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This is a priceless investigation of anti semitism in Christianity, and it is an invaluable book However in asmuch as the author does not get past Christianity enough to understand that it had nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus, and the fact that it was Paul who was so heavily invested in creating a separate and different movement, which of necessity had victimization built in, as a good Cahtolic, he remains stuck with the guilt over this aspect, and the reader through him Having said t This is a priceless investigation of anti semitism in Christianity, and it is an invaluable book However in asmuch as the author does not get past Christianity enough to understand that it had nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus, and the fact that it was Paul who was so heavily invested in creating a separate and different movement, which of necessity had victimization built in, as a good Cahtolic, he remains stuck with the guilt over this aspect, and the reader through him Having said that his honesty and courage in looking at this messy aspect of Christian history is overwhelming.A long time ago, a book by the Dutch theologian Prof G J Heering, The Fall of Christianity English translations from ca 1943 identified the fall of the teachings of the Prince of Peace as they finally became the religion of the soldiers of Caesar, Constantine the Great whose In Hoc Signo Vinces, which surely was a nadir of Christianity, and hardly a triumph.Once it is understood that Christian aggression begins with Paul s proselytizing let s not practice what he says, but instead let s convince the neighbors that they should practice what he says then it is also clear that the seeds of hatred were in the DNA of the movement, since separation, and being unique and different is the underlying premise, wich completely flies in the face of everything Jesus stood for, which was inclusion never exclusion While Heering had a clear eye for the decay of Jesus s message,so than Carroll, he did not realize that the rot was built in from the moment Paul s proselytizing turned the message completely outward Easily the worst book I have read in the last 10 years The author s historical analysis is flawed throughout the book and no legitimate historian would find it plausible I ve read some of the scholarly reviews of the book and they were not kind Claims throughout the book are often outrageous e.g New Testament is anti semetic with little or no scholarship to back up arguments simply having a lot of footnotes does not mean it is well researched or supported by the literature of the field Easily the worst book I have read in the last 10 years The author s historical analysis is flawed throughout the book and no legitimate historian would find it plausible I ve read some of the scholarly reviews of the book and they were not kind Claims throughout the book are often outrageous e.g New Testament is anti semetic with little or no scholarship to back up arguments simply having a lot of footnotes does not mean it is well researched or supported by the literature of the field All of his heroes in the book are those who agree with his theologically liberal positions, while all the villians are of course theologically conservative This book is really about one man s self created theology and fanciful imagination and not about the topic it claims to address.Christianity does have a lot to answer for in regards to its relationship with the Jews over the last 2000 years, including the fostering of anti semitism throughout certain periods of its history, but this book contributes nothing of value to this issue Unfortunately, many readers are likely to be mislead by this book as they have not read much else on this topic I encourage anyone who thinks this is good history to read further This might be the most powerful book I ve ever read It details the history of Christianity, with regard to antisemitism It begins at the time of Jesus death and goes through Vatican II I knew the Church far from perfect, but I had no idea that it not only tolerated antisemitism but FOSTERED it Carroll is an ex priest The first part of the book too long, in my husband s estimation is spent on explaining Carroll s personal experience with the Church, which forms the framework for his writi This might be the most powerful book I ve ever read It details the history of Christianity, with regard to antisemitism It begins at the time of Jesus death and goes through Vatican II I knew the Church far from perfect, but I had no idea that it not only tolerated antisemitism but FOSTERED it Carroll is an ex priest The first part of the book too long, in my husband s estimation is spent on explaining Carroll s personal experience with the Church, which forms the framework for his writing of this book For me, the fact that a devout Catholic wrote this book gave itvalidity than if it had been a non Catholic or non Christian I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in exploring the historical truth about Christianity Very well written, informative, and frequently interesting for those qualities and other reasons, but this book was addressed to a dilemma specific to Carroll and others who identify with him, which limited its appeal to me Consequently, the parts that were likely the most significant for the author and the most rewarding for other readers were those that I wanted to get through most quickly. I think what may shed a cleansing light upon the dark recesses of ignorance pertaining to any dispute of this excellent book would be for everyone here