignitaries and Talmudists, and few auditors
were admitted to these meetings, except under rare and important circumstances, in which
cases a legal sanction followed the dispute. In these queer disputes, in which one side
acted as judge at the same time, the Jews were, in general, the stronger. Their more
concise dialectics, their more genuine knowledge, their more serious and subtle exegesis,
gave them an easy advantage. In spite of this, or rather, because of this, the Jews were
very prudent in their assertions, they appeared in the most courteous light, and heeded
those melancholy words of Moses Cohen of Tordesillas, addressed to his brethren:
"Never let your zeal carry you away to the point of uttering stinging words, for the
Christians hold the power and may silence the truth with fist-blows." These counsels
were followed, but in spite of the precautions taken, at the end of the argument the Jew,
who was always wrong in the end, was beaten to death.
However, the informers were usually commanded to sustain their charges. In 1239, a
converted Jew, Nicholas Donin, of La Rochelle, brought before the pope, Gregory IX, a
charge against the Talmud. Gregory ordered the copies of the book to be seized and an
inquest made. Bulls were sent out to the bishops of France, England, Castile and Aragon.
Eudes de Chateauroux, chancellor of the University of Paris, directed the investigation in
France, the only country where the bulls had produced an effect. The disputation was
ordered, and took place in 1240, between the informer, Nicholas Donin, and four rabbis:
Yechiel of Paris, Jehuda ben David Melun, Samuel ben Solomon, and Moses of Coucy. The
discussion was long, but Donin's skill finally divided the rabbis; the Talmud was
condemned and burned a few years later.
In 1263, Raymond de Penaforte arranged at the Aragonian court a dispute between the
rabbis, Nachmani of Girone (Bonastruc de Porta), and the Dominican, Pablo Christiani, a
converted Jew and a zealous converter. This time Nachmani was victorious after a
four-day disputation on the coming of Messiah, on the divinity of Jesus, and the Talmud.
The king himself accorded him an audience, received him very cordially and loaded him with
presents. But such victories were exceptional, as the Jewish books were most frequently
condemned by the judges beforehand, whatever the skill of their defenders.
These controversies increased in number in Spain during the fourteenth and fifteenth
centuries. Thus the convert Alfonso of Valladolid had a dispute with his former
coreligionists at Valladolid; John of Valladolid, another convert, had a dispute with
Moses Cohen de Tordesillas on the proofs of the Christian faith contained in the Old
Testament, but was defeated in the contest; Shem-Tob ben Isaac Shaprut had at Pampeluna a
controversy on the original sin and redemption, with the cardinal Pedro de Luna, later
anti-pope Benedict XIII. Many more might be mentioned, all of them proving what amount of
trouble the Jews were giving the church and how eagerly conversion was desired and
solicited. Still all these disputes were courteous up to the moment the Inquisition was
But alongside of the Jew, considered the enemy of Jesus and the foe of Christianity,
there was the Jew, the usurer, the moneydealer, he upon whom fell a part of the hatred of
the oppressed and the poor, he whom the rising bourgeoisie was beginning to envy and hate.
I have pictured that Jew at work, how he had come to the exclusive pursuit of gold, and
how he became the object of popular passions as a sort of victim of expiation, the
scapegoat for all the sins of a society that was no better than he. If the populace
oftenest killed the deicide, it also fell upon the clipper of ducats; its anti-Judaism was
not religious only, but social as well. The case was similar with anti-Judaism of the pen.
If certain bishops and ecclesiastical writers confined themselves to defending the symbols
of their faith against Jewish exegesis, if they fought against this Jewish spiritthe
terror of the church that was, nevertheless, deeply impregnated with this spiritothers
followed the example of the Fathers who had thundered against Jewish rapacity and the
rapacity of the rich in general. To the theological treatises issued by them they added
addresses to the court intended to combat the leaders on pawned articles, those who lived
by usury. Dagobard, 94 Amolon, 95 Rigord, 96 Pierre de Cluny, 97 Simon Maiol 98 were these
 anti-Jews. They were among those whom the wealth of the Jews revolted more than their
ungodliness, who were more scandalized by their luxury than by their blasphemies. No
doubt, for them the Jews were the most hateful adversaries of the truth, the worst of the
unbelievers; 99 they are the enemies of God and Jesus Christ; they call the apostles
apostates; they scoff at the Bible of the Septuagint; 100 in their daily prayers they
curse the Saviour under the name of the Nazarene; they build new synagogues as if to
insult the Christian religion; they Judaize the believers, they preach the Sabbath to them
and they persuade them to take a rest on Sabbath. But, besides, the Jews oppress the
people; they hoard up wealth that is the fruit of usury and plunder; 101 they hold the
Christians in servitude; they possess enormous treasures in the cities which had received
them, e.g., in Paris and Lyons; they commit larceny, they acquire money by evil methods;
"everything passes through their hands, they insinuate themselves into houses and
gain confidence; by their usury they draw the sap, the blood and the natural vigour of the
Christians." 102 They sell counterfeit jewels, they receive stolen goods, they coin
base money, cannot be trusted, collect their debts twice over. In brief, "there is no
wickedness in the world which the Jews are not guilty of, so that they seem to aim at
nothing but the Christians' ruin." 103
To this picture of the perfidia Judaeorum, the anti-Jews, like Maiol or Luther,
104 added abundant abuse, and soon anti-Judaism became purely polemic. The theological and
social considerations now occupy but a limited place in the books of Alonzo da Spina, 105
especially Pierre de Lancre 106 and Francisco de Torrejoncillo. 107 The Sentinel
Against the Jews, a pamphlet by the last named, is particularly curious. Written in
Spain at the beginning of the seventeenth century, it was aimed at the Marranos, who, it
was said, invaded all the civil and religious offices. It consisted of fourteen books and
showed that the Jews were presumptuous and liars, that they were traitors, that they were
despised and dejected, that those favouring them came to an evil end, that neither they
nor their work could be trusted, that they were turbulent, selfconceited, seditious, that
the church preserved them only that in their midst might be born their Messiah the
anti-Christ, who will be vanquished to allow Israel to recognize his error. At any rate
Francisco de Torrejoncillo may be considered amiable if one compares his pamphlet with a
singular little work of the same epoch  bearing the title, Book of the Alboraique. 108 The Alboraique was Mohamed's mount, a queer animal, neither horse, nor mule, nor ox,
nor donkey; to this singular animal the author of the squib likens the new Christians, the
Marranos, who are Alboraiques as being neither Jews nor Christians.
Had all the polemists limited themselves to allegorical comparisons, not much harm
would have come to the Jews. But some did not hesitate to relate the most extraordinary
things about these accursed ones, and the anti-Jewish polemic literature enregistered all
the popular prejudices, even made them worse; it originated new ones and perpetuated them
in all instances. The wildest stories about the Jews were circulated; they were
represented with monstrous features; the most abominable deformities, the blackest vices,
the most heinous crimes, the most despicable habits were attributed to them. They have, so
it was declared, the figure of a he-goat, they have horns and a caudal appendage, 109 they
are subject to quinsy, to scrofula, to blood-flux, stinking infirmities which make them
lower their heads, 110 they have haemorrhoids, bloody sores on their hands, they cannot
spit; at night their tongue is overrun with worms. The belief in these diseases peculiar
to the Jews had come from Spain, in the fourteenth century; later on they were arranged in
lists, the oldest of which belongs to 1634. In these lists, to each of the twelve tribes
its special disease is assigned.
Thus can be explained some other anti-Jewish prejudices; but though it is evident that
the likening of the Israelites to the evil spirit caused the he-goat figure and horns on
their foreheads to be attributed them, still many of these beliefs remain inexplicable.
They all arise, in part, from the fact that the retired life of the Jews, their venerable
habit of keeping aloof, not to mingle with those surrounding themever served to excite
excessively the popular imagination.
As to the Templars, concerning whom so many similar abominations had been spread, they,
above all others, can be likened unto the Jews. Like the latter, they were hated for their
pride, their ostentation, their wealth in the midst of general misery, their eagerness for
gain, their shameless use of means of acquisition, their making usurious contracts. They
were hated because they advanced money on chattels and fiefs on condition that these fiefs
and chattels remained theirs in case of the borrower's death; because the Templars' Order
possessed a greater part of the French  territory in the thirteenth century and formed
a commonwealth within the state, the Templars having and recognizing no master but God.
111 We see then that the same causes produce the same results, create the same
animosities, give rise to the same beliefs.
Were not the Templars said to "burn and roast the children they begat by young
girls, and to sacrifice to and anoint their idols with the fat taken off"; 112 were
not the Cagots said to make use of Christian blood? Does not the charge of ritual murder
weigh over the Jews as it had weighed over those wretches, the lepers, whom the Middle
Ages treated as the Jew's brethren, thus taking up again the assertions of Manetho,
repeated by Chaeremon, Lysimachus, Posidonius, Apollonius Molo and Apion, just as it had
weighed over the sorcerers, who were also likened to the Jews? But we shall come back to
this question when we speak of the modern antisemites.
What was the attitude of the Jews in the face of all these attacks and abuses which the
theologians and polemists directed at them? They vigorously defended themselves. They
opposed exegesis to exegesis; they opposed their logic to their opponents' arguments; they
answered insults and calumnies with calumnies and insults; which is but normal, natural,
inevitable, but all the same these insults fatally rebounded against them. If the
anti-Jewish literature is enormous, the defensive literature of the Jews, as well as their
anti-Christian literaturefor the Jews oftentimes took up the offensiveis quite
The first controversial work belonging to the Israelite literature of the Middle Ages,
was the Book of the Lord's Wars, written in 1170, by Jacob ben Ruben. 113 It was
made up of twelve chapters, or gateways, proving that Messiah had not yet come, which,
however, for the exegetic rhetoricians, was just as easy as, if not easier than to prove
the opposite. But it was not enough to prove that Jesus was not the awaited Messiah; it
was equally necessary to prove the superiority of the Jewish religion to those who were
establishing, irrefutably, the superiority of the Christian religion, and this was easy
for both sides, as each drew from the Bible what suited it. The Talmudists made use of the
New Testament even to confirm their Judaic dogmas. This was done by Moses Cohen de
Tordesillas, in his Support of the Faith, while Shem-Tob ben Isaac Shaprut resumed,
in the form of a dialogue between a Unitarian and a Trinitarian, the ideas propounded by
Jacob ben Ruben. 114 
In imitation of the ecclesiastical writers and inquisitors, the rabbis wrote books for
the use of those who were challenged in disputes. A kind of vade mecum, these books
pointed out the vulnerable sides of the Christian dogmas; and if, on the one hand, there
were publications like "Judaism Defeated with Its Own Weapons," on the other
hand were composed works like "Christianity Defeated with Its Own Arms," i.e., with those found in the New Testament. In anti-Christian literature the Gospels played
the part of the Talmud in anti-Jewish literature. Beginning with the eleventh or twelfth
century they were often assailed, and numerous discussions took place between rabbinites
and theologians. These discussions were sometimes gathered in collections, where they were
presented in a light favourable to Jewish dialectics. Presently these collections came to
be used as manuals; among them were the ancient Nizzachon (Victory) of Rabbi
Mattathiah; Nizzachon of Lipman de Mulhausen; the one by Joseph Kimhi; the Strengthening
of the Faith, by Isaac Troki, 115 and the Book of Joseph the Zcalot. 116 Still
this was not sufficient for the fervour of the Jews. Having prepared the minds for future
debates, having assailed the Catholic doctrines, not in oratorical tournaments only, but
in apologies as well, they wrote abusive pamphlets, like that famous Toldot Jesho, the
life of the Galilean which goes back to the second or third century, and which Celsius
possibly was acquainted with. 117 This Toldot Jesho was published by Raymund
Martin, Luther translated it into German; Wagenseil and the Dutchman Huldrich also
published it. It contained the story of Pantherus the soldier and the legends representing
Jesus as a magician. After defending the Bible and Monotheism the Jews turned upon those
who were their most dangerous enemiesthe converted. If they had refuted Raymund Martin and
Nicholas de Lyra, 118 they refuted with still greater energy Jerome de Santa Fe, the Santa
Fe whom his former coreligionists called Megaddef, i.e., blasphemer. At Jerome they were
incensed. Don Vidal ibn Labi, Isaac ben Nathan Kalonymos, 119 Solomon Duran, 120 several
others, wrote to give the lie to the "calumniator." The same was done by Isaac
Pulgar against Alfonso of Valladolid, 121 by Joshua ben Joseph Lorqui and Profiat
Duran.122 In the seventeenth century anti-Judaism took on another form. The theologians
were succeeded by erudites, scholars, exegetes. Anti-Judaism became milder and more
scientific; it was represented  by hebraizers, often of great attainments, like
Wagenseil, 123 Bartolocci, 124 Voetius, 125 Joseph de Voisin, 126 etc. These men studied
Jewish literature and manners in a more serious way. Thus Wagenseil denied ritual murder;
127 though saying that the Talmud contained "blasphemies, impostures and
absurdities," Buxtorf declared that it also contained things of value for the
historian and philosopher. 128 Yet the same ideas persisted which had inspired the authors
of the preceding centuries. The object was always to prove the truth of the Christian
faith and dogmas on the basis of the Old Testament; the anxiety to convert the Jews ever
haunted the souls, the recall of Israel was spoken of, means of bringing them back were
proposed; 129 the apostates invoked the Zohar and Mishna in favour of Jesus, 130 and the
polemic literature was still in bloom under Eisenmenger, whose Judaism Unveiled 131
has inspired many contemporary antisemites; under Schudt, 132 later under Voltaire. It is
true that literary anti-Judaism, particularly that of combative tendencies and
pamphleteers, is varied but little. Most of the anti-Jewish writers imitate one another,
without scruple; they plagiarize without even taking the trouble to verify the assertions
of their predecessors. One book of the kind is responsible for similar others: Alonzo da
Spina draws his inspiration from Batallas de Dios, by Alfonso of Valladolid;
Porchet Salvaticus, Pietro Galatini, Pierre de Barcelona republish, under different names,
Raymund Martin's Sword of the Faith; Paul Fagius and Sebastian Munster 133 help
themselves to the Book of the Faith.
In spite of this, and independently of the dissimilarities I have noted, anti-Judaism,
from the seventeenth century on, is in all respects quite different from the anti-Judaism
of the preceding centuries. The social side gets gradually the upperhand of the religious
side, though this latter continues to exist. The question is asked, not whether the Jews
are wrong in being usurers, or merchants, or deicides, but whether, as Schudt 134 says,
the Jews ought to be tolerated in a State or not, whether it is lawful to admit Jews into
a Christian commonwealth, as John Dury 135 inquires, about 1655, in a pamphlet directed
against Cromwell's protege, Menasseh ben Israel. This is the social standpoint which we
shall see developing henceforth in literary anti-Judaism; a part of modern antisemitism
will rest on the theory of a Christian State and its integrity, and in this wise it will
be connected with the ancient anti-Judaism.
76 Consult the Spicilegium by Achery, vols. X and XV.
77 Isidore of Seville, De Fide Catholica ex vetere et novo Testamento contra Judaeos (Opera, vol. VII). Migne, P. L., lxxxiii.
78 Disputatio contra Judaeos, Opera, Editio Basileensis, p. 180.
79 Contra Judaeos,. Lib. VI.
80 Migne, P. L., Ch. CLIX.
81 Liber contra perfidia Judaeorum, Opera, Paris, 1519.
82 Augustin Giustiniani, Linguae Hebreae (1566).
83 Pugio Fidei (Paris, 1651). (Cf. Quetif, Bibl. Scriptorum dominicanorum,
v. I, p. 396, and the edition of Carpzon, Leipzig, 1687).
84 Victoria adversus impios Hebreos et sacris litteris (Paris, 1629). Wolf, Bibl.
Hebr. v. I, p. 1124.
85 Consult Fabricius, Bibliotheca Latina, on Peter of Barcelona (Petrus
86 De Arcanis catholicae veritatis libris (Soncino, 1518).
87 Throughout the Middle Ages they believed in this fourfold meaning of the Scriptures,
and the following distich expressed its import:
Littera gesta docet, quid credas, allegoria;
Moralis, quid agas quo tendas anagogia.
88 For the antisemitic literature of the Jewish apostates consult Wolf, Bibl. Hebr.,
89 Cf. Wolf, Bibl. Hebr., I, p. 1004; and Joseph Rodriguez de Castro, Bibliotheca
espanola (Madrid, 1781), vol. I, p. 235.
90 Tractatus Zelus christi contra Judaeos, Saracenos et infideles (Venice, 1542)
91 Hostis Judaeorum (Cologne, 1509).
92 Hebreomastyx (Frankfort, 1601).
93 Juda Hallevy, Liber Cosri. Translated by John Buxtorf, Jr., 1660 -- a German
translation with an introduction was published by H. Jolowicz and D. Cassel, Das Buch
Kuzari, 1841, 1853.
94 De Insolentia Judaeorum (Patrologie latine v. CIV).
95 Epistola seu liber contra Judaeos (Patrologie latine, v. CXVI).
96 Gesta Philippi Augusti, 12-16.
97 Tractatus adversus Judaeorum inveteratam duritiam (Bibliotheque des Peres
98 Les Jours caniculaires (Dierum canicularium) translated by F. de Rosset
99 Agobard, loc. cit.
100 Amolon, loc. cit.
101 Pierre de Cluny, loc. cit.
102 Agobard, loc. cit. -- Rigord, loc. cit.
103 S. Maiol, loc. cit.
104 The Jews and their lies (Wittemberg, 1558).
105 Fortalitium Fidei (Nuremberg, 1494). Wolf, Bibl. Hebr., v. I, p.
106 L'lncredulite et mecreance du sortilege pleinement convaincue (1622).
107 Centinela contra Judios (Cf. Loeb, Revue des Etudes Juives, v. V).
108 Bibliotheque Nationale, Spanish section, Ms. No. 356 (Loeb, Revue des Etudes
Juives, v. XVIII).
109 Centinela contra Judios.
110 Pierre de Lancre, loc. cit.
111 Lavocat, Proces des Freres de l'ordre du Temple, Paris, 1888.
112 Lavocat, loc. cit.
113 Loeb, Revue des Etudes Juives, v. XVIII.
114 Shem-Tob ben Isaac Shaprut, The Touchstone (Loeb, loc. cit.).
115 Wagenseil in his Tela ignea Satanae (Altdorf, 1681), reproduces all these
treatises in print.
116 Zadoc Kahn, The Book of Joseph the Zealot (Revue des Etudes Juives, vols. I
117 For the Toldot Jesho, cf. Tela ignea Satanae, Wagenseil, v. II, p. 189, and
B. de Rossi, Biblotheca Judaica antichristiana (Parma, 1800), p. 117.
118 Wagenseil, loc. cit.
119 Magna Biblothica Rabbinica (Rome, 1693-95).
120 Solomon ben Adret, of Barcelona, refuted the Pugio Fidei.
121 Chayim ibn Musa refuted Nicholas de Lyra in his Shield and Sword (Graetz, loc.
122 Letter of Combat (Graetz, loc. cit., and Rossi, Bibloth.
antichrist, p. 100).
123 Dialogue against the Apostates (Loeb, loc. cit.)
124 Alteca Boteca (Loeb, loc. cit.) -- De Rossi, Dizionario Storico
degli autori Ebrei (Parma, 1802), p. 89.
125 Disputationes Selectae (Utrecht, 1663).
126 Theologia Judaeorum (1647).
127 Benachrichtung wegen einiger die Judenschaft engehenden Sachen (Altdorf,
128 Dictionn, chaldeo-talmadico-rabbinique (Basiliae, 1639) and Synagogua
Judaica (Hanau, 1604).
129 Pean de la Croullardiere, Methode facile pour convaincre les heretiques (Paris, 1667), which contains a "method of assailing and converting the Jews";
Thomas Bell, Hader, Dottrina facile e breve per reduire l'Hebreo al conoscimento del
vero Messia e Salvator del Mondo (Venetia 1608).
130 Conrad Otton, Gali Razia (Secrets unveiled), (Nurenberg, 1605).
131 Judaism Unveiled (Frankfort, 1700).
132 Compendium Historiae Judaicae (Frankfort, 1700) and Judaeas Christicida
gravissime peccans et vapulans (1700).
133 Revue des Etudes juives, v. V, p. 57.
134 Loc. cit.
135 A Case of Conscience (London 1655).
Chapter Eight: MODERN LEGAL ANTI-JUDAISM
AFTER preliminary discussions, as a result of which any decision on the emancipation of
the Jews was adjourned, the Constituent Assembly voted, on September 27, 1791, on a motion
by Duport, and thanks to Regnault de Saint-Jean-d'Angely's intervention, the admission of
the Jews to the rank of citizens. This decree had been ready for a long time, prepared as
it was through the work of the commission assembled by Louis XVI, with Malesherbes in the
chair; prepared by the writings of Lessing and Dohm, of Mirabeau and Gregoire. It was the
logical outcome of the efforts made for some time by the Jews and the philosophers; in
Germany Mendelssohn had been its promoter and most active advocate, and in Berlin Mirabeau
drew his inspiration at the side of Dohm in the salons of Henriette de Lemos.
A certain class of Jews had, however, already been emancipated. In Germany the court
Jews (Hofjuden) had obtained commercial privileges; even titles of nobility were
being conferred upon them for money. In France the Portuguese Marranos returned to
Judaism, enjoyed great liberties and prospered under the supervision of their syndics at
Bordeaux, very indifferent nevertheless to the fate of their unfortunate brethren, though
very influential: one of them, Gradis, failed to secure a nomination as deputy to the
States-General. In Alsace even, several Jews obtained important favours, as, e.g., Cerf
Berr, purveyor to the armies of Louis XV, who granted him naturalization and the title of
Marquis de Tombelaine.
Thanks to all these privileges, there sprang into existence a class of rich Jews which
came into contact with the christian society; open-minded, subtle, intelligent, refined,
of extreme intellectualism, it had given up, like so many Christians, the letter of
religion or of the faith even, and retained nothing but a mystic idealism which, for good
or ill, went hand in hand with a liberal rationalism. The fusion between this group of
Jews and the elite led by Lessing, was brought about above all in Berlin, a young city
and centre of a kingdom which was rising to fame, an easy-going city, with little
tradition. Young Germany gathered at the houses of Henrietta de Lemos and Rachel von
Varnhagen; with the Jews, German Romanticism ended in impregnating itself with Spinozaism;
Schleiermacher and Humboldt were seen visiting there, and it may be said that if the
Constituent Assembly decreed the emancipation of the Jews, it was in Germany that it had
At any rate, the number of these Jews qualified to mingle with the nations, was
extremely limited, the more so because the majority of themlike Mendelsson's daughters,
like Boerne and Heine later onended by converting, and thus no longer existed as
Israelites. As for the mass of Jews, it was in quite different circumstances.
The decree of 1791 freed these pariahs from a secular servitude; it broke the fetters
with which the laws had bound them; it wrested them from all kinds of ghettos where they
had been imprisoned; from, as it were, cattle it made them human beings. But if it was
within its power to restore them to liberty, if it was possible for it to undo within one
day the legislative work of centuries, it could not annul their moral effect, and it was
especially impotent to break the chains which the Jews had forged themselves. The Jews
were emancipated legally, but not so morally; they kept their manners, customs and
prejudicesprejudices which their fellow citizens of other confessions kept, too. They were
happy at having escaped their humiliation, but they looked around with diffidence and
suspected even their liberators.
For centuries they had looked with disgust and terror at this world which was rejecting
them; they had suffered from it, but they still more feared to lose their personality and
faith from contact with it. More than one old Jew must have looked with anxiety at the new
existence which opened before him; I should not even be surprised if there were some in
whose eyes the liberation appeared a misfortune or abomination.
As the decree of emancipation did not change the Judaic self, the way in which this
self manifested itself was not changed either. Economically the Jews remained what they
werebe it understood that I speak of the majorityunproductive, i.e., brokers,
money-lenders, usurers, and they could not be otherwise, given their habits and conditions
under which they had lived. With the excep-tion of an insignificant minority among
them, they had no other aptitudes, and even nowadays a great many Jews are in the same
plight. They did not fail to apply these aptitudes, and during this period of unrest and
disorder they found occasion to apply them more than ever. In France they availed
themselves of events, and the events were favourable for them. In Alsace, for instance,
they acted as auxiliaries to the peasants, whom they lent the funds necessary for the
purchase of national property. Already before the revolution they were the home-bred
usurers in this province, and the objects of hatred and contempt, 136 after the
Revolution, the very peasants who had erstwhile forged quittances 137 to escape from the
clutches of their creditors, now appealed to them. Thanks to the Alsatian Jews, the new
ownership continued, but they meant to draw profit from it with a plentiful, usurious
hand. The debtors raised a protest; they pretended they would be ruined if no aid were
forthcoming, and in this they exaggerated, as they, who previous to 1795 had nothing, had
eighteen years later acquired 60,000,000 francs' worth of estates on which they owed the
Jews 9,500,000 francs. Nevertheless, Napoleon lent ear to them, and suspended, during one
year, judicial decisions in behalf of the Jewish usurers of the Upper Rhine, the Lower
Rhine, and the Rhine provinces. His work did not stop at that. In the preambles of the
decree of suspension of May 30, 1806, he showed that he did not consider the repressive
measures sufficient, but wanted the source of the evil done away with.
"These circumstances," said he, "caused us at the same time to consider
how urgent it was to revive among those subjects of our country who profess the Jewish
religion, the sentiments of civic morals, which have unfortunately been deadened with a
great number of them through the state of humiliation in which they have languished too
long, and which is not our intention to maintain and renew."
To revive or rather to give birth to these sentiments, he wanted to bend the Jewish
religion to suit his discipline, to hierarchize it as he had hierarchized the rest of the
nation, to make it conform to the general plan. When first consul he had neglected to take
up the question of the Jewish religion, and so he wanted to make amends for this failure
by convoking an Assembly of Notable Jews for the purpose of "considering the means of
improving the condition of the Jewish nation and spreading the taste for the useful
arts and professions among its members," and of organizing Judaism administratively.
A list of questions was sent out among prominent Jews and when the answers had come in,
the Emperor called together a Great Sanhedrin vested with the power of bestowing a
religious authority upon the responses of the first assembly. The Sanhedrin declared that
the Mosaic law contained obligatory religious provisions, and political provisions; the
latter concerned the people of Israel when an autonomous nation, and had, therefore, lost
their meaning since the Jews had scattered among the nations; it also forbade to make, in
the future, any distinctions between Jews and Christians in the matter of loans, and
entirely prohibited usury.
These declarations showed that the prominent Jews belonging for the most part to the
minority I have mentioned, knew to adapt themselves to the new state of affairs, but could
in no way make any presumption upon the dispositions of the mass. It required the candour
of Napoleon the legist to believe that a synod could enjoin love for the neighbour, or
forbid usury which the social conditions facilitated. The imperial prohibition for Jews
against providing substitutes for military servicethis for the purpose of making them
better realize the grandeur of their civic dutieswas bound to have the same effect as the
prescriptions of the synod. 138 The case was the same with the decree of March 17, 1808,
forbidding the Jews to engage in commerce without a personal license issued by the
prefect, or to take mortgages without authorization; besides, Jews were forbidden to
settle in Alsace and the Rhine provinces, and the Alsatian Jews were forbidden to enter
other departments unless to engage in agriculture. 139 These decrees issued for ten
years, did not turn a single Jew into a farmer, and if any of them became chauvinists, the
obligation of serving in the army had something to do with it. These were the last
restrictive laws in France; the legal assimilation was consummated in 1830, when Lafitte
had the Jewish creed incorporated in the budget. This meant the final downfall of the
"Christian State," though the lay state was not, as yet, completely established.
