Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002 - Religion - 756 pages
14 Reviews
In a bold and moving book that is sure to spark heated debate, the novelist and cultural critic James Carroll maps the profoundly troubling two-thousand-year course of the Church’s battle against Judaism and faces the crisis of faith it has provoked in his own life as a Catholic. More than a chronicle of religion, this dark history is the central tragedy of Western civilization, its fault lines reaching deep into our culture.
The Church’s failure to protest the Holocaust -- the infamous "silence” of Pius XII -- is only part of the story: the death camps, Carroll shows, are the culmination of a long, entrenched tradition of anti-Judaism. From Gospel accounts of the death of Jesus on the cross, to Constantine’s transformation of the cross into a sword, to the rise of blood libels, scapegoating, and modern anti-Semitism, Carroll reconstructs the dramatic story of the Church’s conflict not only with Jews but with itself. Yet in tracing the arc of this narrative, he implicitly affirms that it did not necessarily have to be so. There were roads not taken, heroes forgotten; new roads can be taken yet. Demanding that the Church finally face this past in full, Carroll calls for a fundamental rethinking of the deepest questions of Christian faith. Only then can Christians, Jews, and all who carry the burden of this history begin to forge a new future.
Drawing on his well-known talents as a storyteller and memoirist, and weaving historical research through an intensely personal examination of conscience, Carroll has created a work of singular power and urgency. CONSTANTINE'S SWORD is a brave and affecting reckoning with difficult truths that will touch every reader.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Hiensch - LibraryThing

A very interesting and disturbing book. Not an easy read in subject and style, but well worth the effort. Helps to gain a deeper understanding of the very deep roots of antisemitism in our civilization. Last part (part 8) can be skipped. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - DinadansFriend - LibraryThing

James Carroll has written a pretty good history of the religious warfare between Catholicism and Judaism. The preponderance of power has been with the Catholics, and the author tries to point the ... Read full review

Contents

Sign of Folly
3
Stumbling Block to Jews
13
The Journey
19
My Mothers Clock
24
Passion Play
31
My Rabbi
37
Between Past and Future
58
My GreatUncle
67
Expulsion in 1492
343
The Roman Ghetto
363
The Religious Response of the Jews
385
Shema Yisrael
391
Karl Marx Second Son of Trier
401
Spinoza From Rabbis to Revolution
406
Voltaire and the False Promise of Emancipation
414
Jew as Revolutionary Jew as Financier
426

Jesus a Jew?
71
The Threshold Stone
89
Destroy This Temple
100
The Healing Circle
122
Paul the Martyr of Shalom
135
Parting of the Ways
144
The Lachrymose Tradition A Cautionary Note
150
The Heart of This Story Is a Place
155
The Story of Constantine
165
The Cross and the Religious Imagination
172
The Vision of Constantine
178
The True Cross
195
Augustine Trembling
208
The Seamless Robe
220
The Danger of Ambivalence
229
The War of the Cross
237
The Incident in Trier
246
Mainz Anonymous
257
The Blood Libel
268
Anselm Why God Became Man
278
Abelard and Heloise
290
Thomas Aquinas Reason Against the Jews
301
One Road
313
My Inquisition
319
Convivencia to Reconquista
322
ConvertMaking The Failure of Success
333
Revolution in Rome The Popes Jews
439
Alfred Dreyfus and La Croix
450
The Uses of Antisemitism
464
Lucie and Madeleine
467
From Christian AntiJudaism to Eliminationist Antisemitism
475
Setting a Standard The Church Against Bismarck
479
Eugenio Pacelli and the Surrender of German Catholicism
495
The Seamless Robe in 1933
501
Maria Laach and Reichstheologie
511
Pius XII Last Days of the Roman Ghetto
523
Edith Stein and Catholic Memory
536
The Broad Relevance of Catholic Reform
547
Agenda for a New Reformation
559
Agenda Item 1 AntiJudaism in the New Testament
561
Agenda Item 2 The Church and Power
570
Agenda Item 3 A New Christology
577
Agenda Item 4 The Holiness of Democracy
588
Agenda Item 5 Repentance
599
The Faith of a Catholic
605
Acknowledgments
619
Chronology
622
Notes
628
Bibliography
696
Index
720
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About the author (2002)

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 aregular contributor to the Daily Beast.His critically admired books include Practicing Catholic, the National Book Awarda 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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