The Anguish of the Jews: Twenty-three Centuries of Antisemitism

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Paulist Press, 1985 - History - 369 pages
Written by a Catholic priest, this classic book on antisemitism traces the events of twenty-three centuries, including Christian involvement in this tragic story.

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Excellent book from the point of view of the self-proclaimed Christian who was a Catholic priest. It begins with the acceptance of the Jewish lifestyle in early Rome to the jealousy and hatred from the early church to take out the Jewishness of Yeshua HaMashiach / Jesus the Messiah and place on a cross and leave Him there . An excellent explanation of why it is so important for the Christian and Muslim to accept Him for who He really is , the Word of the LORD that was here in the beginning of the world , who came as a protector , revealer , counselor and the Word itself to the Chosen people of G-d .  

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This is a very useful book for me as a Christian to understand the reasons why Jewish people are so resistance to Jesus and the Gospel. Flannery, a Roman Catholic Priest, he did a very good research and study on the last twenty three centuries of worldwide anti –Semitism. I believe it is more significant and encouraging to have an author in Christianity background to comment and review the history of Anti – Semitism because there are many aspects of history anti-Semitism prevalent within some areas of the Church itself. Many might see some of the writings as self incriminating and I considered this is a refreshing honesty and wish to heal the relationship between Christian and Jew, both whom share a common foundation in our faith. By understanding the history, it helps us to understand the hostility between Jews and gentile especially in church history or event right now and also to prevent what has happened.
It is very true that Flannery pointed out in the beginning of this book that the vast majority of even well educated Christian have been relatively ignorant of what has happened to the Jews throughout history and the culpable involvement of many facets of the Church by comparison, the Jews themselves are largely and acutely aware of their painful history in such matters. I believe this is an excellent book to be included in our Church History curriculum especially for seminary education. If we are studying the church history but missing out the whole part of the Church anti-Semitism including persecution, torture, massacres, social degradations, forced baptism and conversions, for me seem we as a seminary student still be ignorant and have not learnt the Church History and it should be a fail in this class. It is upsetting and heart breaking to study and admitting this Dark Age in our Church History but it can be more tragic if we do not recognize this Anti-Semitism is a kind of sins and allow this to propagate in our society or even in our church. To quote Flannery, “it is a tragedy in which Jesus participates, crucified again in the person of His people at the hand of many baptized in His name. The sin of anti-Semitism contains many sins, but in the end it is a denial of Christian faith, a failure of Christian hope, and a malady of Christian love….And the ultimate scandal: that in carrying the burden of God in history the Jewish people did not find in the Christian churches and ally and defender but one of their most zealous detractors and oppressors? It is a story that calls for repentance.” (p. 295)
In reading the modern day Mid-East section of this book, it reminds what I had learnt in last semester in Modern Israel class. Flannery covers what he calls the overt expression and practice of Arab Anti-Semitism/ Anti – Zionism, which has been seldom mentioned or discussed in church also. He proceeds to describe how Arab propaganda, already hostile to the existence of the State of Israel, has widened its focus to further include the Jewish people and their religion. When we couple the history of Anti-Semitism as what we read in this book and the news or situations towards the Middle East conflict right now in our time, an alarm of repetition of history should be ringing in our mind. The author describes how the horrendous myths of the “Blood Libel” and the “Protocols of The Elders of Zion” have been revived in the Mid-East often through state approved channels of some Arab countries. Considered in the context of how these two myths have resulted in the historic massacres and slaughter of innocent Jews worldwide, the impact of their revival is analyzed.
I feel it is a responsibility for us, who learn and understand the situation right now to share and educate people around us especially Christians, so we can be alert and pray for ourselves not to fall in to the deception of Satan who hates those who God loves. I totally agree with Flannery pointing that Anti- Semitism is a form of anti-religious. It is rooted in a revolt against acceptance of a transcendental or divine moral order



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