The last trace of the ancient distinctions between Jews and Christians disappeared with
the abolition of the oath More Judaico, in 1839. Nor was the moral assimilation
So far we have been speaking of the emancipation of the French Jews, it remains to
examine the influence it had on the  Jews of Europe. From the moment of the
foundation of the Batavian Republic, in 1796, the National Assembly gave the Jews in the
Netherlands the rights of citizenship, and their position regulated later by Louis
Bonaparte was settled in a decisive way by William I, in 1815. As a matter of fact, the
Dutch Jews enjoyed important privileges and quite a deal of liberty since the sixteenth
century: the Revolution was but the decisive cause of their total liberation. In Italy and
Germany emancipation was brought to the Jews by the armies of the Republic and the Empire.
Napoleon became the hero and god of Israel, the awaited liberator, he whose mighty hand
was breaking the barriers of the Ghetto. He entered all cities greeted by the acclamations
of the Jewswitness the way in which Heinrich Heine extolled himwho felt that their cause
was linked with the triumph of the eagles. And for this reason the Jews were the first to
feel the effects of the Napoleonic reaction. A return to anti-Judaism went hand in hand
with the exaltation of patriotism. The emancipation was a French act; it was, therefore,
necessary to prove it bad, besides, it was a revolutionary act, and there was a reaction
against the Revolution and the ideas of equality. While the Christian State was being
re-established, the Jews were being banished. In Germany in particular this antique
religious conception of the State again came to life with a new splendour, and in Germany,
especially, anti-Judaism manifested itself more acutely, but the revival of anti-Jewish
legislation was general. In Italy legislation had been resumed in 1770; in Germany the
Vienna Congress abolished all imperial provisions for Jews, leaving them only the rights
granted by the lawful German governments. As a result of the decisions of the Congress,
the cities and communities showed themselves harsh toward the Jews. Lubeck and Bremen
expelled them; like Rome, Frankfort shut them up anew in their ancient quarters 140 .
Naturally, popular movements followed suit of the legal measures. At this moment of
overheated patriotism, any restriction of the rights of strangers met with approval; for
the Jews were as ever the strangers par excellence, who best represented
noxious strangers, and so, about 1820, i.e., the moment when this state of minds
reached its paroxysm, the mob fell, in many places, upon the Jews and badly maltreated
them, even if it did not massacre them.
The thirty years following the disappearance of Napoleon did not witness any great
progress for the Jews. In England where they were, as a matter of fact, treated
liberally enough, they were, nevertheless, always considered dissidents, and, like the
Catholics, were subject to certain obligations. Little by little only did they see their
condition modified, and the history of their emancipation is an episode in the struggle
between the House of Commons and the House of the Lords. Not before 1860 were they
completely assimilated with the other English citizens.
In Austria they had been partly emancipated by the Toleration edict of Joseph II
(1785), but had to undergo the same reaction; the Revolution was too fatal for the
Austrian House, that the latter should even put up with this well-nigh equality of the
Jews which a democratic and philosophic sovereign had granted. Only in 1848 the Austrian
Jews became citizens 141. . At the same time their emancipation was achieved in Germany,
142 Greece, Sweden, and Denmark. Once more they owed their independence to the
revolutionary spirit which once again came from France. However, we shall see that they
were not strangers to the great movement which agitated all Europe; in some countries,
notably in Germany, they aided in preparing it, and they were the advocates of liberty.
They also were among the first to benefit thereby, as legal anti-Judaism may be said to
have come to an end in the Occident after 1848. Little by little the last obstacles fell,
and the last restrictions were abolished. The fall of the temporal power of the Popes, in
1870, did away with the last occidental Ghetto, and the Jews now could become citizens
even in St. Peter's city.
Since then anti-Judaism has transformed, it has become purely literary, it has come to
be but an opinion, and this opinion has no longer had its effect on laws. But before
examining this antisemitism of the pen which in certain countries existed until 1870, side
by side with restrictive regulations, we must speak of the Christian States of Eastern
Europe, where the anti-Judaism is even now legal and persecutionary, i.e., of
Roumania and Russia.
The Jews have lived in Roumania, 143 i.e., the Moldau-Valachian lands, since the
fourteenth century, but they came there in numbers at the beginning of this century only,
and are about 300,000 in all, as a result of Hungarian and Russian emigration. For many
long years they lived undisturbed. They naturally depended upon the boyars who hold the
power in this country, and they leased the sale of spirits from these noblemen, who held
the monopoly therefore. As they were indispensable to the noblemen as tax-collectors,
fiscal agents and all sorts of middlemen, the nobles were rather inclined to grant
them privileges, and they only had the excess of popular superstitions or passions. The
official persecutions of the Jews began only in 1856, when Roumania adopted the
representative system and the power thus fell into the hands of the bourgeois class.
Thenceforth restrictive measures grew more serious. The Jews could not obtain any rank,
they were deprived of the right of permanent domicile in country places, they were
forbidden to hold real estateexcept in citiesor lands, or vineyards. They were prohibited
to take estates on lease, to keep hotels and taverns outside of cities, to retail spirits,
to have Christian domestics, to build new synagogues. Some of these decisions were passed
arbitrarily by certain municipalities; in other villages, on the contrary, the Jews were
tolerated. This state of affairs lasted till 1867. At this time the minister Jean Bratiano
published a circular in which he recalled to mind the fact that the Jews had no right to
live in rural communities, or to take there property on lease. As a result of this
circular the Jews were expelled from the villages they inhabited, they were condemned like
vagabonds, and the expulsions continued till 1877; they were generally called forth by the
uprisings in Bucharest, Yassy, Galatz, Tecucin, as well as in other places, and during
these uprisings cemeteries were profaned and synagogues burned.
What were, what are still the causes of this special legislation, and of this animosity
of the Roumanians towards the Jews? They are not exclusively religious, and despite the
persistence of ancestral prejudices, it is not a case of a confessional war. The Roumanian
Jews constituted, especially at the moment of the formation of Roumania, agglomerations
completely isolated from the bulk of the population in the Moldau-Valachian lands. They
wore a special garb, lived in quarters set apart in order to escape contaminations, and
spoke a Judaeo-German jargon, which rounded off their marks of distinction. They lived
under the domination of their rabbis, narrow-minded, limited, ignorant Talmudists, from
whom they received in Jewish schoolshederan education which was conducive to their
intellectual abasement and their degradation.
They were the victims of this isolation which was due to their guides, the rabbinists.
The patriotic passions were particularly aroused in this land, which was being born, was
acquiring a nationality and striving for unity. There has been a pan-Roumanism, just
like pan-Germanism or pan-Slavism. There were discussions on the Roumanian race, on its
integrity, its purity, the danger threatening it from adulteration. Associations were
formed to counteract foreign encroachment, and Jewish encroachment in particular.
Schoolmasters, university professors were the soul of these societies; just as in Germany,
they were the most active antisemites. They asserted that the Jewish education crippled
the brains of those receiving it, that it rendered them unfit for social life, which was
but too correct, and yet they were going to shut the Jews out completely from obtaining
the education given to Christians, exactly the one that would lift them from their
But the college-bred were not the sole antisemites in Roumania, and there were economic
causes beside patriotic causes. As I have said, antisemitism was born with the advent of
the bourgeoisie, because this bourgeois class, composed of merchants and manufacturers,
came into competition with the Jews who displayed their activity exclusively in commerce
and industry, when not in usury. The bourgeoisie had every interest in the passage of
protective laws, which, though nominally directed at strangers and not at the Jews,
principally aimed at placing obstacles to the expansion of their formidable rivals. It
achieved its point by skillfully fomenting disturbances which gave their representatives
in Parliament a chance to propose new regulations. Thus these diverse causes of
antisemitism may be reduced to a single onenational protectionismand very clever it is, as
simultaneously with denying the Jews all civic rights on the ground that they are
strangers, it forces them into military service, which again is a contradiction, as none
but a citizen can form a part of a national army.
Harder still, more miserable than in Roumania, is the condition of the Jews in Russia.
Their history in that country, where they arrived in the third century B.C. and founded
colonies in Crimea, has been that of the Jews of all Europe. They were banished in the
twelfth century never to be recalled. Nevertheless, at present Russia counts 4,500,000
Jews, and to say, as the antisemites maintain, that the Jews have invaded it is nonsense,
for Russia has acquired them by seizing White Russia in 1769 and later on the Polish
provinces and Crimea, which contained a great number of Jews. At the moment of this
conquest it was out of the question to apply the ukase of 1742 which banished the
Jews once more. On the one hand, it was not an easy thing to drive out several million
individuals into the neighbouring states; on the other, commerce, industry, and
particularly the treasury, would have fared ill from such wholesale expulsion. Catherine
II then granted the Jews equal rights with her Russian subjects, but the Senate ukases of
1786, 1791 and 1794 curtailed these privileges and confined the Israelites within White
Russia and Crimeathenceforth constituting the Jewish territoryand Poland. Only in
certain cases and under special conditions were they allowed to leave the limits of this
In Russia all modern antisemitism, which is official antisemitism par excellence, consists
in keeping the Jews from escaping the Senate ukases just spoken of. Russia has resigned
herself to her Jews, but she wants to leave them where she found them. Still there were
favourable or rather less unfavourable times for the Jews. Alexander I permitted them in
1808 to settle in the crown lands on condition of engaging there in agriculture; Nicholas
I gave them permission to travel when their business required it, they were allowed to
attend the universities; and under Alexander II their position improved still further. 144
After the death of Alexander II the autocratic reaction became monstrous in Russia: an
abominable reawakening of absolutism was the answer to the bomb of the nihilists. The
national orthodox spirit was overexcited, the liberal and revolutionary movement was
charged to foreign influences, and the Jews were made the scapegoats, in order to divert
the people from the nihilistic propaganda; hence the massacres of 1881 and 1882, during
which the mob burned Jewish houses, robbed and killed the Jews, saying: "Our daddy,
the Tsar, wants it."
After these disturbances General Ignatyeff promulgated the "May Laws" of
1882. They read as follows:
1. As a temporary measure and until the general revision of the laws regulating their
status, Jews are forbidden to settle hereafter outside of cities and towns. Exception is
made with regard to Jewish villages already in existence where the Jews are engaged in
2. Until further order all contracts for the mortgaging or renting of real estate
situated outside of cities and towns to a Jew, shall be of no effect. Equally void is any
power of attorney granted to a Jew for the administration or disposition of property
of the above-indicated nature.
3. Jews are forbidden to do business on Sundays and Christian holidays; the laws
compelling Christians to close their places of business on those days will be applied to
Jewish places of business.
4. The above measures are applicable only in the governments situated within the Jewish
pale of settlement.
These laws were enacted as a temporary measure. Accordingly, a commission
presided over by Count Pahlen met in 1883 to settle finally the Jewish question. The
conclusions of this commission were quite liberal in spirit; it recommended that certain
civil rights be given to the Jews. Owing to the influence of Pobyedonostseff, the
Procurator of the Holy Synod, the report of the Pahlen Commission was buried, and the May
Laws have remained in force. Since that time, and especially from 1890 on, the
persecutions redoubled. The "pale" was narrowed by forbidding the Jews to enter
certain fortified places, and by creating a frontier belt where the Jews could not reside.
The ukase of 1865 of Alexander II, allowing "skilled" artisans to choose a
domicile throughout the empire was abrogated. Thus nearly 3,000,000 Jews were crowded into
the cities of the pale of settlement, while a million was spread over Poland, and 500,000
privilegedmerchants of the first rank, financiers and studentsall over Russia.
Other measures, besides this systematic crowding, were taken against the Jews. They
were shut out of certain occupations and certain professions; those sheltered in hospitals
as invalids were sent away; employees of railroads and steamship companies were dismissed;
the number of those who could enter universities, colleges and high schools was limited;
they were barred from becoming attorneys, physicians, engineers, or at least their
opportunities for entering these professions were restricted; even their own schools were
closed to them, they are not admitted even to hospitals, they are burdened with special
taxes on their rents, inheritances, the animals they kill for meat, the candles they light
on Friday evenings, the skull-caps they wear during religious ceremonies, even when these
are of a private nature.
Besides these official taxes imposed by the government, the Jews are under the
exploitation of the Russian administration and police, the basest, the most corrupt and
venal in all Europe. Half the income of the middle class Jews, says Weber and Kempster,
and  Harold Frederic, goes to the police. Every Jew in easy circumstances is the
victim of constant extortion. As for those (and they are the majority), who are too poor
to be able to pay, they are subjected to the most loathsome, most inhuman treatment,
forced to bow to all the whims of brutal policemen who domineer and martyrize them, as
they martyrize also the nihilists and the suspects of liberalism whom the horrible
autocracy of the Tsar places in their power. 145
We shall not deal with the frauds with which Jewish business men are charged, as
exactly these business men occupy a privileged position; as for the lawlessness of a part
of the miserable mass, those of whom it is made up "would not have food if they did
not rob," and so they are in the same position with a great number of orthodox
Russians whom the social and economic condition of Russia forces to resort to unscrupulous
methods, in order to make a living.
What are then the real causes of antisemitism? They are political and religious.
Antisemitism is by no means a popular movement in Russia; it is purely official. The
Russian people, laden with misery, crushed under taxes, groaning under the most atrocious
of tyrannies, embittered by administrative violence and governmental abuse of power,
burdened with suffering and humiliation is in an unbearable condition. Generally resigned,
they are liable to yield to passions; their uprisings and revolts are formidable;
antisemitic riots are the proper thing to divert popular anger, and that is why the
government encouraged them and often provoked them. As to the peasants and workingmen,
they fell upon the Jews because, they said, "the Jew and the nobleman are of a pair,
only it is easy to thrash the Jew." 146 Thus is explained the plundering of rich
Jewish merchants, of wealthy money-lenders, often of poor Jewish workmen, and it is
heart-rending to see these disinherited fall upon one another instead of uniting against
the oppressive tsarism.
The possibility of a union between these two camps of misery is, perhaps, foreseen by
those whose interest it is to engender and keep their antagonism and who actually saw the
rioters burn many Christian houses during the riots of 1881 and 1882. After Alexander II's
death it became urgent to blot out of the moujik's and proletarians' memories the
nihilists' attempts at liberation. The revolution was more than ever the frightful hydra
and dragon, against which Holy Russia was to be protected. To accomplish it a return 
to orthodox ideas was thought necessary. All evil, it was said, comes from the foreign,
the heretical, that which pollutes the sacred soil.
The religious origin of the official antisemitism has often been denied; yet it cannot
be denied, and the Russians will yet probably give up even Panslavism in order to arrive
at religious unity, a unity which to some of them, at least, seems indispensable for the
unity of the State. The national and the religious question are but one in Russia, the
Tsar being simultaneously the temporal and spiritual head, Caesar and Pope; but to faith
more importance is attached than to race, and the proof is that a Jew who is willing to be
converted is not persecuted. On the contrary, the Jew is encouraged to embrace orthodoxy.
Thus we may say that in eastern Europe where the actual condition of the Jews
fairly well represents what had been their condition in the Middle Ages, the causes of
antisemitism are twofold: social causes, and religious causes combined with patriotic
ones. It now remains for us to see what are the causes that maintain antisemitism in the
countries where it has become antisemitism of the pen instead of legal antisemitism, and,
first of all, to examine this transformation and the phenomena to which it has given rise.
136 Mention must be made that, as in the Middle ages, the Alsatian Jews were the
"dummies" and intermediaries of the Christian usurers (Cf. Halphen, Recueil
des lois et decrets concernant les Israelites (Paris, 1851), and the Petition des
Juifs etablis en France addressee a l'Assemblee nationale le 28 janvier 1790).
137 On the Alsatian Jews before and after the Revolution, consult: Gregoire, Essai
sur la Regeneration des Juifs; Dohm, De la Reforme politique des Juifs; Paul
Fauchille, La Question Juive en France Sous le premier Empire (Paris, 1884).
138 Halphen, Recueil des lois et decrets.
139 Halphen, loc. cit.
140 At this moment the Jews entered suit against the city of Frankfort to contest the
legality of the city's decisions. This suit was the occasion of violent anti-Jewish
141 The constitution of March 4, 1849, proclaimed the equality before the law. But as
this constitution was abolished in 1851, an ordinance of July 29, 1853, restored the old
legislation against the Jews. Successive Amendments were added to it, and the Constitution
of 1867 finally restored equality before the law and liberated the Jews.
In Hungary the law emancipating the Jews was also voted in 1867 by the Chamber of
Deputies, on motion by the Government. (Cf. Wolf, Geschichte der Juden in Wien,
Vienna, 1876; Kaim, Ein Jahrhundert der Judenemancipation. Leipzig, 1869.)
142 The German Constituent Assembly voted the equality of all citizens before the law,
on May 20, 1848. The Parliament of Frankfort did likewise, and the principle of this
equality was incorporated in the German constitution of 1849. At any rate many States
retained the restrictions against the Jews till the time of the Law of the Northern
Federation of July 3, 1869, which abolished all the "restrictions of civil and
political rights that still existed and were based on difference in religion." (Cf.
Kaim, loc. cit. and Allegemeine Zeitung des Judenthums for the years 1837,
1849, 1856, 1867, 1869). After the Franco-German war, this way was forced upon those
States like Bavaria, e.g., which had not adopted it before the organization of the Empire.
143 Desjardins, Les Juifs de Moldavie (Paris, 1867). -- Isidore Loeb, La
Situation des Israelites en Turquie, en Serbie et en Roumanie (Paris 1877).
144 N. de Gradovski, La Situation legale des Israelites en Russie (Paris, 1891).
-- Tikhomirov, La Russie politique et sociale (Paris, 1888). -- Les Juifs de
Russie (Paris, 1891). -- Prince Demidoff-San-Donato, La question juive en Russie (Bruxelles, 1884). -- Anatole Leroy-Beaulieu, L'Empire des Tzars et les Russes (Paris, 1881-82-89). [English translation, London and New York, 1894]. -- Weber et
Kempster, La Situation des Juifs en Russie (Resume of a report to the United States
Government by its delegates). -- Leo Errera, Les Juifs russes (Bruxelles, 1893). --
Harold Frederic, The New Exodus (1892).
145 The condition of the Jews in Russia, compared with that of the native people, is
absolutely the same as in the Middle Ages. The Russian peasant and the workingman are
pretty nearly as wretched as the Jew. They, too, are subjected to annoyances and arbitrary
rule, but they are not persecuted, and have, to a certain degree the right of migrating.
146 Tikhomirov, loc. cit.
Chapter Nine: MODERN ANTISEMITISM AND ITS
THE emancipated Jews scattered among the nations just like strangers, and, as we have
seen, it could not be otherwise, since for centuries they formed a nation among the
nations, a special people preserving its characteristics thanks to the strict and precise
ritual, as well as owing to the legislation which kept it apart and tended to perpetuate
it. As conquerors, not as guests did they come into modern societies. They were like a
penned-in flock; suddenly the barriers fell and they rushed upon the field opened to them.
They were not warriors, what is more, the moment was not favourable to an expedition of a
small band, but they made the only conquest for which they were armed, the economic
conquest for which they had been preparing for some many long years. They were a race of
merchants and money-dealers, perhaps degraded by mercantile practice, but, thanks to this
very practice, equipped with qualities which were becoming preponderant in the new
economic system. And so it was easy for them to take to commerce and finances, and, it
must be repeated, they could not act otherwise. Crowded together, oppressed for centuries,
ever curbed in their soarings, they had acquired a formidable power of expansion, and this
power could find application in certain channels only; their efforts were limited, but
their nature was not changed, and it was not changed on the day of their liberation
either, and they marched ahead on the road which was familiar to them. However, the state
of affairs was particularly favourable to them. At this period of great overthrows and
reconstructions, when nations were being modified, new principles established, new social,
moral and metaphysical conceptions wrought out, they were the only ones to be free. They
were without any attachments to those surrounding them; they had no ancient patrimony to
defend, the heritage which the former society was leaving to nascent society was not
theirs; the thousand ancestral ties which linked the citizens of the modern state with
 the past, could not influence their conduct, their intellectuality, their morality;
their spirit had no shackles.
I have shown that their liberation could not change them, that a number of them
regretted their past of isolation, and even if they did endeavour to remain themselves, if
they did not assimilate, they marvelously adapted themselves, by the very force of their
special tendencies, to the economic conditions which had affected the nations since the
beginning of the nineteenth century.
The French Revolution was above all an economic revolution. If it is considered as the
termination of a struggle between classes, it must be viewed as the consummation of a
struggle between two forms of capital, viz: real property and personal property, or landed
capital, and industrial and speculative capital. With the supremacy of the nobility the
supremacy of landed capital disappeared, too, and the supremacy of the bourgeoisie brought
on the supremacy of industrial and speculative capital. The emancipation of the Jew is
linked with the growth of the prevalence of industrial capital. So long as landed capital
retained the political power, the Jew was deprived of any right; the Jew was liberated on
the day when political power passed to industrial capital, and that proved fatal. The
bourgeoisie needed help in the struggle it undertook; the Jew was for it a valuable ally,
whom it was its interest to emancipate. Since the days of the Revolution, Jew and
bourgeois marched hand in hand, together they sustained Napoleon at the moment when
dictatorship became necessary to defend the privileges gained by the Third Estate, and
when the imperial tyranny became too heavy and oppressive for capitalism the bourgeois and
the Jew, united and preluded the fall of the Empire by forestalling provisions at the time
of the Russian campaign and helped to bring about the final disaster by calling forth
slumps at the exchange and buying the disloyalty of marshals.
At the beginning of the great industrial development, after 1815, when canal, mine, and
insurance companies were formed, the Jews were among the most active in promoting
combination of capital. Moreover, they were the most skillful, because the spirit of
combination had for centuries been their only support. But they were not content to aid in
bringing about in this practical way the triumph of industrialism, they gave their aid in
a theoretical way, also. They gathered around Saint-Simon, the philosopher of the
bourgeoisie; they worked at diffusing and developing his teaching. 
Saint-Simon had said: 147 "The manufacturers must be entrusted with the
administration of the temporal power," and "the last step that remains for
industry to make is to obtain the direction of the State and the chief problem of our time
is to secure to industry a majority in our parliaments." He had added : 145 "The
industrial class must occupy the first rank, because it is the most important of all;
because it can do without all the others, while none other can do without it; because it
exists by its own forces, by its personal labours. The other classes must work for it,
because they are its creatures and because it sustains their existence; in a word, as
everything is made by industry, everything must be made for it." The Jews helped to
realize the Saint-Simonian dream; they proved themselves the most trustworthy allies of
the bourgeoisie, inasmuch as in working for it they worked for themselves and, in all
Europe, they were in the front rank of the liberal movement, which from 1815 till 1848
succeeded in establishing the domination of bourgeois capitalism.
This role of the Jews did not escape the class of landed capitalists, and we shall see
that therein lay one of the causes of the anti-Judaism of the conservatives, but to the
Jews it was not worth so much as the recognition of the bourgeoisie. When the latter had
firmly established its power, when it became restful and secure, it discovered that its
ally, the Jew, was its formidable competitor, and it reacted against it. Thus the
conservative parties, made up, as a rule, of capitalist agriculturers, became anti-Jewish
in their fight against industrial and speculative capitalism, represented chiefly by the
Jew, and industrial and speculative capitalism became anti-Jewish in its turn, on account
of Jewish competition. Anti-Judaism, which had been religious at first, became economic,
or, rather, the religious causes, which had once been dominant in anti-Judaism, were
subordinated to economic and social causes.
This transformation, which corresponded with the change in the role played by the Jews,
was not the only one. Once a matter of sentiment, the hostility towards the Jews became
one of reason. The Christians of yesterday hated the deicides instinctively, and they
never attempted to justify their animosity: they showed it. The antisemites of to-day
conceived a desire to explain their hatred, i.e., they wanted to dignify it:
anti-Judaism moulted into antisemitism. How was this antisemitism manifested? It had no
other way of expression but through the printing press. Official antisemitism was
dead in the West, or it was dying; as a result anti-Jewish legislation, too, was
disappearing; there remained theoretical antisemitism, it was an opinion, a theory, but
the antisemites had a very distinct object in view. Up to the time of the Revolution
literary anti-Judaism sustained legal anti-Judaism, since the Revolution and the
emancipation of the Jews, literary antisemitism has striven to restore legal anti-Judaism
in the countries where it no longer exists. It has not, as yet, achieved that, and we have
to study only the manifestations of the antisemitism of the pen, manifestations, some of
which represent the opinion of the many, for, if literary antisemities have supplied
reasons to the unconscious antisemites, they were produced by them; they attempted to
explain what the flock felt, manifested, and if they have at times ascribed strange and
improbable motives, they often but echoed the sentiments of their inspirers. What were
these sentiments? We shall see if we examine the antisemitic literature, and at the same
time we shall disentangle the manifold causes of contemporary antisemitism.
Except in the case of some of them, it is impossible to classify the antisemitic works
under too narrow categories, as each of them often presented manifold tendencies. Still
they each have a dominant idea, in accordance with which their classification may be
settled, always remembering that a work approaching a definite type does not belong solely
and exclusively to it. We shall, then, subdivide antisemitism into Christian, Socialist,
economic, ethnological and national, metaphysical, revolutionary and anti-Christian
Christian Socialist antisemitism was generated by the permanency of religious
prejudices. If the Jews had not changed on entering into society, the sentiments felt
toward them for so many long years would not have disappeared either. The Jews owed their
emancipation to a philosophical movement coinciding with an economic movement and not to
the abolition of secular prejudices against them. Those who thought the Christian State
the only State possible looked with disfavour upon the intrusion of the Jews, and
anti-Talmudism was the first manifestation of this hostility. The Talmud which was justly
considered the religious stronghold of the Jews was assailed and a host of polemists
devoted themselves to proving how much the teachings of the Talmud were opposed to the
teachings of the Gospel. Against the book they resumed all the complaints of the
controversialists of yore, those enumerated by the Jewish apostates in debates, and
repeated in the thirteenth century by Raymund Martin, those raised by Pfefferkorn and
later on by Eisenmenger. Not even the method or the make-up was changed; the same moulds
were made use of; in writing pamphlets the same traditions were followed as those of the
dominican inquisitors, and not a whit more of critical acumen was put to use in the study
of the Talmudic "deep." Nevertheless, concerning the Jew, his dogmas, his race,
the Christian antisemites of our time have the same notions as the Jews of the Middle Ages
had. The Jew preoccupies and haunts them, they see him everywhere, they trace everything
back to him, they have the same conception of history as had Bossuet. For the bishop,
Judea was the centre of the world; all events, disasters and joys, conquests and
downfalls, as well as the foundings of empires had for its primary, mysterious and
ineffable cause the whims of a God faithful to the Bene-Israel, and this people, wanderer,
founder of kingdoms and captive, in turn, had continually directed mankind toward its only
goal: the coming of Christ. Ben Hadad and Sennacherib, Cyrus and Alexander, seem to exist
only because Judah exists, and because Judah must now be exalted and then humiliated,
until the hour when he will enjoin upon the world the law which must come from him. But
what Bossuet had conceived for the purpose of unheard of glorification, the Christian
antisemites renew that with quite opposite ends in view. For them the Jewish race, the
scourge of the nations, scattered over the earth, accounts for the misfortunes and
blessings of the alien nations in whose midst it had settled, and the history of the
Hebrews once more becomes the history of monarchies and republics. Scourged or tolerated,
banished or admitted, they, by the very fact of these political vicissitudes, account for
the glory of the states or even their decadence. To tell the story of Israel, is to tell
the story of France, or Germany, or Spain. This is what the Christian antisemites see, and
their antisemitism is thus purely theological, it is the antisemitism of the Fathers, that
of Chrysostom, Saint Augustin, Saint Jerome. Before the birth of Jesus, the Jewish people
was the chosen people, the beloved son of God; since the time it had disowned the Saviour,
since it had become a deicide, it had become the fallen people par excellence, and
having before brought the world's salvation, it now causes its ruin.
