The Diabolization of the Jews Notes by Dr. Honora M. Finkelstein Meanwhile, what was happening with the Jews? Because so many of them did not accept Jesus as the Messiah (some because it simply wasn’t on their agenda to be concerned with Messianic prophecy), early church thinkers began to show hostility to Judaism. As the power of the church grew, so did the anger of many Christians that Judaism remained a viable religion (because as Perry notes this “undermined the conviction that Christianity was the fulfillment of Judaism and the one true faith.”) In spite of their having their holy books adopted by the Christians, those who did not become followers of the new “Messiah” became scapegoats for the early church. Eventually the myth arose that the Jews were the murderers of Christ, and that they were a cursed nation, whose suffering was intended by God. They were considered children of the devil and blamed for the killing of Jesus; this scapegoating continued throughout the Middle Ages, with persecution continuing through the Spanish Inquisition, through the time of the burnings across Europe, through their scapegoating as bringers of the plague (because they kept Kosher, they didn’t attract rats and hence didn’t have the plague and hence got blamed for cursing everyone else with it), through enforced ghettoizations and pogroms, up to and through the Holocaust in the 20th century. Throughout many periods, Jews were rejected as citizens of various countries; they were ghettoized; burned as heretics; and sometimes ended up doing things Christians were not allowed to do because of religious restrictions. E.g., they became the money lenders of Europe in a period when Christians were not permitted to lend money or engage in “usury” by the Church. As a consequence, by the Renaissance, the Jews were seen as being totally focused on money and commerce; both Christopher Marlowe in The Jew of Malta and William Shakespeare in The Merchant of Venice had money-lending Jews as despicable characters in their plays, so a bitterness of the Christian community toward Jews was reflected in the art and literature of the Christian culture. Ultimately, and rather ironically, a few Jewish families became the bankers of Europe as a result, and this is another reason Hitler was determined to exterminate the Jews. This is also an example of ideas from the ancient world having had an influence to the present modern time frame. Another unfortunate episode occurred in the U.S. For some reason, Henry Ford did not like the Jewish people (or I should say the stereotype of the Jewish people). Up to the beginning of the 1900s, there was almost no anti-Semitism in this country, but Ford got his hands on an anti-Semitic book, had it reproduced in mass quantities, and put it in the glove compartment of every car he sold. And so, anti-Semitism came to America through this piece of propaganda. This is very sorry story to tell about one of America’s famous industrialists. Made with Xara Website by Susan Smily