In a bold and moving book that is sure to spark heated debate, the novelist and cultural critic James Carroll maps the profoundly troubling 2,000-year course of the Church's battle against Judaism and faces the crisis of faith it has provoked in his own life as a Catholic. More than a chronicle of religion, this dark history is the central tragedy ...
In a bold and moving book that is sure to spark heated debate, the novelist and cultural critic James Carroll maps the profoundly troubling 2,000-year course of the Church's battle against Judaism and faces the crisis of faith it has provoked in his own life as a Catholic. More than a chronicle of religion, this dark history is the central tragedy of Western civilization, its fault lines reaching deep into our culture.
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Constantine?s Sword is a history of the mistreatment of the Jewish people primarily by the Roman Catholic Church, ending with a plea for a Vatican III session to redress this problem.
The good: The book provides an informative and rather detailed account of the unjust and shameful mistreatment of the Jews constantly exhibited in various forms of oppression throughout the hundreds of years of the Christian church, especially from the second century up until the Holocaust. Carroll is careful and honest to emphasize that he is recounting the behavior of the Catholic Church and her official posture towards that portion of Israel that continued to reject the claims of the Church regarding the Messiahship of Jesus. As far as I am concerned, being an evangelical Christian, the mistreatment of the Jews is certainly contrary to the teachings of the whole bible and the apostolic writings of the NT in particular; and that these heinous cruelties were perpetrated by hordes of fake ?Christians? who were motivated by ungodly hubris, and the vain and worldly political ambitions of the fake "Christian" priests, monks, bishops, popes, and emperors.
The bad: Much of the book consists of Carroll?s own biographical experiences and feelings about the subject matter, which I found somewhat tedious, preferring a pure history. What is worse is that the author is a Catholic dissenter who holds to a heretical understanding (both to the traditional Catholic Church and certainly to evangelical Christianity) of the meaning of Christianity. He claims that the first followers and writers of the NT botched the meaning of the mission of Jesus, and that this error in turn gave rise to the supposed anti-Semitism and Jew-hatred of Christianity. He denies that Jesus is divine as well as a man, and thinks that he came to be an example of a loving life-style rather than a sacrificial offering for reconciling repentant sinners to an offended God. He believes that the resurrection of Jesus did not physically happen but is only the vibrancy of an affectionate memory of Jesus? life. He has little regard for scripture, conveniently ignoring the plain teachings of both the OT and the NT, and takes his cues from various authors that resonate with his feelings. He is a modern-day Peter Abelard, believing that God loves and accepts everybody, already and always, and that all religions have validity in their approach to ?God.?
Dec 22, 2011
Great Cover But Poor Book
This is really a very misleading title, as the book is just a personal theological outlook from this writer that has very little to do with its title. Very poorly written. Would certainly not recommend.
Nov 17, 2011
Great insight into preudice
A wonderful and thoughtful review of the origins and circumstances in the development of antisemitism from the beginnings of Christianity through the Holocaust and into the present day.
Very readable and extremely interesting. Each page is a revelation.
Sep 3, 2009
This book is well worth reading. Do not get put-off by its size. It contains a wealth of information, fully documented and presented in an easy to read format. If you wanted to know the roots of antisemitism, and want understanding, the book is a must read. I would recommend it as a reading assignment for high school students or first year of college.
Publishers Weekly, 2000-11-27 Part history, part memoir, this hefty tome by novelist Carroll (Mortal Friends, etc.) traces the record of anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism in the Catholic Church, suggesting that centuries of animus culminated in the Holocaust. Carroll also traces the development of his own thinking about Judaism: as a Catholic seminarian, he knew no Jews and little about Judaism, except what he learned in classrooms, i.e., that Judaism had been superceded by Christ's new covenant. As a young priest at Boston U (which his colleagues disparagingly referred to as B-Jew, since so many Jews were enrolled), Carroll began to spend time with rabbis and Jewish students whose political and social commitments he found congenial. Eventually he left the priesthood; his increased discomfort with the Church's attitudes toward Judaism played no small part in that decision. But this book is more than guilty Catholic breast-beating. It also offers a sweeping look at instances of anti-Jewish sentiment throughout European history, from the blood libel to the Dreyfus affair, from the Inquisition to Auschwitz. Carroll offers fresh, provocative analysis, as in his discussion of the idea that the God of the Jews is a judgmental God concerned with law, whereas Jesus is about loveDa foundation of much anti-Semitism. Carroll argues that Jesus' emphasis on love was his most Jewish attribute. Carroll makes these incisive arguments in his characteristically vigorous prose; fans of An American Requiem, his National Book Award-winning memoir, won't be disappointed. This magisterial work will satisfy Jewish and Christians readers alike, challenging both to a renewed conversation with one another. (Jan.) Forecast: A Book-of-the-Month Club alternate selection, this book has a built-in market among Jewish and Catholic readers. Carroll is a columnist for the Boston Globe, so he has a dedicated readership there that will be boosted further by publicity appearances in that city and around the country. Two major events in the Boston area will kick off the book's publicity: a symposium at Brandeis and one at Harvard Divinity School, both featuring a discussion of the book by leading religious scholars. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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