Christian Signatures of Contemporary Antisemitism

This collaborative project is dedicated to identifying and analyzing Christian elements of antisemitism in its historical and contemporary manifestations. We understand the communication of knowledge in a broad sense, and thus the results of our research will feed back into the scholarly community, schools, and adult education.

Research associate: Philipp Schlögl

The subproject “Transformations of Christian Hostility Toward Jews” investigates the reception and vulgarization of Christian motifs in theological and ecclesiastical discourses of the nineteenth century. Through both theoretical and empirical research, this subproject examines the transformations of theological anti-Jewish elements in the Christian tradition, their radicalization, and the repercussions of antisemitic stereotypes for theology and churches. This serves to identify deep structures of Christianity that point to implicit continuities and developments in the history of antisemitism. This work takes as an example Paul de Lagardes’s antisemitism and its reception.

Research associate: Sara Han

Subproject 2, entitled “Christian Elements of Modern Hostility Toward Jews: Continuities in Both Divided and Reunified Germany,” has a contemporary historical focus and aims to investigate the reception of the fight against antisemitism through educational work done by both churches–Protestant and Catholic–after the Shoah. The confrontation with the churches’ failures in Nazi Germany and its historical and theological reappraisal have led to a shift in the perception of Jews and Judaism. Nevertheless, the categorical and typological separation between Christian-theological anti-Judaism and racial antisemitism promoted the idea that antisemitism was foreign to the Church. Even researchers of antisemitism have discussed it as a secular problem, primarily without taking religion into account. This subproject considers hybrid antisemitism and investigates Christian antisemitism in both churches after the Shoah. This antisemitism persists in overt and covert forms in the churches and in theological scholarship despite the numerous initiatives to create Jewish-Christian dialogue. The project works to prevent contemporary antisemitism, which modifies and at times borrows from the motifs of Christian antisemitism. This work identifies Christian features of contemporary antisemitism and will shed light on the nexus between deep structures influenced by Christianity and the transformation processes, recombinations, and renewal between Christian and profane structures of hostility toward Jews that also take place through interreligious transfer.    

Subproject 2 focuses on the development, processes, and interactions of church-based educational work in the GDR (East Germany) and, in particular, on its initiatives to facilitate Jewish-Christian dialogue. It examines the reactions to and reception of the fight against antisemitism, interactions with the churches, and opportunities for influencing the social sphere. An analysis of biographical sources will illuminate the interconnections between actors’ theological and political motivations. The study will also take into account the question of gender and consider what role women played in fighting against antisemitism through the churches’ educational work.

The project will also facilitate dialogues between witnesses from the period and individuals who are currently active in educational work through the churches. These conversations, which will be digitized and transcribed, will help to demonstrate earlier strategies of combating antisemitism and make these approaches accessible and applicable in the present day.

 

The Leibniz Institute for Educational Media | Georg Eckert Institute (GEI) in Braunschweig brings decades of expertise in the study of educational media to the research network, as well as experience researching prejudice in the realm of education and textbooks. The GEI is the most qualified partner in the field on this subject matter, evident in its work coordinating the German-Israeli Textbook Commission and other projects that investigate the depiction of Jewish history and culture in school textbooks. This subproject, based at the GEI, will examine religiously-based prejudices against Jews and Judaism in both Catholic and Protestant religious education classes, ethics classes, and in their corresponding textbooks. This research will result in a monograph as well as recommendations for improving teaching and textbooks.

This initiative also recognizes the importance of communicating research results to the wider community, whether at conferences, advanced training courses, or workshops. This task constitutes a fourth subproject, and the Federal Association of Protestant Academies in Germany (Bundesverband Evangelische Akademien in Deutschland e. V.) serves as a key partner in this endeavor. The Association is active in 17 chapters throughout Germany and for decades has been committed to promoting democratic culture and countering group-based hatred. They recently carried out the project Antisemitism and Protestantism – Entanglements, Contributions, Learning Processes together with the Evangelische Trägergruppe für gesellschaftspolitische Jugendbildung, a network for civic youth education. Here, they presented new ideas for preventing antisemitism in Protestant education. The Federal Association is, among other things, a state-recognized central agency that provides political education for both youth and adult audiences.

Publikationen

  • ChriSzA: Sara Han: Jüdisch-Christliche Interaktion und ihre Akteure in den 1960er Jahren , in: Christlicher Antisemitismus. Ursachen – Einsichten – Konsequenzen (Tagung der Evangelischen Akademie Tutzing, 23. bis 25. Oktober 2023), epd-Dokumentation 10-11/2024, S. 30-35 .

  • ChriSzA: Udo Hahn (Hrsg.): Christlicher Antisemitismus: Ursachen – Einsichten – Konsequenzen. Tagung der Evangelischen Akademie Tutzing , 23.-25. Oktober 2023 (= epd-Dokumentation Nr. 10-11/2024).

  • ChriSzA: Peter Ullrich, Sina Arnold, Anna Danilina, Klaus Holz, Uffa Jensen, Ingolf Seidel und Jan Weyand: Was ist Antisemitismus? Begriffe und Definitionen von Judenfeindschaft, in: (= Studien zu Ressentiments in Geschichte und Gegenwart 8), herausgegeben vom Zentrum für Antisemitismusforschung, Göttingen 2024.

Alle Publikationen

Kontakt

Prof. Dr. Rainer Kampling

Verbundkoordination
Freie Universität Berlin | Selma Stern Zentrum für Jüdische Studien Berlin-Brandenburg
Fabeckstraße 23-25
14195 Berlin

Prof. Dr. Eckhardt Fuchs

Verbundpartner
Leibniz-Institut für Bildungsmedien
Georg-Eckert-Institut
Freisestraße 1

38118 Braunschweig

Dr. habil. Klaus Holz

Verbundpartner
Evangelische Akademien in Deutschland e.V.
Auguststraße 80
10117 Berlin