48 students

Featuring instruction by Richard Landes, Professor Emeritus Boston University, and David Deutsch, Visiting Professor of Physics, Oxford University, this course examines the argument made by David Deutsch that a near-universal Pattern of longue durée that characterizes the attitudes and behaviors of non-Jews towards Jews.

The pattern of irrational explanation and argument misleadingly known as ‘antisemitism’ has unique, paradoxical features. It is usually treated as a type of hatred or xenophobia, but in fact, it is neither (though it does cause those from time to time). It is a more dangerous moral pathology, centered on preserving the legitimacy of hurting Jews. This explains all its unique features and resolves the paradoxes. But why that pattern itself exists, why it specifically targets Jews, and why it is so consistent across cultures and millennia, remains unknown. 

The seminar will examine the argument, look at the patterns of the “new antisemitism” of the 21st century to test its value, and try, in conclusion, on the one hand, to evaluate both the accuracy and value of the hypothesis, and on the other to attempt to explain it.

Convenors: Professor David Deutsch and Professor Richard Landes

David Deutsch, Visiting Professor of Physics, Centre for Quantum Computation, the Clarendon Laboratory, Oxford University, and an Honorary Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford. Professor Deutsch works on fundamental issues in physics, particularly the quantum theory of computation and information, and constructor theory. He has written two books – The Fabric of Reality and The Beginning of Infinity – aimed at the general reader.

Professor Richard Landes was trained as a medievalist at Princeton University (MA 1979, PhD 1984). His work focused on apocalyptic beliefs and millennial movements (Heaven on Earth, 2011), initially around the year 1000 (Peace of God, 1986; Relics, Apocalypse and the Deceits of History, 1996; Apocalyptic Year 1000, 2003). He developed the concept of “demotic religiosity,” an orientation that prizes 1) equality before the law, 2) dignity of manual labor, 3) access to sacred texts for all believers, and 4) moral integrity over social honor.

But he increasingly focused on contemporary movements (Paranoid Apocalypse, 2006), especially Global Jihad, and the feckless response to its challenge, starting with the coverage of the “Al Aqsa Intifada” in late 2000. He made a series of documentaries in 2005/6 titled “According to Palestinian Sources…,” which document the extensive staging of footage (Pallywood), the staging of the Al Durah footage (Making of an Icon), and the impact of that fake, broadcast as “news” by Western news media (Icon of Hatred).

In 2015, he retired from Boston University where he was a Professor in the History Department. He lives with his wife in Jerusalem, where he can write free of politically correct pressures.

His blog “The Augean Stables” (2005-present) deals largely with the ways in which Western news media fuel Jihad, especially in their coverage of the Middle East conflict. He is currently completing a book titled They’re so Smart cause We’re so Stupid: A Medievalist’s Guide to the 21st Century.

When he completes this book, he plans to return to his medieval work (While God Tarried: Disappointed Millennialism from Jesus to the Peace of God, 33-1033), and eventually work on his commentary on the Demotic Bible, an analysis of the ways the biblical text promotes demotic religiosity, and the way that a secularization of that religiosity contributed to the emergence of the modern world.

An overview of the sessions can be found below:

Week 1: The “Pattern” in History

Week 2: The Blood Libel of 2000 and the Return of Western Antisemitism

Week 3: The New Antisemitism, Gentiles and Jews

Week 4: The Pattern Reconsidered

Recordings are available for purchase.

Limited student scholarships available upon request: [email protected]