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Best Books of the Year So Far
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2015's Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
Swaim, Lawrence: The Death of Judeo-Christianity. Religious Aggression and Systemic Evil In the Modern World. Alresford (UK) 2012, 320 pages.
The book consists of two parts. Simplified: one good and one longer. In Part I (The Death of Christianity, 117 pages) Lawrence Swaim describes the effect of Christianity's obsession with the crucifixion and worship of death on violence and aggression in the history of Christian Western culture, particularly the death of six million "Jesus-killers" during the last century of this Christian era. "The astonishing reality of Christian-Jewish relationships is that `the Jews' didn't kill Jesus, but Christians did kill hundreds of thousands (and finally millions) of Jews, symbolically crucifying them because of their own obsession with a God who demands redemption through violence" (p.59). The fact isn't new. Swaim relies strongly on James Carroll's praiseworthy work, but different to the more scholarly, more word-weighing Catholic Carroll, Swaim dares to address the taboo in a still uncommon (and, to my view, necessary) outspokenness. He bases his views on the psychological phenomena of trauma bonding and the internalised aggression implicit in the passion stories and their iconic representation in the crucifix. This explanation is obvious and convincing even though Swaim doesn't mention the Christian child's learning of Jew-hate by feeling compassion with crucified Jesus, which Kierkegaard described already in 1850. Swaim finishes part I answering his question "Should Christianity die?" this way: "Yes, if it cannot take the cross from the center of its theology, its culture, its preoccupations, it should die ....Read more ›