Early Christian teachings on Jews: a necessary cause of the Nazi antisemitism that informed the Holocaust

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Carolyn Sanzenbacher (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Karl Schleunes

Abstract: The idea that Christianity was related to the antisemitism that informed the Holocaust was widely resisted in the early years following WW II discovery of Nazi exterminations of Jews. Yet before the end of the Holocaust century the major bodies of Christianity had labeled traditional Christian attitudes toward Jews as the fuel for "fires of hatred," declared the Church "sinful and in need of conversion," and called for the Church to "submit her own history to critical examination." By the turn of the millennium, formal confessions had not only been made throughout western Christendom for atrocities perpetrated against Jews historically, but also for what was said to be a necessary causal relation between Christian teachings and the Nazi antisemitism that informed the Holocaust. In the light of these admissions, and the growing scholarly consensus that it is no longer tenable to claim that Christian teachings on Jews are unrelated to the Holocaust, this study traces a triad of foundational teachings embodying the doctrines of Christian dominion, Jewish subservience, and perpetual Jewish suffering from their inception through the Third Reich. Not only were these teachings, along with their attendant ideas, terms, and concepts, the single most important weapon-group in early Christianity's supersessionist arsenal, they were the means by which clusters of mutually dependent ideas about Jews were sealed with divine authority and delivered to modern western culture. The history of this complex development not only helps us to understand how ancient Christian theological claims became modern secular weapons to use against Jews in the twentieth century, it explains how the former can justly be called a necessary cause of the Holocaust some nineteen years later.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2010
Antisemitism, Christianity, European History, Holocaust, Jews, Theology
Holocaust (Christian Theology).
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945) $x Influence.
Christianity and antisemitism $x History.
Judaism $xRelations $x Christianity.

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