Kyivan Rus' churchmen, such as Ilarion of Kyiv and Cyril of Turov, set out in their works standard anti-Judaic theological doctrines imported from Byzantium in Church Slavonic translations. A key example is supersessionism — the position that the New Covenant with Christians has replaced the Mosaic covenant with the Jewish people and that Jews have been rejected or accursed by God for having rejected Christ.
While the emphasis on the degraded status of Jews served as a foil for highlighting Christian virtue, the polemical theological arguments addressed notional rather than actual Jews and did not reflect social reality in Kyivan Rus' at the time. Kyivan Rus' did not participate in the Crusades, nor did it indulge in some of Western Christendom's more pernicious accusations against Jews, such as the blood libel —that Jews murdered Christian children to obtain their blood for ritual purposes. Though Judaism was reviled in Rus' theological literature, rabbis were allowed to function, and resident Jews were tolerated de facto. Compared with Western Europe, Kyivan Rus' was remarkably free of violence against Jews, forced baptism, and anti-Jewish legislation.
- Alexander Pereswetoff-Morath, "Christian Anti-Judaism and Jewish-Orthodox Relations among the Eastern Slavs up to 1569," in Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, Volume 26, Jews and Ukrainians, eds. Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern, Antony Polonsky (Oxford, 2014), 103, 110, 113–116;
- Antony Polonsky, The Jews in Poland and Russia (Oxford and Portland, OR, 2010), vol. I, 323–324.
Zhidove — the wealthiest borough of Kyiv, populated by Jews and boyars (landholding members of the aristocracy) — was looted by a mob. While some scholars have dubbed the incident "the first Jewish pogrom in Kyiv," it is reasonable to conclude that the attack was motivated primarily by economic resentment rather than religious zeal.
- Omeljan Pritsak, "The Pre-Ashkenazic Jews of Eastern Europe in Relation to the Khazars, the Rus' and the Lithuanians," in Ukrainian-Jewish Relations in Historical Perspective, Peter Potichnyj & Howard Aster, eds. (Edmonton, 1988), 10–13.