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Righteous Gentiles of the Holocaust: Genocide and Moral Obligation [Kindle Edition]

David Gushee
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Righteous Gentiles of the Holocaust by David P. Gushee is an authoritative and indispensable exploration of a highly important aspect of the Holocaust, the willingness of a small, but morally significant, number of non-Jews to take on great risks for themselves and their families to rescue Jews from the Nazi death machine. In this well-documented, well-written book, Gushee explores the full range of Gentile responses to the plight of the Jews from overt hostility and obscene brutality to altruistic rescue, the better to understand the achievements of truly Righteous Gentiles. Highly recommended for anyone interested in the Holocaust.
—Richard L. Rubenstein, President Emeritus, Distinguished Professor of Religion, University of Bridgeport


Editorial Reviews

Review

"David Gushee's wide-ranging research on the Holocaust rescuers redresses a serious omission in the literature in the area of Christian ethics. It is a response to the call of several Jewish scholars that Christians break their silence on rescuer interpretation"
—Beverley W. Harrison, Union Theological Seminary

"Despite decades of Holocaust studies and even mass media attention (e.g., Shindler's List), no full-length treatment of the Righteous Gentiles has appeared in and for Christian ethics. Who were these people? Why did they do what they did? What kind of Christianity was theirs, if any? How do we assess them, from a moral point of view? And what does it all mean for Christian ethics? Finally, with this book the lacuna has been filled, and David Gushess does it so very, very well."
—Larry L. Rasmussen, Union Theological Seminary

"This book confronts the record of Christian hatred and sin revealed in the baleful light of the Holocaust in a morally purifying way. It uncovers profound theological and ethical paradigms in the witness of Righteous Gentiles without glossing over or sentimentalizing the face of evil. Gushee's work is at once intellectually vital and spiritually restorative. Strongly recommended."
— Irving Greenberg, President, CLAL: National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership



"Superb analysis of the painful, urgent question, 'Why did so few Christians try to protect the Jews?' An excellent book…"
—Ronald J. Sider, Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary

About the Author

David P. Gushee is Assistant Professor of Christian Ethics at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has worked for the advocacy organization, Evangelicals for Social Action.

Product Details

  • File Size: 578 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Paragon House (April 14, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004WP3DPI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #233,097 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It really was so insightful... I am German. My grandfather flew in the German luftwaffe. I was born in Hamburg and for all my life I have thougth about the Holocaust. My feelings ranged from guilt because 'how could my people do this to another', to fear 'maybe this is my heritage', to confusion 'why would my grandfather deny the Holocaust even with all the evidence' to questioning ' how could a whole nation see this done under their very noses and not do something, how can we turn a blind eye, and do we now turn a blind eye to injustice?' Therefore this book was super helpful. I am not completely done with the analysis, but it truly is super insightful. Anyone who has heard of the Holocaust asks the same questions and states the same thing in their hearts... "how?" and "what would I do?" The older we get the more we realize that anyone is capable of anything at any one time. This book shows us that we are not so different from the people we want to condemn. In the human experience there are moments where we are tested and unfortuneately we often choose the wrong road and make excuses why we did so. Lets look at the example of others who chose what was better.
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Righteous Gentile June 19, 2011
Format:Paperback
First published in in we 1994 and based on Gushee's doctoral thesis. This book appears to have been widely received with acclaim. On one level I understand why - the preliminary chapters that set out the sheer scale, both numerically and bureaucratically of the holocaust and the level of Gentile ambivalence to the genocide before its eyes is breathtaking.

The term righteous gentile is a reference to the term 'Righteous Among the Nations' that is a honour bestowed by Yad Vashem. Gushee's work is a study of these people, the (very) few in number who risked personal harm to selflessly assist Jews from persecution. This book is full of accounts of such persons, some who succeeded and some who failed. These are extremely challenging, particularly when faced with the question 'what would I do in such a situation?' knowing that what I hope I would do and what I do may not be synonymous. In studying such persons Gushee presents a good overview of the types of people who were in the minority and were righteous Gentiles, including conclusions on the extent religion played a role in their actions.

But for all that this book has been set up as a work of Christian ethics and in that I think the book fails there is next to no specifically Christian ethical content. Why should one risk the lives of oneself and one's family for a stranger? Is the fact that so many didn't amount, as Eliezer Berkovits put it to "the moral bankruptcy of Christian civilization and the spiritual bankruptcy of Christian religion"? On these points Gushee is silent. And so, this book does not offer an account of the moral obligation the disciple of Christ owe to the persecuted Jew in particular or the persecuted stranger in general. It does however ask a very important question, and that alone makes this a book worth taking seriously.
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