Whatever their affinities and kinship with the anti-Jews of the Middle Ages, the
anti-Talmudists, at all events, take a little different point of view. Formerly, the
blasphemies against the Christian religion were chiefly sought in the Talmud, or arguments
in support of the divinity of Jesus Christ were sought there; hereafter this book's
enemies hunt it especially as an anti-social, pernicious and destructive work. The Talmud,
according to them, makes the Jew an enemy of all nations, but if some of them, like des
Mousseaux and Chiarini are guided, like the theologians of yore, above all by the desire
to bring Israel back to the bosom of the church, 149 others, like Doctor Rohling, 150 are
rather inclined to suppress him and they declare him forever incapable to be of any good.
Quite the contrary; since, they say, not only are his teachings incompatible with the
principles of Christian governments, but because he even seeks to ruin these governments
in order to draw profit therefrom.
It is easy to understand that after the upsettings caused by the French Revolution, the
conservatives felt called upon to hold the Jews responsible for the destruction of the
ancient regime. When they cast a glance around them after the storm had passed away, one
of the things that must have given them the greatest surprise, was surely the position of
the Jew. But yesterday the Jew was nothing, he had no right, no power, and now he was
shining in the front rank; not only was he rich, but he could even be a doctor and govern
the land, as he paid his tax. Him particularly did the social change favour. Accordingly,
the Christian antisemites did not stop at being incensed at the Jews' speculations over
national property or the military supply, but applied to them the old juridical saying: fecisti
qui prodes ("those hast done it who profitest thereby.") If the Jew indeed
had profited by the Revolution in this respect, if he had derived from it so great a
benefit, it means that he had prepared them, or rather, to say, he had helped along with
all his forces.
Nevertheless it was necessary to explain how this despised and hated Jew, considered a
thing, had obtained the power of accomplishing such deeds, how he had prepared so
formidable a might. Here comes in a theory, or rather a philosophy of history familiar to
the Catholic polemists. According to these historians, the French Revolution whose counter
blow has been universal, and which has transformed the institutions of Western Europe, was
but the capping  of a secular conspiracy. Those who attribute it to the philosophical
movement of the eighteenth century, to the excesses of monarchical governments, to a fatal
economic change, to the decrepitude of a class, the enfeeblement of a form of capital, to
the inevitable evolution of the ideas of authority and State, to the enlargement of the
idea of an individualall those are grievously in error, according to the historians I am
speaking about. They are blind people who do not see the truth: the Revolution was the
work of one or several sects, whose establishment goes back to great antiquity, sects
brought out by the same desire and the same principle: the desire for domination and the
principle of destruction.
The Genesis of this conception of history is easy to find. It took its origin under the
Terror itself. The part taken by the Masonic lodges, by the Illumines, the Red-Crosses,
the Martinists, etc., in the Revolution, had vividly struck certain minds which were
carried away to exaggerate the influence and role of these societies. A thing which
particularly astonished these superficial observers, was the international character of
the Revolution of 1789 and the simultaneousness of the movements it called forth. They
contrasted its general effect with the local effect of the previous Revolutions, which had
agitated, as, e.g., in England, only the countries where they took place, and, in
order to account for this difference they attributed the work of centuries to a European
association with representatives in the midst of all nations, rather than to admit that
the same stage of civilization and similar intellectual, social, moral and economic
causes, could have simultaneously produced the same effects. The very members of these
lodges, of these societies, helped in spreading this belief. 151 They, too, exaggerated
their importance, they not only asserted to have worked, during the eighteenth century,
for the changes then in the process of preparationwhich was truebut they even claimed to
have been their distant initiators. This, however, is not the place to debate this
question; suffice it to have stated the existence of these theories: we are going to show
how they came to the assistance of the Christian antisemites.
The first writers to set forth these ideas confined themselves to stating the existence
of "a peculiar nation which was born and had grown in darkness, amidst all civilized
nations, for the purpose of subjecting all of them to its rule," 152 as, e.g., the
cavalier de Malet, brother of the conspiring general, wanted to prove in a book,
little-known and very poor at that. Men like P. Barruel, in his Memoirs on
Jacobinism, 153 like Eckert in his works on Free Masonry, 154 like Dom Deschamps, 155
like Claudio Jannet, like Cretineau Joly, 156 have developed and systematized this theory,
they have even endeavoured to prove its reality and though they did not attain their aim,
they have at least gathered all the elements necessary to undertake so curious a history
as that of secret societies. In all their works, they were led to examine what had been
the position of the Jews in these groups and sects, and, struck by the analogies presented
by the mystagogic rites of Masonry as compared with certain Judaic and Kabbalistic
traditions, 157 misled by the Hebrew pomp which characterizes the initiation in these
lodges, they arrived at the conclusion that the Jews had always been the inspirers, guides
and masters of Free Masonry, nay, more than that, they had been its founders, and that
they, with its aid, persistently aimed at the destruction of the church, from the very
time of its foundation.
They went further in this path, they wanted to prove that the Jews had preserved their
national constitution, that they were still ruled by princes, the Nassi, who led
them to the conquest of the world, and that these enemies of mankind possessed a
formidable organization and tactics. Gougenot des Mousseaux, 158 Rupert, 159 de Saint
Andre, 160 the abbot Chabeauty, 161 have supported these assertions. As for Edouard
Drumont, the whole pseudo-historic portion of his books, when not borrowed from father
Loriquet, is nothing but a clumsy and uncritical plagiarism of Barruel, Gougenot, of Dom
Deschamps and Cretineau Joly. 162
Whatever the case may be, with Drumont, as with pastor Stoecker, Christian antisemitism
transforms or rather it borrows new weapons from several sociologists. Though Drumont
fights the Jew's anti-clericalism, though Stoecker, in his anxiety to win the name of a
second Luther, rises against the Jewish religion as destructive of the Christian State,
other preoccupations engage them; they attack Jewish wealth and attribute to Jews the
economic transformation which is the work of the l9th century. They still persecute in the
Jew, the enemy of Jesus, the murderer of a God, but they aim particularly at the
financier, and therein they join hands with those who preach economic antisemitism.
This antisemitism has manifested itself since the beginning of Jewish financiering and
industrialism. If we find only traces of it in Fourier 163 and Proudhon, who confined
themselves to stating only the role of the Jew as middle-man, stockjobber and
nonproducer, 164 it gave life to men like Toussenel 165 and Capefigue 166 ; it inspired
such books as The Jews Kings of the Epoch and the History of Great Financial
Operations; and later on, in Germany, the pamphlets of Otto Glagau against the Jewish
bankers and brokers. 167 However, I have already pointed out the origin of this
antisemitism, how, on the one hand, the landed capitalists held the Jew accountable for
the predominance of industrial and financial capitalism, so hateful to them, how, on the
other hand, the bourgeoisie, stocked with privileges, turned against the Jew, its
erstwhile ally, henceforth its competitor and a foreign competitor at that; for to his
position as a non-assimilated stranger the Jew owes the excessive animosity shown him, and
thus economic antisemitism is bound up with ethnologic and national antisemitism.
This last form of antisemitism is modern, it was born in Germany, and from the Germans
the French antisemites have derived their theory.
This doctrine of races, which Renan advocated in France 168 was wrought out in Germany
under the influence of the Hegelian doctrines. It gained the ascendancy in 1840 and
particularly in 1848, not only because German policy pressed it into service, but because
it was in accord with the nationalist and patriotic movement that produced nations, and
with that striving for unity which characterized all European nations.
The state, so they said, must be national; the nation must be one, and must include all
the individuals speaking the national language and belonging to the same race. More than
that, it is of importance that this national State reduce all the heterogeneous elements, i.e., the foreigners. For the Jew, not being an Aryan, has not the same moral, social and
intellectual conceptions as the Aryan; he is irreducible, and therefore he must be
eliminated, or else he will ruin the nations that have received him, and some among the
nationalist and ethnologic antisemites assert that the work has already been accomplished.
These notions, resumed since then by von Treitschke 169 and Adolph Wagner in Germany,
by Schoenerer in Austria, Pattai in Hungary and, at a much later date, by Drumont in
France, 170 were reduced, for the first time, to a system by W. Marr, in a pamphlet which
had a certain echo in France: The Victory of Judaism over Germanism. 171 . In it
Marr declared Germany the prey  of a conquering race, the Jews, a race possessing
everything and wanting to Judaize Germany, like France, however, and he concluded by
saying that Germany was lost. To his ethnologic antisemitism he even admixed the
metaphysical antisemitism which, if I may say so, Schopenhauer had professed, 172 the
antisemitism consisting in combating the optimism of the Jewish religion, an optimism
which Schopenhauer found low and degrading, and with which he contrasted Greek and Hindu
But Schopenhauer and Marr are not the only representatives of philosophical
antisemitism. The whole of German metaphysics combated the Jewish spirit, which it
considered essentially different from the Germanic spirit, and which for it stood
for the past as contrasted with the present. While the Spirit is realized in the world's
history, while it advances, the Jews remain at a lower stage. Such is the Hegelian
thought, that of Hegel and also of his disciples of the extreme leftFeuerbach, Arnold Ruge
and Bruno Bauer. 173 Max Stirner 174 developed these ideas with much precision. To his
mind, universal history has until now passed through two ages: the first, represented by
antiquity, during which we had to work out and eliminate "the negro stage of the
soul;" the second, that of Mongolism, represented by the Christian period.
During the first age man depended upon things, during the second he is swayed by ideas,
waiting until he can dominate them and free himself. But the Jews, these precociously wise
children of antiquity, have not passed out of this negro stage of the soul. In
Duhring we find another more ethical than metaphysical form of philosophical antisemitism.
In several treatises, pamphlets and books, 175 Duhring assails the Semitic spirit and the
Semitic conception of the divine and of ethics, which he contrasts with the conception of
the Northern peoples. Pushing the deductions from his premises to their logical end and
still following up Bruno Bauer's doctrine, he assails Christianity which is the last
manifestation of the Semitic spirit: "Christianity," says he, "has above
all no practical morality such as is not capable of ambiguous interpretation and thus
might be available and sane. The nations will, therefore, not be done with the Semitic
spirit until they have expelled from their spirit this present second aspect of
After Duhring, Nietzsche ,176 in his turn, combated Jewish and Christian ethics, which,
according to him, are the ethics of slaves as contrasted with the ethics of
masters. Through the prophets and  Jesus, the Jews and the Christians have set up
low and noxious conceptions which consist in the deification of the weak, the humble, the
wretched, and sacrificing to it the strong, the proud, the mighty.
Several revolutionary atheists, Gustave Tridon 177 and Regnard 178 among them, have
espoused, in France, this Christian antisemitism which, in its final analysis, is reduced
to the ethnologic antisemitism, just like the strictly metaphysical antisemitism.
The different varieties of antisemitism may, then, be reduced to three: Christian
antisemitism, economic antisemitism, and ethnological antisemitism. In our examination
just made we have pointed out that the grievances of the antisemites were religious
grievances, social grievances, ethnologic grievances, national grievances, intellectual
and moral grievances. To the antisemite the Jew is an individual of a foreign race,
incapable of adapting himself, hostile to Christian civilization and religion; immoral,
antisocial, of an intellectuality different from the Aryan intellectuality, and, to cap it
all, a depredator and wrongdoer.
We shall now examine these grievances in regular order. We shall see whether they are
well-founded, i.e., whether the real causes of contemporary antisemitism correspond
to them, or whether they are but prejudices. Let us first turn to the study of the
l47 Saint-Simon, Du Systeme industriel (Paris, 1821).
148 Saint-Simon, Catechisme des Industriels, 1er Cahier (Paris, 1823).
149 The anxiety for the future role of the Jews is expressed in a striking book by Leon
Bloy, Le Salut par les Juits (Paris, 1892). In the volume of documents and notes
written as a sequel to Dom Deschamps' work on Secret Societies, Claudio Jannet
expresses the opinion that the Jews are undoubtedly destined to lead the world back to
God. This is exactly the ancient theological belief.
150 Eng. translation. A. Rohling, Le Juif selon le Talmud (Paris, 1888).
Translated from the German.
151 Louis Blanc, Histoire de la Revolution Française, vol. II, p. 74.
152 Recherches historiques et politiques qui prouvent l'existence d'une secte
revolutionnaire, son antique origine, son organisation, ses moyens ainsi que son but; et
devoilent entierement l'unique cause de la Revolution Française, par le Chevalier de
Malet, Paris, Gide fils, libraire, 1817.
153 Barruel, Memoires sur le Jacobinisme (1797-1813). Father Barruel was the
first to expound these ideas, and those who followed him have, properly speaking, only
imitated or continued his work.
154 Eckert, La Franc-Maconnerie dans sa veritable signification (Liege, 1854).
-- La Franc-Maconnerie en elle-même (Liege, 1859).
155 Dom Deschamps, Les Societes Secretes et la Societe, with an introduction,
notes and documents by Claudio Jannet. Paris, 1883.
156 Cretineau Joly, L'Eglise romaine avant la Revolution. Paris 1863.
157 On the Hebrew traditions in Free-Masonry, and on the points of similarity between
the Free-Masons and the ancient Essenians, cf. Clavel, Histoire pittoresque de la
Franc-Maconnerie (Paris, 1843); Kauffmann et Cherpin, Histoire philosophique de la
Franc-Maconnerie (Lyons, 1856) and an artitle by Moise Schwab on the Jews and the
Free-Masons, published in the Annuaire des Archives israelites pour l'an 5650 (1889-1890). Consult also the various works of J. M. Ragon on Free-Masonry (Paris, Dentu).
158 Gougenot des Mousseaux, loc. cit.
159 Rupert, L'Eglise et la Synagogue (Paris, 1859).
160 De Saint-Andre, Francs-Macons et Juifs (Paris, 1880).
161 A Chabeauty, Les Juifs nos Maitres (Paris, 1883).
162 It must be noted that in his France Juive (I mean in its first chapters)
Drumont does not quote Gougenot des Mousseau or Barruel even once; he quotes, in passing,
Dom Deschamps three times and Cretineau de Joly's Vendee Militaire once, and yet he
laid these writers under heavy contribution. Unless his "historical documents"
had been furnished to him by the disciples of those I have just mentioned -- that is quite
possible. Let it be understood here, that this refers to Drumont as historian and not as
163 Fourier, Le Nouveau Monde industrial et societaire (Paris, libraire
164 In Karl Marx (Annales franco-allemandes, 1844, p. 211) and in Lassalle, the
same estimates of the parasite Jew may be found as in Fourier and Proudhon .
165 Toussenel, Les Juits rois de l'Epoque (Paris, 1847). Toussenel followed up
this book with a violent campaign in the newspaper, La Democratie pacifique.
However, the antisemitic movement was quite violent, under the July monarchy, and numerous
pamphlets were published against the Jewish financiers.
166 Capefigue, Histoire des grandes operations financieres (Paris, 1855).
167 Otto Glagau, Der Boersen und Grundergeschwindel in Berlin (Leipzig, 1876). Les
besoins de l'Empire et le nouveau Kulturkampf (Osnabruck, 1879).
168 During the last years of his life Renan had given up his theory of races, their
inequality and their mutual superiority or inferiority. These theories will be found set
forth quite clearly and lucidly in Gobineau's in many ways remarkable book, L'inegalite
des races (Paris, Firmin Didot, 1884).
169 H. von Treitschke, Ein Wort uber unser Judenthum (A Word about Our Jews).
170 Drumont is the type of the assimilator antisemite who has flourished in France
these last years, and who has overrun Germany. A talented polemist, vigorous journalist
and sprightly satirist, Drumont is a historian of poor documentary evidence, a mediocre
sociologist and especially philosopher, and can under no circumstances be compared with
men of H. von Treitschke's, Adolph Wagner's and Eugen Duhring's standing. Yet, in the
development of antisemitism in France and Germany even he has played a considerable role,
and he has exercised a great influence as a propagandist.
171 W. Marr, Der Sieg des Judenthums uber das Germanthum (Berne, 1879). In the Journal
des Debats of Nov. 5, 1879, Bourdeau devoted an essay to this pamphlet.
172 "A God like that Jehovah," says Schopenhauer, "who, as animi
causa, for its own pleasure and from the joy of heart produces this world of
misery and lamentations, and who even glories in it -- this is too much. Let us then, at
this point, consider the religion of the Jews as the last among the religious doctrines of
the civilized nations, and this will be in perfect accord with the fact that it is the
only one that has absolutely not a trace of immortality." (Parerga und
Paralipomena, v. II, ch. XII, p. 312, Leipzig 1874).
173 We shall return to this question in our Economic History of the Jews, when speaking
of the role of the Jews in Germany in the nineteenth century. -- Cf. Hegel, Philosophie
des Rechts; Arnold Ruge, Zwei Jahre in Paris; Bruno Bauer, Die Judenfrage;
L. Feuerbach, Das Wesen des Christenthums.
174 Max Stirner, Der Einzige und sein Eigenthum. Leipzig, 1882, pp. 22, 25, 31,
175 Particularly in The Parties and the Jewish Question, Die Judenfrage als Frage
176 Frierich Nietzche, Human, all too Human (1879), Beyond Good and Evil; The
Geneaology of Morality (1887).
177 Gustave Tridon, Du Molochisme juif, (Bruxelles, 1884).
178 A. Regnard, Aryens et Semites (Paris, 1890).
Chapter Ten: THE RACE
THE Jew is a Semite, he belongs to a strange, noxious, disturbing and inferior race
such is the ethnologic grievance of the antisemites. What does it rest upon? It rests upon
an anthropological theory which had given rise or at least justification to an historical
theory: the doctrine of the inequality of races, of which we must speak first of all.
Since the eighteenth century attempts have been made to classify men and distribute
them under well-defined, distinct and separate categories. As a basis for it quite
different indices were taken: the section of the hair oval section for negroes with woolly
hair, or round section; 179 the shape of the skull broad or elongated; 180 the colour of
the skin. This last classification has prevailed: nowadays three races of mankind the
negro, the yellow, and the white race are distinguished. Different aptitudes are ascribed
to these races, and they are arranged in the order of their superiority in a ladder of
which the negro race occupies the lowest and the white race the highest round.
Race is, however, a fiction. No human group exists that can boast of having had two
original ancestors and having descended from them without any adulteration of the
primitive stock through mixture; human races are not pure, i.e., strictly speaking,
there is no such thing as a race. "There is no unity," says Topinard: 181
"the races have divided, scattered, blended, inter crossed in all degrees and
directions since thousands of centuries; most of them gave up their language in favour of
that of their conquerors, then gave the same up for a third, if not a fourth language; the
principal masses have disappeared and now we find ourselves face to face with peoples and
not races." The anthropologic classification of mankind has consequently no value
Nevertheless, and however untenable this doctrine of the inequality of races, whether
from the linguistic or from the anthropologic point of view, it has been quite dominant in
our times, and nations have chased and still chase this chimera of ethnologic unity,
which is but the heritage of an ill-informed past and, truth to tell, a form of regress.
Whatever they be, true or false, these ethnologic principles which concern us, have, by
the very fact of their existence been one of the causes of antisemitism; they have
supplied a scientific appearance to a phenomenon which we shall later recognize as
national and economic and, through them, the grievances of the antisemites were fortified
with pseudo-historical and pseudo-anthropological arguments. Indeed, not only was the
existence admitted of three races negro, yellow and white ranged in hierarchic order, but
even in these races sub-divisions, categories, were established. At first it was asserted
that the white race alone and some families of the yellow race were capable of founding
superior civilizations; presently this white race was divided into two branches: the Aryan
race and the Semitic race ; finally it was maintained that the Aryan must be considered
the most perfect race. Even in our days the Aryan race has been subdivided into groups,
and this enabled anthropologists and chauvinistic ethnologists to declare either that the
Celtic or the Germanic group must be considered as the pure wheat of this Aryan race,
already superior as it was. Thus, consciously or unconsciously, history is modeled after
the ethnic tables of Genesis tables also met with among the Babylonians and the primitive
Greeks which accounted in a rudimentary way for the diversity of human groups, by the
existence of sprouts issued from single parents, each sprout then producing a nation. Thus
it is the Bible again that lends assistance to the antisemites, for in ethnography and
history we are still clinging to the explanations of the GenesisShem, Ham and Japhet, only
replaced by the Semite, the Turanian and the Aryan, however impossible it may be to
justify these divisions linguistically, anthropologically or historically.
Without stopping to discuss whether the negro races are capable of civilization or not
we must see what is understood under the names Aryans and Semites.
Aryans is the name of all peoples whose language is derived from Sanskrit, a language
spoken by a human group called arya. Now, this group "presents no scientifically
demonstrable unity except from the exclusively linguistic point of view." All
anthropologic unity is undemonstrable: the cranial measurements, indices, numbers,
furnish no proof. In this Aryan chaos are found Semitic types, Mongolian types, all types
and all varieties of types, from the one which is capable of developing morally,
intellectually and socially, up to the one that remains in everlasting mediocrity. There
may be observed dolichocephals and brachycephals, men with brown skin, others with
yellowish and yet others with white skin Still, despite the fact that some tribes of Aryan
language had no development perceptibly superior to that of some agglomerations of
negroes, it is not a whit less energetically asserted that the Aryan is the most beautiful
and noblest of the races, that it is the productive and creative race par excellence, that to it we are indebted for the most wonderful metaphysics, the most magnificent lyric,
religious and ethical productions and that no other race ever was or is susceptible of a
like expansion. To arrive at such a result, an abstraction is naturally made from the
indisputable fact that all historical organisms had been formed of the most dissimilar
elements, whose respective share in the common work it is impossible to determine.
The Aryan race, then, is superior, and it has proven its superiority by resisting the
rule of a fraternal and rival race the Semitic. This latter is a ferocious, brutal race,
incapable of creative power, devoid of any ideal, and Universal History is represented as
the history of the conflict between the Aryan and the Semitic race, a conflict which we
witness even at present. Each antisemite affords proof of this secular conflict. Even the
Trojan War becomes, with some, the struggle between the Aryan and the Semite, and through
the exigencies of the case, Paris becomes a Semitic brigand who ravishes Aryan beauties.
Later on the Median Wars form a phase of this great contest, and the great king is
pictured as the leader of the Semitic Orient falling upon the Aryan Occident; then it is
Carthage disputing with Rome over the Empire of the World; then Islam advances against
Christendom, and all through, it is pointed with pleasure that the Greek has defeated the
Trojan and Artaxerxes, that Rome triumphed over Carthage, and Charles Martel checked
The Christian antisemites have thus reconciled their faith with their animosity, and
not stopping short even before heresy, they have admitted that the prophets and Jesus were
Aryans, 182 while the anti-Christian antisemites consider the Galilean and the nabis (prophets)
as deserving condemnation and inferior Semites.
 Does what we know of the history of ancient and modern nations give us the right
to accept as genuine this rivalry, this struggle, this instinctive opposition between the
Aryan and the Semitic race? By no means, since Semites and Aryans have intermingled in a
continuous way, and since the Semitic share in all so-called Aryan civilizations is
considerable. From this point of view, the history of Hellenic myths is curious and
instructive, and this Semitic contribution may be grasped by comparing Hercules to
Melkart, or Ashtoreth to Aphrodite. Likewise, the Phoenician cups and vases, exported in
great numbers by the merchants of Tyre and Sidon, served as models for the Greek artists,
and thus enabled the subtle mind of the Ionians and Dorians to interpret the myths
represented on them, and the Phoenician image-trade helped out much the Greek iconologic
Still the modern antisemites would rigorously admit the importance of the Semites in
the history of civilization, but would make a classification even there. There are, they
say, superior and inferior Semites. The Jew is the latter type, of the Semites,
essentially unproductive, from whom men have received nothing and who can give nothing. It
is impossible to accept this assertion. It is true that the Jewish nation has never
displayed any great aptitudes for the plastic arts, but, through the voice of its
prophets, it has accomplished a moral work by which every nation has been benefited; it
has worked out some of those ethical and social ideas which are the leaven of humanity; if
it has not had any divine sculptors and painters, it has had wonderful poets, it has,
above all, had moralists who had worked for universal brotherhood, prophetic pamphleteers
who made living and immortal the idea of justice, and Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, despite
their violence, fierceness even, have made heard the voice of suffering which wants not
only to be protected against execrable force, but to be freed from it.
However, if the Phoenician element had incorporated itself with the Pelasgian,
Hellenic, Latin, Celtic and Iberian elements, the Jewish element, by intermingling with
others, has also contributed to the formation of those agglomerations which later on
united to form the modern nations. The Jew, too, came to sink and disappear in that
enormous crucible which Asia Minor presented, and where the most diverse nations were
cast. Slowly hellenized, the Jews in Alexandria turned the city into one of the most
active centres of Christian propaganda. They were among the first to convert; they
formed the nucleus of the primitive Church in Alexandria, Antioch, Rome, and after the
disappearance of the Ebionites they were absorbed in the total mass of Greek and Roman
Throughout the Middle Ages Jewish blood was intermingling with Christian blood. Cases
of wholesale conversion were exceedingly numerous, and it would make interesting reading
to recount those of the Jews of Braine, 183 of Tortosa, 184 those of Clermont converted by
Avitus, the 25,000 converted, as tradition goes, by Vincent Ferrer all of whom disappeared
in the midst of the nations among whom they lived. If the Inquisition hindered, or at
least tried to hinder, judaization, it favoured the absorption of the Jews, and were the
Christian antisemites logical they would curse Torquemada and his successors, who helped
to pollute Aryan purity by the adjunction of the Jew. The number of Marranos in Spain was
enormous. In nearly all Spanish families, a Jew or a Moor is found at some point of their
genealogy; "the noblest houses are full of Jews," they said, 185 and the
cardinal Mendoza y Bovadilla wrote in the sixteenth century a pamphlet on the flaws in
Spanish lineages, 186
We have thus made answer to those who maintain the purity of the Aryan race; we have
pointed out that this race, like all the others, was a product of countless mixtures. Not
to speak of the prehistoric times we have made it clear that the Persian, Macedonian and
Roman conquests made worse the ethnologic confusion which increased in Europe still
further during the invasions. The so-called Indo-Germanic races, stock-full of alluvions
even before, intermingled with Chudians, Ugrians, Uralo-Altaians. Those among the
Europeans who believe themselves descended in line direct from Aryan ancestors do not keep
in mind those so diverse lands which these ancestors had traversed in their long journeys,
nor all the tribes which they had swept along with them, nor all those which they found
settled wherever they tarried tribes of unknown races and of uncertain origin, obscure and
unknown tribes whose blood is still running in the veins of those who boast themselves
heirs of the legendary and noble Aryans, as the blood of the yellow Dasyus and black
Dravidians flows under the skin of the white Arya-Hindoos.
At present, the Jews who consider themselves the highest incarnation of Semitism help
in perpetuating this belief in the inequality and hierarchy of races. The ethnologic
prejudice is universal, and those even who suffer from it are its most tenacious
upholders. Antisemites and philosemites join hands to defend the same doctrines, they part
company only when it comes to award the supremacy. If the antisemite reproaches the Jew
for being a part of a strange and base race, the Jew vaunts of belonging to an elect and
superior race; to his nobility and antiquity he attaches the highest importance and even
now he is the prey of patriotic pride. Though no longer a nation, though protesting
against those who see in him the representative of a nation encamped among strange
nations, he nevertheless harbours in the depth of his heart this absurdly vain conviction,
and thus he is like the chauvinists of all lands. Like them he claims to be of pure
origin, while his assertion is no more well-founded, and we have to examine closely the
assertion of Israel's enemy and of Israel himself: to wit, that the Jews are the most
united, stable, impenetrable, irreducible nation.
