A Summary Of Early Christian Anti-Judaism

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Through previously analysing examples of early Christian anti-Judaism, this chapter provides an insight into the connection between early Christian anti-Judaic attitudes and the Nazi understanding of the Jews. As Ruether contends that Christian anti-Semitism originates from the ‘left hand of Christology’, it will become apparent through analysing Nazi ideology and propaganda how early Christian anti-Judaism is repeated in the Nazi depiction of the Jews. Conversely, it is counter argued by Langmuir that Nazi anti-Semitism differed from early Christian anti-Judaism and therefore was not a continuation of anti-Judaism. He contends that despite the medieval church referring to the Jews as blind to the truth and the symbol of disbelief, medieval authorities did not condone the slaughter of the Jews. Therefore, it can be argued that there is not a direct connection between anti-Judaism and the racial anti-Semitism adopted by the Nazis. In response to Langmuir’s argument, the racial hatred for the Jews expressed by the Nazis, as with any hatred, has to have an origin and a trigger point which generates the feelings of contempt. For example, Christian contempt for Jews originates from the idea that the Jews were responsible for the death of Christ. Taking this into account, Langmuir’s argument is problematic and this chapter will reveal the repetition of early Christian anti-Judaism in Nazi propaganda. Although the Nazis interpreted the Jews from a racial discriminative standpoint, which was distinct to the early Church Fathers portrayal of the Jews, they used Christian anti-Judaic accusations and stereotypes of Jews to contribute to their portrayal of the Jewish race. This leads to the conclusion that the Nazis were influenced by the... ... middle of paper ... ...te itself with no offer of protection. Lewis supports this by asserting that the attitudes towards the Jews have remained the same, but the expression has differed. He states that the Nazis maintained the anti-Judaic substance of the early Church, yet changed the expression to a matter of racial hatred which resulted in the murder of 6 million Jews. When Hitler was questioned as to why he was partaking in a crusade to destroy the Jews, he declared that he was ‘only continuing what Christianity had preached and practiced for 2000 years’. This clearly indicates that although the feelings of contempt for the Jews changed from a theological concern to a racial matter, the Nazis were influenced by early Christian anti-Judaism and were able to manipulate negative Christian attitudes and portrayals of Jews to justify their plan to annihilate the Jews of Europe.
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