Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews: A History


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In a bold and moving book that is sure to spark heated debate, the novelist and cultural critic James Carroll maps the profoundly troubling 2,000-year course of the Church's battle against Judaism and faces the crisis of faith it has provoked in his own life as a Catholic. More than a chronicle of religion, this dark history is the central tragedy of Western civilization, its fault lines reaching deep into our culture.

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Jul 18, 2013

Catholicism's Sword

Constantine?s Sword is a history of the mistreatment of the Jewish people primarily by the Roman Catholic Church, ending with a plea for a Vatican III session to redress this problem.

The good: The book provides an informative and rather detailed account of the unjust and shameful mistreatment of the Jews constantly exhibited in various forms of oppression throughout the hundreds of years of the Christian church, especially from the second century up until the Holocaust. Carroll is careful and honest to emphasize that he is recounting the behavior of the Catholic Church and her official posture towards that portion of Israel that continued to reject the claims of the Church regarding the Messiahship of Jesus. As far as I am concerned, being an evangelical Christian, the mistreatment of the Jews is certainly contrary to the teachings of the whole bible and the apostolic writings of the NT in particular; and that these heinous cruelties were perpetrated by hordes of fake ?Christians? who were motivated by ungodly hubris, and the vain and worldly political ambitions of the fake "Christian" priests, monks, bishops, popes, and emperors.

The bad: Much of the book consists of Carroll?s own biographical experiences and feelings about the subject matter, which I found somewhat tedious, preferring a pure history. What is worse is that the author is a Catholic dissenter who holds to a heretical understanding (both to the traditional Catholic Church and certainly to evangelical Christianity) of the meaning of Christianity. He claims that the first followers and writers of the NT botched the meaning of the mission of Jesus, and that this error in turn gave rise to the supposed anti-Semitism and Jew-hatred of Christianity. He denies that Jesus is divine as well as a man, and thinks that he came to be an example of a loving life-style rather than a sacrificial offering for reconciling repentant sinners to an offended God. He believes that the resurrection of Jesus did not physically happen but is only the vibrancy of an affectionate memory of Jesus? life. He has little regard for scripture, conveniently ignoring the plain teachings of both the OT and the NT, and takes his cues from various authors that resonate with his feelings. He is a modern-day Peter Abelard, believing that God loves and accepts everybody, already and always, and that all religions have validity in their approach to ?God.?

Fernando G

Dec 22, 2011

Great Cover But Poor Book

This is really a very misleading title, as the book is just a personal theological outlook from this writer that has very little to do with its title. Very poorly written. Would certainly not recommend.


Nov 17, 2011

Great insight into preudice

A wonderful and thoughtful review of the origins and circumstances in the development of antisemitism from the beginnings of Christianity through the Holocaust and into the present day.

Very readable and extremely interesting. Each page is a revelation.


Sep 3, 2009

Excellent Book

This book is well worth reading. Do not get put-off by its size. It contains a wealth of information, fully documented and presented in an easy to read format. If you wanted to know the roots of antisemitism, and want understanding, the book is a must read. I would recommend it as a reading assignment for high school students or first year of college.

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