Anti-Semitism is illogical and irrational hatred of Jews by ignorant people who do not understand God’s Chosen people. Jesus is a Jew yet bitter fruit stems from psychological, political religious roots to accuse Jews of killing Jesus. All humans are fully responsible for Jesus’ death for their sins because all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God. Passover crowd that shouted crucify Him includes all nations under the heavens. In article: Antisemitism in patristics after Paul’s death, Christianity emerged as a separate religion so Pauline Christianity emerged as the dominant form of Christianity. So James and the other apostles agreed on a compromise set of requirements in Acts 15. Some Christians continued to adhere to aspects of Jewish law, but were few in number and considered heretics by the Church due to confluct in doctrines. The Ebionites seem to deny the virgin birth of Jesus, physical Resurrection of Jesus, and most of the books later canonized as the New Testament. The Ethiopian Orthodox continue Old Testament practices such as the Sabbath. 4th century Church Father John Chrysostom complained that some Christians were still attending Jewish synagogues. So Church Fathers identified Jews and Judaism with heresy declared the people of Israel to be extra Deum in latin or “outside of God”. Saint Peter of Antioch referred to the Christians who refused to worship religious images as having “Jewish minds.” Patristic bishops of the patristic like Augustine argued Jews should be left alive to suffer as a perpetual reminder of their murder of Christ. Like his anti-Jewish teacher, St. Ambrose of Milan, he defined Jews as a special subset of those damned tohell. As “Witness People“, he sanctified collective punishment for the Jewish deicideand enslavement of Jews to Catholics: “Not by bodily death, shall ungodly race of carnal Jews perish… ‘Scatter them abroad, take away their strength bring them down O Lord.'” Augustine claimed to “love” the Jews but as a means to convert them to Christianity. Sometimes he identified all Jews with the evil Judas and developed the doctrine (together with St. Cyprian) that there was “no salvation outside the Church. Other Church Fathers, such as John Chrysostom, went further in their condemnation. The Catholic editor Paul Harkins wrote that St. John Chrysostom‘s anti-Jewish theology is no longer tenable, For objectively unchristian acts cannot be excused, even if the product of times.” John Chrysostom held, as Church Fathers did the sins of all Jews were communal and endless so Jewish neighbours were collective representation of all alleged crimes of all preexisting Jews. All Church Fathers used passages in New Testament concerning alleged crucifixion of Christ to all Jews of his day seen as the ultimate evil. John Chrysostom went so far to say because Jews rejected Christian God in human flesh, Christ, they deserved to be killed: “grew fit for slaughter.” Citing the New Testament in Luke 19:27, he claimed Jesus was speaking about Jews when he said, as for the enemies of mine who did not want me to reign over them bring them here and slay them before me.
St. Jerome identified Jews with Judas Iscariot and immoral use of money of Judas as cursed in Judas the Jews may be accursed…so their prayers turn into sins. Jerome’s homiletical assaults served as the basis for the anti-Jewish Good Friday liturgy contrasts Jews with the evil, and “the ceremonies of the Jews are harmful and deadly to Christians”, whoever keeps them doomed to the devil. “My enemies are Jews; they have conspired in hatred against Me, crucified Me, heaped evils of all kinds upon Me, blasphemed Me. And Ephraim the Syrian wrote polemics against Jews in 4th century, including the repeated accusation satan dwells among them as a partner. These writings were directed at Christians proselytized by Jews. Ephraim feared they were slipping back into Judaism so portrayed Jews as the enemies of Christianity, like satan, to emphasize contrast between religions. So Christianity was Godly and true, Judaism was satanic and false. His objective was to dissuade Christians from reverting to Judaism by what he saw as wickedness of the Jews and their religion. However, positive remarks from Church Fathers on the issue, by Eusebius of Caesarea (circa. 263-340 A.D) in his Ecclesiastical History said, “The race of Hebrews is not new, but is honoured among all men for its antiquity and is itself well known to all.”
In later medieval period, the number of Jews permitted to reside in certain places was limited; they were concentrated in ghettos, and were not allowed to own land; they were subject to discriminatory taxes on entering cities or districts other than their own, The Oath More Judaico, the form of oath required from Jewish witnesses, in some places developed bizarre or humiliating forms, e.g. in Swabian law of 13th century, Jew would be required to stand on the hide of a sow or a bloody lamb. The Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 was the first to proclaim requirement for Jews to wear something to distinguish them as Jews (and Muslims the same). On many occasions, Jews were accused of blood libel supposed drinking of blood of Christian children in mockery of the ChristianEucharist. Sicut Judaeis in the “Constitution for the Jews” was the official position of the papacy regarding Jews throughout Middle Ages and later. The first bull was issued in about 1120 by Calixtus II, intended to protect Jews who suffered during First Crusade, and was reaffirmed by many popes, even until the 15th century though not always strictly upheld. The bull forbade, besides other things, Christians from coercing Jews to convert, or to harm them, or to take their property, or to disturb the celebration of their festivals, or to interfere with their cemeteries, on pain of excommunication.
