Crucifixion of the Jews: Book 2

Rosemary Ruether* on Theological Critique of The Christian Anti–Judaic Myth


“We have seen that the anti–Judaic myth is neither a superficial nor a secondary element in Christian thought. The foundations of anti–Judaic thought were laid in the New Testament. They were developed in the classical age of Christian theology in a way that laid the basis for attitudes and practices that continually produced terrible results. Most Christians today may seem more than willing to prune back the cruder expressions of these attitudes and practices. But to get at the roots from which these grew is a much more profound problem. The wheat and the tares have grown together from the beginning, and so it may seem impossible to pull up the weed without uprooting the seed of Christian faith as well. Yet as long as Christology and anti–Judaism intertwine, one cannot be safe from a repetition of this history in new form. The end of Christendom may seem to have brought an end to the possibility of legislating theological anti–Judaism as social policy. But we witnessed in Nazism the ability of this virus to appear in even worse form in secular dress. Yet I believe that this is actually a critical moment when a deep encounter with the structures of anti–Judaism is not only necessary to atone for this history, but may be essential to revitalizing the original Christian vision itself. “

source: Rosemary Ruether, Faith and Fratricide, Oregon: WS Publishers, 1995, Chapter 5, p. 226.