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Allosemitism is a neologism used to encompass both philo-Semitic and anti-Semitic attitudes towards Jews as Other.


Origin of termEdit

The term was coined by Polish literary critic Artur Sandauer and popularized by Polish sociologist Zygmunt Bauman. Sandauer used the term "allosemitism" in his essay On Situation of Polish Writer of Jewish Descent In the 20th Century published as a book in 1982.[1]

Zygmunt Bauman proposed the term in his 1997 essay "Allosemitism: Premodern, Modern, Postmodern",” in which he argued that "allosemitism" should be used in place of "anti-semitism".[2] Bauman's argument is that allosemitism can represent a “radically ambivalent attitude,” that encompassing both Philo-Semitism and anti-Semitism;[3] allosemitism is a form of proteophobia, fear and horror of things that defy clean-cut categories, not, like antisemitism, of a simple fear of the "other" (heterophobia); and that Judeophobia is diverse, and, therefore, not adequately encompassed by the term antisemitism.[4]

Ruth Gruber describes the neologism as a response to "the idea that, good or bad, Jews are different from the non-Jewish mainstream and thus unable to be dealt with in the same way or measured by the same yardstick."[5] According to Gruber, the term was coined by Polish-Jewish literary critic Artur Sandauer.[5]

In her 2010 book Modernism, Feminism, and Jewishness, literary scholar Maren Tova Linnett describes the term as originated by both Sandauer and Bauman.[6]


Linnett uses the term "to describe the multiple modes of difference that these women authors ascribed to the Jew in order to complicate what she views as the overly simplistic polarities of anti-Semitism and philo-Semitism."[7]

Sociologist Eliezer Ben-Rafael employs the concept in his 2014 book Confronting Allosemitism in Europe: The Case of Belgian Jews.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Artur Sandauer, O sytuacji pisarza polskiego pochodzenia żydowskiego w XX wieku (Rzecz, którą nie ja powinienem był napisać...) (Warszawa: Czytelnik, 1982, p. 9.
  2. ^ Zygmunt Bauman, “Allosemitism: Premodern, Modern, Postmodern,” in Modernity, Culture, and “the Jew,” ed. Bryan Cheyette and Laura Marcus (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1998)
  3. ^ Weinstein, Valerie. "Dissolving Boundaries: Assimilation and Allosemitism in E. A. Dupont's "Das Alte Gesetz" (1923) and Veit Harlan's "Jud Süss" (1940)." The German Quarterly 78.4 (2005): 496-516.
  4. ^ Eva Frojmovic. Review of Kessler, Herbert L.; Nirenberg, David, eds., Judaism and Christian Art: Aesthetic Anxieties from the Catacombs to Colonialism, H-Judaic, H-Net Reviews. March, 2013. [1]
  5. ^ a b Gruber, Ruth (7 August 2008). "Allosemitism (noun)—Jews as the perpetual 'other'". Jewish Journal. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
  6. ^ Briefel, Aviva. "Allosemitic Modernism." NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction 43, no. 2 (2010): 361-63.
  7. ^ Briefel, Aviva. "Allosemitic Modernism." NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction 43, no. 2 (2010): 361-63.