Hatred of Jews is the noxious stream that James Carroll’s big book, called “Constantine’s Sword,” tries to map through Western history. It can look like many histories and many streams: including the imperial Roman conquest of Jerusalem, the Catholic crusades and Inquisition, the explusion of Jews from Spain, the pogroms of Eastern Europe, and catastrophically the death camps of Auschwitz scarcely more than half a century ago.
But in James Carroll’s reading there is one great arc in the story, a single stream that was polluted in the earliest Christian times-not by Jesus but by his first followers, including the Gospel writers, who cast the saviour dramatically as the enemy of “the Jews,” his own people, and set up the Jews to be the victims of Christian history. James Carroll has examined history and his own conscience, and come up with a project to rebuild his Catholic church on its Jewish foundations.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)
James Carroll author of “Constantine’s Sword: The Church and The Jews.”