We possess no documents to determine the ethnology of the nomadic Bene-Israel, but
probable it is that the twelve tribes constituting this people, according to the
tradition, did not belong to a single stock. They were doubtless heterogeneous tribes,
for, in spite of its legends, the Jewish nation cannot, any more than the other nations,
boast of having originated from a single couple, and the current conception which
represents the Hebrew tribe as subdividing into sub-tribes 187 is but a legendary and
traditional conception that of the Genesis and one which a portion of historians of the
Hebrews have wrongly accepted. Already composed of various unities among which doubtless
were Turanian and Kushite groups, i.e., yellows and blacks, the Jews added still
other strange elements while living in Egypt and in the land of Canaan which they
conquered. Later on Gog and Magog, the Scythians, coming in Josiah's reign to Jerusalem's
gates, probably left their impress on Israel. But starting with the first captivity the
mixtures grow in number. "During the Babylonian captivity," says Maimonides, 188
"the Israelites mingled with all sorts of foreign races and had children, who formed,
owing to these unions, a kind of a new confusion of tongues," and yet this Babylonia,
where there were cities like Mahuza, almost entirely peopled by Persians converted to
Judaism, was deemed to contain Jews of a purer race than the Jews of Palestine. Said an
old proverb: "For the purity of the race, the difference between the Jews of the
Roman provinces is just as perceptible as the difference between dough of mediocre
quality and dough made of the flour of meal; but, compared to Babylonia, Judea itself is
like mediocre dough."
This means that Judea had undergone many vicissitudes. It had always been the transit
ground for the Mizraim and Assur; afterwards, on returning from captivity, the Jews united
with the Samaritans, Edomites and Moabites. After the conquest of Idumea by Hyrcan, there
were Jewish and Idumean unions, and it was said that, during the war with Rome, the Latin
conquerors had begotten sons. "Are we perfectly sure," said Rabbi Ulla,
melancholically, to Judah-ben Ezekiel, "that we are not descended from pagans who
dishonoured the young daughters of Zion after the capture of Jerusalem?"
But what was most conducive to the introduction of foreign blood into the Jewish nation
was proselytism. The Jews were a propagandist nation par excellence, and from the
construction of the Second Temple and particularly after the dispersion, their zeal was
considerable. They were exactly those of whom the Gospel says, that they ran over
"earth and sea to make a proselyte," 189 and with perfect right could Rabbi
Eliezer exclaim: "Wherefore has God scattered the Jews among the nations? To recruit
for Him proselytes everywhere." 190 There are abundant proofs of the proselyting
ardour of the Jews, 191 and during the first centuries before the Christian era Judaism
spread with the same vigour as characterized Christianity and Mohammedanism later on.
Rome, Alexandria, Antioch where nearly all the Jews were converted gentiles Damask, Cyprus
were the centres of fusion, as I have already pointed out. 192 Nay, more, the Hasmonide
conquerors compelled the vanquished Syrians to circumcise; kings, carrying their subjects
along, converted, as, e.g., the family of Adiabenus, and the population was very mixed in
certain cantons of Palestine itself, as was the case with Galilea, in that "circle of
gentiles" where Jesus was to be born.
All over Europe the Jews attracted proselytes, thus rejuvenating their blood by the
admixture of new blood. They made converts in Spain where successive councils at Toledo
forbade mixed marriages; in Switzerland, where a decree of the fourteenth century
sentenced young girls to wearing Jewish hats for having begotten children by Israelite
fathers; in Poland, in the sixteenth century, in spite of Sigismund I's edicts, if we are
to believe the historian Bielski. 193 And they not only made these unions with the
so-called Aryan nations in Europe, but also with the Uralo-Altaians and Turanians; there
the infiltration was more considerable.
On the shores of the Black and the Caspian Sea, the Jews had established themselves in
great antiquity. The story goes that during the war he waged against King Tachus (361
B.C.) in Egypt, Artaxerxes Ochus wrested the Jews from their land and transferred them to
Hyrcania on the Caspian shore. Even if their establishment in this region is not so old as
claimed by this tradition, they still were settled there long before the Christian era,
witness the Greek inscriptions of Anape, Olbia and Panticapea. They emigrated in the
seventh and eighth centuries from Babylonia and came to the Tartar cities, Kertsh, Tarku,
Derbend, etc. About 620 they converted there a whole tribe, the Khazars, 194 whose
territory was in the neighbourhood of Astrakhan. Legend seized upon this fact, which
greatly stirred up the Jews of the West, but, despite of this, there can be no doubt about
it. Isidore of Seville, a contemporary of the event, mentions it, and afterwards Chasdai
Ibn-Shaprut, minister of the Khalif Abd-er-Rahman, corresponded with Joseph, the last
Khagan of the Khazars, whose kingdom was destroyed by Svyatoslav, prince of Kieff. The
Khazars exercised a great influence over the neighbouring Slav tribes, the Polyane,
Syeveryane and Vyatichi, and made numerous proselytes among them.
The Tartar peoples of the Caucasus also embraced Judaism in the twelfth century,
according to the report of the traveler Petachya of Ratisbon. 195 In the fourteenth
century, there were numerous Jews in the hordes, which, with Mamay at their head, invaded
the lands surrounding the Caucasus. It was in this nook of E:astern Europe that actively
went on the fusion of Jews and Uralo-Altaians; here the Semite mixed with the Turanian, and even now, in studying the nations of the Caucasus, one meets with traces of this
mixture among the 30,000 Jews of that country and the tribes surrounding them. 196
Thus this Jewish race represented by Jews and antisemites as the most unassailable,
most homogeneous of races, is strongly multifarious. Anthropologists would in the first
place divide it into two well-defined parts: the dolichocephals and the brachycephals. To
the first type belong the Sephardic Jews the Spanish and Portuguese Jews as well as the
greater part of the Jews of Italy and Southern France; to the second may be assigned the
Ashkenazim, i.e., the Polish, Russian and German Jews. 197 But the Sephardim and the
Ashkenazim are not the only two known varieties of Jews; these varieties are numerous.
In Africa are found agricultural and nomadic Jews, allied with the Kabyls and
Berberians, near Setif, Guelma and Biskra, at the frontier of Morocco; in caravan they go
as far as Timbuctoo, and some of their tribes, on the borders of Sahara, like the
Daggatouns, are black tribes, 195 as also are the Fellah Jews of Abyssinia. 199 In India,
one finds white Jews in Bombay, and black Jews in Cochin China, but the white Jews have in
them melanian blood. They settled in India in the fifth century, after the persecutions of
the Persian King Pheroces, who banished them from Baghdad. Their settling is at all events
assigned to a more remote date: the coming of the Jews into China, i.e., before Christ. As
to the Jews of China, they are not only related to the Chinese surrounding them, but they
have also adopted the practices of the Confucian religion. 200
The Jew, consequently, has incessantly been transformed by the environments in which he
stayed. He has changed because the different languages which he has spoken, have
introduced into his mind different and opposite notions; he has not remained such as a
united and homogeneous people ought to be, but, on the contrary, he is, at present, the
most heterogeneous of all nations, one that presents the greatest varieties. And this
pretended race whose stability and power of resistance friend and foe agree in extolling,
affords us the most multifarious and most opposite types, since they range from the white
to the black Jew, passing by way of the yellow Jew, not to speak of the secondary
divisions Jews with blond and red hair, and brown Jews with black hair.
Consequently, the ethnologic grievance of the antisemites does not rest upon any
serious and real foundation. The opposition of the Aryans and the Semites is artificial;
it is not correct to say that the Aryan race and the Semitic race are pure races, and that
the Jew is a single and unvarying people. Semitic blood has mingled with Aryan blood and
Aryan blood has mixed with Semitic blood. Aryans and Semites have both, furthermore,
received an admixture of Turanian blood and Hamite, Negro or Negroid blood, and in the
Babel of nationalities and races which the world is at present, the preoccupation of those
who seek to discover who among his neighbours is an Aryan, a Turanian, a Semite, is a vain
In spite of this there is a portion of truth in the grievance which we have
examined, or, rather, the theories of the antisemites about the inequality of races and
Aryan superiority, in one word, the anthropologic prejudices are but the veil which covers
some real causes of antisemitism.
We have said that there are no races, but there are peoples and nations. What is
improperly called a race is not an ethnologic unit, but is an historic, intellectual and
moral unit. The Jews are not an ethnos, but they are a nationality, they are diversified
types, it is true, but what nation is not diversified? What makes a people is not unity of
origin, but unity of sentiments, ideas, ethics. Let us see whether the Jews do not present
this unity, and whether we cannot find therein, in part, the secret of the animosity shown
179 Ulotrichi and Leiotrichi.
180 Brachycephals and Dolichocephals.
181 L. Gumplowicz, La Lutte des races (Paris, 1893).
182 This theory, which has the immense advantage of not resting on any foundation,
sprang up in Germany and passed from there into France and Belgium. De Biez and Edmond
Picard have in turn upheld it, but they did not bring any even illusory proof in support
of their assertions. (Cf. Antisemiten -- Spiegel, pp. 132, et seq, Danzig,
183 Saint-Prioux, Histoire de Braine.
184 The Jews of Tortosa converted in thousands after the conference opened at the
instigation of Jerome de Santa Fe.
185 Centinela contra Judios.
186 Francisco Mendoza y Bovadilla, El Tizon de la Nobleza Espanola, o maculas y
sambenitos de sus Linajes (Barcelona, 1880; Bibliotheca de obras raras). -- Cf. also
Llorente, Histoire de l'Inquisition (Paris, 1817).
187 Ernest Renan, Histoire du peuple d'lsrael, v. I.
188 Maimonides, Yad Hazaka (the powerful hand), Part I, chap. 1, §4.
189 Matth. xxiii.
190 Talmud Babli, Pesachim, f. 87.
191 Horace, Sat. IV, 143. -- Josephus, Bell. Jud., vii, III., 3. -- Dio
Cassius, xxxvii, xvii, etc., etc.
192 Cf. ch. II; ch. III and ch. IV.
193 Bielski, Chronicon rerum Polonicarum.
194 Vivien de Saint-Martin, Les Khazars (Paris, 1851). -- C. C. d'Ohsson, Les
Peuples du Caucase, Paris, 1828. -- Revue des Etudes juives, v. XX, p. 144.
195 Basnage, Histoire des Juifs, v. IX, p. 246; and Wagenseil, Exercitationes.
196 Among the Chechens inhabiting the East and Northwest of the Caucasus, as well as
among the Andis of Daghestan, the Jewish type is very widespread. The Tats of the Caspian
Sea are considered to be Jews, and there are many Jews among the Tatar tribes, as the
Kumiks, for instance. (Cf. Eckert, Der Kaukasus und seine Volker, Leipzig, 1887).
197 For the dolichocephalous Jews of Africa and Italy, cf. the works of Pruner-Bey (Memoire
de la Societe d'anthropologie, II, p. 432 and III, p. 82) and Lombroso. -- For the
brachycephalous Jews cf. Copernicki and Mayer, Physical Characteristics of the
Population of Galicia, Cracow, 1876 (in Polish).
198 Mardochee Aby Serour, Les Daggatouns, Paris, 1880.
199 On the Fellahs cf. Abbadie, Nouvelles annales des Voyages, 1845, III, p. 84,
and Ph. Luzzato, Archives israelites, 1851-1854.
200 Elie Schwartz, God's Nation in China, Strassburg, 1880. -- Abbe Sionnet, Essai
sur les Juifs de la Chine, Paris, 1837.
Chapter Eleven: NATIONALISM AND ANTISEMITISM
THERE are about eight million Jews scattered over the face of the earth, nearly
seven-eighths of which inhabit Europe. Among these Jews figure the Bedouin Jews living on
the confines of Sahara, the Daggatouns of the desert, the Fellahs of Abyssinia, the black
Jews of India, the Mongoloid Jews of China, the Kalmuk and Tartar Jews of the Caucasus,
the blond Jews of Bohemia and Germany, the brown Jews of Portugal, Southern France, Italy
and the Orient, the dolichocephalous Jews, the brachycephalous and sub-brachycephalous
Jews, all Jews, who, according to the section of their hair, the shape of their skull, the
colour of their skin, could be classified, on the strength of the best principles of
ethnology, into four or five different races, as we have just shown.
Still, proceeding in this way, we shall really have proven that the race is not an
ethnologic unity, i.e., that no people is a descendant of common parents, and that no
nation has been formed from the aggregation of cells of this kind. But we shall by no
means have proven that there exists no French people, a German people, an English people,
etc., and we should not be able to do it, since there exists an English literature, a
German literature, a French literature, different literatures all of them, expressing in a
different way common sentiments, it is true, but whose objective and subjective play upon
the various individuals affected by them is not the same, sentiments common to human
nature, but ones which each man and each collection of men feels and expresses in a
different way. We have had to reject the anthropologic notion of race, a notion which is
erroneous and which we shall see to have given origin to the worst opinions, the most
detestable and least justifiable vanities, that anthropologic notion which tends to make
of each people an association of proud and egoistic recluses, but we are forced to admit
the existence of historical units i.e., separate nations. For the idea of race we
substitute the idea of nation, and again we have to make an explanation, for the
nineteenth century[130 ] based its belief in nationalities on its belief in race, and an
innate race at that.
To sum up. Customarily a nation is called an agglomeration of individuals having in
common their territory, language, religion, law, customs, manners, spirit, historic
mission. Now, we have seen that a common race, innate race, a race implying the same
origin and purity of blood is but a fiction; the idea of race is not necessarily linked
with the conception of a nation proof that the Basques, Bretons, Provencals, belong all to
the French nation, though very different anthropologically. As for territorial community,
it is not a whit more necessary; the Poles, e.g., possess no common territory, and
yet there is a Polish nation. Language, too, does not seem indispensable, and indeed one
may refer to Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, in which countries two or several languages
are spoken but these countries, organized with the exception of Switzerland federatively,
permit us on the contrary, to assert that language is clearly the sign of nationality,
since in all of them those speaking the same language strive to group together, in other
words, that one language tends to become preponderant and destroy the others. Religion was
formerly one of the most important forces that contributed to the formation of peoples. We
cannot possibly realize what Rome, Athens or Sparta had been, if we disregard the Gods of
Olympus and the Capitolium; the same is true of Memphis, Nineveh, Babylon and Jerusalem,
and what becomes of the Middle Ages if we leave out Christianity?
Nations, consequently, do exist. These nations may sometimes not be organized under the
same government; they may have lost their fatherland, their language, but the nation
continues as long as this self-consciousness and the consciousness of that community of
thought and interests which they represent by the fictitious background of race,
filiation, origin and purity of blood have not disappeared.
Now let us turn to the Jew. We have seen that he does not exist, as far as race is
concerned, and those are in error who say: "There is no longer a Jewish people, there
is a Jewish fellowship closely united with a race."201 It remains to inquire whether
the Jew is not a part of a nation composed, like all nations, of various elements, and
nevertheless possessing unity. Now, if we leave aside the Abyssinian Fellaheen, some
little known nomadic Jewish tribes of Africa, the black Jews of India, and the Chinese
Jews, we arrive at the conclusion that by the side of the pointed out differences
which distinguish these Jews they possess also common peculiarities, a common
individuality and a common type. Still, the Jews have lived in quite contrasting
countries, they were subjected to very diverse climatic influences, they were surrounded
by very dissimilar peoples. What is it that succeeded in keeping them such as they have
remained until today? Why do they continue to exist otherwise than as a religious
confession ? This is due to three causes: one depending on the Jews religion; another for
which they are partly responsible their social condition; the third, which is external the
conditions which have been forced upon them.
No religion has ever moulded soul and spirit as has the Jewish religion. Nearly all
religions have had a philosophy, ethics, a literature alongside of their religious dogmas;
with Israel religion was simultaneously ethics and metaphysics, nay, more, it was law. The
Jews had no symbolic independence from their legislation; no, after the return from the
second captivity, they had Yahweh and his Law, each inseparable from the other. To become
part of the nation one had to accept not its God only, but also all legal prescriptions
emanating from Him and bearing the stamp of sanctity. Had the Jew had only Yahweh, he
would probably have vanished in the midst of the different peoples that had received him,
just as had vanished the Phoenicians who carried only Melkart with them. But the Jew had
something more than his God he had his Torah, his law, and by it he has been preserved. He
not only did not lose this law when losing his ancestral territory, but, on the contrary,
he has strengthened its authority; he has developed it; he has increased its power as well
as its property. After the destruction of Jerusalem the law became the bond of Israel; he
lived for and by his law. But this law was minute and meddlesome, it was the most perfect
manifestation of the ritual religion into which the Jewish religion turned under the
influence of its doctors, an influence which may be contrasted with the spiritualism of
the prophets whose tradition Jesus carried on. These rites which foresaw every act in
life, and which the Talmudists made infinitely complicated, have given shape to the Jewish
brain, and everywhere, in all lands, they have shaped it in the same manner. Though
scattered, the Jews thought the same way in Seville, York, Ancona, Ratisbon, Troyes and
Prague; they had the same feelings and ideas about human beings and things; they viewed
things through the same
eye-glasses; they judged according to similar principles. The Jewish type has been
formed in a way analogous to that in which were formed and are still forming the type of a
physician, the type of a lawyer, etc., types produced by the identity of the social and
psychic function. The Jew is a confessional type; such as he is he has been made by the
law and the Talmud; more powerful than blood or climatic varieties, they have developed in
him the characteristics which imitation and heredity have perpetuated.
Social characteristics were added to these confessional characteristics. We have spoken
202 of the role played by the Jew during the Middle Ages, how internal and external
causes, proceeding from economic and psychological laws, led them to become almost
exclusively traders, and above all dealers in gold at a time when capital was forced to be
creditor in order to be productive. This role was general; the Jews filled it in all
countries, not in any particular one only. To their common religious preoccupations were
consequently added common social preoccupations. As a religious being the Jew was already
thinking in a certain way wherever he was; as a social being he again thought identically;
thus other peculiarities were created, which, too, spread peculiarities, the formation of
which was general and simultaneous with all Jews. In Spain, France, Italy, Germany,
Poland, the legislation against the Jews was identical, a fact quite easy of explanation
as in all these lands the legislation was inspired by the church. The Jew was placed under
the same restrictions, the same barriers were built around him, he was ruled by the same
laws. The Jew obtained a territory on the day he was imprisoned in these Jewries, and the
Israelites lived since then exactly like a people that had a fatherland of its own; in
these special quarters they preserved their customs, manners and secular habits,
scrupulously transmitted by an education which was everywhere guided by the same
This education did not preserve the traditions only, it was preserving the language.
The Jew spoke the language of the country he inhabited, but he spoke it only because it
was indispensable in his business transactions; once at home he made use of a corrupt
Hebrew or of a jargon of which Hebrew formed the basis. For writing purposes he employed
Hebrew, and the Bible and the Talmud do not constitute the whole of Hebrew literature. The
Jewish literary productivity from the eighth to the fifteenth century was very great.
There has been a neo-hebraic poetry of the synagogue, which was particularly copious and
brilliant in Spain, 203 there has been a Jewish religious philosophy which was born with
Saadiah in Egypt and which Ibn Gebirol and Maimonides developed afterwards; there has been
a Jewish theology since the time of Joseph Albo and Jehuda Halevi, and Jewish metaphysics
that is the Kabbala. This literature, this philosophy, this theology, these metaphysics
were the common property of the Israelites of all countries.
Thus, consequently, the Jews had the same religion, manners, habits and customs, they
were subjected to the same civil, religious, moral and restrictive laws; they lived in
similar conditions; in each city they had their own territory, they spoke the same
language, they enjoyed a literature, they speculated over the same persisting and very old
ideas. This alone was sufficient to constitute a nation. They had even more than that:
they have had the consciousness of being a nation, that they had never ceased to be one.
After they had left Palestine, in the first centuries before the Christian era, a bond
always tied them to Jerusalem; after Jerusalem had been plunged in flames, they had their
exilarchs, their Nassis and Gaons, their schools of doctors, schools of
Babylon, Palestine, then Egypt, finally of Spain and France. The chain of tradition has
never been broken. They have ever considered themselves exiles and have deluded themselves
with the dream of the restoration of Israel's kingdom on earth. Every year, on the eve of
the Passover they have chanted from the depth of their whole beings, three times the
sentence: "Leshana haba b'Yerushalaim" (the next year in Jerusalem !).
They have preserved their ancient patriotism, even their chauvinism; in spite of
disasters, misfortunes, outrages, slavery, they have considered themselves the elect
people, one superior to all other peoples, which is characteristic of all chauvinist
nations, the Germans as well as the French and English of today. At one time in the
beginning of the Middle Ages, the Jew was really superior, because, he, the inheritor of
an already ancient civilization, the possessor of a literature, philosophy and above all
experience, which should have given him the advantage, came into the midst of barbarian
children. He lost that supremacy, and in the fourteenth century even, his was already a
culture lower than the general culture of those in the same class with him. But he has
religiously kept this idea of supremacy, has kept on looking with disdain and scorn
upon all those who were strangers to his law. However, he was taught to be such by his
book, the Talmud pervaded by a narrow and ferocious patriotism. The book has been charged
with being anti-social, and there is some truth in this accusation; it has been claimed
that it is the most abominable code of law and ethics, and therein lay the error, since it
is neither more nor less execrable than all particularist and national codes. If it is
anti-social, it is so only in that it represented and still represents a spirit differing
from that of the laws in force in the country where the Jews lived and that the Jews
wanted to follow their code before following the one to which every member of society was
amenable, and again it is unsocial only in a relative sense, as the law was not always
uniform and custom invariable in all parts of the States. At one moment of history it
appeared fatally anti-human, because it remained immutable while everything was changing.
Its brutality has been exposed by the Christian antisemites, because this brutality
shocked them directly, but in saying, "Kill even the best of Goyim," Rabbi Simon
ben Jochai was no more cruel than was Saint Louis, who thought that the best way of
arguing with a Jew was to plunge a dirk in his belly, or than the Pope Urban III when he
wrote in his bull: "Everybody is allowed to kill an excommunicate if it is done from
zeal for the church."
One thing, besides, has to be taken into account. Some modern Jews and philosemites
have rejected with horror those aphorisms and axioms that had been national aphorisms and
axioms. They say that the invectives against the goyim, the Mineans, were directed
at the Romans, the Hellenes, the Jewish apostates, but they were never aimed at the
Christians. There is a great deal of truth in these assertions, but there is also a great
deal of error. When Judaism was fought by the rising Christianity, all the hatred and
wrath of hired assassins, patriots, pious people turned upon the Jews who were converting
themselvesthe Mineans. When deserting the national faith they deserted the battle against
Rome and the enemy; they were traitors to their country, to the Jewish religion; they lost
interest in a struggle that was vital for Israel; gathered around their new temples they
looked with an eye of indifference upon the fall of the national glory, the disappearance
of their autonomy, and not only did they not fight against the she-wolf, but they even
unnerved the courage of those listeningto them. Against them, against these
anti-patriots, formulas of malediction were drawn up; the Jews placed them under the ban
of their society, it was lawful to kill them, just as it was lawful to kill "the best
of goyim." Similar exhortations would be found at all periods of patriotic
struggles, among all nations; the proclamations of the generals, the calls to arms of the
tribunes of all ages contain just as odious formulas. When the French, for instance,
invaded the Palatinate, it must have been a rule, nay, even a duty, for all Germans to
say: "Death even to the best of Frenchmen !"
There came a day when the Jew had but one enemy in Europe the Christian who persecuted,
hunted, massacred, burned, martyrized him. As a consequence he could not experience any
very tender feeling toward the Christian, the more so that all the efforts of the
Christian were bent on destroying Judaism, on annihilating the religion which from that
time on constituted the Jewish fatherland. The goy of the Maccabees, the Minean of
the doctors, turned into the Christian, and to the Christian all the words of furious
hatred, wrath and despair found in the book, were applied. To the Christian, the Jew was a
despicable being, but to the Jew the Christian became the goy, the execrable
stranger, who fears no pollution, who maltreats the elect nation, one through whom Judah
suffers. This word goy comprehended all the passions, scorns, hatreds of persecuted
Israel against the stranger, and this cruelty of the Jews toward the non-Jew is one of the
things that best prove how long-lived the idea of nationality was among the children of
Jacob. They have always believed themselves a people. Do they still believe it at present?
Among the Jews who receive a Talmudic education, and this means the majority of the
Jews in Russia, Poland, Galicia, Hungary, Bohemia and the Orient, the idea of nationality
is still as alive at present as it had been during the Middle Ages. They still form a
people apart, fixed, rigid, congealed by the scrupulously observed rites, by the unvarying
customs and the manners; hostile to every innovation, to every change, rebelling against
all attempted efforts to detalmudize him. In 1854 the rabbis anathematized the Oriental
schools founded by French Jews, where profane sciences were taught; at Jerusalem, an
anathema was hurled, in 1856, against the school established by Doctor Franckel. In Russia
and Galicia, sects like those of the New Chassidim are still opposing all attempts made to
civilize the Jews. In all these countries only a minority escapes the Talmudic
spirit, but the mass persists in its isolation, and however great its abjection and its
humiliation, it ever holds itself the chosen people, the nation of God.
This intolerant aversion toward the stranger has disappeared among the Western Jews,
the Jews of France, England, Italy and a great portion of the German Jews. 204 The Talmud
is no longer read by these Jews, and the Talmudic ethics, at least the nationalist ethics
of the Talmud, have no longer any hold on them. They no longer observe the 613 laws, have
lost their fear of impurity, a horror which the Eastern Jews have preserved; the majority
no longer know Hebrew; they have forgotten the meaning of the antique ceremonies; they
have transformed the rabbinic Judaism into a religious rationalism; they have given up the
familiar observances, and the religious exercise has been reduced by them to passing
several hours in the year in a synagogue listening to hymns they no longer understand.
They can't attach themselves to a dogma, a symbol; they have none of it; in giving up the
Talmudic practices they have given up what made their unity, that which contributed to
forming their spirit. The Talmud had formed the Jewish nation after its dispersion; thanks
to it, individuals of diverse origin had constituted a people; it had been the mould of
the Jewish soul, the creator of the race; it and the restrictive laws of the various
societies have modeled it. It appears that with the legislators abolished, the Talmud left
in disdain, the Jewish nation should inevitably have died, and yet the Western Jews are
Jews still. They are Jews, because they have kept perennial and living their national
consciousness; they still believe they are a nation, and, believing that, they preserve
themselves. When the Jew ceases to have the national consciousness he disappears; so long
as he has this consciousness, he continues to be. He practices his religious faith no
longer, he is irreligious, often even an atheist, but he continues to be, because he has a
belief in his race. He has kept his national pride, he always fancies himself a superior
individuality, a different being from those surrounding him, and this conviction prevents
him from assimilating himself, for, being always exclusive, he generally refuses to mix
through marriage with the peoples surrounding him. Modern Judaism claims to be but a
religious confession; but in reality it is an ethnos besides, for it believes it is
that, for it has preserved its prejudices, egoism and vanity as a people a belief,
prejudices, egoism and vanity which make it appear a stranger to the peoples in whose
midst it exists, and here we touch upon one of the most profound causes of antisemitism.
Antisemitism is one of the ways in which the principle of nationalities is manifested.