to read up on Mithraism Mithra In a nut shell it preceded Christ by 600 years at least and, surprise, has almost identical teachings many of the same stories as the bible Basically Constantine who ordered the first mass printing of the bible was a follower of Mithra first and as a method of consolidating power helped replace the Pagan I think what may shed a cleansing light upon the dark recesses of ignorance pertaining to any dispute of this excellent book would be for everyone here to read up on Mithraism Mithra In a nut shell it preceded Christ by 600 years at least and, surprise, has almost identical teachings many of the same stories as the bible Basically Constantine who ordered the first mass printing of the bible was a follower of Mithra first and as a method of consolidating power helped replace the Pagan God Mithra but still keeping many of the same stories with the fabled figure head of the, back then, minor cult called Christianity Constantine then appointed himself Pope of this now better organized funded religion as well as having the power title of Emperor Time to grow up everyone Jews Muslm s too have forged their religions over this original super religions stories views Read learn the real truth As for the similarities between Mithra, Mithraism, Jesus and Christianity Mithra was born on December 25th sometimes in a stable or cave but traditionally from a rock The Roman Emperor Aurelian declared December 25 to be the official birthday of Mithra, circa 270 CE, even attended by shepards who brought gifts.Mithra was a traveling teacher.Mithra had 12 disciples.He performed Miracles.He was buried in a tomb.In three days he was resurrected.He was called the Good Shepard.He was considered the Way, the Truth and the Light, the Redeemer, the Savior, the Messiah His sacred day was Sunday.His resurrection was celebrated on Easter.He had a Last Supper when he returned to his father Also called the Eucharist or the Lord s Supper.He was believed not to have died, but to have ascended to heaven where it was believed he would return at the end of time where he would judge the living and the dead.He granted immortal life of his followers through baptism.Followers of Mithra were lead by a papa , the Greek word for father and what pope is derived from,who ruled on Vatican Hill in Rome.Remember This is all BEFORE Christ Records show at the very least 600 years before Followers of Mithra celebrated sacramenta , a consecrated bread and wine, using chanting, incense,bells, candles and holy water just as is found in the Catholic Mass He who will not eat of my body and drink of my blood, so that he will be made on with me and I with him, the same shall not know salvation NO this isn t John 6 53 54 Its actually an inscription to Mithras Yup folks your entire life devoted to Christianity has been a fraud The bible is just the book of plagiarism design to control tax the populace of the old world and things haven t changed much since This is a SERIOUS read It s long, beautifully written and heartfelt, thoroughly researched and annotated, and 2 millenia in the making Thought provoking, yes, but soul search provoking also This should be mandatory reading for every practicing Christian, particularly Roman Catholics James Carrol amazes I need to blog about this. |READ DOWNLOAD ♾ Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews ♴ A rare book that combines searing passion with a subject that has affected all of our lives Chicago TribuneNovelist, cultural critic former priest James Carroll marries history with memoir as he maps theyear course of the Church s battle against Judaism faces the crisis of faith it has sparked in his own life Fascinating, brave sometimes infuriating Time , this dark history is than a chronicle of religion It s the central tragedy of Western civilization, its fault lines reaching deep into our culture to create a deeply felt work San Francisco Chronicle as Carroll wrangles with centuries of strife tragedy to reach a courageous affecting reckoning with difficult truths This is an incredible book It examines the relationship of the Church and the Jews throughout history I learned an amazing amount about the world in general while reading this book It is both sad, and hopeful It is an important work to remind the readers that there is a better way to live and act. By way of disclosure, I am not a Catholic or a Christian As an outsider I had never understood why Christianity had chosen for its central symbol the cross.That a cross can be made by holding a sword by the blade must have been convenient for a would be conqueror, in particular, Constantine But it also makes the central event of Christian belief the torture and murder of its most sacred founder A religion that espouses peace should not want so much violence embodied in its embodying symbol T By way of disclosure, I am not a Catholic or a Christian As an outsider I had never understood why Christianity had chosen for its central symbol the cross.That a cross can be made by holding a sword by the blade must have been convenient for a would be conqueror, in particular, Constantine But it also makes the central event of Christian belief the torture and murder of its most sacred founder A religion that espouses peace should not want so much violence embodied in its embodying symbol The best symbol for The Prince of Peace should not be a sword shaped reminder that this prince was the victim of a political assassination The Prince of Peace would reject the sword as his personal emblemEx Priest, a former Catholic columnist, now a writer, play write and historian begins Constantine s Sword with this