How Christian traditions shape anti-Semitic thought patterns

Why is antisemitism a global phenomenon, why does it manifest itself so vehemently in different social and political contexts, and what exactly does the term mean? These questions have been the subject of intense debate, and not just since October 7. In this debate, the role of Christian worldviews has often been pushed to the sidelines – wrongly so, says renowned Israeli historian Dr. Karma Ben Johanan, whose research focuses on the religious motifs of Christianity, which continue to impact collective mentalities and shape contemporary secular patterns of thinking about antisemitism.

Karma Ben Johanan will speak about the connections between ambivalent Christian attitudes towards Jews and Judaism and current manifestations of antisemitism on Thursday, February 15, 2024, at 18:15 as part of her lecture on Christian Ambivalence and the Current Antisemitism Debate held in Casino Building 1.801 on Goethe University’s Westend Campus.

Karma Ben Johanan explores the question of whether contemporary debates should be examined as reconfigurations of traditional inner Christian tensions concerning Jewish Scriptures, history and hermeneutics within post-1945 Western society.

Historian Dr. Ben Johanan researches and teaches at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Department of Comparative Religion. From 2019 to 2022, she served as the inaugural Chair of Jewish-Christian Relations at Humboldt University’s Faculty of Theology. Her book Jacob’s Younger Brother: Christian-Jewish Relations after Vatican II was published in English in 2022. She has won numerous prizes, including the prestigious Dan David Prize (2023).

The lecture is organized by the Martin Buber Professorship for Jewish Philosophy of Religion, and the Buber-Rosenzweig-Institute for Modern and Contemporary Jewish Intellectual and Cultural History at Goethe University’s Faculty of Protestant Theology. “The lecture’s topic could not be more contemporary or pressing,” says Prof. Christian Wiese, director of the Buber-Rosenzweig-Institute. “We are delighted to host Dr. Karma Ben Johanan, an outstanding researcher who is adopting an innovative approach to the complex relationships between the centuries-old traditions of Christian ambivalence towards Judaism, traditions of Christian antisemitism and other sources and manifestations of contemporary antisemitism.”

The lecture will be held in English. Registration (at kramberger@em.uni-frankfurt.de) is desired, but not mandatory.

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