- Paperback: 756 pages
- Publisher: Mariner Books (April 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0618219080
- ISBN-13: 978-0618219087
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.9 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 367 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,669 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews, A History Paperback – April 1, 2002
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"Carroll, whose love for the catholic church...is not only matched by a lovingly critical eye...but an urgent plea that Rome set another course." Boston Globe
"A triumph, a tragic tale beautifully told. . .a welcome throwback to an age when history was a branch of literature. . ."--Charles R. Morris Atlantic Monthly
"Fascinating, brave and sometimes infuriating." Time Magazine
"This searingly honest book is Augustinian in the way Carroll searches his own soul. . ."--Garry Wills, author of Saint Augustine and Papal Sin
"This book is a history written to change the way people live."--Talk
"A deeply religious book."--Bishop Krister Stendahl, former Dean of Harvard Divinity School
"For two thousand years Jews have been longing for a Christian who would understand their experience."--Susannah Heschel, Eli Black Professor of Jewish Studies, Dartmouth College
"Sweeping. . . This magisterial work will satisfy Jewish and Christian readers alike, challenging both to a renewed conversation." Publishers Weekly, Starred
About the Author
James Carroll was raised in Washington, D.C., and ordained to the Catholic priesthood in 1969. He served as a chaplain at Boston University from 1969 to 1974, then left the priesthood to become a writer. A distinguished scholar-
in-residence at Suffolk University, he is a columnist for the Boston Globe and a
regular contributor to the Daily Beast.
His critically admired books include Practicing Catholic, the National Book Award–winning An American Requiem, House of War, which won the first PEN/Galbraith Award, and the New York Times bestseller Constantine’s Sword, now an acclaimed documentary.
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Mr. Carroll urges the Church to convene a new Vatican III council to look at Catholic/Jewish relations from a modern viewpoint. He condemns the Church for its despotic attitude in refusing to admit that the pope could ever be in error, and in insisting that only believers in Jesus will be saved. He also includes Protestants , starting with Luther, in promoting rejection of Jews and encouraging their persecution.
This book, along with others of Mr. Carroll's writings , has been harshly criticized by many faithful Catholics , both clergy and laymen, but these points need to be raised and discussed if Christianity is to survive and thrive in the future. It is long past the time when religious fundamentalists can continue to insist that they alone have all the answers to humanity's relation to God.
Constantine claimed he saw a vision of a stylized cross that held meaning for both these enlarging populations in southern Europe that he needed to tame. He called the Council of Nicea to meld all Jewish-Christian sects into one. Some invitees never showed up, resisting him. It took 4 no-doubt raucous meetings for the majority to separate themselves further from Judaism, which had given the Roman Empire more trouble than any other people or ideology (cf Hadrian's Holocaust). Nicea 4 retained most of the Hebrew Bible, against the wishes of the Marcionites. They separated Easter from Passover, proclaimed Sunday the Sabbath rather than Saturday (named after the sun, which Constantine worshipped), proscribed Jews as secondary citizens to Christians, may have declared Jewish-Christian synagogues churches, or the change had begun earlier and he solidified it. Constantine himself never became a practicing Christian, although his mother was a Jewish-Christian of possible semi-Pauline leaning that the Ebionites, among others, contested.
James Carroll, an ex-priest, explores these landmark anti-Semitic events that increased over the ages as de-Judaizing indoctrination. He omits the bitter effect the Roman-Jewish wars had on Rome, Roman cultural cruelty and Hadrian's Holocaust. He focuses on Constantinian deJudaizing and how it insidiously grew into indoctrinated hate thy neighbor, then ghettoes and then Hitlerian rant and mass murder. This book is the most informative and panoramic of a progressive movement among Christian clergy to exercise free inquiry and opinion about the Church and its relations with the Jews (which have improved enormously from just such criticism). For that, and its patient and civil presentation, this book deserves 5 stars. It is a book of conscience. --As for Eusebius, cited by one reviewer, he was Constantine's Goebbels, a propagandist more than a real historian. The known facts of Nicea and its aftermath speak for themselves.