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Shylock's ChildrenEconomics and Jewish Identity in Modern Europe$
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Derek Penslar

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780520225909

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520225909.001.0001

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Jews, Paupers, and Other Savages

Jews, Paupers, and Other Savages

The Economic Image of the Jew in Western Europe, 1648–1848

Chapter:
Chapter 1 (p.10) (p.11) Jews, Paupers, and Other Savages
Source:
Shylock's Children
Author(s):

Derek J. Penslar

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520225909.003.0001

This chapter talks about the irrationality of prejudice, its constant self-contradiction that appears most prominent in the case of anti-Semitism. Jews, anti-Semites have claimed, are clannish but eager to assimilate, a teeming mass but an esoteric cabal, capitalists and communists, plutocrats and paupers. Anti-Semitic feeling was rooted in Christendom; the forms anti-Semitism has taken over the centuries, and the relationship between those forms, are the products of specific social realities that change over time and across space. Anti-Semitism has been an expression of cultural anxiety, an outlet for the annunciation of social tensions, and, as such, has shared structural and group-psychological similarities with social discourse about other anxiety-inducing groups, the “dangerous classes” on or beyond the margins of the social order.

Keywords:   anti-Semitism, Jews, anti-Semites, esoteric cabal, capitalists, communists, plutocrats, paupers, Christendom, dangerous classes

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