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Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews, A History Paperback – April 1, 2002
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Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
First, let me say what I think the book isn't. It is not an anti-Catholic scree as some might have you believe. The fact that some have interpreted it thus tells you a whole lot more about them than it does about the book. So what is the book about? Briefly, its thesis is that Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular have adopted the theological position that faith in Jesus Christ represents the one and the only route to salvation. This thesis should not be controversial to anyone familiar with Christian doctrine. The implication of this thesis is that all other proposed routes, and especially the one proposed by the Jews, who should "know better" are false. The tradition of Judaism, as well as all other religious traditions, thus become not only mistaken, but wrong and even dangerous.
The book documents how this tension between Christianity/Catholicism and its self-defined rivals has played out in history, and how it created the moral and intellectual environment in which the Jews would be at best marginalized and despised. And how at worst, they would become victims of violence and murder.
It's worth the read. And I would say to its hostile reviewers that it's worth a re-read. The history of the holocaust has to be understood as a product of Western civilization, within which it happened. In this context, it is necessary to examine how the major institutions of the west, including the Church, created the environment in which the holocaust could occur.
No one should blame the messenger if the message is unwelcome.
I think the difference is that Carroll, the Christian, sees the Church as the "mystical body of Christ", a religion whose purpose is to be true to the teaching of Love that he believes Jesus had preached. When the Church fails to reach Carroll's high standards, he condemns it. On the other hand, as a secularist, I see the Catholic Church as a thoroughly human institution, to be judged not against the absolute standard of the Prince of Peace, but against comparable, contemporary institutions. In perspective, throughout history, the Catholic Church had been a protector of Judaism and of Jewish people; its treatment of the Jews had been -relatively- benign. Only with the rise of the Enlightment, and with the widespread acceptance of the Rights of Man, can we see in the Church an oppressor of the Jews. Its failure to the Jews - so spectacularly presented in the Silence of Pius XII during the Holocaust - was caused not so much by anti-Semitism as by anti-Modernism. Until recently, the Church had been "on the wrong side of history" - together with the reactionary forces and against the Enlightment-era liberal ideas and groups it had denounced as "Americanism".Read more ›
First of all, Mr. Carroll, is still a devout Catholic: he was not "defrocked" (he left the priesthood on his own accord), and he was never "excommunicated" (this statement, repeated by many customers, is malicious--and sinful--slander). Second, many of the reviewers refer to "fabricated quotes" without ever citing any examples. In fact, the Church Fathers--John Chrysostom, Gregory of Nyssa, Ambrose of Milan, and others--and later Catholic leaders all said the horribly anti-Semitic things Carroll attributed to them and, furthermore, most of the Church Fathers did advocate the forcible conversion and/or slaughter of the Jews. (All of Carroll's quotes--most of them from primary sources--can be found in the standard Catholic reference works that he cites in the bibliography.) Third, like most historians, Carroll relies on a mixture of primary and secondary sources that shows a strong command not only of the history but also of the historiography of his subject. The statements by several commentators that Carroll does not use primary sources simply shows those readers did not bother to look at the notes. (His notes often present beliefs and arguments that run counter to his own.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fantastic, informative, interesting book. Very well written and well-researchedPublished 12 days ago by J.D. Shapiro
An outstanding book by a brilliant humanist, who (as a former Paulist friar) has been on the inside. Read morePublished 1 month ago by sophocles
Well written from very good research. James Carroll incorporated the ancient stories of the roman empire with his own experiences
of visiting some key roman towns long since... Read more
This is an amazing statement of Carroll's faith. His insights into the nature and pervasiveness of anti Semitism and of its evolution are unique, at least to my knowledge.Published 5 months ago by SavonarolaBrown
The most scholarly and comprehensive book on that topic. Highly recommended for anyone who wants to understand the evolution of antisemitism.Published 6 months ago by savta
I am an orthodox Jew. This book is a masterpiece. I purchased an extra copy for my Rabbi. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Tony Meyer