“From Anti-Judaism to Antisemitism”

The second lecture of the fall 2019 College of Jewish Studies series on “Antisemitism, Then and Now” will be held on Thursday, September 12, at 7:30 pm, at the Jewish Community Center. Scholar and author Steven Englund will present a lecture titled “From Anti-Judaism to Antisemitism, and Back Again.” Englund’s talk will focus on the relationship between premodern Christian hostility to Jews rooted in their religious rejection of Christ and a modern European, presumably secular antagonism to them as a people or “race.” As Englund sees it, scholars have overstated this traditional distinction, too often failing to recognize the continuity between these two forms of hatred. “It is important,” he notes, “to reconsider the degree to which the metabolized, unconscious Christian heritage in society remains powerful in antisemitism – its wild exaggerations, irrational impulses and their relatively uncritical reception – even though the actors themselves, the media and even common sense may insist otherwise.” Englund will take a look at some of the most typically “secular” moments in the first wave of antisemitism (1870-1914) to see the degree to which they nevertheless contain strong elements of “le religieux.”
Englund was a Marshall Scholar and received his Ph.D. at Princeton University. He is the author of eight books, including being chief writer for President Jimmy Carter for The President’s Commission Agenda for the Eighties. His biography, “Napoleon, A Political Life,” won the prize for the best book in French history from the American Historical Association. For the latter, he was named Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French government. He had been a Guggenheim Fellow, and has given papers on his current work on comparative antisemitism at Cornell, Princeton, Yale and Binghamton universities, and at the Center for the Study of Antisemitism at Berlin Technical University. He was a Visiting Fellow at the latter, from 2015-16.
College of Jewish Studies programs are open to the entire community; general admission is $8 per program, or $20 for all three programs; senior admission is $5 per program or $12 for all three programs. BU students are welcome to attend with no charge. All programs begin at 7:30 pm at the JCC, 500 Clubhouse Rd., Vestal.