Uncensored: Recovering Anti-Christian Animosity in Contemporary Rabbinic Literature

Karma Ben Johanan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This article focuses on the recovery of censored Jewish texts in contemporary Orthodox rabbinic literature. I show that contemporary Orthodox scholars make use of critical methods which are close to those of the historical, philological, and biblical sciences, in order to reconstruct those portions of the Jewish tradition which were omitted or transformed in the early-modern period by Christian censorship or by Jews with an eye to the censor. As the censored texts were mostly omitted or changed because they were recognized as offensive to Christian sensitivities, their current recovery entails also a renewed discussion of Judaism's attitude to Christianity. I argue that the uncensoring of Jewish traditions is closely connected with expressions of animosity towards Christianity. The combination of this animosity with the use of modern scientific methods brings the common cultural assumptions which relate resistance to inter-faith rapprochement with traditionalism, and a reactionary approach to modernism, into question.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)393-416
Number of pages24
JournalHarvard Theological Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Cambridge University Press. All rights reserved.


  • Jewish-Christian relations
  • Judaic Studies
  • Orthodox Judaism
  • censorship
  • rabbinic literature
  • religious polemics
  • traditionalism


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