What is this question of nationalities? By it is understood "the movement which
carries certain populations, of the same origin and language, but constituting a part of
different States to unite in such a way as to make a single political body, a single
Simultaneously with proclaiming the rights of the land, formerly the property and
domain of the peoples the Revolution overthrew the old conception of rule and dynasty on
which the nations were founded; the land, formerly the property and domain of the kings,
now became the domain of the people that occupied them. The royal government in itself
constituted the national unity the representative, constitutional government placed that
unity somewhere else: in the community of origin and language. The artificial bond being
broken, a natural bond was sought for; there have been efforts on the part of nations to
acquire an individuality; they all strove for the unity they lacked. It was about 1840
that nationalist ideas especially manifested themselves, they began the work, and
contemporary Europe was founded through them. The theory of a National State was wrought
out by the savants, historians, philosophers, poets of a whole generation.
On these ideas of nationalities Russia and Germany have been and are resting to make up
their empire, Pangermanic or Panslavic; and is not this Panslavism, and this Pangermanism
what agitates the East of Europe, do not the destinies of that part of Europe depend on
this remote or near clash of theirs ?
It would be out of place to discuss here the legitimacy or illegitimacy of this
movement. It will suffice for our purpose merely to state its existence. How do the
peoples construe this tendency into unity? In two ways: either by uniting under the same
government all individuals who speak the national language, or by reducing all
heterogeneous elements coexisting in the nations, for the benefit of one of these elements
which becomes preponderant and whose characteristics henceforth become the national
characteristics. Thus the Germans have endeavoured to assimilate the Alsatians and Poles;
the Russians compel the Poles to maintain the Russian universities which denationalize
them; in Austria the Germans try to absorb the Czechs; in Hungary, "Slovak
orphans are taken from the places where their native tongue is spoken and removed to
Magyar comitats." 206 If these heterogeneous elements do not let themselves be
absorbed, there comes a struggle, a violent struggle often, which is manifested in many
various ways from persecution down to expulsion in some cases.
Now, in the midst of the European nations the Jews live as a confessional community,
believing in the latter's nationality, having preserved a peculiar type, special aptitudes
and a spirit of their own. In their struggle against the heterogeneous elements which they
contained, the nations were led to struggle against the Jews, and antisemitism was one of
the manifestations of the effort made by the peoples in order to reduce these strange
To these nationalist egotists, to these exclusivists, the Jews appeared a danger,
because they felt that the Jews were still a people, a people whose mentality did not
agree with the national mentality, whose concepts were opposed to that ensemble of social,
moral, psychological, and intellectual conceptions, which constitutes nationality. For
this reason the exclusivists became antisemites, because they could reproach the Jews with
an exclusivism exactly as uncompromising as theirs, and every antisemitic effort tends, as
we have seen already, 207 to restore those ancient laws restricting the rights of the Jews
who are considered strangers. Thus is realized this fundamental and everlasting
contradiction of nationalist antisemitism: antisemitism was born in modern societies,
because the Jew did not assimilate himself, did not cease to be a people, but when
antisemitism had ascertained that the Jew was not assimilated, it violently reproached him
for it, and at the same whenever possible it took all necessary measures to prevent his
assimilation in the future.
At all events, there exist contrary, opposing tendencies by the side of these
nationalist tendencies. Above nationalities there is mankind; now, this mankind, so
fragmental at the start, composed of thousands of inimical tribes that were devouring one
another, is becoming a very homogeneous mankind. The different peoples possess a common
ground, despite their differences; a general conscience is formed above all the national
consciences; formerly there had been civilizations, now we advance towards one
civilization; once upon a time Athens resisted its neighbour Sparta; from now on, even
if dissimilarities between one nation and another persist, the similarities are
accentuated. As by the side of his special qualities constituting his essence and
personality, each individual in a nation possesses qualities in common with those who
speak the same tongue and have the same interests as he, just so civilized mankind
acquires similar characteristics, though each nation preserves its physiognomy. More
frequent from day to day, the relations among the peoples bring on a more intimate
communion. Science, art, literature, become more and more cosmopolitan. Humanitarianism
takes its place by the side of patriotism, internationalism by the side of nationalism,
and presently the idea of mankind will acquire more force than the idea of fatherland,
which is being modified and is losing some of that exclusivism which the national egoists
wish to perpetuate. Hence the antagonism between the two tendencies. To internationalism,
which is already so powerful, patriotism is opposed with unheard of violence. The old
conservative spirit is elated; it is in training against cosmopolitanism which will some
day defeat it; it fiercely fights those who are in favour of cosmopolitanism, and this is
again a cause of antisemitism.
Though often exceedingly chauvinist, the Jews are essentially cosmopolitan in
character; they are the cosmopolitan element of mankind, says Schaeffle. This is quite
true, since they have always possessed in a high degree that mark of cosmopolitanism the
extreme facility of adaptation. On their arrival into the Promised Land they adopted the
language of Canaan; after a seventy year sojourn in Babylonia, they forgot Hebrew and
re-entered Jerusalem, speaking an Aramaic or Chaldee jargon; during the first century
before and after the Christian era, the Hellenic tongue pervaded the Jewries. Once
dispersed the Jews fatally became cosmopolites. Indeed they did not again attach
themselves to any territorial unit, and have had only a religious unity. True, they have
had a fatherland, but this fatherland, the most beautiful of all, as, however, every
fatherland is, was placed in the future, it was Zion renewed, with which no land is
compared or comparable; a spiritual fatherland which they loved so ardently that they
became indifferent to every land, and that every land seemed to them equally good or
equally bad. Finally they lived under such and so terrible circumstances that they could
not be expected to have a fatherland of their choice, and, with the aid of their instinct
of solidarity, they have remained internationalists.
The nationalists have been led to consider them as the most active propagators of the
ideas of internationalism; they even found that the example alone of these
countryless laymen was bad, and that by their presence they undermined the idea of
fatherland, that is any special idea of fatherland. For this reason they became
antisemites or rather for this reason their antisemitism took on added force. They not
only accused the Jews of being strangers, but even destructive strangers. The conservatism
of the exclusivists connected cosmopolitanism with revolution; it upbraided the Jews first
for their cosmopolitanism, and then for their revolutionary spirit and activity. Has the
Jew, indeed, any leaning toward revolution ? We shall examine that.
201 A. Franck, lecture on "Religion and Science in Judaism," in Annuaire
dc la Societe des Etudes Juives, 2nd year.
202 Chapt. VII.
203 Cf. Munk, De la Poesie hebraique apres la Bible, in "Le Temps" of
Jan. 19, 1835, and the works of Zunz, Rappoport and Abraham Geiger. Cf. also Amador de los
Rios, Histoire des Juifs d'Espagne (1875).
204 I leave apart the Polish Jews of Germany.
205 Laveleye, Le Gouvernement dans la Democratie, v. I, p. 53 (Paris, 1891)
206 J. Novicow, Les luttes entre societes humaines, Paris, 1893.
207 Ch. ix.
Chapter Twelve: THE REVOLUTIONARY SPIRIT IN
To inquire into the revolutionary tendencies of Judaism does not mean to examine Jewish
Communism. Moreover, from the fact that the so-called Mosaic institutions had been
inspired by socialistic principles it should not necessarily be inferred that the
revolutionary spirit has always guided Israel.
Communism and revolution are not inseparable terms, and if nowadays we cannot utter the
first word without fatally evoking the other this is due to the economic conditions
governing us and to the fact that the transformation of the present-day societies, based
as they are on individual property, is considered impossible without a violent tearing up.
In a capitalistic State the communist is looked upon as a revolutionist, but it is not
taken into account that a partisan of private capital would be treated in similar fashion
in a communistic State.
If it can be said, with Renan, of the Jews that they have been an element of progress
or at least of transformation, if they could be regarded as the ferments of revolution,
and that, too, at all times, we shall see, it is not because of these laws on gleaning, on
the workmen's wages, on the sabbatic and jubilee years, which are found in the Exodus,
Numbers, Leviticus, etc., 208 but because they have always been malcontents.
I do not mean to claim thereby that they were mere mudslingers and systematic opponents
of all government, for they were not wrought up against an Ahab or Ahaziah only but the
state of things did not satisfy them; they were forever restless, in the expectation of a
better state which they never found realized. Their ideal not being one of those which are
satisfied with hope they had not placed it high enough for that they never could lull
their ambitions with dreams and phantoms. They thought they had a right to demand
immediate satisfactions and not remote promises. Hence this constant agitation of the
Jews, which had manifested itself not only in prophetism, Messianism and Christianity
that was its supreme consummation, but as well since the time of the dispersion, and then
in an individual manner.
The causes that gave birth to this agitation, which kept it up and perpetuated it in
the souls of some modern Jews, are not external causes such as the tyranny of a ruler, of
a people or ferocious code: they are internal causes, i.e., such as pertain to the
very essence of the Hebrew spirit. The reasons of the sentiments of revolt with which the
Jews were animated must be sought in the idea they had of God, in their conception of life
To Israel, life is a boon, the existence granted to man by God is good; to live is in
itself good luck.
By contrast, death is the only evil that can afflict man, it is the greatest of
calamities; it is so horrible, so frightful that to be struck by it is the most terrible
of punishments. "May death serve me as expiation," the dying would say, for he
could not conceive of a more serious punishment than that consisting in death. The only
recompense that the pious earnestly desired was that Yahweh might make them die sated with
days, after years passed in abundance and jubilation.
Besides, what recompense other than this could they have expected? They did not believe
in the future life, and it was late, perhaps only under the influence of Parsism, that
they began to admire the immortality of the soul. For a Jew, his existence ended with
life, he was sleeping till the day of resurrection, he had nothing to hope for except from
existence, and the punishments that threatened vice, just as the satisfactions that
accompanied virtue, were all of this world.
Having no hope of future reward the Jew could not resign to the misfortunes of life; it
was only at a very late date that he could console himself in his misfortunes by dreaming
of celestial happiness. To the scourges befalling him he replied neither with the
Mohammedan's fatalism, nor with the Christian's resignation, but with revolt. As he
possessed a concrete ideal, he wanted to realize it, and whatever retarded its advent
aroused his wrath.
The peoples that believed in a world beyond, those who deluded themselves with sweet
and consoling chimeras and let themselves be lulled to sleep with the dream of eternity;
those that possessed the dogma of rewards and punishments, of paradise and hell, all these
peoples accepted poverty and sickness with bowed heads. The dream of future rejoicing
kept them up, and without anger they put up with their sores and their privation. They
consoled themselves of the injustices of this world by thinking of the mirth that would be
their idyllic pleasures, they consented to bend, without complaint, before the
strong who tyrannized them.
But this idea of the continuity and persistence of the personality contributed nothing
to the formation of the moral being with the Jews. In earliest times they did not share
the hopes of the later Pharisees; after Yahweh had closed their eyelids, they expected
only the horror of Sheol. Accordingly, life was for them the important thing; they sought
to beautify it with all blessings, and these mad idealists, who had conceived the pure
idea of one God were, by a startling yet explicable contrast, the most untractable of
sensualists. Yahweh had assigned to them a certain number of years on earth; in this
existence, always too short to suit the Hebrew, He demanded of them a faithful and
scrupulous worship; in return, the Hebrew claimed positive advantages from his Lord.
The idea of contract dominated the whole of Jewish theology. When the Israelite
fulfilled his duties toward Yahweh, he demanded reciprocity. If he thought himself
wronged, if he considered his rights had not been respected, he had no good reason to
temporize, for the minute of happiness he lost was a minute stolen from him, one which
could never be returned to him. Accordingly, he looked to a punctual fulfillment of mutual
obligations; he wanted a correct balance to exist between his God and himself; he kept a
strict account of his duties and his rights, this account was part of the religion, and
Spinoza could justly say : 209 "With the Jews the religious dogmas did not consist in
instructions, but in rights and prescriptions; piety meant justice, impiety meant
injustice and crime."
The man whom the Jew lauds is not a saint, not a resignee: it is the just man. The
charitable man does not exist for those of Judah's people; in Israel there can be no
question of charity, but only of justice: alms is but a restitution. Besides, what did
Yahweh say? He has said: "Just balances, just weights, a just ephah and a just hin shall ye have;" 210 he has also said: "Thou shalt not respect the
person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty; but in righteousness shalt thou
judge thy neighbours." 211
From this conception of the primitive times of Israel came the law of retaliation.
Simple spirits, imbued with the idea of justice, were obviously bound to come to:
"An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth." The rigour of the code softened only
then when a more exact idea of equity was obtained.
The Yahwehism of the prophets reflects these sentiments. What the God they praise wants
is: "Let judgment run down as waters and righteousness as a mighty stream;" 212
he says: "I am the Lord which exercise loving kindness, judgment and righteousness in
the earth; for in these things I delight." 213 To know justice is to know God, 214
and justice becomes an emanation from divinity; it takes on the character of a revelation.
With Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel it formed part of the dogma, it had been proclaimed during
the Sinaitic theophanies, and little by little is born this idea: Israel must realize
On returning from Babylon, the Jewish population formed a considerable nucleus of poor,
just, pious, humble, and saints. A great portion of the Psalms came from this midst.
These Psalms are for the most part violent diatribes against the rich; they symbolize the
struggle of the ebionim against the mighty. When addressing the possessors, the sated, the Psalmists readily say with Amos: "Hear this, O ye that swallow up the needy,
even to make the poor of the land to fail," 215 and in all these poems written
between the Babylonian exile and the Maccabees (589-167) the poor is glorified. He is
God's friend, His prophet, His anointed; he is good, his hands are pure; he is upright and
just; he is part of the flock of which God is the shepherd.
The rich is the wicked, he is the man of violence and blood; he is knavish, perfidious,
haughty; he does evil without motive; he is contemptible, for he exploits, oppresses,
persecutes and devours the poor. But his great crime is that he does not do justice; that
he has bribed judges who condemn the poor beforehand. 216
Incited by the words of their poets, the ebionim did not slumber in their
misery, they did not delight in their misfortunes, they did not resign to poverty. On the
contrary, they dreamed of the day that would avenge the iniquities and opprobriums heaped
upon them, the day when the wicked would be hurled down and the just exalted: the day of
When Jesus comes he will repeat what the ebionim Psalmists had said, he will
say: "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall
be filled;" 217 he will anathematize the rich, and will exclaim: "It is easier
for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the
Kingdom of God." 218 On this point the Christian doctrine will turn out to be purely
Jewish, not at all Hellenic, and Jesus will find his first adherents among the ebionim.
Thus the conception the Jews formed of life and death furnished the first element of
their revolutionary spirit. Starting with the idea that good, that is justice, was to be
realized not beyond the grave for beyond the grave there is sleep, until the day of the
resurrection of the dead but during life, they sought justice, and never finding it, ever
dissatisfied, they were restless to get it.
The second element was given them by their conception of divinity. It led them to
conceive the equality of men, it led them even to anarchy; a theoretic and sentimental
anarchy, since they always had a government, but a real anarchy, for they never accepted
with cheerful heart this government, whatever it were.
Whether worshiping Yahweh as their national God, or when they rose with their prophets
to the belief in one and universal God, the Jews never speculated over the essence of
Divinity. Judaism never set for itself any essential metaphysical questions, whether about
the "beyond" or the nature of God. "Sublime speculations have no connection
with the Scripture," says Spinoza, "and, as far as I am concerned, I have not
and could not learn, from the Holy Writ, any of the eternal attributes of God", 219
and Mendelssohn adds: "Judaism has not revealed unto us any of the eternal
The Jews looked upon Yahweh as a celestial monarch, who would give a charter to his
people and enter into engagements with it, demanding, in return, obedience to his laws and
prescriptions. In the eyes of the ancient Hebrews and, later on, the Talmudists, the
Bene-Israel alone could enjoy the prerogatives granted by Yahweh; in the eyes of the
prophets, all nations could lawfully claim these privileges, because Yahweh was the God
Universal, and not the equal of Dagon or Beelzebub.
But Yahweh was "the supreme head of the Hebrew people", 221 He was the
all-powerful and formidable lord, the only king, jealous of His authority, cruelly
punishing those who showed themselves rebellious against His omnipotence. In good luck, as
in ill-luck, a pious Jew had ever to have recourse to Him. To turn to men and not to God
Yahweh was a crime, and having made an alliance with Rome and Mithridates I, Judas
Maccadaeus in- curred this anathema of Rabbi Jose, son of Johanan: "Accursed be
he who places his reliance in creatures of flesh and who removes his heart from Yahweh
!" Yahweh is thy fort, thy shield, thy citadel, thy hope, say the Psalms.
All Jews are Yahweh's subjects; He has said it Himself: "For unto me the children
of Israel are servants." 222 What authority can, then, prevail by the side of the
divine authority? All government, whatever it be, is evil since it tends to take the place
of the government of God; it must be fought against, because Yahweh is the only head of
the Jewish commonwealth, the only one to whom the Israelite owes obedience.
When insulting the Kings, the prophets represented the sentiment of Israel. They were
giving expression to the thoughts of the poor, the humble, all those who, being directly
ill-used by the power of the Kings or of the rich, were more inclined, for that very
reason, to criticize or deny the good coming from this tyranny.
Holding Yahweh alone as their lord, these anavim and ebionim, were ever
driven to revolt against human magistracy; they could not accept it, and during the
periods of uprising Zadok and Judah the Galilean were seen carrying with them the zealots
by their cry: "Call none your master!" Zadok and Judah were logical: if we place
our tyrant in heavens we cannot endure one down here.
God himself commands this equality, and again the mighty are the obstacle to its
realization. The humble, who live in common, practice it; they follow the communistic
precepts of Leviticus, Exodus, Numbers, precepts inspired by preoccupations with equality.
As for the rich, they forget that God had made all men from the same clay, they disown the
equality proclaimed by God. Thus they oppress the people, they fill their houses with the
spoils of the poor, they browse his vineyard, they make of widows their prey, of orphans
their booty, 223 and owing to them inequality exists.
At them, at these possessors and these grandees the prophets hurl the anathema; the
psalmists thunder: "O Lord God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance
belongeth, show thyself !" 224 they cry. They rebuke the rich for the abundance of
his treasures, his luxury, his love of pleasures; whatever contributes to raise him
materially above his brethren; whatever can give him the impious arrogance of deeming
himself made of other dust than that of which is made the mountain-shepherd who pastures
his sheep and fears God; whatever makes him forget this divine truth; men are equal
to one another, since they are the children of Yahweh who pretended giving each of his
subjects an equal share of the earth they tread on, an equal share of joys and blessings.
After Yahweh they believed in self only. To the unity of God there corresponded the
unity of being; to God absolute absolute being. Accordingly, subjectivity has ever been
the fundamental trait of the Semitic character; it has often led the Jews to egoism, and
having once exaggerated this egoism, certain Talmudists ended with recognizing, in the
matter of duties, nothing but duties to one's self. This subjectivity, as much as
monotheism, accounts for the incapacity shown by the Jews in all plastic arts. As for
their literature it was purely subjective; the Jewish prophets, like the psalmists, like
the poets of Job and the Song of Songs, like the moralists of the Ecclesiastes and the
Book of Wisdom, knew only themselves and generalized their feelings or their personal
sensations. This subjectivity also makes us understand why the Jews have at all times,
even in our days, shown so much aptness for musicthat most subjective of all arts.
Thus they were undeniably individualists, and these men, so eager to pursue earthly
interests, appear to us thanks to their uncompromising conception of existence as
untractable idealists. Now, an individualist imbued with idealism is and will always be in
revolt. He will never want to allow anybody to violate his sacred self, and no will can
prevail over his.
Notwithstanding their long bondage, despite the years of martyrdom which have been
their lot, in spite of the centuries of humiliation, which have debased their character,
depressed their brains, cramped their intelligence, changed their tastes, their customs,
their aptitudes, the debris of Judah have not abjured their so vivid dream, which had been
their support and inspiration during the wars for independence.
The funeral-piles, massacres, spoliations, insults, everything contributed to make
dearer to them the justice, the equality and the liberty which during many long years were
for them the emptiest words. The great voice of the prophets proclaiming that the wicked
will be punished one day has always found an echo in these tenacious souls that did not
like to bend, and despised this so miserable reality in order to delude themselves with
the idea of the future time; that future time, of which Amos and Isaiah, Jeremiah and
Ezekiel, and all those have spoken who sang Mizmorim (psalms), to their own
accompaniment on stringed instruments. However gloomy the present, Israel never ceased to
believe in the future.
The Jews were told: "Why do you await Messiah; obdurate, know ye not that he has
come?" They answered with sarcasm, they shrugged their shoulders and replied: 'The
Messiah has not come, for we are suffering, for famine desolates the land, for the black
pest and the nobleman burden the sorrowful wretches !" But when they would be told
that their Meshiach would never come, they would lift up their bowed down heads and,
stubborn that they were, would say: "Meshiach will come one day and on that day will
be understood the word of the Psalmist: 'I have seen the wicked in great power and
spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passed away and lo ! he was not; yea, I
sought him, but he could not be found' 225 and the poor, the just are those who will
possess the earth."
The narrow practices into which their doctors had pressed the Jews, have put to slumber
their instincts of revolt. Under the bonds of the Talmudic laws, they felt tottering in
them the ideas that had ever sustained them, and it could be said that Israel could be
vanquished only by himself. Still the Talmud did not debase all Jews; among those who
rejected it there were some who persisted in the belief that justice, liberty and equality
were to come to this world; there were many of them who believed that the people of Yahweh
was charged with working for this coming. This makes it plain why the Jews were implicated
in all revolutionary movements, for they took an active part in all revolutions, as we
shall see when we study their role during all periods of trouble and change.
It remains now to know how the Jew has manifested these revolutionary tendencies,
whether he was actually (as he is accused) an element of disturbance in modern societies;
and thus we are led to examine the religious, political and economic causes of
208 Leviticus, xix, xxv; Exodus, xxii; Numbers, xxv.
210 Levit., xix, 36.
211 Levit., xix, 15.
212 Amos, v, 24.
213 Jeremiah, ix, 24.
214 Jeremiah, xxii, 15-16.
215 Amos, viii, 4.
216 Psalms, xxvi, 10; lxxxii, 2-3; lviii, 2; xxii; xlviii; lxix; cii, 1, 2; cvii, etc.
217 Matth., v, 6.
218 Mark, x, 25.
219 Spinoza, Letters, xxxiv.
220 Mendelssohn, Jerusalem.
221 Munk, Palestine.
222 Levit., xxv, 55.
223 Isaiah, iii; x.
224 Psalms, xciv.
225 Psalms, xxxvii, 35-36.
Chapter Thirteen: THE JEW AS A FACTOR IN
THE TRANSFORMATION OF SOCIETY
THUS it would seem as if the grievance of the antisemite were well founded; the Jewish
spirit is essentially a revolutionary spirit, and consciously or otherwise, the Jew is a
revolutionist. Not content, however, with this, antisemitism would have it that the Jews
are the very cause of revolution. Let us see what truth there is in the charge.
Taking him as he was, the tendencies of his nature and the direction of his sympathies
made it inevitable that the Jew should play an important part in the revolutions of
history; and such a part he has not failed to play. Nevertheless it would be too much to
say, with the great mass of Israel's enemies, that every public commotion, every uprising,
every political overturning has originated with the Jews, or has been provoked or
occasioned by the Jews, and that governments change and take on new forms because the Jew
in his secret counsels has plotted such changes and transformations. In maintaining such a
proposition we violate the simplest of historical laws, by assigning to a minute cause a
totally disproportionate effect, and concentrating our attention upon one phase of
historical development to the exclusion of a thousand others of its manifold aspects. Had
the Jews perished to a man behind the walls of Zion, the destiny of nations would not have
been changed, and though the Jewish element were wanting to this wondrous totality which
we call progress, society would have developed notwithstanding. Other forces would have
taken the place of the Jews and accomplished what the Jews have accomplished in the
general scheme. Given the Bible and Christianity, the intellectual and moral mission of
the Jew would have been carried out without him.
Theologians who resort to reason for the defense of dogma, will inevitably end by
asserting the superiority of reason to dogma, with fatal results to the latter. Exegesis
and freedom of investigation are powerful destroyers, and it is the Jews who originated
biblical exegesis, just as they were the first to criticize the forms and doctrines
of Christianity. The importance of the controversial literature of the Middle Ages has
already been shown. If we study closely we find in it all the arguments advanced by the
scholars of our own day. It might, indeed, be maintained in denial of the revolutionary
role said to have been played by the Jews, that the greater part of their exegesis was
addressed to Jews only, and that it consequently could not have been a means of inciting
to change, inasmuch as the Jew knew well how to reconcile the results of textual criticism
with the minutiae of his practices and the integrity of his faith. This, however, is not
altogether true, for Jewish doctrines did find their way out of the synagogue, and this in
two different ways. In the first place the Jews could always find an opportunity for
proclaiming their ideals, thanks to the prevalence of public disputation. In the second
place, they were the means of disseminating the Arabian philosophy, and were its
expounders at a time, twelfth century, to be precise, when Al Farabi and Ibn Sina were
being anathematized in the mosques, and orthodox Muslims were feeding the fires with the
writings of the Arabian Aristotelians. The Jews of this period translated the writings of
Aristotle and of the Arabian philosophers into Hebrew, and these, retranslated into Latin,
afforded the scholastics an opportunity for becoming acquainted with Greek thought. The
most famous of the scholastics, "men like Albertus Magnus and St. Thomas Aquinas,
studied the works of Aristotle in Latin versions made from the Hebrew." 226
The Jews did not stop there. They preached the materialism of the Arabian philosophers
which was to prove so destructive to the Christian faith, and carried abroad the spirit of
skepticism. Their activity was such as to give rise to a general belief in the existence
of a secret society sworn to the destruction of Christianity. 227 During the thirteenth
century, a century which witnessed the rapid development of that complex of humanism,
skepticism and paganism which we call the Renaissance, at a time when the Hohenstaufen
defended the cause of science against dogma, and showed themselves the protectors of
Epicureanism, the Jews occupied the first place among scholars and rationalist
philosophers. At the Court of the Emperor Frederick II, "that hotbed of
irreligion," they were received with favour and respect. It was they, as Renan has
shown, 228 that created Averroism; it was they who established the fame of that
Ibn-Roshd, that Averroes whose influence was destined to become so great. Without doubt
they had their share, too, in the dissemination of the "blasphemies" of the
impious Arabians; blasphemies which an Emperor, fond of science and of philosophy,
encouraged. These find their type in the so-called "Blasphemy of the Three
Impostors," Moses, Jesus and Mohammed, invented by the theologians, and their spirit
is tersely summed up in the saying of the Arabian soufis, "What care I for the
Kaaba of the Mohammedan, the synagogue of the Jew, or the convent of the Christian !"