Antisemitism in popular European Christian culture escalated beginning in the 13th century. Blood libels and host desecrationdrew popular attention and led to many cases of persecution against Jews. Many believed Jews poisoned wells to cause plagues. In the case of blood libel it was widely believed Jews would killed a child before Easter and needed Christian blood to bake matzo. And so throughout history if a Christian child was murdered accusations of blood libel arose no matter how small the Jewish population. The Church added to the fire by portraying the dead child as a martyr who was tortured and child had powers like Jesus as believed so children were made into Saints. Imagery as Judensau and Ecclesia et Synagoga recur in the Christian art and architecture. In Iceland one hymn repeated in days leading up to Easter include the lines, The righteous Law of Moses The Jews here misapplied, Which their deceit exposes, Their hatred and their pride. Judgement is the Lord’s when by falsification the foe makes accusation It’s His to make awards.
Persecutions and expulsions
In Middle ages in Europe persecutions and formal expulsions of Jews were liable to occur at intervals, although it should be said that this was also the case for other minority communities, whether religious or ethnic. There were outbursts of riotous persecution in the Rhineland massacres of 1096 in Germany leading to the First Crusade, many involving the crusaders as they travelled to the East. There were many local expulsions from cities by local rulers and city councils. In Germany the Holy Roman Emperor tried to restrain persecution, for economic reasons, but often unable to exert much influence. In the Edict of Expulsion, King Edward I expelled all Jews from England in 1290 (only after ransoming some 3,000 among the most wealthy of them), on the accusation of usury and undermining loyalty to the dynasty. In 1306 there was a wave of persecution in France and the widespread Black Death Jewish persecutions as Jews blamed by many Christians for plague, or spreading it. As late as 1519, Imperial city of Regensburg took advantage of the recent death of Emperor Maximilian I to expel 500 Jews.
Expulsion of Jews from Spain
Renaissance 17th century
On 14 July 1555, Pope Paul IV issued papal bull Cum nimis absurdum which revoked all the rights of the Jewish community and placed religious and economic restrictions on Jews in the Papal States, renewed anti-Jewish legislation and subjected Jews to various degradations and restrictions on their personal freedom. The bull established the Roman Ghetto and required Jews of Rome, which had existed as a community since before Christian times and which numbered about 2,000 at the time, to live in it. The Ghetto was walled quarter with three gates locked at night. Jews were restricted to one synagogue per city. And Paul IV’s successor,Pope Pius IV enforced creation of other ghettos in most Italian towns as his successor, Pope Pius V to other bordering states.
Martin Luther at first made overtures towards the Jews, believing that the “evils” ofCatholicism had prevented their conversion to Christianity. When his call to convert to his version of Christianity was unsuccessful, he became hostile to them. In his book On the Jews and their Lies, Luther called the Jews “venomous beasts, vipers, disgusting scum, canders, devils incarnate.” He provided detailed recommendations for a pogrom against them, calling for permanent oppression and expulsion, writing “Their private houses must be destroyed, devastated, they could be lodged in stables. Let the magistrates burn their synagogues and let whatever escapes be covered with sand and mud. Let them force to work, and if this avails nothing, we will be compelled to expel them like dogs in order not to expose ourselves to incurring divine wrath and eternal damnation from the Jews and their lies.” At one point he wrote: “…we are at fault in not slaying them…” a passage that “may be termed the first work of modern antisemitism, and a giant step forward on the road to the Holocaust.” Luther’s harsh comments about Jews seen by many as a continuation of medieval Christian antisemitism. In final sermon shortly before death, however, Luther preached: “We want to treat them with Christian love and to pray for them, so they might become converted and would receive the Lord.”
In accordance with anti-Jewish precepts of Russian Orthodox Church, Russia’s discriminatory policies towards Jews intensified when the partition of Poland in 18th century resulted the first time in Russian history, in the possession of land with a large Jewish population. This land was designated as the Pale of Settlement for Jews forbidden to migrate into the interior of Russia. In 1772 Catherine II, the empress of Russia, forced the Jews of the Pale of Settlement to stay in shtetls and forbade them from returning to the towns they occupied before partition of Poland.
WWI to the eve of WWII
The Nazis used Martin Luther‘s book, On the Jews and Their Lies (1543), to claim a moral righteousness for their ideology. Luther even went so far as to advocate the murder of those Jews who refused to convert to Christianity, writing that “we are at fault in not slaying them.
