What Did They Think of the Jews?
Throughout history, the Jewish people and their religious traditions have been viewed in different ways by their contemporaries. Reactions from their non-Jewish neighbors expose a broad spectrum of emotions: honest respect, genuine acceptance, begrudging tolerance, subtle dislike, and vicious hatred. In What Did They Think of the Jews? Allan Gould has gathered over two hundred documents, written by well-known men and women from ancient times through today, that reflect the writers’ personal views of the Jewish people and their societies’ general attitudes and beliefs. This anthology includes the works of philosophers and poets, politicians and novelists, inventors and world leaders. The documents are by and about diverse personalities. Cicero, Saint Augustine, Geoffrey Chaucer, and Thomas Hobbes are among the writers whose works document the perception of Jews from Ancient Greece and Rome through the Renaissance. How Americans have viewed the Jews throughout United States history is portrayed in the writings of figures such as Benjamin Franklin, William Cullen Bryant, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Herman Melville, Theodore Roosevelt, John Steinbeck, and Charles Lindbergh. The works of John Locke, Immanuel Kant, Charles Dickens, Emile Zola, Joseph Conrad, and others exemplify European and British viewpoints. There are also reflections on the Holocaust and the State of Israel by personalities such as Carl Sandburg, Charles DeGaulle, and Frank Capra. And the virulent hatred of the Jewish people by Communist, Fascist, and Nazi ideologies is tragically demonstrated in the documents of those eras. While some of the material in this volume bears witness to the slanders and slurs the Jewish people have encountered, What Did They Think of the Jews? also contains a large portion of powerfully moving and affirmative documents. Readers can take great pleasure in the inspiring essays, letters, quotations, and anecdotes of Henrik Ibsen, James Joyce, Harry Truman, and others whose visions allowed them to see past the walls of prejudice. What Did They Think of the Jews? is a truly unique and comprehensive resource. These documents present a balanced and insightful perspective on the Jewish experience.
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