Carlos Fraenkel writes:
In scope and ambition David Nirenberg’s Anti-Judaism: The History of a Way of Thinking is reminiscent of Edward Said’s Orientalism. Both offer a strident critique of Western civilisation. For Said, the West’s representation of the Orient is an ideological distortion in the service of Western imperialism. The Oriental is the Other against whom the West defines itself and whom it tries to dominate. Nirenberg, by contrast, is concerned with the conflicts and anxieties inside Western civilisation, and comes at this from a surprising vantage point: when Westerners find fault with some aspect of society or culture, he argues, they always disparage it as a Jewish aberration. This pervasive anti-Judaism, Nirenberg believes, often isn’t directed against real Jews, but against Jews of the imagination – the Church Fathers and atheists, revolutionaries and conservatives, capitalists and communists, empiricists and idealists.