David J. Wertheim (ed.), The Jew as Legitimation. Jewish-Gentile Relations Beyond Antisemitism and Philosemitism, Palgrave Macmillan, 304 pp., 2017

€ 130

This book traces the histiorical phenomenon of “The Jew as Legitimation”. Contributors discuss how jews have been used, through time, to validate non-Jewish beliefs. The volume dissects the dilemmas and challenges this pattern has presented to Jews. Throughout history, Jews and Judaism have served to legitimize the beliefs of Gentiles. Jews functioned as Augustine’s witnesses to the truth of Christianity, as Christian Kabbalist’s source for Protestant truths, as an argument for hte enlightened claim for tolerance, as the focus of modern Christian Zionist reverence, and as a weapon of contemporary right wing populism against fears of Islamization. This volume challenges understandings of Jewish-Gentile relations, offering a counter-perspective to discourses of antisemitism and philosemitism.