The Sources of Anti-semitism

Diane Jonte-Pace

in Speaking the Unspeakable

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2001 | ISBN: 9780520226005
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520927698 | DOI:
The Sources of Anti-semitism

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The chapter examines Freud's comments on the entanglement of anti-Semitism with misogyny. Freud's description of castration anxiety and circumcision as central to both the fear of the Jew and the fear of the mother leads to a set of speculations on the “abject” as the source of both xenophobia and misogyny. Freud's explanation of anti-Semitism in terms of an association of circumcision and castration seems relatively self-evident: it follows the metonymic logic of pars pro toto. Abjection accompanies all religious structurings and reappears, to be worked out in a new guise, at the time of their collapse (1982: 17). Anti-Semitism is precisely a contemporary mask for abjection. By locating the origins of anti-Semitism and misogyny in castration anxiety, Freud developed a theory in which the practice of circumcision is central to the hostility toward Jews.

Keywords: anti-Semitisim; uncanny mother; abjection; misogyny; circumcision

Chapter.  6068 words. 

Subjects: Buddhism

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