Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002 - Religion - 756 pages
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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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

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - lfcb - LibraryThing

Thoughtful, well written and controversial history of the outcome of Constantine's reforms in the Fourth Century and the development anti-semitism. 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
341
The Roman Ghetto
361
The Religious Response of the Jews
383
Shema Yisrael
389
Karl Marx Second Son of Trier
399
Spinoza From Rabbis to Revolution
404
Voltaire and the False Promise of Emancipation
412
Jew as Revolutionary Jew as Financier
424

Jesus a Jew?
71
The Threshold Stone
89
Destroy This Temple
100
The Healing Circle
120
Paul the Martyr of Shalom
133
Parting of the Ways
142
The Lachrymose Tradition A Cautionary Note
148
The Heart of This Story Is a Place
153
The Story of Constantine
163
The Cross and the Religious Imagination
170
The Vision of Constantine
176
The True Cross
193
Augustine Trembling
206
The Seamless Robe
218
The Danger of Ambivalence
227
The War of the Cross
235
The Incident in Trier
244
Mainz Anonymous
255
The Blood Libel
266
Anselm Why God Became Man
276
Abelard and Heloise
288
Thomas Aquinas Reason Against the Jews
299
One Road
311
My Inquisition
317
Convivencia to Reconquista
320
ConvertMaking The Failure of Success
331
Revolution in Rome The Popes Jews
437
Alfred Dreyfus and La Croix
448
The Uses of Antisemitism
462
Lucie and Madeleine
465
From Christian AntiJudaism to Eliminationist Antisemitism
473
Setting a Standard The Church Against Bismarck
477
Eugenio Pacelli and the Surrender of German Catholicism
493
The Seamless Robe in 1933
499
Maria Laach and Reichstheologie
509
Pius XII Last Days of the Roman Ghetto
521
Edith Stein and Catholic Memory
534
The Broad Relevance of Catholic Reform
545
Agenda for a New Reformation
557
Agenda Item 1 AntiJudaism in the New Testament
559
Agenda Item 2 The Church and Power
568
Agenda Item 3 A New Christology
575
Agenda Item 4 The Holiness of Democracy
586
Agenda Item 5 Repentance
597
The Faith of a Catholic
603
Acknowledgments
617
Chronology
620
Notes
626
Bibliography
694
Index
718
Copyright

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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 a
regular contributor to the Daily Beast.
His critically admired books include Practicing Catholic, the National Book Award-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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