same observation His central thesis seems to be that by making the death of Christ the most important event of his human life and by adopting as an article of faith that only through Christ can one s soul enter heaven, the Catholics created a set of justifications for violent anti Semitism Further Carroll argues that Antisemitism is a most shaming rot at the core of what is otherwise a beautiful religion Carroll pointedly rejects the defense that evil is done in the name of the Church but never by the Church In other words the riot was not started by the person who falsely shouts Fire in a crowded theater, but by the people who panic upon hearing of the supposed threat.In my taxonomy, Constantine s Sword is a second level of history It is not the recounting of events for the purpose of detailing what happened It is the deliberate selection of key events for the purpose of proving a theory However this is an incomplete description James Carroll recounts his personal journey, relating his experiences as a privileged child of a family living a privileged life as American in post war Europe In his house the devil was incarnated as the threat of Communism His mother s example was a loving influence for living a Catholic life.The result is a very personal view of history Not a remote or subjective recounting of history but one driven by his passion for his topic and insistence on aimpassioned appreciation for what all this , the events of the remote past, means to us today.His agenda is not hidden He is positively advocating that the Mother Church has a duty to do an honest introspection, followed by unequivocal repentance and move forward with an improved catechism The new catechism must emphasize The Mother Church s comment to Love and Peace and that there is no place for violence.Carroll has taken a very vocal stance against the roll of the Pope during World War II He argues that the Pope had a moral responsibility to force a direct confrontation with Hitler in particular and Anti Semites of whatever politics or nationality There is much to this argument The history of Catholic Church s response to 1930 s fascism and the Holocaust is a complicated story I regret that Carroll does not allow forof that complexity.On the other hand, Carroll provides the right answer to Pope John Paul II s apparent deafness on the subject of placing Catholic memorials at Holocaust sites and the decision to beatify Pope Pius IX Given Pope John Paul II sincere pain over the failures of Catholic individuals and his leadership in building peace between the Mother Church and the Jews of the world, one may choose to overlook these examples However Carroll s reply is that the Church must take full and honest ownership of the evil done by its leadership The Church should also understand that by inserting its presence on grounds made sacred by the blood of another faith, it is inciting the legitimate fears of those of that faith As for Pious IX, he was not saintly in his attitude toward Jews Further, he abetted one of the last known cases of the kidnapping of a Jewish baby, his improper Baptism and refused to restore the child to his rightful family.I turned to this book as a means to gain understanding what a modern Catholic might see in reading his own history I had not expected such a powerful book Carroll s writing makes ancient events immediate and relevant Unfortunately, when the topic is religion, there are too many who cannot tolerate criticism There is nothing in Constantine s Sword that should make a Catholic feel attacked James Carroll bares his soul and his fears He looks directly into the evil that he believes is the logical result of illogical aspects of Catholic theology It is for the reader to make an equally soulful and passionate examination of Catholic history and determine the connections between their faith and the evil men do James Carroll has a very personal relationship with the Catholic Church, having been taken to many holy sites as a child as well as having an audience with the Pope Most strikingly, he spent a number of years as a brother He comes to this subject not as someone who wants to denigrate the Church, but as a man who wants to understand the tortured relationship between the Church and the Jews He begins his journey at Auschwitz, which in addition to the memorials to the lost Jews, has a large Cros James Carroll has a very personal relationship with the Catholic Church, having been taken to many holy sites as a child as well as having an audience with the Pope Most strikingly, he spent a number of years as a brother He comes to this subject not as someone who wants to denigrate the Church, but as a man who wants to understand the tortured relationship between the Church and the Jews He begins his journey at Auschwitz, which in addition to the memorials to the lost Jews, has a large Cross that was placed there not so long ago It is this symbol the Cross orappropriately to the Catholics, the Crucifix upon which he creates his history He draws his story back and forth from the actual Crucifixion, through the growth of the Church, to the Holocaust, to his own personal experience His style makes a long book very easy to read and extremely informative Any history of the Catholic Church is a history of Western civilization and if you are not religious, but interested in history, you should read this It is not a condemnation of the Church as such but a look at the failure of human beings and lost opportunities I wish James Carroll would write an Afterword he finished the boo in 1999 I think he would have despaired at Pope Benedict but rejoiced at Pope Francis Me too