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

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Transaction Publishers, 1995 - 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
Institutional Catholic Attitudes to Judaism and
61
Scripture and Contextual Antisemitism
99
Christian Identity and the Jewish Revelatory
133
The Formation of Christian Identity
145
Christology and Antisemitism
159
Emil Fackenheim
209
Humanity and God as the Architects of Society
217
Political Theology and Foundational Values
227
The Holocaust and Modernity
259
Conclusion
291
Bibliography
309
Index
351
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About the author (1995)

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

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