Something More Profound than Prejudice

As Wagner illustrates, anti-Semitism is more than a mere dislike of Jews—it’s a metaphysical condition that shapes the very way the world is perceived.

A 2010 production of Richard Wagner’s Parsifal in Stuttgart, Germany. MICHAEL LATZ/AFP/Getty Images.

A 2010 production of Richard Wagner’s Parsifal in Stuttgart, Germany. MICHAEL LATZ/AFP/Getty Images.

Response
Jan. 12 2015
About the author

Edward Rothstein is Critic at Large at the Wall Street Journal. His essays in Mosaic include “The Problem with Jewish Museums” and “Jerusalem Syndrome at the Met.”


Reading Nathan Shields’ powerful essay, “Wagner and the Jews,” reawakened memories from two decades ago when I attended the Bayreuth festival as a music critic. My most potent recollections are not of the performances I heard of Wagner’s music; nor do I recall any great revelations about the mind of the master who designed and built this self-aggrandizing temple. But I was left with three sensory impressions, and they have proved indelible.

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More about: Anti-Semitism, Music, Richard Wagner