Between intransigence and Nationalism. The image of "the Jew" in La Civiltà Cattolica, 1850-1903
Title: Between intransigence and Nationalism. The image of "the Jew" in La Civiltà Cattolica, 1850-1903
Author: LEBOVITCH DAHL, José David
Citation: Florence, European University Institute, 2008
Series/Report no.: EUI PhD theses; Department of History and Civilization
This dissertation addresses the problem of the function of Catholic anti-Jewish propaganda in the second half of the nineteenth century as well as the question of the role of the Roman Catholic Church in the formation of Italian national identity. The study examines the Jesuit journal La Civiltà Cattolica in the period 1850-1903 as a source exemplifying the attitude of the intransigent hegemony within the Church. As a first step, aspects in the discourse of the Jesuit journal that are most constant over time are described. These are themes inherited from Catholic tradition, constructing an image of 'the Jew' that may be circulated independently of the reality of Jewish life. Secondly, the activation of this image in the journal’s rhetoric related to Italian unification is analyzed. The analysis reveals a strong connection between the position towards Italian nation building and the usage of anti-Jewish rhetoric. Thirdly, the research indicates that the Jesuits’ approaches to the 'Jewish question' and antisemitism were determined by the wish to reinforce a Catholic national identity. The study confirms that antisemitism was institutionalized within La Civiltà Cattolica in the two last decades of the nineteenth century. However, the investigation adds important nuances to the prevailing ideas about the journal, by suggesting that the majority of the College did not support the anti-Jewish propaganda of the few members that most energetically wrote about Jews. The conclusions of this study point in two directions. On one side, the investigation indicates that the approach towards Italian nation building should be taken into account when studying the rhetoric concerning Jews of the Roman Catholic Church in the second half of the nineteenth century. On the other hand, it supports the thesis that the contribution of the Church towards shaping Italian national identity should be taken seriously in the studies of the Risorgimento.
LC Subject Heading: Jews -- Persecutions; Christianity and antisemitism; Antisemitism in literature
Defense date: 15/12/2008; Examining Board: Prof. Anthony Molho (EUI) - supervisor Prof. Daniele Menozzi (Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa) Prof. Uffe Østergaard (Copenhagen Business School) Prof. Heinz-Gerhard Haupt (EUI)
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