An invitation to self-examination from George Steiner

George Steiner on anti-Semitism as an expression of anti-theism

I have throughout my work, and most explicitly in In Bluebeard’s Castle (1971), argued that it is not the accusation of deicide, of the alleged complicity of the Jews in the killing of Jesus of Nazareth, which underlies and sustains Western anti-Semitism. No doubt, Jew-hatred is formidably augmented by Pauline Christianity and the Church Fathers. But it predates these fatalities. I believe that it is not the ‘slaying of God in the person of his son’ – whatever that macabre fantasm is taken to signify – which is fundamental to the detestation of the Jew. It is the narrative ‘creation,’ ‘invention,’ ‘definition,’ “revaluation” of God in Jewish monotheism and its ethics. It is not as killer but as “begetter” of God that the Jew is unforgiven.

from Errata: An Examined Life, (Phoenix, 1998), 57.

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