Christianity and the Institutionalization of Anti-Semitism

A Contemporary Theological Perspective
  • Donald J. Dietrich


Ever since Christianity and Judaism diverged and began to compete with one another, Christianity has developed and sustained its identity in confrontation with Judaism. As a result of this relationship, the theological teachings of the Christian churches have designated the Jewish people as ‘different’ and, perhaps, even dangerous to religious and secular interests. Very early in the common era, Jews were assigned a defined place in ‘salvation history’, and their ultimate conversion was viewed by Christians as validating the ongoing divine superiority of Jesus’ message. The alleged involvement of ‘the Jewish people’ in the death of Jesus with all that such an accusation connotes as well as the so-called ‘collective guilt’ demanded that Jews in subsequent generations were frequently to be consigned to live in segregated communities and in a demeaned state as punishment for those deeds labelled ‘diabolical’ by Christians. Fortunately, such a view is now considered antediluvian by most Christians, even though the sources of such perceptions remain living in the texts and traditions of the Christian churches.


Human Dignity Jewish People Christian Faith Christian Tradition Christian Theologian 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald J. Dietrich

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