Crucifixion of the Jews: Book 2

Rosemary Ruether on The Creation of anti–Semitism


“In sum we might say that pagan anti–Semitism provided a certain seed bed of cultural antipathy to the Jews in Greco–Roman society, which Christianity inherited in inheriting that world. But this antipathy had been kept in check and balanced by Roman practicality and Hellenistic Jewish cultural apologetics. It was only when Christianity, with its distinctively religious type of anti–Semitism, based on profound theological cleavage within the fraternity of biblical religion, entered the picture that we begin to have that special translation of religious hatred into social hatred that is to become characteristic of Christendom…. In my judgment, the special virulence of Christian anti–Semitism can be understood only from its source in a religious fraternity in exclusive faith turned rivalrous. Pagan anti–Semitism, at most, provides a fertile soil for Christian polemics and legislation against the Jews.”


source: Rosemary Ruether, Faith and Fratricide, Oregon: WS Publishers, © 1995, Chapter 1, pp. 30–31.