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  •  James Carroll's Constantine's Sword (15+ / 0-)

    is about the deep roots of modern anti-semitism in medieval European Christianity.  If I recall the work correctly, in fact, he traces it all the way back to the Gospel of John, through Augustine and on up to the Crusades and the Inquisition, eventually taking on a newly murderous shape in the Twentieth Century in Germany.

    While most of his analysis focuses on the Catholic Church, Luther does not escape unscathed.  On page 426, Carroll writes:

    It is important to take note of the Lutheran tradition into which [Karl Marx] was initiated, because... German antisemitism would prove especially lethal, in no small part because of shadows cast by Martin Luther.
    Carroll goes on to quote Luther's biographer Richard Marius:
    Luther's hatred of the Jews is a sad and dishonorable part of his legacy, and it is not a fringe issue.  It lay at the center of his concept of religion.  He saw in the Jews a continuing moral depravity he did not see in Catholics.  He did not accuse papists of the crimes he laid at the feet of the Jews.
    The analysis of Luther's antisemitism and its significance to the development of the antisemitic tradition in Europe continues for several pages, and ends with the exultation of a Lutheran bishop in Thuringia that Kristallnacht occurred on November 10, 1938, the four hundred and fifty-fifth anniversary of Luther's birth.

    When the union's inspiration /Through the workers' blood shall run /There can be no power greater /Anywhere beneath the sun /Solidarity Forever!

    by litho on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 03:50:31 PM PST

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