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Strangeness

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Chapter Summary

The fundamental reason for pagan anti-Semitism almost always proves to lie in the strangeness of the Jews midst ancient society. They were strange in the sense that in all the countries of the ancient world they were immigrants. This was a strangeness they had in common with various other peoples, but the strangeness that astonished and soon offended the people in whose midst they lived lay in their way of life and their customs, which always forced a certain degree of segregation upon them. The Jews were never like the others; they were always inclined to isolate themselves; they had no part in the morals and customs of the people about them, nor in that syncretism that was meant to be so tolerant. There was always something exceptional about the religion of the Jews, and this made them difficult in social intercourse, ill-adapted to the pattern of ancient society.

Keywords: ancient society pattern; anti-Semitism; Jews; strangeness

10.1163/9789004266520_005
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