Crucifixion of the Jews: Book 2

The Theological Roots of Anti–Semitism


“The injustices and pogroms inflicted over the centuries on the Jews by Christian nations, often in the name of Christian principles, did not stir the conscience of theologians until fairly recently. It was the advent of Hitler’s anti–Semitism that produced uneasiness in some Church circles and made theologians take a new look at their Christian past. Was the refutation of Judaism that was implicit in the Christian religion and in the Christian polemics against the unbelieving Jews in any way connected with the anti–Semitism prevalent in Western history and its culmination in the racial anti–Semitism of the Nazis? Some Christian thinkers began to speak out in favor of the Jews on theological grounds. They abhorred anti–Semitism: they came to recognize that the Church’s anti–Jewish polemics have created anti–Jewish feelings in the past, but they trusted that the Church’s central message, namely the love of God and neighbor, would be able to overcome the prejudices and antipathies generated by the ancient polemics. The Catholic names that come to mind in this connection are Jacques Maritain, Charles Journet, Henri de Lubac. These and some other authors sought a Christian manner of speaking of Judaism that would not produce contempt for the Jews; they searched for scriptural promises that applied to Christians and Jews alike; and they tried to acknowledge an abiding vocation for the Jewish people.*A

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