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Leo Baeck Institute London Lecture Series 2011

2011 Lecture SeriesNew perspectives on Jewish-non-Jewish relations

A lecture series organised by the Leo Baeck Institute London, the Jewish Museum, Frankfurt am Main and the Fritz Bauer Institut, Frankfurt am Main in cooperation with the German Historical Institute London

This season's Lecture Series will discuss new perspectives on Jewish-non-Jewish relations. One aspect we will look at is the phenomenon of “philosemitism”. While it has an old tradition in English-Jewish history, it is a very new, post-Holocaust phenomenon in German- Jewish history. We aim to explore the ways in which approaches to Jews and Jewish history have changed throughout history in various political and cultural settings. 


You can download the leaflet here. 

Dr Adam Sutcliffe

Philosemitism is often misunderstood as simply antisemitism in sheep's clothing. This lecture will argue that it is, on the contrary, a real and important phenomenon, with deep roots in both secular and Christian attitudes to Jews. The lecture will survey the history of philosemitism, from its emergence in the ancient world and in the early theology of Christianity, through its medieval, early modern and nineteenth-century role in politics, literature and culture, to its major manifestations in recent decades, from evangelical Christian supporters…

Sander L. Gilman, Emory University

24 May 2011, 7pm at the German Historical Institute

Claims about Jewish intellectual superiority surface regularly even in the 21st century. Modern genetics, it is claimed, prove that being smart is a singular component of “being Jewish”. Can it be a bad thing to be thought to be smart? The claim reveals itself to be a form of insidious philosemitism, a form of antisemitism, which has traditionally masked itself as being supportive of the Jews. Often it is your supposed friends that you have to worry about most.

Dr Nadia Valman (Queen Mary, University of London) 

From the medieval ballad of the Jew’s daughter who seduces a young Christian boy in order to murder him, to Shakespeare’s uncertain apostate Jessica, the Jewess held a marginal place in English literary history. In the nineteenth century, however, she became a literary preoccupation. In this lecture, Nadia Valman traces the story of the Jewess, from its birth in Romantic and Evangelical writing through myriad rewritings in both popular and high literature. The literary Jewess - invariably beautiful, virtuous…

Dr Anthony Kauders

Recent treatments of philosemitism (in Germany) have dismissed the phenomenon either as non-existent, or as the tendency to reify the Jews, or else as a projection of Gentile fantasies. The lecture will attempt to redress the balance by arguing that the study of philosemitism may enable the historian to understand better the nature of Gentile-Jewish relations, thereby allowing for an alternative approach to the widespread scholarly focus on antisemitism.