The problem of antisemitism is very relevant today. Violence and hatred towards Jews did not stop even after the Second World War when people around the globe were shocked by the horrors of the Holocaust. There are still many hideous examples of antisemitic violence throughout the world. Moreover, various people even deny the phenomenon of the Holocaust. Hence, antisemitism is still a threat to the modern international community.
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There are various works regarding the subject. One of them is an article called Religion, Division of Labor and Conflict: Anti-Semitism in German Regions Over 600 Years by Sascha Becker and Luigi Pascali. Becker is a deputy head of the Department of Economics and research director of the Economic and Social Research Council center for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy. He conducts studies on economic history, education and public economics, and some others. One of his recent works called Social Cohesion, Religious Beliefs, and the Effect of Protestantism on Suicide. The second author, Pascali, is an associate professor at University Pompeu Fabra. He is also an affiliated professor of the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics and an associate editor at the Economic Journal.
One of his recent works is Banks and Development: Jewish Communities in the Italian Renaissance and Current Economic Performance. The authors describe the current situation regarding antisemitism and conduct historical analysis (Becker and Pascali 1). They emphasize the importance of economic incentives that improve collaboration among Jews, Catholics, and Protestants in Germany. The authors claim that the Protestant Reformation increased antisemitism in protestant areas, and Jews lost their advantage in lending. The target audience for the work is sociologists and historians who specialize in the development of antisemitism and its impact on modern society. The main authors’ goals are to elaborate a general framework that explains the emergence and persistence of this phenomenon and discuss the effects of the Protestant Reformation in particular.
This work was published by the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick. The authors discuss several aspects of this phenomenon, such as socio-economic, historical, political, and religious. Therefore, the intended audience of this work includes sociologists, historians, economists, politicians, religious figures, and other specialists concerning the problems related to antisemitism. Also, due to the authors’ goals and the nature of the subject, all people who are interested in finding a comprehensive explanation for such a complicated issue are also potential readers of this publication. However, specialists who hold opposite beliefs or deny the existence of this problem are excluded from the audience as such individuals will not accept ideas presented at work.
Ethos is an important aspect of this work. It relates to a set of morals, beliefs, and values of the authors. However, for many readers, the most important characteristic is credibility. Extrinsic ethos refers to the authors’ background, experience, and authority. Becker and Pascali are respectable specialists who have worked in this field for a long time and achieved significant results. Their works are published in reliable academic sources. These factors positively contribute to the authors’ ethos, thus the intended audience is more likely to approve of the ideas presented in work. However, there are some weaknesses related to this aspect. The authors mostly focus on Germany, thus it would enhance the extrinsic ethos of the text if at least one of them worked with German Universities or was of German origin.
Another important factor is intrinsic ethos. It is a way or manner in which the authors discuss the subject. Intrinsic ethos includes the language and terminology that are used in the text. The article builds intrinsic ethos by educating the readers on the reasons that led to the development of antisemitism. The authors refer to various credible sources that provide statistics and other pertinent data to support their position. Therefore, the work becomes trustworthy and legitimate. Also, the audience can see the scale of the problem by getting a profound historical discourse. In addition, the text structure allows the authors to clearly demonstrate the main ideas, reasoning, and conclusions. The combination of extrinsic and intrinsic ethos creates an impression that might convince the intended audience to accept implications and inferences made by the authors. Therefore, the readers are more likely to perceive the work as believable.
The next important aspect that can make any study more persuasive is logos. It is the logic and reasoning on which argumentation is based. This technique is also applied by the authors throughout the text. They bring particular attention to the role of economic factors in the development of the antisemitic ideology. The authors claim that except for the cultural and political aspects, economic factors had a significant negative impact. They support their position by means of data on German regions over around six hundred years. They also demonstrate the link between the geography of antisemitism and the geography of economic activities that involved interactions between the Jewish and Christian community. For example, the authors present data on 452 counties in Prussia (Becker and Pascali 5).
