Anti-semitism through the Ages: Part 1 - Middle Ages to the 19th Century

Ref: C2346388

The course will be predominantly lecture-presentation, with opportunities to question and discuss. We begin with a short analysis of the Jew in classical times before examining the developing pattern in which Jews became confined in small sectors of urban population, later termed ghettos. The Church was also directly and indirectly responsible for a series of attacks on these communities as well as for the emergence of such anti-Jewish concepts as 'The Blood Libel'. Over the period until the Reformation Jews were under strong pressure to convert to Christianity or face physical expulsion from their homes. Thereafter however new concepts of the importance of the individual emerged, and the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century was prepared to accept even the Jew as a full member of society.

Course aim

This course will look at the ways in which the medieval Church adopted a series of measures to isolate the Jew from contemporary society, and was prepared to blame Jews for all the disasters which appeared, such as the Black Death.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for beginners and improvers
  • No other skills or experience required.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • describe the long thread of anti-Jewish feeling from Classical writers through to the doctrines of many Church fathers;
  • describe the way that anti-Jewish feeling impacted on Christian society, leading to the creation of specific restricted living spaces as well as a number of instances when those areas were destroyed and their inhabitants put to death;
  • discuss the way in which the Reformation and the Enlightenment resulted in a willingness to accept individual Jews within society;
  • explain that the ready acceptance of individual Jews could lead to deep resentments within the wider society and lead to an even more intense anti-Jewish sentiment.

How will I be taught?

What kind of feedback can I expect?

What else do I need to know?


Pre-course work, reading and information sources

What can I do next?

View full course information sheet

Anti-semitism through the Ages: Part 1 - Middle Ages to the 19th Century


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  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2021
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  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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