History Research Paper: Christianity And Anti-Semitism

Richard Wagner’s Thoughts On Christianity And Anti-Semitism


The German composer Richard Wagner was a controversial figure, both for his musical and dramatic innovations, and for his anti-semitic and political opinions.Great composer had idiosyncratic religious beliefs. His views on Christianity were in stark contrast in various life time – by the time he admired Jesus, Wagner insisted that Jesus was of Greek origin rather than Jewish. Richard Wagner also believed that the Old Testament did not even remotely resemble with the New Testament, that the father of Jesus was not the same God as God of Israel, and that the Ten Commandments were deficient in the love and mercy of Christian teaching.

Later, Richard Wagner was charmed by Buddhism, and over a long period contemplated composing a Buddhist opera, to be entitled Die Sieger (“The Victors”). Some parts of  Die Sieger were included into Parsifal, which represents a original “Wagner’s” version of Christianity (New World Encyclopedia).

Richard Wagner was famous for his anti-Semitic views, he accused Jews, peculiarly musicians, considered them as a harmful element in German culture. Great composer published an essay “Jewry in Music”, it was one of the most provocative work in 1850. In “Jewry in Music” Richard Wagner tried to explain a massive antagonism to Jewish composers, especially to Giacomo Meyerbeer and Felix Mendelssohn, they were Wagner’s contemporaries and rivals. Wagner, over his life, produced a vast number of creations, including his operas on Jews; these purportedly ‘Jewish’ characterizations are never mentioned (Wikipedia).

had a specific attitude to Jews, on the one part he hated Jews, on the other part he had several Jewish friends and colleagues. Hermann Levi, a practicing Jew and son of a Rabbi, was one of them.

Wagner was and remains an interesting and influential figure in 19th century.


  1. New World Encyclopedia. Richard Wagner. Retrieved from: http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Richard_Wagner#Antisemitism
  2. Wikipedia. Wagner controversies. Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wagner_controversies#Antisemitism

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