First blurb, baby.
Just finished a piece by Michael Waltzer (link: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/mar/20/imaginary-jews/?insrc=hpma) in which he reviews David Niernberg's book "Anti Judaism: The Western Tradition." In his article, he introduces and summarizes Niernberg's argument which is, essentially, that since the time of the Gospel writers we, in the West, have inherited an anti-Jewish rhetorical polemic, in which we, again, as the Christian West, apply to various 'others,' really Jewish or not, Jewish stereotypes, accusing them of 'judaising' in realms economic, cultural, and spiritual. Materialism over Heaven, Law over Spirit, etc, etc. This has continued over the last 2 millennia, from St. Ambrose to Edmond Burke and Karl Marx.
My thoughts: the pornographic reduction of Jews to their negative stereotypes of hyper-materialistic legalists and the perpetuation and use of these stereotypes as polemical is, simply put, a tragedy, and not to mention, bull crap. I can't count how many times in high school I got 'Jewed' out of a better deal. Niernberg is, unfortunately, correct in his assertion that the anti-jewish stereotypes are still alive and prevalent today.
But can we say this anti-semnitism has its roots in the Christian Gospels? Isn't that ignoring the fact that the Gospels were, in all actuality, written by Jews, even Christian Jews, revealing a prevalent discontent within Judaism's own community and culture that existed at the time and long before the Christian movement already began? Isn't it ignoring the hundred some years of persecution by the Roman empire that preceded the Christian development? Is this, as Nirenberg seems to accept/assert, a singlularly 'Christian' polemic? Or is it simply one that Christians inherited and perpetuated, owing to the fact that, for the past 2000 years, Christianity has been the mainstream culture of all things Western? Can we blame the Christians for beginning it? Or only continuing it? I don't know for sure, but the former seems to me to be an oversimplification.
Sadly, books like this, though good for bringing to light the still-prevalent anti-semnitism we have in the West, do little to disarm the Judaism-Christianity war of opprobations and anathemas in which Jews are stereotyped as the root of all cultural, economic, and spiritual issues by Christians across the age while Christians are equally anathematized as the horrific oppressors of Jews, the inceptors of the anti-Jewish age, and the Gospels as the origins of all that is and can be seen as anti-Rabbinical. Isn't this perpetuating the war rather than serving to bring an end to it?