Christianity After Auschwitz: Evangelicals Encounter Judaism In the New Millennium

Christianity After Auschwitz: Evangelicals Encounter Judaism In the New Millennium

by Paul R. Carlson, EdD
     
 

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There is an old Jewish adage that pretty much sums up Israel’s experience among the nations for the last 2,000 years.  “Scratch a gentile,” the saying goes, “and you’re sure to find an anti-Semite.”

That notion is given credence by the fact that the first two millennia of the Jewish-Christian encounter culminated in

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Overview

There is an old Jewish adage that pretty much sums up Israel’s experience among the nations for the last 2,000 years.  “Scratch a gentile,” the saying goes, “and you’re sure to find an anti-Semite.”

That notion is given credence by the fact that the first two millennia of the Jewish-Christian encounter culminated in the systematic slaughter of six-million Jews in the heart of Christendom.

But Dr. Paul R. Carlson, author of Christianity After Auschwitz, is cautiously optimistic that the dawn of this new millennium may lead to Jewish-Christian amity as the Church faces up to its past sins and seeks to work with the Synagogue against those demonic forces which threaten civilization itself.

However, as Carlson illustrates, the genocidal germ that gave birth to Hitler’s criminal regime still flourishes among countless Christians, many of whom would passionately deny they harbor any anti-Semitic notions or sentiments.

While the book is addressed primarily to Carlson’s fellow evangelicals, both Jews and Christians will discover that it provides the general reader with an overview of those critical issues which scholars alone have in the past wrestled with in the post-Holocaust Jewish-Christian encounter.

At the outset, Carlson is quick to concede that the late Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, a scion of the great Chechnowa Rebbe, was certainly correct when he insisted that “Christians have never tried to penetrate the soul of the Jews.

“They have read the Bible but neglected the oral tradition by which we interpret it,” he noted.  “This makes a different Bible altogether.

For example, says Rav Soloveitchik: “To equate Judaism with legalism the way Christian theologians are prone to do is like equating mathematics with a compilation of mathematical equations.”

By the same token, old stereotypes die hard.

“The Jew has been pictured as the arch-capitalist and the arch-Bolshevik and chastised for being both, whipsawed by contending forces,” says Nathan C. Belth.  “The Soviet authorities [saw] Jews as a threat to the state, and Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who castigate[d] Soviet terror, sees Jews as libertarians who brought on socialism, after, of course, rejecting Christ.”

Since time-immemorial, anti-Semites have also portrayed the Jew as the greedy, shady businessman or banker.  But they conveniently forget stories such as that of Haym Salomon [1740-1785], the Jewish broker whose financial aid staved off starvation and desertion among American troops during our War for Independence.

At one critical point, Robert Morris, the American financier and statesman, sent a messenger to alert Haym Salomon of the plight of the cash-strapped Colonial forces.  The man brought the news to Salomon while he was attending Yom Kippur services at Mikveh Israel Synagogue in Philadelphia.  The congregation was shocked at the intrusion on the holiest day of the Jewish year; but Haym Salomon quietly informed the messenger: “Tell Mr. Morris our country’s appeal will not be in vain.”

But that old canard about Jews and their money remains grist for the anti-Semite’s mill.

By the same token, Jews have not been entirely blameless when it comes to their own stereotypes of Christians, particularly evangelicals.

Nathan Perlmutter confessed as much during his tenure as national director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of B’nai B’rith.

“Our image of the fundamentalist and the evangelical is a kind of collage assembled out of bits and pieces from Theodore Dreiser, Sinclair Lewis and Erskine Caldwell . . . ,” he admitted.  “Even after all this time memories of the great swarm of sex-ridden, Bible-thumping caricatures continue to exert a pervasive power.”

But e

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781453582626
Publisher:
Xlibris US
Publication date:
06/14/2000
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
460
File size:
0 MB

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