The Aryan Jesus: Christian Theologians and the Bible in Nazi Germany

The Aryan Jesus: Christian Theologians and the Bible in Nazi Germany

by Susannah Heschel
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0691125317

ISBN-13: 9780691125312

Pub. Date: 11/03/2008

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Was Jesus a Nazi? During the Third Reich, German Protestant theologians, motivated by racism and tapping into traditional Christian anti-Semitism, redefined Jesus as an Aryan and Christianity as a religion at war with Judaism. In 1939, these theologians established the Institute for the Study and Eradication of Jewish Influence on German Religious Life. In The

Overview

Was Jesus a Nazi? During the Third Reich, German Protestant theologians, motivated by racism and tapping into traditional Christian anti-Semitism, redefined Jesus as an Aryan and Christianity as a religion at war with Judaism. In 1939, these theologians established the Institute for the Study and Eradication of Jewish Influence on German Religious Life. In The Aryan Jesus, Susannah Heschel shows that during the Third Reich, the Institute became the most important propaganda organ of German Protestantism, exerting a widespread influence and producing a nazified Christianity that placed anti-Semitism at its theological center.

Based on years of archival research, The Aryan Jesus examines the membership and activities of this controversial theological organization. With headquarters in Eisenach, the Institute sponsored propaganda conferences throughout the Nazi Reich and published books defaming Judaism, including a dejudaized version of the New Testament and a catechism proclaiming Jesus as the savior of the Aryans. Institute members--professors of theology, bishops, and pastors--viewed their efforts as a vital support for Hitler's war against the Jews. Heschel looks in particular at Walter Grundmann, the Institute's director and a professor of the New Testament at the University of Jena. Grundmann and his colleagues formed a community of like-minded Nazi Christians who remained active and continued to support each other in Germany's postwar years.

The Aryan Jesus raises vital questions about Christianity's recent past and the ambivalent place of Judaism in Christian thought.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691125312
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
11/03/2008
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

Table of Contents


List of Illustrations ix

A Note on Archival Sources xi

Acknowledgments xiii

List of Abbreviations xvii

INTRODUCTION: Theology and Race 1

CHAPTER I: Draining Jesus of Jewishness 26

CHAPTER II: The Institute for the Study and Eradication of Jewish Infl uence on German Church Life, 1939 to 1942 67

CHAPTER III: Projects of the Institute 106

CHAPTER IV: The Making of Nazi Theologians 166

CHAPTER V: The Faculty of Theology at the University of Jena 201

CHAPTER VI: The Postwar Years 242

CONCLUSION: Crucifi ed or Resurrected: Institute Theology in Postwar Germany 279

Bibliography 291

Illustration Permissions 327

Index 329

Scriptural Citations Index 339

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