Archbishop Robert Runcie has asserted that: “Without centuries of Christian antisemitism, Hitler’s passionate hatred would never have been so fervently echoed…because for centuries Christians have held Jews collectively responsible for the death of Jesus. On Good Friday Jews, have in times past, cowered behind locked doors with fear of a Christian mob seeking ‘revenge’ for deicide. Without the poisoning of Christian minds through the centuries, the Holocaust is unthinkable. The dissident Catholic priest Hans Küng has written “Nazi anti-Judaism was the work of godless, anti-Christian criminals. But would not be possible without two thousand years’ pre-history of ‘Christian’ anti-Judaism. The document Dabru Emet. issued by 220 rabbis intellectuals from all branches of Judaism in 2000 stated Jewish-Christian relations. Document states,
“Nazism was not a Christian phenomenon. Without the long history of Christian anti-Judaism and Christian violence against Jews, Nazi ideology could not have taken hold nor could it have been carried out. Too many Christians participated in, or were sympathetic to, Nazi atrocities against Jews. Other Christians did not protest sufficiently against these atrocities. But Nazism itself was not an inevitable outcome of Christianity.”
According to American historian Lucy Dawidowicz, antisemitism has a long history within Christianity. The line of “antisemitic descent” from Luther, the author of On the Jews and Their Lies, to Hitler is “easy to draw.” In her The War Against the Jews, 1933-1945, she contends that Luther and Hitler were obsessed by the “demonologized universe” inhabited by Jews. Dawidowicz writes that the similarities between Luther’s anti-Jewish writings and modern antisemitism are no coincidence, because they derived from a common history of Judenhass, which can be traced to Haman’s advice toAhasuerus. Although modern German antisemitism also has its roots in Germannationalism and the liberal revolution of 1848,Christian antisemitism she writes is a foundation that was laid by the Roman Catholic Church and “upon which Luther built.”
- German Christians
- Hanns Kerrl, Minister for Ecclesiastical Affairs
- Positive Christianity (the approved Nazi version of Christianity)
- Protestant Reich Church
Opposition to the Holocaust
The Confessing Church was, in 1934, the first Christian opposition group. The Catholic Church officially condemned the Nazi theory of racism in Germany in 1937 with theencyclical “Mit brennender Sorge“, signed byPope Pius XI, and Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber led the Catholic opposition, preaching against racism. Many individual Christian clergy and laypeople of all denominations had to pay for their opposition with their life, including:
- Catholic priest, Maximilian Kolbe.
- Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer
- the Catholic parson of Berlin Cathedral,Bernhard Lichtenberg.
- the mostly Catholic members of the Munichresistance group White Rose around Hansand Sophie Scholl.
By the 1940s fewer Christians were willing to oppose Nazi policy publicly, but many secretly helped save lives of Jews. Many sections of Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Museum, Yad Vashem, dedicated to honoring these “Righteous Among the Nations.” When Jews said crucify Jesus and let His blood be upon us and our children, Jesus prayed for them on the Cross Father forgive them for they know not what they were doing. So there in no need for causing scourge of anti-Semitic that plagued humanity for centuries. Although the term anti-Semitism was only coined in 1879 by the German agitator, Wilhelm Marr, it was soon applied to all forms of hostility toward Jewish people throughout history.1 Its genesis and genealogy go back hundreds of years before Christ. So-called Christian anti-Semitism is antedated by hatred of Jews among ancient peoples. Anti-Jewish prejudice appeared in antiquity mainly in countries which later became part of the Roman Empire. Refusal by the Jews to accept the imperially sanctioned cult in any form was regarded by Rome as a refusal to recognise authority of state, and rejection of rules universally held sacred. Jewish people could only allow themselves to worship the One, true, invisible God. And the Romans refused to recognise fidelity to their God. Caesar was lord so no other god was tolerated, especially an unseen One. The first recorded outbreak of anti-Semitism as a national policy dates back to around 1550 B.C. The Bible records the historical incident. The first chapter of the Book of Exodus credits Egyptians with infamous distinction of beginning national anti-Semitism. Their irrational fear people would and eventually outnumber them led them to the conclusion the Hebrews would take over their mighty empire. Despite the great victory won through Joseph to store food for global famine that brought Joseph’s family to Egypt. Soon the new Pharaoh’s forgot God’s blessings upon Egypt because of the Jews. God increased 70 members of Jacob’s family greatly in Goshen. So midwives were advised to kill all male Jewish babies multiplying since time of Joseph. 2 midwives feared God so refused to kill the babies and God greatly blessed them. Other nations targeted Jewish businesses, and the Synagogues in Hitler Nazi fuelled hatred due to envy and jealousy. This ancient episode has a very modern ring to it!