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They show that Jews were attacked there many times due to their economic activities, and that even Catholic churches could not protect them by providing shelter. Also, the authors discuss the Protestant Reformation and prove that the antisemitic ideology was more prevailing in Protestant areas than in Catholic. The comparison of the data from Catholic and Protestant regions shows that antisemitism increased after the Reformation. The authors also explain that the ban on usury was one of the main economic factors that enhanced the development of antisemitism. Therefore, by using such examples, the authors apply two persuasive strategies. First, they demonstrate a profound and systematic insight into the issue. Second, they cite multiple credible sources to support their position. I believe that such strategies can effectively influence the readers’ opinions and convince them to accept the authors’ ideas. However, the main weakness regarding the logos in the work is that there is not enough attention to opposite views, thus some readers might get a feeling that certain facts should be considered more closely.
As mentioned above, the authors present various statistics that support their position. For example, the statistics show that Jewish lending activity after the Reformation became less widespread as Jews lost their exclusive rights in a banking system. Another example is data from Germania Judaica that covers several centuries before the Reformation. The source contains information about the Jewish population in the German Empire. These data shed light on pogroms that took place in the 14th and 15th centuries (Becker and Pascali 10). Various figures presented in the work show a solid researching process on which it is based. For example, figure data 1 demonstrates how people code Jewish presence and lending and related conflicts.
Similar statistics are presented in the figure data 2. Other statistics are demonstrated in several tables. They describe the number of injured and killed Jews in different conflicts. By using such an approach, the authors show the link between socio-economic and political factors and the development of antisemitism in particular German regions, implying that similar processes might take place in other parts of the world. Such evidence proves the rightness of the authors’ conclusions. However, the main weakness of this strategy is that the authors do not provide an alternative interpretation of these data. Therefore, one may suggest that they are not absolutely impartial in their research. However, the strengths of logos applied by the authors outweigh its weaknesses, thus this technique can convince the intended audience to accept the described above claims.
It is also necessary to discuss the pathos used in the text. This technique appeals to the readers’ emotions and feelings. However, the authors avoid using pathos to invoke compassion in the intended audience or to inspire negative feelings such as anger and contempt towards antisemites. On the contrary, they base their assumptions only on evidence derived from official statistics. Also, the authors do not pay much attention to political or social factors that might appeal to people’s morals. However, the subject itself is very appalling, and even providing the official data might be considered as the use of pathos because the numbers of killed and injured people are shocking. In addition, any mentions of such a horrifying phenomenon, which is the Holocaust, definitely invoke sorrow and sympathy in readers. In this case, though, it is very difficult to state that the main intention of the authors when using these examples is to play on the readers’ emotions. It is more likely that they bring attention to such facts for other reasons, but for sure, they will significantly influence the audience’s opinions regarding the subject.
In conclusion, the main strengths of the authors’ argumentation are the use of such techniques as ethos and logos. Both authors are professional scholars who have worked in this field for many years. Their experience and background contribute to the reliability of their work. Intrinsic ethos, which manifests itself in the logical text structure and systematic review of historical aspects, also makes the article more trustworthy. Another positive factor is the use of various statistics and references to other credible sources.
The application of logos is the main strength of the text. The authors offer various facts and explain them, making different inferences. They develop a consistent narrative covering all pertinent aspects of the issue. In addition, the references to tragic events related to the subject have a significant persuasive effect. Although the authors are less likely to make such references in order to elicit a negative reaction towards antisemites, this approach still inclines the readers to accept the presented views. However, the authors do not give enough consideration to other possible inferences that do not fit their narrative. Therefore, the lack of alternative opinions is the main weakness of the text because it might be considered as biased.
Nonetheless, the work is completed very professionally and will serve as a reliable source for further research in this field. The arguments presented in the text leave almost no room for skepticism or doubts. The authors’ position is clearly stated and supported by deductive reasoning and evidence. Therefore, the intended audience is more likely to acknowledge the ideas discussed in the work.
Becker, Sascha, and Luigi Pascali. Religion, Division of Labor and Conflict: Anti-Semitism in German Regions over 600 Years. 2016, Web.