A new wave of anti-Semitism has recently shocked a large part of the world. Especially in Western Europe, attempts were made first to minimize the outbursts by explaining them away as the grotesque gests of a few mentally perverted individuals. But the extent and ferocity of the anti-Semitic acts and the intense feelings they aroused soon demonstrated that a serious situation had been provoked.

Ever since the infamous pogroms of Nazi Germany the phenomenon of anti-Semitism has been a matter of profound concern. The shocking events of recent decades in Germany took hard hold on our memories. Books documenting the terrors of Nazi anti-Semitic policies still appear and continue to attract serious study. Reflecting on that dreadful history, one remembers what was done in the name of culture to fellow human beings. One remembers the easy shamelessness with which people could converse about the anti-Jewish program at the time it was being carried out. Hitler had said in his Mein Kampf that he could spot the Jews behind all the darkness in the world, and then he declared that he would rid Germany once and for all of its Jewish problem. But we also tried to get behind these concrete memories to analyze the deepest motives of Hitler’s anti-Semitism.


Some writers saw a connection between anti-Semitism and natural man’s resistance to divine grace. Karl Barth declared that anti-Semitism was obviously the sin against the Holy Spirit, and argued that it was a revolt against the divine election of Israel. Since his exegesis of the biblical texts in question was somewhat dubious, Barth’s statement itself aroused considerable discussions. Others saw in anti-Semitism an expression of racial delusion and pretension implying ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.