Truly has Darmesteter written: "The Jew was the apostle of unbelief, and every revolt
of the mind originated with him, whether secretly or in the open. In that immense foundry
of blasphemy maintained by the Emperor Frederick and the princes of Suabia and Aragon, he
acted a busy part." 229
Another thing also is worthy of notice. If the Jews as followers of Averroes, or as
unbelievers, skeptics and blasphemers, sapped the foundations of Christianity in spreading
the doctrines of materialism and rationalism, they were also the creators of that other
enemy of Catholic dogma, pantheism. In fact the Fons Vitae of Avicebron was the
well at which numerous heretics drank. It is even quite possible that David de Dinant and
Amaury de Chartres, were influenced by the Fons Vitae which they knew in a Latin
translation made in the twelfth century by the archdeacon Dominique Gundissalinus. It is
certain that Giordano Bruno borrowed from the Fons Vitae, whence his pantheism came
in part. 230
If, therefore, the Jews were not solely responsible for the destruction of religious
doctrine and the decay of faith, they may at least be counted among those who helped to
bring about such a state of desuetude and the changes which followed. If they had never
existed, the Arabians and the heterodox theologians would have filled their place; but
they did exist, and existing they were not idle. Moreover the Hebrew genius worked not
only through them, for their Bible became a powerful aid to all advocates of freedom of
thought. The Bible was the soul of the Reformation, just as it was the soul of the
religious and political revolution in England. Bible in hand, Luther and the English
recusants blazed the path to liberty, and it was through the Bible that Luther,
Melanchthon and others broke the yoke of Roman theocracy and overthrew the tyranny of
dogma. But they made use, too, of that Jewish scholar-ship which Nicholas de Lyra had
transmitted to the Christian world. Si Lyra non Iyrasset, Lutherus non saltasset, it
used to be said, and Lyra had studied with the Jews; in fact, he was so steeped in the
science of Hebrew exegesis that he was taken for a Jew himself.
In like manner we would have to inquire what was the importance, I will not say of the
Jew, but of the Jewish spirit throughout the period of fierce revolt against Christianity
which characterized the eighteenth century. We must not forget that in the seventeenth
century, scholars like Wagenseil, Bartolocci, Buxtorf and Wolf, had brought forth from
oblivion old volumes of Hebrew polemic, written in refutation of the Trinity and the
Incarnation and attacking all dogmas and forms of Christianity with a bitterness entirely
Judaic, and with all the subtlety of those peerless casuists who created the Talmud. They
gave to the world not only treatises on questions of doctrine and exegesis, like the Nizzachon or the Chizuk Emunah, 231 but published blasphemous tracts and pseudo-lives of
Jesus, of the character of the Toldoth Jesho. The eighteenth century repeated,
concerning Jesus and the Virgin, the outrageous fables invented by the Pharisees of the
second century; we find them in Voltaire and in Parney, and their rationalist satire,
pellucid and mordant, lives again in Heine, in Boerne and in Disraeli; just as the
powerful logic of the ancient rabbis lives again in Karl Marx, and the passionate thirst
for liberty of the ancient Hebrew rebels breathes forth again in the glowing soul of
I have sketched here, and that in the broadest strokes, the function performed by the
Jews in the development of certain ideas which helped to bring on the general revolution;
but I have not yet shown how the activity of the Jew revealed itself in the very work of
revolution. I believe I have established the fact, on more than one occasion, that the
Jews acted as a leaven upon the economic development of the age, 232 even though their
influence may have proved to be, as the partisans of the old regime assert, a source of
disorder; order and stability being represented by the Christian monarchical state. If we
are to believe Barruel, Cretineau-Joly, Gougenot des Mousseaux, Dom Deschamps, Claudio
Jannet, all those who see in history the mere work of secret societies, the role played by
the Jews in the political and social upheavals of history has been one of capital
True it is that, during the last years of the eighteenth century, secret associations
exercised a great influence on the course of events, and though they may not have been
formulators of the humanitarian, rationalistic and revolutionary theories of the time,
societies certainly were the cause of the enormously widespread dissemination of
revolutionary ideas. They were, in fact, great centres of agitation. It cannot be denied
that Free Masonry and Martinism were powerful agents in bringing about the revolution, but
it must be remembered that their importance increased only as the theories for which they
stood became predominant in society, and that, far from being the creators of that spirit
of the times which was the fundamental cause of the Revolution, they were in themselves
but one of its effects, though an effect to be sure which reacted in its turn upon the
course of events.
What then was the connection between these secret societies and the Jews? The problem
is a difficult one to solve, for respectable documentary evidence on the subject there is
none. It is clear, however, that the Jews were not the dominant factors in these
associations, as the writer whom I have just now quoted would have it; they were not
"necessarily the soul, the heads, the grandmasters of Free Masonry," as Gougenot
des Mousseaux maintains. 233 It is true, of course, that there were Jews connected with
Free Masonry from its birth, students of the Kabbala, as is shown by certain rites which
survive. It is very probable, too, that in the years preceding the outbreak of the French
Revolution, they entered in greater numbers than ever, into the councils of the secret
societies, becoming, indeed, themselves the founders of secret associations. There were
Jews in the circle around Weishaupt, and a Jew of Portuguese origin, Martinez de
Pasquales, established numerous groups of illuminati in France and gathered a large number
of disciples, whom he instructed in the doctrines of reintegration. 234 The lodges which
Martinez founded were mystic in character, whereas the other orders of Free Masonry were,
on the whole, rationalistic in their teachings. This might almost lead one to say that the
secret societies gave expression in a way to the two fold nature of the Jew, on the one
hand a rigid rationalism, on the other that pantheism which, beginning as the metaphysical
reflection of the belief in one God, often ended in a sort of Kabbalistic theurgy. There
would be little difficulty in showing how these two tendencies worked in harmony; how
Cazotte, Cagliostro, 235 Martinez, Saint-Martin, the Comte de Saint Gervais, and
Eckartshausen were practically in alliance with the Encyclopaedists and Jacobins, and
both, in spite of their seeming hostility, succeeded in arriving at the same end, the
under-mining, namely, of Christianity.
This, too, then, would tend to show that though the Jews might very well have been
active participants in the agitation carried on by the secret societies, it was not
because they were the founders of such associations, but merely because the doctrines of
the secret societies agreed so well with their own. The case of Martinez de Pasquales is
an exceptionable one, and even with regard to him, it should be remembered that before he
became the founder of lodges, Martinez had already been initiated into the mysteries of
the illuminati and the Rosicrucians.
During the Revolution the Jews did not remain inactive, considering how few their
numbers were in Paris; the position they occupied as district electors, officers of
legion, and associate judges, was important. There were eighteen of them in the capital,
and one must wade through provincial archives to determine what part they played in
affairs. Of these eighteen some even deserve official mention. There was the surgeon
Joseph Ravel, member of the General Council of the Commune, who was executed on the ninth
Thermidor; Isaac Calmer, President of the Committee of Safety at Clichy, executed on the
29th Messidor, Year II; and Jacob Pereira, who had held the post of commissioner of the
Belgian government with the army of Dumouriez, and who as a follower of Hebert, was
brought to trial and condemned at the same time as his chief, and was executed on the 4th
Germinal, Year II. 236 We have seen how, as followers of Saint Simon, they bought about
the economic revolution in which the year 1789 was but a step, 237 the important position
occupied by d'Eichthal and Isaac Pereira in the school of Olinde Rodriguez. During the
second revolutionary period, which begins in 1830, they displayed even greater ardour than
during the first. They were actuated by motives of personal interest, for in the great
number of European countries they were not as yet completely emancipated. Those,
therefore, who were not revolutionists by temperament or principle, became such through
self-interest. In labouring for the triumph of liberalism, they were looking for their own
good. It is beyond a doubt that the Jews, through their wealth, their energy and their
talents, supported and furthered the progress of the European revolution. During this
period Jewish bankers, Jewish manufacturers, Jewish poets, journalists, and orators,
stirred perhaps by quite different motives, were, nevertheless, all striving towards the
same goal. "With stooping form, unkempt beard, and flashing eye," writes
Cretineau-Joly, 238 "they might have been seen breathlessly rushing up and down
everywhere in those countries which were unhappy enough to be afflicted with them.
Contrary to their usual motives, it was not the desire for wealth that spurred them on to
such activity, but rather the thought that Christianity could no longer withstand the
repeated shocks which were convulsing society, and they were preparing to wreak on the
cross of Calvary revenge for eighteen hundred and forty years of well-deserved
Nevertheless, it was not such feeling that animated Moses Hess, Gabriel Riesser, Heine,
and Boerne in Germany, Manin in Italy, Jellinek in Austria, Lubliner in Poland, and many
others besides who fought for liberty in those days. To discover in that all embracing
crusade which agitated Europe until the aftermath of 1848 the work of a few Jews intent on
revenging themselves on the Nazarene, argues a remarkable mental attitude. Still, whatever
may have been the end pursued, self-interest or idealism, the Jews were the most active,
the most zealous of missionaries. We find them taking part in the agitation of Young
Germany; large numbers of them were members of the secret societies which constituted the
fighting force of the Revolution; they made their way l into the Masonic lodges, into the
societies of the Carbonari, they were found everywhere in France, in Germany, in England,
in Austria, in Italy.
Their contribution to present-day socialism was, as is well known, and still is very
great. The Jews, it may be said, are situated at the poles of contemporary society. They
are found among the representatives of industrial and financial capitalism, and among
those who have vehemently protested against capital. Rothschild is the antithesis of Marx
and Lassalle; the struggle for money finds its counterpart in the struggle against money,
and the worldwide outlook of the stock-speculator finds its answer in the international
proletarian and revolutionary movement. It was Marx who gave the first impulse to the
founding of the International through the manifesto of 1847, drawn up by himself and
Engels. Not that it can be said that he "founded" the International, as is
maintained by those who persist in regarding the International as a secret society
controlled by the Jews. Many causes led to the organization of the International, but from
Marx proceeded the idea of a Labour Congress, which was held at London in 1864, and
resulted in the founding of that society. The Jews constituted a very large proportion of
its members, and in the General Council of the society, we find Karl Marx, Secretary for
Germany and Russia, and James Cohen, secretary for Denmark. 239 Many of the Jewish members
of the International took part subsequently in the Commune, 240 where they found others of
their faith. In the organization of the socialistic party, the Jews participated to the
greatest extent. Marx and Lassalle in Germany, 241 Aaron Libermann and Adler in Austria,
Dobrojan Gherea in Roumania, are or were at one time its creators and its leaders. The
Jews of Russia deserve special notice in this brief resume. Young Jewish students,
scarcely escaped from the Ghetto, have played an important part in the Nihilistic
propaganda; some, among them women, have given up their lives for the cause of liberation,
and to these young Jewish physicians and lawyers, we must add the large number of exiled
workingmen who have founded in London and in New York important labour societies, which
serve as centres of socialistic and even of anarchistic propaganda. 242
Thus have I briefly depicted the Jew in his character as a revolutionist, or at least
have attempted to show how we might approach the subject. I have described his
achievements both as an agent in the dissemination of revolutionary ideas, and as an
actual participant in the struggle, and have shown how he belongs to both those who
prepare the way for revolution through the activity of the mind, and those who translate
thought into action. The objection may be raised that, in joining the ranks of revolution,
the Jew as a rule, turns atheist, and ceases practically to be a Jew. This, however, is
true only in the sense that the children of the Jewish radical lose themselves more easily
in the surrounding population, and that as a result the Jewish revolutionist is more
easily assimilated. But as a general thing, the Jew, even the extreme Jewish radical, can
not help retaining his Jewish characteristics, and though he may have abandoned all
religion and all faith, he has none the less received the impress of the national genius
acting through heredity and early training. This is especially true of those Jews who
lived during the earlier half of the nineteenth century, and of whom Heinrich Heine
and Karl Marx may serve as fitting examples.
Heine, who in France was regarded as a German, and was reproached in Germany with being
French, was before all things a Jew. As a Jew he sang the praises of Napoleon, for whom he
entertained a fervent admiration common to all the German Jews, who had been freed from
their disabilities by the Emperor's will. Heine's disenchantment, his irony, are the
disenchantment and the irony of the Ecclesiastes; like Koheleth he bore within him the
love for life and for the pleasures of the earth; and before sorrow and disease ground him
down, death to him was the worst of evils. Heine's mysticism came to him from the ancient
Job. The only philosophy that ever really attracted him was pantheism, a doctrine which
seems to come naturally to the Jewish philosopher who in speculating upon the unity of God
by instinct transforms it into a unity of substance. His sensuousness, that sad and
voluptuous sensuousness of the Intermezzo, is purely oriental, and has its
source in the Song of Songs. The same is true of Marx. The descendant of a long line of
rabbis and teachers he inherited the splendid powers of his ancestors. He had that clear
Talmudic mind which does not falter at the petty difficulties of fact. He was a Talmudist
devoted to sociology and applying his native power of exegesis to the criticism of
economic theory. He was inspired by that ancient Hebraic materialism, which, rejecting as
too distant and doubtful the hope of an Eden after death, never ceased to dream of
Paradise realized on earth. But Marx was not merely a logician, he was also a rebel, an
agitator, an acrid controversialist, and he derived his gift for sarcasm and invective, as
Heine did, from his Jewish ancestry.
The Jew, therefore, does take an active part in revolutions; and he participates in
them in so far as he is a Jew, or more correctly in so far as he remains Jewish. Is it for
this reason, then, that the conservative elements among Christians are antisemites, and is
this predisposition of the Jews for revolutionary ideas a cause of antisemitism? We may
say at once that the great majority of conservatives overlook entirely the historic and
educative role of the Jews. It is appreciated only, and that very imperfectly, by the
theorists and the literary men among the antisemites. The hatred against Israel does not
come from the fact that the Jews were instrumental in bringing about the Terror, or that
Manin liberated Venice, or that Marx organized the International. Antisemitism, the
antisemitism of the Christian conservatives, says: "If modern society is so different
from the old regime; if religious faith has diminished; if the political system has been
entirely changed; if stock-gambling, if speculation, if capital in its industrial and
financial forms, knowing no spirit of nationality dominates now and is to dominate in the
future, the fault rests with the Jew." Let us clearly examine this point. The Jew has
been living for centuries in the midst of those nations which, so it is said, are now
perishing on account of his presence. Why, it may be asked, has the poison taken such a
long time to work? The usual answer is, because formerly the Jew was outside of society;
because he was carefully kept apart. Now that the Jew has entered into society, he has
become a source of disorder, and, like the mole, he is busily engaged in undermining the
ancient foundations upon which rests the Christian state. And this accounts for the
decline of nations, and their intellectual and moral decadence: they are like a human body
which suffers from the intrusion of some foreign element which it cannot assimilate and
the presence of which brings on convulsions and lasting disease. By his very presence the
Jew acts as a solvent; he produces disorders, he destroys, he brings on the most fearful
catastrophes. The admission of the Jew into the body of the nations has proved fatal to
them; they are doomed for having received him. Such is the very simple explanation which
the antisemites advance to account for the changes which society is undergoing.
The accusation has not been limited to this alone. The Jew, it is said, is not only a
destroyer, but also an up-builder; arrogant, ambitious and domineering, he seeks to
subject everything to himself. He is not content merely to destroy Christianity, but he
preaches the gospel of Judaism; he not only assails the Catholic or the Protestant faith,
but he incites to unbelief, and then imposes on those whose faith he has undermined his
own conception of the world, of morality and of life. He is engaged in his historic
mission, the annihilation of the religion of Christ. Are the Christian antisemites right
or wrong in this respect? Has the Jew retained his ancient notions; is he still in his
actions anti-Christian? I say in his actions, because he is necessarily anti-Christian, by
definition, in being a Jew, just as he is anti-Mohammedan, just as he is opposed to every
principle which is not his own. The answer is that the Jew has retained his ancient
animosities precisely where he has been kept outside of society; wherever he herds apart;
in the Ghettoes, where he lives under the guidance of his rabbis, who unite with the
powers in authority to prevent him from attaining light; everywhere, in fact, where the
Talmud still dominates, and especially in eastern Europe where official antisemitism still
prevails. In western Europe where the Talmud nowadays has lost its influence and the
Jewish cheder has given place to the public school, the hereditary hatred of the
Jew for the Christian has disappeared in the same proportion as the hatred of the
Christian for the Jew. For we must not forget that though we speak frequently of the
animosity of the Jew against the Christian, we speak very rarely of the animosity of the
Christian against the Jew, a feeling which always thrives. Prejudice against the Jew, or,
better still, the numerous prejudices against the Jew are not dead. We find in the
publications of the antisemites all the ancient charges, which were brought forward in the
Middle Ages, and which the seventeenth century revived, accusations which find support in
popular belief. The most persistent of all accusations, however, and the one which
typifies best the historic struggle of Judaism against Christianity, is the charge of
ritual-murder. The Jew, it is maintained to the present day, has need of Christian blood
in order to celebrate his Passover. What is the origin of this accusation which goes back
to the twelfth century?
The first instance of such an accusation being brought against the Jews occurred at
Blois, in 1171, when they were accused of having crucified a child during their
celebration of Passover. Count Theobald of Chartres, after having caused the accuser of
the Jews to undergo the ordeal by water, which proved favourable to him, condemned
thirty-four Jewish men and seventeen Jewish women to be burnt.
We can see clearly enough why the Romans should have brought the identical charge
against the early Christians. It arose from a materialistic conception of the Lord's
Supper, from a literal interpretation of the words employed in consecrating the flesh and
blood of Jesus. But how could the Jews, whose sacred books breathe forth a horror of
blood, have given occasion, and still give occasion, for such a belief? This question must
be discussed to the very bottom. We must examine the theories advanced by those who would
have it that human sacrifice is a Semitic institution, whereas, as a matter of fact,
it is found among all peoples at a certain stage of civilization. In this manner we would
prove, as has in fact been proven, that the Jewish religion does not demand blood. Can we,
however, prove, in addition, that no Jew ever shed blood? Of course not, and throughout
the Middle Ages there must have been Jewish murderers, Jews whom oppression and
persecution drove to avenge themselves by assassinating their persecutors or even perhaps
their children. To this general belief there were added the accusations, often justified,
which were brought against the Jews as being addicted to the practice of magic. Throughout
the Middle Ages the Jew was considered by the common people as the magician par
excellence. As a matter of fact, a number of Jews did devote themselves to magic. We
find many formulas of exorcism in the Talmud, and the demonology both of the Talmud and
the Kabbala is very complicated. Now it is well known the blood played always a very
important part in the arts of sorcery. In Chaldean magic, it was of the utmost
consequence; in Persia it was considered as a means of redemption, and it delivered all
those who submitted themselves to the practices of Taurobolus and Kriobolus. The Middle
Ages were haunted by the idea of blood as they were haunted by the idea of gold; for the
alchemist, for the enchanter blood was the medium through which the astral light could
work. The elemental spirits, according to the magicians, utilized outpoured blood in
fashioning a body for themselves, and it is in this sense that Paracelsus speaks when he
says that "the blood lost by them brought into being phantoms and larvae." To
blood, and especially to the blood of a virgin, unheard of powers were assigned. Blood was
the curer, the redeemer, the preserver; it was useful in the search for the Philosopher's
Stone, in the composition of potions, and in the practice of enchantments. Now it is quite
probable, certain, in fact, that Jewish magicians may have sacrificed children, and thence
the genesis of ritual murder. The isolated acts of certain magicians were attributed to
them in their character as Jews. It was maintained that the Jewish religion which approved
of the Crucifixion of Christ, prescribed in addition the shedding of Christian blood; and
the Talmud and the Kabbala were zealously searched for text that might be made to justify
such a thesis. Such investigations have succeeded only through deliberate
misinterpretation, as in the Middle Ages, or through actual falsifications like those
recently committed by Dr. Rohling, and proven spurious by Delitzch. The result,
therefore, is this, that whatever the facts brought forward, they cannot prove that the
murder of children constituted, or still constitutes, a part of the Jewish ritual any more
than the acts of the marechal de Retz and of the sacrilegious priests who practiced the
"black mass" would prove that the Church recommends in its books assassination
and human sacrifice.
Are there still in existence in the East sects maintaining such practices? It is
possible. Do Jews constitute a part of such societies? There is nothing to support such a
contention. The general accusation of ritual murder, therefore, is shown to be utterly
baseless. The murder of children, I speak of cases where murder was actually proved, and
these are very rare, can be attributed only to vengeance or to the practices of magicians,
practices which were no more peculiar to Jews than to Christians.
Among the nations of the West, the orthodox Jew likewise affords evidences of his
conservatism. He holds to the law and to the regulations of society. He knows how to
reconcile his Judaism with a spirit of patriotism, which in its excess amounts at times
almost to jingoism. As we have seen, it was only a minority of emancipated Jews who took
part in the French Revolution. These emancipated Jews, even though they might abandon
their faith, could not for all that cease to be Jews. And, indeed, how could they have
done otherwise? By embracing Christianity, it is said, a course of action followed by
some, but from which the majority have recoiled, as merely hypocrisy on their part,
inasmuch as the emancipated Jew speedily arrives at a state of irreligion. They have
therefore remained Jews by apathy. All those revolutionaries of the first half of the
nineteenth century, of whom I have spoken, were brought up in Judaism, and if they
abandoned Judaism in the sense that they no longer practiced it, they remained its
adherents in retaining the spirit of their nation.
The emancipated Jew, being no longer bound by the faith of his ancestors, and owning no
ties with the old forms of a society in the midst of which he had lived an outcast, has
become in modern nations a veritable breeder of revolutions. Now it has happened that the
emancipated Jew has drawn perceptibly nearer to the Christian unbeliever; but instead of
observing that the Christian has allied himself with the Jew, because he, too, like the
Jew, has lost his religion, the antisemites would have us believe that the  Jew, by
his very contact, has undermined the faith of the Christians who have joined him. The
Jews, therefore, are made responsible for the disappearance of religious belief, and the
general decay of faith; and in doing so, moreover, the antisemite does not distinguish
between the Jew who is still faithful to his religion and the emancipated Jew. To the
impartial observer, however, it is not the Jew that is destroying Christianity. The
Christian religion is disappearing like the Jewish religion, like all religions, which we
may now observe in their slow agony. It is passing away under the blows of reason and of
science. It is dying a natural death, because it essentially was in harmony with only one
period of civilization, and because the further we advance, the less in harmony it is with
changing conditions. From day to day our yearning for the irrational and our need of the
supernatural is disappearing, and with them our need for religion, especially for the
rites of religion: for those even who believe in God, do not believe in the necessity nor
in the efficacy of worship.
These, then, in brief, are the political and religious mainsprings of antisemitism.
First and fundamental are hereditary dislike and prejudice; then, as a result of these
prejudices, an exaggerated conception of the role which the Jews have played in the
development and organization of modern society; a conception in which the Jews appear as
the representatives of the revolutionary spirit, against the spirit of established order;
of change against tradition; a conception which makes them responsible in this age of
transition for the fall of antiquated institutions and the disappearance of ancient
The nineteenth century witnessed the last effort on the part of the Christian state to
retain its dominance. Antisemitism represents one phase of the struggle between the feudal
state, based upon unity of belief, and the opposite notion of a neutral and secular state,
upon which the greater number of political entities are at present based. The Jew is the
living testimony of the disappearance of that state which had its foundations in
theological principles and the restoration of which is the dream of the Christian
antisemite. The day when the Jew was first admitted to civil rights, the Christian state
was in danger. This is true, and the antisemites who say that the Jews have destroyed the
idea of State could more justly say that the entrance of the Jew into society marked the
destruction of the State, meaning by State, the Christian State.
226 S. Munk, loc. cit.
227 Cf. the poetic account of the Descent of St. Paul into Hell, cited by Ernest Renan
in his Averroes et l'Averroisme, p. 284.
228 E. Renan, loc. cit.
229 James Darmesteter, Coup d'oeil sur l'histoire du peuple juif, Paris, 1881.
230 p. 582.
231 See Chap. vii. -- Wolf, Bibl. Hebr., vol. iv, p. 639.
232 I hope to establish the point still more completely in my Economic History of
the Jews, of which The Role of Jew in the French Revolution forms but a part.
233 Gougenot des Mousseaux, loc. cit.
234 M. Matter, Saint Martin et le philosophe inconnu.
235 The statement is often made that Cagliostro was a Jew, but the assertion is based
on no real evidence.
236 See Emile Campardon, Le Tribunal revolutionnaire de Paris, Paris 1866. -- Proces
instruit et juge au tribunal revolutionnaire contre Hebert et ses consorts (1-4
Germinal), Paris, An. II. -- Leon Kahn, Les Juifs a Paris (Paris, 1889).
237 Capefigue, Histoire des grandes operations financieres. -- Toussenel, Les
Juifs rois de l'epoque.
238 Cretineau-Joly, Histoire du Sonderbund, p. 195 (Paris, 1850).
239 Besides Marx and Cohen, mention might be made of Neumayer, secretary of the bureau
of correspondence in Austria; Fribourg, who was one of the directors of the Parisian
Federation of the International to which belonged Loeb, Haltmayer, Lazare and Armand Levi;
Leon Frankel, director of the German section at Paris; Cohen who acted as delegate from
the Cigar Makers' Union of London to the Congress of the International held at Brussels in
1868; Ph. Coenen who, at the same Congress, represented the Antwerp section of the
International, etc. See O. Testut: L'lnternationale, Paris, 1871; and L'Internationale
au ban de l'Europe (Paris, 1871-72); Fribourg, L'Association internationale des
travailleurs (Paris, 1891).
240 Among the others Fribourg and Leon Frankel.
241 There are at present four Jewish social-democrats in the German Reichstag, and
among the younger element in the ranks of the socialists, collectivists and communistic
anarchists, the number of the Jews is very large. Of the reform part in Germany we may
mention Doctor Hertzka, the founder of the Freiland colony, an attempt at realizing the
ideal social organization. (See Eine Reise nach Freiland, von Theodor Hertzka.)
242 In April the members of the Jewish revolutionary party in London, celebrated the
anniversary of the founding of heir club in Berners Street. In reviewing the history of
the social movement among the Jews, the orator of the occasion declared that "during
the last seven years, the Jew has made his entrance as a revolutionary; and now wherever
there are Jews -- in London, in America, in Austria, in Poland, and in Russia -- there are
Jewish revolutionists and anarchists." By seven years, the speaker was referring to
the date when the proletarian class among the Jews first declared their adhesion to the
Chapter Fourteen: THE ECONOMIC CAUSES OF
AFTER being assailed as a Semite, as a stranger, as a revolutionist, as an enemy to
Christianity, the Jew is attacked as a factor in economic affairs. This has been the case
ever since the dispersion. Already before our era the Romans and the Greeks were jealous
of the privileges which permitted the Jews to carry on trade under more favourable
conditions than the rest of the people,243 and during the Middle Ages the usurer was hated
as much as, if not more than, the murderer of Christ.244 The condition of the Jews was
changed at the end of the eighteenth century; and so favourable was the change to them
that it tended to confirm, if not to increase, the feeling of antipathy with which they
were regarded. Economic antisemitism to-day is stronger than it ever was, for the reason
that to-day, more than ever, the Jew appears powerful and rich. Formerly he was not seen:
he remained hidden in his Ghetto, far from Christian eyes. He had but one care, to conceal
his wealth, that wealth of which tradition regarded him as the gatherer, and not the
proprietor. The day he was freed from his disabilities, the day the restrictions put to
his activities fell away, the Jew showed himself in public. Indeed, he showed himself with
ostentation. He wished, after centuries of imprisonment, after years of oppression, to
appear a man; and he had the naive vanity of the savage. That was his way of re-acting
upon centuries of humiliation. On the eve of the French Revolution, they saw him humble,
timid, an object of general contempt, exposed to insult and injury. They found him after
the tempest, free, liberated from every constraint, and from a slave, become a master.
Such a rapid exaltation was offensive. People were affronted by the wealth which the Jews
had now attained the right to pile up, and recourse was had at once to the old accusation
of the fathers, the charge that the Jew was an enemy to society. The wealth of the Jew, it
was said, is gained at the expense of the Christian. It is acquired  through
deception, through fraud, through oppression, by all means and principally by detestable
means. This is what I shall call the moral charge of the antisemites, and it may be summed
up thus: the Jew is more dishonest than the Christian ; he is entirely unscrupulous, a
stranger to loyalty and candour.
