Judaism Essay

1209 Words 5 Pages
Throughout history, Judaism existed as a small group of people, constantly under pressure and influence of larger cultures. We learned how massive empires and nations including Babylonia, Rome, and Greece influenced the Jewish religion and culture until it evolved into current day Judism. As time progressed, a massive shift from Judaism being influenced by other nations to Judaism being altered by popular monotheistic religions. Ironically, these monotheistic religions were rooted in Judaism. This shift in influence occurred around the medieval time period in Europe, particularly in Spain, France, Germany, and other current Western European nations. In these regions, Jews existed as either a minority group under Muslim rule (Sepharad Judaism) …show more content…
To better understand how an irrational fear of Judaism lead to anti-semantic beliefs and later the persecution and exile of Jews throughout Western Europe, it is important to first examine the origin of this angst. Christianity and Islam are “faith-based religions.” The core of Christianity is faith in Jesus Christ while Islam follows the teachings of Muhammad. Despite this difference, many similarities exist between these three religions including “God, scripture, Holy Land, Messiah, etc.” (PPT #18, Slide 8). However, Judaism does not endorse the core beliefs of either Christianity or Islam. Thus, both Muslims and Christians challenged the beliefs of the foreigners who followed Judaism. This questioning of beliefs escalated into condemnation and fear as exemplified when “Nahmanides defends Judaism in a disputation against Christian Pablo Christiani. Despite defending Judaism without insulting Christianity, he is still forced to flee for his life” (SHJP, p.115). The exile of Nahmanides demonstrated how Christians had begun to fear the Jews prior to the black plague and Christian …show more content…
Before the hysteria created by the Christian Crusades the Sephardic Jews prospered as “dhimmis” under Muslim rule. This prosperity was exemplified by “Jews reaching positions of power in court, such as Samuel the Nagid, an advisor for the prince of Granada, and the emergence of poetry, philosophy and other intellectual arts, such as Maimonides’ The Guide for the Perplexed” (PPT #16, Slide), (PPT #17, Slide 5). While the Sephardic Jews were enjoyed a time of freedom and prosperity as “protected subjects” or dhimmis, the Ashkenazic Jews were never allowed to join the feudal hierarchy. This explains why Jews living under Christians were powerless since “they could not own land, and worked exclusively as moneylenders by order of the Third and Fourth Lateran Councils” (SHJP, p.99 and p.106). While the Sephardic Jews living under Muslim rule had a much higher status than their Ashkenazic Jewish counterparts, they both experienced the wrath of the majority religions stemmed from hysteria and fear of Judaism. For the Sephardic Jews, this pronounced fear of Judaism emerged under the Almohad dynasty when the Christian Crusades successfully seized Muslim territories. According to Scheindlin, “As a result of these defeats at the hands of the Christians, Muslims reacted by increasing their hostility towards all dhimmis” (SHJP, p.90). This hostility

Related Documents