The Devil's hoofs: The medieval roots of the Protocols of the elders of Zion

Jeffrey R. Wool

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter covers the pervasive medieval Christian association of Jews with the devil, such as the assumption of an undying hatred of Jews for Christians and the tendency to see the Jew not as a person but as a symbol. In particular, the chapter focuses on the 12th- and 13th-century awakening of Christian thinkers to the development of Talmudic and (later) Qabbalistic thinking among Jews, which fed both their fears and their hatreds. Both the Talmud and the Qabbalah are at once attacked as lies and scanned for proof of Christianity's truth: the selfsame text embodies both sacred and satanic “truth.” The paradox embodies the deeply contradictory relationship of medieval Christians to Jews, a schizophrenic ambivalence that would only intensify under conditions of Jewish freedom in modern society.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Paranoid Apocalypse
Subtitle of host publicationA Hundred-Year Retrospective on The Protocols of the Elders of Zion
PublisherNYU Press
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)0814748929, 9780814748923
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


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