Is this charge well founded? It was true and still is true in all those countries where
the Jew is kept outside of society; where he receives only the traditional Talmudic
education; where he is exposed to persecution, to insult, and to oppression; where people
refuse to recognize in him the dignity and the independence of the human being. The moral
condition of the Jew is due partly to himself, and partly to exterior circumstances. His
soul has been moulded by the law which he imposed on himself, and the law which has been
forced upon him. Throughout the centuries he lived twice a slave: he was the bondman of
the law, and the bondman of everyone. He was a pariah, but a pariah whom teachers and
guides united to keep in a state of servitude more complete than the ancient bondage of
Egypt. From without, a thousand restrictions impeded his way, arrested his development,
restrained his activity; within, he was confronted by an elaborate system of prohibitions.
Outside the Ghetto, he experienced the constraint of the law; within the Ghetto, he
suffered the oppression of the Talmud. If he attempted to escape from the one, a thousand
punishments awaited him; if he ventured to depart from the other, he exposed himself to
the Cherem, that awful excommunication which left him alone to the world. It would
have been vain to attack these two hostile powers boldly; and therefore the Jew attempted
to triumph over them by guile. Both forms of oppression developed in him the instinct of
cunning. He attained to an unequaled talent for diplomacy, to a subtlety rarely found. His
natural finesse increased, but it was employed for base purposes -- to deceive a
tyrannical God and despotic rulers. The Talmud and anti-Judaic legislation united to
corrupt the Jew to his very depths. Impelled by his teachers, on the one hand, by hostile
legislation on the other, by many social causes besides,245 to the exclusive occupation of
commerce and of usury, the Jew became degraded. The pursuit of wealth ceaselessly
prosecuted, debauched him, weakened the voice of conscience within him, taught him habits
of fraud. In this war of self-preservation which he was forced to carry on against the
world and against the secular and  religious law, he could conquer only by intrigue,
and the unhappy wretch, given over to humiliations, to insults, forced to bow his head
under blows and curses and persecution, could avenge himself on his enemies, his
tormentors, his executioners only by guile. Robbery and bad faith became his weapons; they
were the only weapons of which he could possibly make use, and therefore he exerted
himself to elaborate them, to sharpen them, and to conceal them.
When the walls of the Ghetto were overthrown, the Jew, such as he had been made by the
Talmud and the legislative and social restrictions imposed upon him, did not change all at
once. Upon the morrow of the Revolution he lived just as he had lived upon its eve, nor
did he alter his customs, his manners, and, above all, his spirit, as quickly as his
condition in life had been altered. Liberated, he retained the soul of a slave, that soul
which he is losing day by day as one by one the memories of his degradation are
I have already shown how in the course of time the bourgeoisie found in the Jew a
powerful and marvelously endowed ally. During long centuries, while society was still
plunged in the barbarism of the Middle Ages, the Jew, the trader of old, well armed, well
provided with a fine mental equipment, and rich in the possession of ages of experience,
was either the representative of capital as employed in commerce and in usury, or else
aided in its creation. Nevertheless, these forms of capital did not attain their greatest
influence until the labour of centuries had prepared the way for their domination and had
transformed them into industrial and bonded capital. To accomplish this, capital needed
those two great movements, the Crusades and the discovery of America, followed by the
manifold colonial enterprises of Spain, of Portugal, of the Netherlands, of England, and
of France, all the activity, in fact, of the age of commercial development. It needed the
establishment of public credit and the rise of great banking institutions. It needed the
rise of manufactures and the scientific discoveries which brought about the invention and
the perfection of machinery. It needed all the elaborate legislation looking towards the
restriction of the labourer's rights and wages, until the moment came when the proletariat
was deprived even of the right of association; it needed all that and many other causes
besides, causes historic, religious and moral, in order to make present-day society what
it is.  Those who maintain that the Jews are the sole cause of the present state of
things succeed only in establishing their own absurdly marvelous ignorance.
Of course, as I have just said, the part played by the Jews in the development of
modern society, was important, but its true character is very little known, or, at least,
very imperfectly known, and that especially to the antisemites. It is not to this very
elementary knowledge of the economic history of the Jews that antisemitism must be
attributed. Our knowledge of the Jews since their emancipation is more complete; in
France, under the Restoration and the July Monarchy, they stood at the head of the
financial and industrial enterprise, and were among the founders of the great canal,
railway and insurance companies. In Germany their activity was exceedingly great. They
were at the bottom of all the legislation favourable to the carrying on of banking and
exchange, the practice of usury and speculation. It was they who profited by the
abolition, in 1867, of the ancient laws limiting the rate of interest. They were active in
bringing about the enactment of the law of June 1870, which exempted stock companies from
government supervision. After the Franco-German War, they were among the boldest
speculators, and at a time when German capitalists were carried away by a passion for the
creation of industrial combinations, they acted a no less important part than had the Jews
of France, from 1830 to 1848.246 Their activity persisted until the financial panic of
1873, when the country squires and the small traders who had been ruined by the excesses
of this Gründer Periode (the era of promoters) in which the Jew had played the
most important part, gave themselves up to the most violent antisemitism, such, indeed, as
proceeds only from injured interests.
Once the important part played by the Jews of this period had been proven, and, indeed,
their importance was undeniable, people proceeded to the conclusion that the Jew was the
possessor of capital par excellence. This became an added cause of hatred against
him. The Jews, it was asserted, held everything, and the word Jew, after having been a
synonym for knave, malefactor and usurer, came to be used as equivalent to rich. Every Jew
is a capitalist; such is the common belief. The error of course is deep.
There remain, about two million Jews in Western Europe and in the United States, who
may be said to belong to the middle  class. Of these two millions, however, it must
be admitted that if they were of very little importance a hundred years ago, they are of
very great importance to-day. Through their wealth, through their education, through their
relations to one another, they occupy a place far out of proportion to their numbers.
Compared with the general body of the population they are but a handful, and yet their
position in life is such that they are to be seen everywhere, and in number seem to be
legion. It is true that we must avoid the common error of comparing them with the total
population of any country, inasmuch as they do not generally live outside of towns, but
confine themselves to the cities where they play a correspondingly important part. If we
would arrive at some exact statistical basis we must compare them to the Christian
population of their own class, that is, to the bourgeoisie of commerce, industry and
finance. And yet even when we reduce the comparison to these two factors, the Jew versus
the bourgeoisie, it is still in favour of the Jew. Wherefore, then, this preponderance ?
Some Jews are in the habit of ascribing their economic supremacy to their intellectual
superiority. This boast of Jewish superiority is not altogether true, or, at least,
requires explanation. In the present bourgeois society, which is founded upon the
exploitation of capital and upon exploitation by capital, where the power of wealth is
supreme, where stock-jobbing and speculation are all-powerful, the Jew is certainly better
equipped for success than any other body. Though he may have been degraded by his
exclusive devotion to commerce through the ages, his experience has nevertheless endowed
him with certain qualities which have become of surpassing value in the new organization
of society. He is cold and calculating, supple and energetic, persevering and patient,
clear and exact, qualities which he has inherited all from his ancestors, the money
changers and traders of mediaeval times. When he devotes himself to commerce or to
finance, he naturally profits by the education which his ancestors have undergone through
centuries, an education which has rendered him, perhaps, not more suited for certain
pursuits as his vanity suggests, but certainly more adaptable to them. In the present
industrial struggle, he is better endowed, man for man -- I am speaking in general terms
-- than his competitors, and all things being equal, he must succeed because of his
superior equipment. He has no need to make use of fraud, or, at least, to make more use of
it than his neighbours, since his [l68] personal and inherited qualities are sufficient to
assure him the victory.
Still the possession of such personal gifts is not sufficient to explain the
preponderance of the Jews. Among the Christians, too, there are ancient merchant families;
a section of the bourgeoisie has inherited qualities very similar to those of the Jews,
and therefore it would seem, should be able to challenge the Jews successfully. The answer
is that there are other, farther reaching causes, arising both from the nature of the Jew
and from the character of modern society. Bourgeois society is based entirely upon
competition between man and man in the field of the daily necessities of life. It affords
us the spectacle of individuals fighting bitterly one against the other, of isolated units
stubbornly disputing the victory and making use of their own individual resources. In this
state of society Darwin's principle of the struggle of life dominates. This spirit governs
the actions of every man, and tacitly it is recognized that victory ought to belong to the
strongest, to him, that is, who is best equipped, whose body and whose spirit are most
perfectly adjusted to the social conditions of existence. If we conceive, then, in the
midst of such a community, based upon egoistic action, associations of citizens strongly
organized and gifted, animated for many centuries by the spirit of common action, and
knowing by instinct and experience, the advantages which they may derive from union, it is
certain that such organizations by directing their activity towards the same end as that
pursued by the scattered individuals around them will possess such an advantage in the
struggle as to assure them an easy victory. This is just the role which is being played by
the Jews of the middle class in modern society. They are desirous of winning the same
prizes of life as the Christian; they enter the same field of battle; they have the same
ambitions; they are just as keen, just as greedy, just as hungry for wealth, just as
foreign to any form of justice that is not the justice of their caste, or that does not
defend them against the classes they hold in subjection; they are, to sum up, just as
immoral at bottom as the Christian in the sense that they consider only the advantages
which they may obtain for themselves, and that the sole ambition of their lives is the
acquisition of material goods, of which each hopes and strives to obtain the maximum. But
in this daily struggle, the Jew, who, personally, as we have already seen, is better
endowed than his competitors, increases his  advantage by uniting with his
co-religionists possessed of similar virtues, and thus augments his powers by acting in
common with his brethren; the inevitable result being that they out-distance their rivals
in the pursuit of any common end. In the midst of a disunited middle class, whose members
are engaged in a perpetual struggle against one another, the Jews stand united as one.
This is the secret of their success. Their solidarity is all the stronger in that it goes
so far back. Its very existence is denied, and yet it is undeniable. The links in the
chain have been forged in the course of ages until the flight of centuries has made man
unconscious of their existence. It is worth our while to see how this bond of union was
formed and how it was perpetuated.
Jewish solidarity dates from the Dispersion. Jewish emigrants and colonists took up
their residence in foreign countries, and wherever they made their home they constituted a
distinct society. Their communities centered around their houses of prayer, which they
built in every town where they formed a nucleus. Everywhere they possessed numerous
important privileges (see Chapters II and III.). The Diasporoi were invaluable allies of
the Greeks in carrying on the work of eastern colonization, and strangely enough the Jews
who adopted Hellenism, assisted in turn in Hellenizing the East. As a recompense they were
allowed to retain their national homogeneity, together with full powers of
self-government. This was the case in Alexandria, in Antioch, in Asia Minor, and in the
Greek cities of Ionia. In almost every city they constituted corporations at the head of
which was an ethnarch or patriarch, who, with the assistance of a council of leaders and a
special tribunal, &laqno;exercised all the powers of civil authority and of justice.
The synagogues were "veritable small republics." They were, in addition, the
centres of religious and public life. The Jews came together in their synagogues, not only
to listen to the reading of the Law, but also for the discussion of their private affairs
and for the purpose of exchanging views upon the general course of events. All the
synagogues were closely connected in a vast federation which included within its scope the
entire ancient world, progressing parallel with the expansion of the Macedonian power and
Hellenistic civilization. They communicated with one another by messengers and kept one
another in constant touch with events, the knowledge of which was likely to prove useful.
In every city the Jewish traveler could count upon the aid of the community;  when he
arrived as an immigrant or as a settler, he was received as a brother, succoured in his
need and assisted in his designs, he was permitted to take up his home wherever he desired
and he enjoyed the protection of the community which put all its resources at his
disposal. He did not come as a stranger bound upon a difficult conquest, but as one well
equipped and with protectors, friends, and brothers by his side. Throughout Asia Minor,
the Archipelago, Cyrenaica and Egypt, a Jew might travel in perfect security; everywhere
he was treated as a guest, everywhere he proceeded straight to the house of prayer, where
he was sure to find a welcome. The Essenes carried on their propaganda in the same manner.
They, too, created their little social centres, little associations in the very heart of
the Jewish communities, and in this fashion they traveled from city to city, at their own
free will taking no thought of the morrow.
At Rome, where they lived in considerable numbers,247 the Jews were as firmly united as
in the cities of the Orient. "They are bound together by indissoluble bonds by the
ties of loving sympathy," says Tacitus.248 Thanks to their solidarity, they had
acquired at Rome, as in Alexandria, such power that political parties feared them and
sought their support. "You know," says Cicero,249 "how great is the
multitude of the Jews, how firm their union and their sympathy, how striking their
political skill and their sway over the crowd in the assemblies."
When the Roman Empire fell, when the barbarian hosts invaded the ancient world, and
triumphant Catholicism entered upon its career of expansion, the Jewish communities did
not change. They were still powerful organisms and the activity of their common life was
such as to lend them great powers of resistance. In the midst of the universal upheaval
they preserved their religious and social unity, two inseparable bonds to which they owe
their prosperity. The members of the Jewish synagogues drew still more closely together.
It was owing to this mutual support that they suffered nothing from the great changes that
were going on about them. For some time, even after the Gothic and German kingdoms had
been established Jewish communities preserved a certain degree of self-government. They
were placed under a special jurisdiction and in the midst of those new societies they
constituted veritable trading corporations in which none of the ancient solidarity was
wanting. In proportion as the nations became more hostile to the  Jews, in proportion
as persecution and oppressive legislation increased, their solidarity increased. The
external and internal forces which tended to imprison the Jews within the narrow
circumference of their Ghettoes, only served to foster the spirit of union among them.
Isolated from the world, they only tightened the bonds which held them together. Their
common life nourished the desire for, and the need of, fraternal action. In other words,
the Ghettoes developed the spirit of Jewish solidarity. In addition, the synagogues had
succeeded in preserving their authority, so that while the Jews were subject to the harsh
laws of king and of emperor, they had also a government of their own, councils of elders,
and tribunals, to whose decisions they submitted. Their general synods forbade, in fact,
any Jew under the pain of anathema, from citing a fellow Jew before a Christian
tribunal.250 Everything drove them to unity in those long years of horror and cruelty
known as the Middle Ages. Had they been disunited they would have suffered still more. By
common action they could defend themselves the more easily and escape some of the
calamities that threatened them without end. In the eleventh century a Rabbinical synod at
Worms, forbade a Jewish landlord to rent out his house, occupied by a Jew, to a Gentile
without the consent of the tenant251 and a council of the twelfth century forbade a Jew,
under the pain of anathema, to bring a fellow Jew before a Christian tribunal. The Jewish
community, or Kahal, made use of a powerful weapon against those who proved themselves
lacking in the spirit of solidarity; it struck them with anathema and pronounced against
them the Cherem Hakahal (the ban of the community) .
In this manner, the action of time, the influence of hostile legislation and of
religious persecution, and the need for mutual defense, have intensified the feeling of
fellowship among the Jews. In our own day the powerful institution of the Kahal exerts its
influence wherever the Jew is subjected to a rigorous regime, and even the reformed Jew,
who has broken away from the narrow restrictions of the synagogue, and yields no obedience
to the will of the community) has not forgotten the spirit of solidarity.252 Once having
acquired the sentiment of union and fostered it by the habit of ages, they could not get
rid of it in getting rid of their faith. It had become a social instinct, and social
instincts, slowly formed, are slow to disappear. A Jew will always obtain assistance from
his  co-religionists, provided he be found faithful to the ties of Jewish
brotherhood; but, if on the contrary, he prove hostile to the sentiment of Jewish unity,
he will meet with nothing but hostility. The Jew, even though he may have departed from
the synagogue, is still a member of the Jewish free-masonry,253 of the Jewish clique, if
United, then, by the strongest feelings of solidarity, the Jews can easily hold their
own in this disjointed and anarchic society of ours. If the millions of Christians by whom
they are surrounded were to substitute this same principle of co-operation for that of
individual competition, the importance of the Jew would immediately be destroyed. The
Christian, however, will not adopt such a course, and the Jew must inevitably, I will not
say dominate, the favourite expression of the antisemites, but certainly possess the
advantage over others, and exercise that supremacy against which the antisemites inveigh,
without being able to destroy it, seeing that its reason lies not only in the middle class
among the Jews, but in the Christian bourgeoisie as well.
If we keep in mind, then, this conception of Jewish fellowship and the fact that the
Jews at present, constitute an organized minority, we are not unjust in concluding that
antisemitism is, in part, a mere struggle among the rich, a contest among the possessors
of capital. In truth, it is the capitalist, the merchant, the manufacturer, the financier,
among the Christians, who feels himself injured by the Jews, and not the Christian
proletariat, who suffer no more from the class of Jewish employers than from their
Christian masters; less, indeed, if we consider that in a case like this, where numbers
count, the entrepreneur class among the Jews by comparison with the Christians amounts to
little. This will explain why antisemitism is essentially the sentiment of the middle
classes, and why it is so rarely met with, except in the form of a vague prejudice among
the mass of the peasants and the working classes.
This war within the ranks of capital does not reveal itself after the same fashion; it
presents rather two aspects, according as it arises from the hostility between the
landowning class and the capitalist class in the narrower sense, or from competition
within the industrial class itself.
The agrarian capitalist, in his contest against the captain of industry, has embraced
antisemitism, because to the territorial  lord, the Jew is the representative of
commercial and industrial capitalism. For this reason, in Germany, the Agrarian
Protectionists, are bitter enemies of the Jews, who are among the most conspicuous
champions of free trade. By instinct and self-interest the Jews are opposed to the
physiocratic theory which would vest political power only in the owners of land; they
maintain rather the theory of modern industrialism, which makes political power go hand in
hand with industrial development. Jews and Agrarians both are probably unconscious, as
individuals, of the part they are playing in the economic struggle, but their mutual
hatred comes from this source, nevertheless. The man of the lower middle class, the small
tradesman whom speculation has probably ruined has much clearer ideas of why he is an
antisemite. He knows that reckless speculation, with its attendant panics, has been his
bane, and for him, the most formidable jugglers of capital, the most dangerous speculators
are the Jews; which, indeed, is very true. Those even whose downfall has not been caused
by speculation, ascribe their misfortunes indirectly to this cause which has destroyed a
great part of the industrial and commercial capital of the world. But here, as everywhere,
they make the Jew responsible for a state of things, of which he is far from being the
The other form of economic antisemitism is more simple. It arises from the direct
competition between Jewish and Christian brokers, manufacturers, and merchants. The
Christian capitalist, acting for the most part, independently of his fellows, when
confronted by the harmonious, if not united, opposition of the Jewish capitalists, finds
himself necessarily at a disadvantage, and in the daily struggle for life frequently
succumbs to his adversaries. He, therefore, suffers directly, from the rise of Jewish
manufacturers and merchants. Hence his extreme animosity against the Jews, and the desire
to break the power of his fortunate rivals. This is the most violent, the most bitter of
all the manifestations of antisemitism, because it is the expression of the sentiments of
those who feel themselves injured in their personal interests.
This prejudice against the Jews has prevailed to the present day, secret, instinctive
rather than deliberate, and acquired by heredity. People still feel an intense bitterness
against the deicides, and glance with no favourable eye at their riches, for they still
find it difficult to understand how this tribe of miscreants and murderers, doomed to
perdition, can legitimately be the owners of wealth.  The belief is still held that
the Jew cannot acquire wealth without plundering the sons of the soil -- every owner of
land looking upon himself as its child. If economic antisemitism therefore must be
regarded as the manifestation of a struggle within the ranks of capital, we must not
forget, too, that it is an outcome of the opposition between national and foreign wealth.
243 Chap. ii.
244 Chap. v.
245 Chap. v.
246 Otto Glagau, loc. cit.
247 E. Renan estimates the number of Jews in Rome at the time of Nero at from twenty to
thirty thousand (L'Antechrist, p. 7, note 2).
248 Hist. v. 5.
249 Pro Flacco, xxviii.
250 These synods frequently met after the twelfth century, and constituted the first
general assemblies of the Rabbis since the closing of the Talmud. Jacob Tam (Rabbenu
Tam), the founder of the school of Tossafists, was the first to bring about the
reunion of such assemblies, for the purpose, undoubtedly, of considering means of common
resistance to persecution.
251 Jost, Geschichte der Juden, Berlin, 1820, Vol. 2.
252 The Alliance Israelite Universelle, founded in 1860 by Adolphe Cremieux, and
numbering at present more than thirty thousand members, has served only to foster the
fraternal spirit among the Jews. The aims of the Alliance are to ameliorate the
intellectual and moral conditions of the Jews in the Orient by the establishment of
schools, to take measures for their relief from oppression, and to bring about their
complete emancipation .
253 I am not speaking, of course, of Masonic lodges, but use the word Free Masonry in
the broad meaning of the term.
Chapter Fifteen: THE FATE OF ANTISEMITISM
WE have seen then that the causes of antisemitism are, in their nature, ethnic,
religious, political and economic. They are all causes of far reaching importance, and
they exist not because of the Jew alone, nor because of his neighbours alone, but
principally because of prevailing social conditions. Ignorant of the real cause of their
sentiments, those who profess antisemitism, justify their opinion by accusations against
the Jew which, as we have seen, do not at all agree with facts. Charges racial, charges
religious, charges political and economic, none of these grievances of antisemitism are
well founded. Some, like the ethnic grievance arise from a false conception of race;
others like the religious and political charges, are due to a narrow and incomplete
interpretation of historical evolution; and last of all, the economic count, has its
justification in the necessity of concealing the strife going on within the capitalist
class. None of these accusations is justified. It is no more correct to say that the Jew
is a pure Semite than it would be to say that the European peoples are pure Aryans.
Still though the Jews are not a race, they were, until our own days, a nation. They did
not fail to perpetuate their national characteristics, their religion and their
theological code, which was at the same time a social code. Though they were never guilty
of working for the destruction of Christianity, and were never organized in a secret
conspiracy against Jesus, they did lend aid to those who assailed the Christian religion,
and in all attacks on the Church, they were ever in the front rank. In the same way, even
if they did not constitute a vast secret society, implacably pursuing through the
centuries as its object, the undermining of monarchy, they did render important aid to the
cause of Revolution. In the nineteenth century they were among the most ardent adherents
of the liberal, social, and revolutionary parties, to which they contributed men like
Lasker and Disraeli, Cremieux, Marx and Lassalle, not counting the obscure herd of
agitators. To the revolu-  tionary cause, too, they contributed their wealth.
Finally, as I have just said, if they did not, by themselves, erect the throne of
triumphant capitalism on the ruins of the old regime they were instrumental in its
erection. Thus are the Jews found at the opposite poles of modern society. On the one hand
they labour assiduously at that enormous concentration of wealth, which, no doubt, is
bound to result in its expropriation by the State; on the other hand, they are among the
most bitter foes of capital. Opposed to the Jewish money baron, the product of exile, of
Talmudism, of hostile legislation and persecution, stands the Jewish revolutionist, the
child of biblical and prophetic tradition, that same tradition which animated the fanatic
Anabaptists of Germany in the sixteenth century, and the Puritan warriors of Cromwell. In
the midst of the many transformations which our age has witnessed, they have not remained
inactive; indeed, it is their activity which has, I will not say caused, but rather
perpetuated, antisemitism, for antisemitism is but the successor of the anti-Judaism of
the Middle Ages. Long ago, in Spain, the persecution of the Moriscoes and the Marranos was
an attempt to eliminate a foreign element in the Spanish nation; and in the same way the
Jews were regarded as a strange tribe, a horde of deicides, whose aim was by propaganda to
infuse their spirit into the Christian peoples, and in addition, to obtain possession of
great wealth, the importance of which was becoming apparent even during the early years of
the Mediaeval period. Antisemitism, at present, finds different expression from that of
former times; the charges brought against the Jew have also varied, in that they are
formulated after a different fashion and are given a basis of ethnologic and anthropologic
theory; but the causes have not altered appreciably, and modern antisemitism differs from
the anti-Judaism of former times only in that it is more self-conscious, more pragmatic,
and more deliberate. At the bottom of the antisemitism of our own days, as at the bottom
of the anti-Judaism of the thirteenth century are the fear of, and the hatred for, the
stranger. This is the primal cause of all antisemitism, the never failing cause. It
appears in Alexandria under the Ptolemies, in Rome during the lifetime of Cicero, in the
Greek cities of Ionia, in Antioch, in Cyrenaica, in feudal Europe, and in the modern state
whose soul is the spirit of nationality.
Let us leave now this old anti-Judaism and concern ourselves only with the antisemitism
of modern times. A product of the  spirit of national exclusiveness and of a reaction
on the part of the conservative spirit against the tendencies set into motion by the
Revolution, all the causes which have brought it about, or have served to maintain it, may
be reduced to this one only: the Jews are not as yet assimilated; that is to say, they
have not yet given up their belief in their own nationality. By the practice of
circumcision, by the observation of their special rules of prayer and their dietary
regulations, they still continue to differentiate themselves from those around them; they
persist in being Jews. Not that they are incapable of the sentiment of patriotism -- the
Jews in certain countries, as in Germany, have contributed more than anybody else to the
realization of national unity -- but they seem to solve the apparently unsolvable problem
of constituting an integral part of two nationalities; if they are Frenchmen, or if they
are Germans, they are also Jews.
Why is this so? Because everything has contributed to maintain their peculiar
characteristics as a people; because they have been the possessors of a religion which is
national in character, and which had its perfect reason for existence while the Jews
constituted a people, but which ceased to be of service after the Dispersion and now tends
only to keep them apart from the rest of the world; because all over Europe they have
established colonies jealous of their prerogatives, and clinging firmly to their customs,
to their religious practices, to their manners of life; because they have been living for
ages under the domination of a theological code, which has rendered them immobile; because
the laws of the numerous countries in which they have made their abode, together with
prejudice and persecution, have prevented them from mingling with the body of the people;
because since the second exodus, since their departure, that is, from Palestine, they have
raised around themselves, and others have raised around them rigid and insurmountable
barriers. Such as they are they are the result of a slow process of creation, on their own
part, and on the part of others: their intellectual and moral life is what it is, because
others made it their object to differentiate the Jews from the world, and the Jews
themselves devoted themselves to the same object. They feared defilement through contact,
and they were feared in turn as a source of defilement. Their doctors forbade them to
unite with the Christians, and the Christian lawmakers forbade all union with the Jews. Of
their own impulse they devoted themselves to  the occupation of money-changing, and
they were forbidden to exercise any other profession than that; of their own accord, they
separated themselves from the world, and they were forced by others to remain in the
Here we find ourselves confronted with a most serious objection. The antisemites are
not content with saying that the Jew belongs to a different race, and is therefore a
stranger, but they declare that he is by nature an element which can never be assimilated;
and even if some of them admit that the Jew may become a constituent part in the
composition of nations, they would have it that such an amalgamation is only detrimental
to that nation. The Semite, it is maintained, saps the strength of and destroys the Aryan,
and this in spite of the antisemitic theory that the superior race is bound to overcome
the inferior race without being in the least affected by it. Are the Jews then incapable
of assimilation? Not the least in the world, and their entire history proves the contrary.
It shows us254 how large is the number of Jews who have become mixed with the other
nations through baptism, how numerous were their conversions in the Middle Ages; how many
Jews have been absorbed by the surrounding population, going over of their own free will
to Christ, or driven to the baptismal font by the violence of monks and fanatical kings.
