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Modern antisemitism is informed by concepts articulated more than 1,600 years ago by John Chrysostom, an early father of the Christian Church. While a direct causal lineage is hard to establish, Chrysostom’s influence on historical and modern antisemitism is well-documented. Chrysostom articulated several key tropes of antisemitic ideology, including the belief that Jewish people are “schemers” and that they engage in human sacrifice. He also introduced dehumanizing language that foreshadowed the genocidal rhetoric of the Nazis, who cited Chrysostom as a historical source legitimizing their bigotry. Chrysostom is still cited by antisemitic extremists online and offline on a daily basis.

To cite this piece:

Berger, J.M. and Broschowitz, M. “John Chrysostom: Architect of Antisemitism.” Center on Terrorism, Extremism and Counterterrorism, Middlebury Institute of International Studies. Occasional paper. April 2024.

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J.M. Berger is a writer and researcher focused on extremism as a Senior Research Fellow for the Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. His research encompasses extremist and terrorist ideologies and propaganda, including social media and semantic analytical techniques. He is the author of four critically acclaimed books, including Extremism (2018) and Optimal (2020). Berger is also a research fellow with VOX-Pol and a PhD candidate at Swansea University’s School of Law, where he studies extremist ideologies.

Michael Broschowitz is a Senior Research Analyst at the Center for Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism (CTEC). His research interests concentrate upon militant accelerationism, hate speech, hate-based conspiracy theories,
and antisemitism. He holds a Master’s degree in Government specializing in Counterterrorism and Homeland Security from the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy, and Strategy at Reichman University (IDC Herzliya) and a bachelor’s degree from Florida Atlantic University.