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From Enemy to Brother: The Revolution in Catholic Teaching on the Jews, 1933-1965 Hardcover – February 6, 2012
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From Enemy to Brother is an astonishing achievement, one of the most significant books written on the history of twentieth-century Catholicism. (John T. McGreevy, University of Notre Dame)
An excellent resource for those studying the Holocaust, racism more generally, and the developments leading up to Vatican II's statement on Christianity's relation to the Jewish People. (John T. Pawlikowski, OSM, Catholic Theological Union)
This path-breaking book, based on extensive documentation, will be essential reading for all those interested in Christian-Jewish relations and the history of antisemitism. (Antony Polonsky, Brandeis University and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum)
The extraordinary story told by Connelly reveals not only that Catholic magisterium is able to change its mind, but also that a doctrinal renewal of this kind may well begin as a small movement in the Church, frowned upon by the hierarchy, that gradually finds acceptance among Catholic and their theologians to be finally affirmed by the highest authority. In the present winter of the Catholic Church it is good to be reminded of the innovative power of Spirit-guided movements within Catholicism. (Gregory Baum The Ecumenist 2012-06-01)
[A] remarkable new book...It is one of the central lessons of Connelly's book that the bonds of empathy that made Nostra Aetate a historical possibility are far more fragile, and less expansive, than one might care to imagine. The detailed history of its genesis reveals a singular fact: most of the architects of the Catholic statement concerning the Jews in 1965 were themselves, either by descent or practice or public definition, Jews who had converted to Christianity...Connelly has written an important book, an extraordinary work of history. (Peter E. Gordon New Republic 2012-06-07)
Remarkable...Connelly...has mastered a vast and obscure literature, much of it hitherto unpublished and most of it in German, in order to establish the contours of what he aptly characterizes as a "revolution" in mid-20th-century Catholic thought...Connelly's book...hugely enriches its historical context. He shows that there were Catholics who held the Church to account while the Holocaust was taking place, demanded that it abandon the teaching of contempt, and eventually persuaded their coreligionists to adopt a new understanding of the Jewish role in history. Catholics and Jews alike should welcome such a scholarly reappraisal of the most painful chapter in the history of their relationship. (Daniel Johnson Jewish Ideas Daily 2012-06-18)
Excellent...Connelly's book is important because for the first time we have a comprehensive tale of the genesis of a new teaching. This is a book about workers in the vineyard who have largely been overlooked or bypassed in church history. But it is to these workers, who rose before dawn, that the church owes profound, if belated, respect. (Charles R. Gallagher America 2012-10-08)
Catholic theologians owe a debt of gratitude to John Connelly for retracing a painful but fruitful period of theological reflection. Anyone who draws close to Dietrich von Hildebrand, Karl Thieme, and Johannes Oesterreicher will be given fresh eyes for the sources of theology and a reverence for the mystery of Israel. (Nicholas J. Healy Jr. First Things 2013-01-01)
Connelly's book...is invaluable for its close tracking of the development of the Pauline argument for the continuing validity of the Jewish Covenant...This, as it stands, is a good book, and an important one. (Garry Wills New York Review of Books 2013-03-21)
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The book's title includes two dates: 1933 and 1965.
-- In January 1933 Adolph Hitler came to power in Germany and quickly drew upon centuries of ingrained European feelings about Jews ranging from superiority to hatred.
-- In December 1965 Pope Paul VI closed the three year old Second Vatican Council. Its "Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions NOSTRA AETATE ("In our times") included a brief Chapter Four on the Jews described as "Abraham's Stock." In a few Latin sentences, the Council fathers reversed and intended to end definitively centuries of anti-Jewish preaching by the Roman Catholic Church.
From the days of the New Testament, the earliest followers of Jesus of Nazareth wrestled with such questions as: must a pagan become a Jew before becoming a Christian? Initially, that was a decision only leading Jewish Christians could make. And in the ACTS OF THE APOSTLES we see Christian Jews gathered in Jerusalem laying down conditions allowing pagans to be baptized and enter into fellowship with Jews who followed Jesus. Thus it was rules laid down by Jews that made it possible for Greeks and other heathen to follow Jesus as brothers. Only Jews, initially, had such power in the Church.
According to Professor John Connelly, John the Evangelist, long before he died, stopped considering himself a Jew. By contrast, Paul of Tarsus never ceased being and feeling himself to be Jewish.Read more ›
It is received wisdom that the wheels that run the Catholic Church grind
slowly, extremely slowly. In the case of a sea-going vessel, it takes tremendous
effort to change the course of a large ship, for it needs to be done at a slow rate and not in haste, lest the vessel capsize. John Connelly, who is an associate
professor of history at the University of California, Berkeley, has in his book
From Enemy to Brother: The Revolution in Catholic Teaching on the Jews, 1933-1965
presented in exquisite (some might say exhausting) detail how the otherwise slow-moving Church was able to recast its position towards the Jews in a remarkably short period of time, while at that same time it sought to redefine
herself during the Second Vatican Council. One of prominent successes of the
Second Vatican Council was the promulgation of Nostra Aetate in 1965.
Speaking in 2006, fifty years after the Declaration, Father Thomas Stransky, C.S.P., one of those who drafted Nostra Aetate as an advisor at Vatican II, said the Declaration signaled "a 180 degree turnabout" for the Church. Connelly, referencing Edward H. Flannery's best-seller, The Anguish of the Jews (1965), said that Nostra Aetate had revised "... all that the church had taught about Jews since its early days, a time when teachings about Christ's divinity or the Trinity had yet to be formulated. From the third century at the latest, church authorities taught that the Jews' destiny was to wander the earth suffering retribution from God for rejecting Christ, seeing in their destitution as the most direct evidence that the church's claims to God's favor were correct.Read more ›