God and Humanity in Auschwitz: Jewish-Christian Relations and Sanctioned Murder

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Transaction Publishers, Aug 1, 2009 - Social Science - 355 pages
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God and Humanity in Auschwitz synthesizes the findings of research developed over the last thirty years on the rise of anti-Semitism in our civilization. Donald J. Dietrich sees the Holocaust as a case study of how prejudice has been theologically enculturated. He suggests how it may be controlled by reducing aggressive energy before it becomes overwhelming. Dietrich studies the recent responses of Christian theologians to the Holocaust and the Jewish theological response to questions concerning God's covenant with Israel, which were provoked by Auschwitz.

Social science has dealt with the psychosocial dynamics that have supported genocide and helps explain how ordinary persons can produce extraordinary evil. Dietrich shows how this research, combined with theological analyses, can help reconfigure theology itself. Such an approach may serve to help dissolve anti-Semitism, to aid in constructing such positive values as respect for human dignity, and to point the way to restricting future outbreaks of genocide.

God and Humanity in Auschwitz surveys which religious factors created a climate that permitted the Holocaust. It also illuminates what social science has to tell us about developing a strategy that, when institutionally implemented, can channel our energies away from sanctioned murder toward a more compassionate society. The book has proven to be an essential resource for theologians, sociologists, historians, and political theorists.

 

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Contents

Christian Antisemitism and European Civilization
15
Early Christian Antisemitism
17
Modern Theologians on Early Antisemitism
22
Medieval and Modern Antisemitism
34
Antisemitism and the Christian FaithExperience
47
Institutional Catholic Attitudes to Judaism and the Jewish People
61
The Modern Catholic Church and Antisemitism prior to John Paul II
63
John Paul II and the Churchs Ambivalent Positions
78
The Single Covenant and the Eclipse of Fulfillment
182
Pluralism and Complementarity
187
Jewish Faith After the Holocaust The GodofHistory
199
Richard Rubenstein
201
Emil Fackenheim
209
Ignaz Maybaum
212
Eliezer Berkovits
214
Humanity and God as the Architects of Society
217

Catholic Institutional Identity and Antisemitism
89
Scripture and Contextual Antisemitism
99
Scriptures as Products of Living Communities
103
Continuity or Discontinuity in the Scriptures
109
Proleptic Christology
115
Theology and the ChristianJewish Dialogue The Spectrum of Issues
125
Christian Theology and Judaism
126
Christian Identity and the Jewish Revelatory Experience
133
The Formation of Christian Identity
145
Christology and Antisemitism
159
Discontinuity and Covenants
162
Rethinking the Discontinuity Thesis
165
The Christevent and Human Dignity
177
Political Theology and Foundational Values
227
The Event and Authentic Theology
231
Praxis and Theory
236
Action as Concretized Knowledge
243
TheoryPraxis and its Potential Impact
248
The Holocaust and Modernity
259
The Holocaust and Nazi Germany
260
The Holocaust and the Psychosocial Dynamics of a Normal Society
266
The Development of Prosocial Values
282
Conclusion
291
Bibliography
309
Index
351
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About the author (2009)

Donald J. Dietrich is chairman of the Department of Theology at Boston College.

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