The Reformation and Judaism

Between Philo-Semitism and Anti-Semitism


  • Gerbern S. Oegema McGill University



The topic of this paper is the complex and ambivalent relationship between the Reformed Churches and Judaism, moving from a kind of Philo-Semitism to Christian Zionism and support for the State of Israel on the one hand, to missionary movements among Jews to anti-Judaism, and the contribution to the horrors of the Holocaust on the other hand. In between the two extremes stands the respect for the Old Testament and the neglect of the Apocrypha and other early Jewish writings. The initial focus of this article will be on what Martin Luther and Jean Calvin wrote about Judaism at the beginning of the Reformation over 500 years ago. Secondly, the article will deal with the influence of mission activity toward Jews and the emergence of Liberal Judaism as both scholarship and theology in the nineteenth and first half of the twentieth centuries. Lastly, the article will address the question of how the Holocaust and subsequent Jewish-Christian dialogue have changed the course of this relationship.

Author Biography

Gerbern S. Oegema, McGill University

Professor of Biblical Studies at McGill University's School of Religious Studies




How to Cite

Oegema, Gerbern S. 2020. “The Reformation and Judaism: Between Philo-Semitism and Anti-Semitism”. Journal of the Council for Research on Religion 1 (2). Montreal, QC, Canada:20-30.