A Nation on Trial: The Goldhagen Thesis and Historical Truth by Norman G. Finkelstein, Ruth Bettina Birn

By Norman G. Finkelstein, Ruth Bettina Birn

No contemporary paintings of background has generated as a lot curiosity as Daniel Jonah Goldhagen's Hitler's keen Executioners. Purporting to resolve the secret of the Nazi holocaust, Goldhagen keeps that normal Germans have been pushed through fanatical anti-Semitism to homicide the Jews. a right away nationwide best-seller, the e-book went directly to create a global sensation.

Now, in A state on Trial, best critics problem Goldhagen's findings and express that his paintings isn't scholarship in any respect. With compelling cumulative impact, Norman G. Finkelstein meticulously files Goldhagen's distortions of secondary literature and the inner contradictions of his argument. In a complementary essay, Ruth Bettina Birn juxtaposes Goldhagen's textual content opposed to the German records he consulted. the main foreign authority on those information, Birn conclusively demonstrates that Goldhagen systematically misrepresented their contents.

The definitive assertion at the Goldhagen phenomenon, this quantity is usually a cautionary story at the corruption of scholarship through ideological zealotry.

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Additional info for A Nation on Trial: The Goldhagen Thesis and Historical Truth

Sample text

They valued a careful and rigorous assessment of Jewish texts, as read in their original languages, carried on cordial relationships with Jewish scholars, and in some cases defended the rights of Jewish printers to publish the Talmud at a time when authorities desired to ban it. These scholars were convinced that the more information available about Judaism the better, and that the fatal flaws at the core of Judaism could most effectively be exposed by using the Jews’ own words. Later antisemites, such as Johann Eisenmenger, who worked in the seventeenth century, and Theodor Fritsch, who worked two centuries later, were a good deal less polite, but they carried on the tradition of mining Jewish texts for antisemitic material.

In the field of history they worked in the archives to reconstruct in detail the nature of Jewish-Christian relations in specific communities over time, and to situate the role of antisemitism in the popular consciousness of ordinary people in past centuries. In the social sciences they revisited and reevaluated the theories of earlier scholars who had hypothesized about the nature of Jewish society, such as Werner Sombart and Arthur Ruppin, in the light of new data. The insistence on academic standards for research, documentation, and publication was intended to clearly set the antisemitic scholars apart from the cruder forms of antisemitism that were common in Nazi Germany.

Physical anthropologists had long employed measurement of the size and shape of human heads as a methodology for racial classification. Borrowing from the anthropological literature, Günther observed that modern-day Jews usually had moderately, but not overly, short heads. ) The shape and size of Jewish heads did, however, show variation from one region to the next. Günther discussed 34 Studying the Jew Franz Boas’s study of the “Changes in Bodily Forms of Descendants of Immigrants,” published in 1910, according to which North American Jews had heads that were longer than those of European Jews.

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