From Plague to Coronavirus: The Myth of Jewish Disease-Spreading and the Old Roots of a Contemporary Slander
February 14, 2021, Noon, Eastern Time (US and Canada)
This presentation shows how contemporary accusations that Jews have invented and are spreading the Coronavirus grew out of and employ an age-old slander. Since the beginning of the pandemic, conspiracy phantasies that Jews and/or the State of Israel would have created the Coronavirus to gain power over the world or enrich themselves occur among white supremacists as much as in anti-Zionist and Islamic groups. The transcultural and transreligious spread of this particular conspiracy theory is not only due to the direct influence of one antisemitic group on others but goes also back to various antisemitic sources on which these groups draw simultaneously. In this way, they reproduce the age-old slander that Jews would spread the plague and other pandemic diseases in a new guise. In Europe and North-America, this idea goes back to ancient and medieval sources. In the world of Islam, it is informed by Nazi-propaganda and is used since the Shoah in antisemitic polemics against the state of Israel.
Armin Lange is Professor for of the ‛Second Temple Judaism’ and Antisemitism Studies at Vienna University's Institute for Jewish Studies as well as a corresponding member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. In his research, he specializes on ancient Judaism, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible, ancient antisemitism and the cultural and religious histories of antisemitism on all of which he has published widely.
Among these publications are in open access
Armin Lange, Ariel Muzicant, Dina Porat, Lawrence H. Schiffman, and Mark Weitzman, An End to Antisemtism! A Catalogue of Policies to Combat Antisemitism (Brussels: European Jewish Congress, 2018), https://anendtoantisemitism.univie.ac.at/fileadmin/user_upload/p_anendtoantisemitism/PDF/Catalogue_FINAL_webversion_complete.pdf
An End to Antisemitism! (5 vols.; eds. A. Lange, K. Mayerhofer, D. Porat, and L.H. Schiffman; Berlin: De Gruyter, 2019-2021), https://www.degruyter.com/view/mvw/AEAS-B
From Plague to Coronavirus: The Myth of Jewish Disease-Spreading and the Old Roots of a Contemporary Slander.