Jews, in short, of whom we can no longer find any trace, just as we can no longer find any
traces of the Goths, the Alamani and the Suevi, who with many other peoples united to form
the French nation. At all times the Jew, like all Semites, has been in touch with the
Aryan; at all times there has been intercommunication between the two races, and nothing
can serve better to prove that their assimilation is possible. If we find certain
resemblances between the Spanish Jew and the Jew of Russia255 we find also marked
differences, and these differences are due not only to the absorption of other races,
attracted and converted by the Jew, but are the result also of the Jew's natural
environment, social, moral, and intellectual. The Jewish type has varied not only
geographically, but has changed through time; it is a truism that the Jew of the Roman
Ghetto was not the same as the Jew who fought under Bar-Cochba, just as the Jew of our
great European cities does not resemble the Jew of the Middle Ages. The Jew has been no
exception to this law of human evolution, and it is not the snows of Poland, or the
burning suns of Spain that have been the principal factors in his development. He has been
reduced to a  state of putrefaction by the hostile laws of the nations in which he
lived, and by his religion, a powerful and fearful religion, like all non-metaphysical
religions which are characterized predominantly by a ritual and a Law. For the Jew this
religion and this Law have always been the same, in all times and all places. They have
been constant forces in his development, both externally and internally.
But during the last hundred years, these seemingly constant factors have undoubtedly
undergone a change.256 There are no longer external legislative restrictions on the Jew;
the special laws to which he was formerly subjected have been abolished, and henceforth,
he is amenable only to the laws of the country of which he is a citizen (and these laws,
let me remark, differing with every country constitute in themselves a factor of
differentiation for the Jew). With the disappearance of discriminating laws, his own
peculiar laws have also disappeared. The Jew no longer lives apart, but shares in the
common life; is no longer a stranger to the civilization of the countries which have
received him; has no longer a literature of his own; nor manners that mark him as
different from others. In short, he has adapted himself to the mode of life of whatever
nation he adheres to. And as these modes of life differ from nation to nation, they serve
to create marked differences among the Jews themselves, with the progress of time creating
more and more striking variety among them. Day by day they are departing from the class of
occupations and the type of religion peculiar to the Jew.
Still more important, however, is the fact that the Talmudic spirit is slowly
vanishing. Such schools of the Talmud as still exist in Western Europe are disappearing
day by day: the modern Jew is not even able to read Hebrew; freed from the bonds of the
rabbinical code, the synagogue of the present day professes at most a sort of ceremonial
deism, and deism itself is losing its strength with the modern Jew, making every reformed
Jew ready for rationalism. Nor is it only Talmudism that is dying, but the Jewish religion
itself is in its death agony. It is the oldest of all existing religions, and it would
seem right that it should be the first to disappear. Direct contact with the Christian
world has started it upon its course of dissolution. For a long time it has endured as all
bodies endure which are deprived of light and air: but once a breach is made in the cavern
in which it has been sleeping, the sun and the fresh breath of the outside air have
entered and it has  fallen apart. Together with the Jewish religion, the Jewish
spirit is vanishing. True it is that that was the spirit which animated Heine and Boerne,
Marx and Lassalle, but they were still the products of the Jewry; they were cradled in
traditions which the young Jews of to-day overlook or despise. At the present time, if
there is still such a thing as Jewish personality, it tends to disappear. What religious
persecution could not bring about, the decline of religious faith, based upon national
ideal has accomplished. The emancipated Jew, freed alike from hostile legislation and
obscurant Talmudism, far from being an element to absorb others, has become an element
that can be readily absorbed. In certain countries, as in the United States, the
distinction between Jews and Christians is rapidly disappearing.257 It is vanishing from
day to day, because from day to day the Jews are abandoning their ancient prejudices,
their peculiar modes of worship, the observance of their special laws of prayer and their
dietary regulations. They no longer persist in the belief that they are destined always to
remain a people; they no longer dream -- a touching dream, perhaps, but ridiculous -- that
they have an eternal mission to fulfill. The time will come when they shall be completely
eliminated; when they shall be merged into the body of the nations, after the same manner
as the Phoenicians, who, having planted their trading stations all over Europe disappeared
without leaving a trace behind them. By that time, too, antisemitism will have run its
course. The moment, to be sure, is not near; the number of orthodox Jews is still great,
and as long as they exist it would seem that antisemitism must exist.
If Judaism, then, is in the process of dissolution, neither is Catholicism or
Protestantism gaining in strength, and we may venture to say that every external form of
religion is losing its influence. On the one hand, we are advancing towards a narrow and
stupid materialism, opposed to all religious feeling; on the other, our way is towards a
state of philosophic and moral unreligion which shall be "a degree higher than
religion or civilization itself."258 At the same time while these tendencies are
increasing, religious prejudice is tending to disappear, and the prejudice of Christian
against Jew, and of Jew against Christian, persistent, in its way, as the prejudice of the
Catholic against the Protestant, cannot possibly be the only one to remain. Even now it is
decreasing in intensity, and the time is near, no doubt, when every Jew will no
longer be held responsible for the sufferings of Jesus on Calvary. With the steady
extinction of religious animosities, one of the causes of antisemitism must disappear, and
antisemitism itself must lose much of its violence, though exist it will, so long as the
economic and ethnic causes which have made it, endure.
The spirit of national egotism and self-sufficiency, however strong it may be at
present is also showing signs of decay. Other ideas have arisen, which from day to day are
gaining in influence; they enter into the spirits of men, they impress themselves upon
their understanding, they engender new conceptions and new forms of thought. The
brotherhood of nations which formerly was a mere chimera, may be dreamt of now, without
transcending the limits of common sense. The sentiment of human solidarity is growing
stronger; and the number of thinkers and writers who labour at furthering its growth is
increasing from day to day. The nations are coming into closer touch, and are learning to
know one another better, admire one another, love one another. Increased facilities of
communication tend to favour the development of the cosmopolitan spirit, and this spirit
of cosmopolitanism will unite one day the most diverse of races in a peaceful Federation
of definite entities, substituting universal altruism for selfish patriotism. The Jews are
bound to profit by this decline of national exclusiveness, in that it must coincide with
the partial elimination of their own peculiar characteristics. The progress of
internationalism must bring about the decay of antisemitism. Parallel with the decline of
national prejudices the Jews will witness the economic causes of antisemitism losing their
force. At present the Jews are assailed as the representatives of foreign wealth. It is
therefore just to suppose that when the animosity against things foreign shall have
disappeared, Jewish capital will no longer be an object of attack for Christian capital.
Competition will, of course, persist in spite of all this, and those Jews who persist in
maintaining their national identity, will always remain the objects of an hostility based
upon this competitive struggle.
Other events, however, and other changes may bring about the disappearance of these
economic causes. In the struggle which is now on between the proletariat and the
industrial and financial classes, we shall possibly see Jewish and Christian capitalists
forgetting their differences to unite against a common enemy. If present social conditions
persist, however, such a union of the  Christian and Jewish bourgeoisie can only
bring about a temporary truce. From the battle which must inevitably be fought out, the
indications are that Capital cannot come out the victor. Founded upon egoism, upon
selfishness, upon injustice, upon lies, and upon theft, our present society is doomed to
disappear. However brilliant it may appear, however resplendent, refined, luxurious,
magnificent, it is stricken with death. It has been weighed morally and found wanting. The
bourgeoisie which exercises all political power because it holds control of all economic
agencies, will draw upon its resources in vain; in vain will it appeal to all the armies
that defend it, to all the tribunals of justice that watch over it, to all the legal codes
that protect it; it will not be able to withstand the inflexible laws which day by day are
working towards the substitution of communal property for the capitalistic regime.
Everything is tending to bring about such a consummation. Such is the irony of things
that antisemitism which everywhere is the creed of the conservative class, of those who
accuse the Jews of having worked hand in hand with the Jacobins of 1789 and the Liberals
and Revolutionists of the nineteenth century, this very antisemitism is acting, in fact,
as an ally of the Revolution. Drumont in France, Pattai in Hungary, Stoecker and von
Boeckel in Germany are co-operating with the very demagogues and revolutionists whom they
believe they are attacking. This antisemitic movement, in its origin reactionary, has
become transformed and is acting now for the advantage of the revolutionary cause.
Antisemitism stirs up the middle class, the small tradesmen, and sometimes the peasant,
against the Jewish capitalist, but in doing so it gently leads them toward Socialism,
prepares them for anarchy, infuses in them a hatred for all capitalists, and, more than
that, for capital in the abstract. And thus, unconsciously, antisemitism is working its
own ruin, for it carries in itself the germ of destruction.
Such, then, is the probable fate of modern antisemitism. I have tried to show how it
may be traced back to the ancient hatred against the Jews; how it persisted after the
emancipation of the Jews, how it has grown and what are its manifestations. In every way I
am led to believe that it must ultimately perish, and that it will perish for the various
reasons which I have indicated, because the Jew is undergoing a process of change; because
religious, political, social, and economic conditions are likewise changing;  but
above all, because antisemitism is one of the last, though most long lived, manifestations
of that old spirit of reaction and narrow conservatism, which is vainly attempting to
arrest the onward movement of the Revolution.
254 Chap. x.
255 I am speaking of the Jews who have remained true to their faith.
256 I must repeat once more that I am speaking now only of the Jews of Western Europe,
who have been admitted to the rights of citizenship in the countries where they live, and
not of the Jews of the East, who are still subject to discriminating laws, as in Roumania,
in Russia, in Morocco, and in Persia.
257 Henry George, Progress and Poverty.
258 M. Guyau, L'lrreligion de l'avenir, Paris, 1893.
1 Antisemitism in Antiquity
Apion: Tractatus contra Judaeos
Cicero: Pro Flacco
Ovid: Ars amatoria
Petronius: Fragm. poet.
Pliny: Hist. nat.
Seneca: De superstitione
Josephus, Flavius: Contra Apionem -- Apologia --Antiquitates Judaeorum
Philo: Legatio ad Caium -- In Flaccum -- de Charitate
"The Sybylline Books"; mid 2nd to mid 1st century B.C.
"The Wisdom of Solomon"; 1st century B.C.
N. Bentwich: Philo-Judaeus of Alexandria, 1910.
Reinach, Theodore: Textes d'Auteurs Grecs et Romains Relatifs au Judaisme, 1895
2 Christian Anti-Judaism to the Reformation
CHRISTIAN APOLOGISTS, ANTI-JEWISH POLEMICS
Alfonso of Valladolid: Batallos de Dios
Alonzo de Spina: Fortalitium Fidei 1494
Amolon: Epistola seu liber contra judaeos
Ariston of Pella: Altercation of Jason and Papiscus
Cedrenus: Disputatio contra Judaeos
Commodian: Instrustiones adversus Centium Deos
Crepin, Gilbert: Disputatio ludeicum Christiano de Fide Christiana
Cyprian: De Catholicae Ecclesiae Unitate
Dagobard: De Insolentia Judaeorum
Eusebius: Preparatio Evangelica
Evagrius: Altercation of Simon and Theophilus
Francisco de Torrejoncillo: Centinela contra Judios
Isidore of Seville: De Fide Catholica ex vetere et novo Testamento contra Judaeos
Jerome de Santa Fe: Hebreomastyx
Lactantius: Divinae Institutiones
Luther, M: The Jews and their Lies, 1558
Maiol, Simon: Dierum canicularium
Martin, Raymund: Capistro Judaeorum -- Pugio Fidei
Nicholas de Lyra: Postilla -- De Messia
Origen: Contra Celsum
Paul de Santa Maria: Examination of the Holy Writ
Paul de la Caballeria: Tractatus Zelus Christi contra Judaeos, Saracenos et
Pierre de Blois: Liber contra Perfidia Judaeorum, 1519
Pierre de Cluny: Tractatus adversus Judaeorum inveteratam duritiam Pfefferkorn:
Hostis Judaeorum, 1509
Rigord: Gesta Philippi Augusti
St. Justin: Dialogue with Tryphon -- Letter to Diognetus
Theophanus: Contra Judeos
JEWISH APOLOGISTS, ANTl-CHRlSTlAN POLEMICS:
Crescas Hasdai: Tratado
Duran Profiat: Kelimmat ha-Goyim
Duran Simon ben Zemah: Keshet-u-Magen
Kimhi, Joseph: Nizzachon -- Sefer ha-Berit
Levi, Judah ha-: Cuzari
Maimonides, Moses: Moreh Nebukhim
Moses Cohen of Tordesillas: Ezer-ha-Emunah
Ibn Gabirol, Solomon ben Judah: Fons Vitae
Ibn Pulgar: Ezer ha-Dat
Jacob ben Reuben: Sefer Mihhamot Adonai
Shem-Tob ben Isaac ibn Shaprut: Eben Bohan
Troki, Isaac: Hizzuk Emunah, 2 vols. (tr. into Latin, German, Spanish, English)
Isaac ben Nathan: Tokahut Mat'eh, Mibzar Yizhuk
Meir ben Simon of Narbonne: Milhemet Mizwah
Mordecai ben Josiphiah: Mahuzik ha-Emunah
Brieli: Hassugot 'al Sifre ha-Shilluhim
Farissol, Abraham: Magen Abraham
Moses of Salerno: Ma 'amar ha Emunah, Ta 'anot
Solomon ben Jekuthiel: Mikhamot Adonai
Lipman Mülhausen: Nizzachon
Reuchlin: Mirror of the Eyes
Isaac Cardoso: Fuenta Clara las Excellencias y Calumnias de los hebreos
Nahamios de Castro: Tratado de Calumnia
Saul Levi Morteira: Tractado de la Verdad de la Ley
Spinoza: Tractatus Theologico-Politicus
H. Graetz: The Influence of Judaism on the Protestant Reformation, 1867
I. Loeb: La Controuerse Religieuse entre les Chretiens et les Juifs du Moyen-age,
S. Munke: Melanges de Philisophie juive et arabe
L. I Newman, Rabbi: Jewish Influence on Christian Reform Movements,
Robert, Ulysse: Les Signes d'infamie au Moyenage, 1891
Roth, C.: A History of the Marranos, 1932
D. de Sola: "The Influence of some Jewish apostates on the Reformation "Jewish
3 Reformation to the French Revolution
Acosta, Uriel: Exemplar Vitae Humanae 1687
Bossuet: Discours sur l'Histoire Universelle
Croullardiere, Pean de la: Methode facile pour convaincre les heretiques, 1667
Duguet: Regles pour I'Intelligence des Saintes Ecritures
Dury, John: A Case of Conscience, 1655
Eisenmenger: Judaism Unveiled
1700 Giustiniani, Augustin: Linguae Hebreae, 1656
Hallevy, Judah: Liber Cosri, 1660
Otton, Conrad: Gali Razzia, 1605
Piere de Lancre: L'incredulite et mecreance du sortilege pleinement convaincue,
Rondet: Dissertation sur le rappel des Juits, 1778
Roth, C.: Menasseh Ben Israel, 1945
Voetius: Disputationes Selectae, 1663
Voisin, Joseph de: Theologia Judaeorum, 1647
Wagenseil: Tela ignea Satanae 1681
Wolf, L.: "Cromwell's Jewish Intelligencers", Jewish Literary Annual,
4 The French Revolution
Barruel: Memoires sur le Jacobinisme, 1789
Blanc, Louis: Histoire de la Revolution française
Campardon, E.: Le Tribunal Revolutionnaire de Paris, 1866
Dohm: De la Reforme Politique des Juifs
Gregoire: Essai sur la Regeneration des Juifs
Kahn, Leon: Les Juifs a Paris, 1889
Malet, Chevalier de: Essai sur la Secte des Illumines, 1789 Recherches
Petition des Juifs etablis en France addressee a l'Assemblee nationale, le 28
Webster, N. H.: The French Revolution, 1919
5 Antisemitism in Russia
Adler C.: Jacob Schiff -- His Life and Letters, 1929
Aubert, maitre: Bolshevism's Terrible Record, 1924
Errera, Leo: Les Juifs russes, 1893
Fahey, Rev. Denis: The Rulers of Russia
Fejto, Ferenc (Francois): Les Juifs et l'Antisemitisme dans les Pays Communistes,
Frederic, Harold: The New Exodus, 1892
Gradovski, N. de: La Situation legale des Israelites en Russie, 1891
Lenin: The Jewish Question
Leroy-Beaulieu: L'Empire des Tzars et les Russes
Sarolea, Charles: Impressions of Soviet Russia, 1924
Tikhomirov: Les Juifs de Russie, 1891
"The Persecution of the Jews in Russia" -- Russo-Jewish Committee,
Weber et Kempster: La Situation des Juifs en Russie
Wilton, Robert: Russia's Agony, 1918
Yarmolinsky, Avrahm: The Jews and other minorities under the Soviets
6 Antisemitisrn and the Talmud
Drach (ex-Rabbi), Chevalier P. L. B.: De l'Harmonie entre l'Eglise et la Synagogue,
Freedman, Benjamin: Facts are Facts, 1955
Gougenot des Mousseaux: Le Juif, le Judaisme et la Judaisation des peuples chretiens,
Lemann, the Fathers: La Question du Messie et le Concile du Vatican, 1869
Mielziner M.: Introduction to the Talmud
Nossig, Aifred: Integrales Judentum, 1922
Rodkinson, M.: The History of the Talmud
Rohling, A.: Le Juif selon le Talmud, 1888
Rupert: L'Eglise et la Synagogue, 1859
7 Antisemitism and Kabbalism and Magic
Christian, Dr.: The Kabbalah, 1920
Davies: Magic, Divination and Demonology among the Hebrews and their Neighbours,
Ginsburg, C . D.: Kabbalah 1865
Levi, Eliphas: Histoire de la Magie
Mathers, S. L. MacGregor: The Kabbalah Unveiled 1887
Monod, Bernard: Juifs, sorciers et heretiques au moyenage, 1903
Rhodes, H. T. F.: The Satanic Mass, 1965
Vulliaud, Paul: La Kabbale Juive, 1923
A. E. Waite: The Doctrine and Literature of the Kabbalah, 1902
The Holy Kabbalah, 1929
8 Antisemitism and tbe Blood Accusation
AGAINST THE ACCUSATION
Menasse-ben-Israel: Vindiciae Judaeorum, 1656
Roth, C.: The Ritual Murder Libel and the Jews 1935
Strack, H. L.: The Jews and Human Sacrifice, 1900
SUPPORTING THE ACCUSATION
Leese, A. S.: Jewish Ritual Murder, 1938
Monniot, A.: Le Crime Rituel chez les Juifs, 1914
Prynne, William: A Short Demurrer to the Jews long dissontinued Remitter into
9 Antisemitism and Freemasonry
Clavel: Historie Pittoresque de la Franc-Maçonnerie, 1843
Goodman, Paul: B'nai B'rith, 1936
Haute Vente Romaine (Alta Vendita) Correspondence of, 1846
Mackey, A. G.: Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, 1905 etc.
MARTIN, G.: La Franc-Maçonnerie française et la preparation de la revolution 1925
Mellor, A.: Nos Freres Separes Les Francs-Maçons, 1961 La Franc-Maçonnerie
a l'Heure du choix, 1963
Originalschriften des Illuminaten Ordens, 1787
Pike, Albert: Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of
Ragon: Cours Philosophique
Vindex: Light Invisible, 1964
A. E. Waite: The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry, 1911; etc.
Cahill, Rev. E.: Freemasonry and the Anti-Christian Movement, 1959
Cretineau-Joly: L'Eglise Romaine en face de la Revolution, 1859.
Deschamps, Rev. N., S.J.: Les Societes Secretes et la Societe, 1881
Dillon, Mgr. G.: Grand Orient Freemasonry Unmasked as the Power Behind Communism,
Eckert: La Franc-Maçonnerie dans sa veritable signification, 1854
Hannah, Rev. W.: Darkness Visible, 1963 Christian by Degrees, 1964
Lecouteux de Canteleu, Comte: Les Sectes et societies secretes, 1863
Leo XIII, Pope: Humanum Genus, 1884
Poncins, Vicomte Leon de: The Secret Powers behind Revolution, 1929
Webster, N. H.: World Revolution 1921
Secret Societies and Subrersive Movements, 1964
10 Reference Books
Aurnoin: Chronique Moissiacensis
Bartolocci: Magna Bibliotheca Rabbinica, 1693-95
Bielski: Chronicon Rerum Ponolicarum
Buxtorf: Dictionnaire chaldeo-talmudico-rabbinique, 1639
Catholic Encyclopedia, The
Encyclopaedia Britannica, The (Art. "Antisemitism" by L. Wolf)
Fabricius: Bibliotheca Latina
Halphen: Recueil des Lois et Decrets concernant les Israelites, 1851
Jewish Encyclopedia, The, Funk & Wagnall Edition, New York, 1901-1906 see
Articles: Antisemitism, Apologists, Apostasy, Blood Accusation, Conversion, Disputations,
Freemasonry, Polemics, Talmud
Kayserling: Bibliotheca Espanola-Portugueza-Judaica, 1890
Migne: Patrologie latine (P.L.)
Patrologie gresque (P.G.)
Quetif: Bibliotheca Scriptorum Dominicanorum
Regesta Pontificum Romanorum, Jafle edition
Rerue des Etudes Juives
Rodriguez, de Castro, Joseph: Bibliotheca espanola, 1781
Rossi, B. de: Bibliotheca ludaica Antichristiana, 1800
Transactions of the Jewish Historical Society
Wolf, J. C.: Bibliotheca Hebreae, 1721
11 General Bibliography
Abbott, G F. : Israel in Euro pe
Amadore de los Rios: Histoire des Juits d'Espagne, 1875
Basnage: Histoire des Juits
Benamozegh, Elie: Israel et l'Humanite, 1961
Capefigue: Histoire des grandes operations financiees, 1855
Corti, Count: The Rise of the House of Rothschild, 1928 The Reign of the
House of Rothschild, 1928
Crosland: T. W. H.: The Fine Old Hebrew Gentleman, 1930
Darmesteter, J.: Coup d'oeil sur l'histoire du peuple juif, 1881
Dimont, Max I.: Jews, Cod and History, 1964
Drumont: La France Juive, 1886 Testament d'un Antisemite, 1891
Fauchille, Paul: La Question juive en France sous le premier Empire, 1884
Fejto, Ferenc (Francois): Dieu et son Juif, 1960
Fleg, E.: Pourquoi je suis juif, 1928 Israel et moi, 1936
Fourier: Le Nouveau Monde industriel et societaire, 1848
Fribourg: L' Association internationale des travailleurs, 1891
Gobineau, Comte de: L'lnegalite des races
Golding, Louis: The Jewish Problem, 1938
Graetz, H.: History of the Jews, 2 vols., 1891-92
Gumplowicz, L.: La Lutte des races, 1893
Guyau, M.: L'lrreligion de l'avenir, 1893
Herford, R. Travers: The Pharisees, 1924
Herzl, T .:The Jewish State, 1936
Hyamson; A. M.: History of the Jews in England, 1929
Isaac, Jules: Genese de l'Antisemitisme, 1948, 1956 Jesus et Israel,
1946, 1959 The Christian Roots of Antisemitism, 1965 (Tr. by J. Parkes)
Jacobs, J.: Jewish Contributions to Civilisation, 1919
Jehouda, Joshua: L'Antisemitisme, Miroir du Monde, 1958
Jost: Geschichte der Juden, 1820
Kadmi-Kohen, Nomades, 1929
Lavocat: Proces des Freres de l'ordre du Temple, 1888
Ledrain: Histoire du peuple d'lsrael
Leroy-Beaulieu, A: Israel parmi les nations, 1893
Levison, Leon: The Jew in History, 1916
Lewisohn, Ludwig: Israel, 1925
Madaule, Jacques: Les Juifs et le monde actuel, 1963
Memmi, A.: Portrait of a Jew, 1963
Mendoza y Bovadilla, Francisco: El Tizon de la Nobleza Espanol, 1880
Neumann: Permanent Revolution, 1942
Parkes, James: The Conflict of the Church and the Synagogue, 1934 An Enemy of
the People Antisemitism, 1945 The Emergence of the Jewish Problem, 1946
Poliakov, Leon: Histoire de l'Antisemitisme
Poncins, Vicomte Leon de: Les forces secretes de la Revolution, 1929 La
Franc-Maçonnerie, d'apres ses documents secrets, 1934 Le Probleme Juif face au
Regnard, A.: Aryens et Semites, 1890
Reitlinger, G.: The Final Solution, 1953
Renan: Le Judaisme comme Race et Religion, 1883- etc.
Rennap, I.: Antisemitism and the Jewish Question 1942
Roth, C.: A Short History of the Jewish People, 1936 The Jewish Contribution
to Civilisation, 1938
Sacks, George: The Jewish Question, 1937
Saint-Martin, Vivien de: Les Khazars, 1851
Saint-Simon: Du Systeme Industriel, 1821
Samuel, Maurice: The Great Hatred, 1943
Sartre, Jean-Paul: Portrait of the Antisemite, 1948
Schwartz, Elie: God's Nation in China, 1880
Sionnet, Abbe: Essai sur les Juifs de la Chine 1837
Sombart, W.: The Jews and Modern Capitalism
Testat, O.: L'lnternationale, 1871
Toulat, Abbe Jean: Juifs mes Freres 1963 (Pref. by Cardinal Gerlier)
Unity in Dispersion -- A History of the World Jewish Congress, 1948
Valentin, Hugo: Antisemitism, 1936
Wolf, Lucien: The Myth of the Jewish Menace in World Affairs, 1921
Zangwill, Israel: The Voice of lerusalem, 1921
Zenker, E. V.: Anarchism, 1898
Zukerman, W.: The Jew in Revolt, 1937
It is not clear who compiled this bibliography, which includes the books cited by
Lazare but adds many books published later. It could be the translator, or rather
compiler, who has remained anonymous. It does not appear in the last French edition.
Lazare, Bernard, 1865-1903. Antisemitism, its history and causes. Tr. from the
French. (New York, The International library publishing co. 1903; repr. London, Britons
Publishing Co., 1967 ).
Originally published as'L'antisemitisme: son histoire et ses causes. Paris,
It was also published in Hebrew:
Lazare, Bernard, 1865-1903. ha-Antishemiyut, siboteah ve-hishtalshelut
hitpathutah. Me'ubad u-meturgam mi-zarfitit 'al yedey M. Robinson. Vilna,
Lazare also wrote:
Lazare, Bernard, 1865-1903. Contre l'antisemitisme; histoire d'une polemique.
Paris, Stock, 1896. repr. Paris : La Difference, 1983.
Lazare, Bernard, 1865-1903. Comment on condamne un innocent : l'acte d'accusation
contre le capitaine Dreyfus Paris : V. Stock, 1898.
Lazare, Bernard, 1865-1903. Une erreur judiciaire ; l'affaire Dreyfus.
memoire avec des expertises d'ecritures de MM. Crepieux-Jamin [et al.].
Paris : P.-V. Stock, 1897.
Lazare, Bernard, 1865-1903. Une erreur judiciaire. La verite sur l'affaire Dreyfus,
par Bernard-Lazare. 2. ed. Paris, P.V. Stock .
Lazare, Bernard, 1865-1903. Figures contemporaines; ceux d'aujourd'hui, ceux de
demain. Paris, Perrin, 1895.
Lazare, Bernard, 1865-1903. Le fumier de Job / Bernard Lazare. Suivi de, Herzl
et Lazare / Hannah Arendt. Strasbourg : Circe ; [Arles] : Diffusion, Harmonia Mundi,
Lazare, Bernard, 1865-1903. Job's dungheap; essays on Jewish nationalism and social
revolution, with a portrait of Bernard Lazare by Charles Peguy. [Tr. by Harry Lorin
Binsse]. New York, Schocken Books .
Lazare, Bernard, 1865-1903. Juifs et antisemites / Bernard Lazare ; edition
etablie par Philippe Oriol. Paris : Editions Allia, 1992.
This text is part of the Internet Jewish History
Sourcebook. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts
for introductory level classes in modern European and World history.
Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the document is copyright.
Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational
purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No
permission is granted for commercial use of the Sourcebook.
© Paul Halsall, November1998