David Patterson, Anti-Semitism and Its Metaphysical Origins (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015) [Book Review]

European Journal of Jewish Studies 11 (2):203-209 (2017)
  Copy   BIBTEX


This is a critical review of David Patterson's book Anti-Semitism and Its Metaphysical Origins (2015). In this review, I present the author's new explanation of the roots of anti-Semitism, which he finds in the anti-Semite's desire to become like God himself. Patterson's explanation makes an anti-Semite of all those who partake in the "Western rationalist project," especially philosophers (including Jewish philosophers such as Spinoza, Hermann Cohen, and Marx), but also Islamists and anti-Zionist Jews. I criticize Patterson on two fronts: First, his "metaphysical" explanation relies on a petitio principii. Second, he should have argued his stance against that of Zeev Sternhell's thesis, according to which Western anti-Semitism is rooted, not in Western rationalism, but rather in the Western anti-rationalist (anti-Enlightenment) movement.

Author's Profile

Frederic Tremblay
University at Buffalo (PhD)


Added to PP

153 (#48,016)

6 months
32 (#38,162)

Historical graph of downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.
How can I increase my downloads?