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eBook The Aryan Jesus: Christian Theologians and the Bible in Nazi Germany epub

by Susannah Heschel

eBook The Aryan Jesus: Christian Theologians and the Bible in Nazi Germany epub
  • ISBN: 0691148058
  • Author: Susannah Heschel
  • Genre: History
  • Subcategory: World
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (October 3, 2010)
  • Pages: 384 pages
  • ePUB size: 1322 kb
  • FB2 size 1655 kb
  • Formats azw rtf lrf lrf


Was Jesus a Nazi? During the Third Reich, German Protestant theologians, motivated by racism .

Was Jesus a Nazi? During the Third Reich, German Protestant theologians, motivated by racism and tapping into traditional Christian anti-Semitism, redefined Jesus as an Aryan and Christianity as a religion at war with Judaism. In 1939, these theologians established the Institute for the Study and Eradication of Jewish Influence on German Religious Life.

The Aryan Jesus is an analysis of the Third Reich's Institute for the Study and Eradication of Jewish Influence on German .

The Aryan Jesus is an analysis of the Third Reich's Institute for the Study and Eradication of Jewish Influence on German Church Life. Inaugurated on May 6, 1939, the Institute, which was located in Eisenach, Thuringia (eastern Germany), received support from seven regional associations of Protestant churches with the approval of the Reich's Ministry of Education. These same seven ecclesiastical associations banned baptized Jews from their churches in 1941. Moreover, he wrote numerous publications on the Bible and the early church that led in 1936 to his appointment as professor of New Testament at the University of Jena.

Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations is the journal of the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations and is published by the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College.

The Aryan Jesus: Christian Theologians and the Bible in Nazi Germany. Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations, 5(1). More Citation Formats. Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations is the journal of the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations and is published by the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College.

In this work, Heschel introduces us to the Institute for the Study and Eradication of Jewish Influence on German Church Life, which opened its doors in Eisenach on May 6, 1939, under the academic direction of Walter Grundmann

Other readers will always be interested in your opinion of the books you've read. Whether you've loved the book or not, if you give your honest and detailed thoughts then people will find new books that are right for them.

Other readers will always be interested in your opinion of the books you've read. 1. Практический курс немецкого языка.

In The Aryan Jesus, Susannah Heschel, daughter of famed theologian Abraham Heschel, shows that . The Aryan Jesus raises vital questions about Christianity's recent past and the ambivalent place of Judaism in Christian thought.

In The Aryan Jesus, Susannah Heschel, daughter of famed theologian Abraham Heschel, shows that during the Third Reich, the Institute became the most important propaganda organ of German Protestantism, exerting a widespread influence and producing a nazified Christianity that placed anti-Semitism at its theological center.

Lutheran leaders in Nazi Germany tried to reinvent Jesus as a proto-Aryan enemy of Jews and Judaism, with Hitler as his successor

Lutheran leaders in Nazi Germany tried to reinvent Jesus as a proto-Aryan enemy of Jews and Judaism, with Hitler as his successor.

Susannah Heschel's "The Aryan Jesus" makes a nice complement to other recent books on the Nazi Christian .

Susannah Heschel's "The Aryan Jesus" makes a nice complement to other recent books on the Nazi Christian phenomenon, such as The Holy Reich: Nazi Conceptions of Christianity, 1919-1945 by Richard Steigman-Gall and Catholicism and the Roots of Nazism: Religious Identity and National Socialism by Derek Hastings. All three books discuss the Nazi relationship with Christianity. As she points out, often pro-Nazi theologians and pastors were preferred by their former adversaries in the Confessing Church because they could be "controlled" better because of their Nazi associations.

Professor Susannah Heschel’s The Aryan Jesus disproves the commonly-held assumption that scholars have fully documented the policies of the Protestant and Catholic churches in Nazi Germany

Professor Susannah Heschel’s The Aryan Jesus disproves the commonly-held assumption that scholars have fully documented the policies of the Protestant and Catholic churches in Nazi Germany. The Aryan Jesus analyzes the movement’s ideas, leaders, writings, and institutions in clear and eloquent English.

Was Jesus a Nazi? During the Third Reich, German Protestant theologians, motivated by racism and tapping into traditional Christian anti-Semitism, redefined Jesus as an Aryan and Christianity as a religion at war with Judaism. In 1939, these theologians established the Institute for the Study and Eradication of Jewish Influence on German Religious Life. In The Aryan Jesus, Susannah Heschel shows that during the Third Reich, the Institute became the most important propaganda organ of German Protestantism, exerting a widespread influence and producing a nazified Christianity that placed anti-Semitism at its theological center.

Based on years of archival research, The Aryan Jesus examines the membership and activities of this controversial theological organization. With headquarters in Eisenach, the Institute sponsored propaganda conferences throughout the Nazi Reich and published books defaming Judaism, including a dejudaized version of the New Testament and a catechism proclaiming Jesus as the savior of the Aryans. Institute members--professors of theology, bishops, and pastors--viewed their efforts as a vital support for Hitler's war against the Jews. Heschel looks in particular at Walter Grundmann, the Institute's director and a professor of the New Testament at the University of Jena. Grundmann and his colleagues formed a community of like-minded Nazi Christians who remained active and continued to support each other in Germany's postwar years.

The Aryan Jesus raises vital questions about Christianity's recent past and the ambivalent place of Judaism in Christian thought.

Comments: (7)
Wire
Unlike the Communist movement in Stalin's time, the Nazi movement never achieved a totally uniform party line, not even in its attitudes toward Jews. It can be said that, in general, any view of Jews was permitted, as long as it amounted to rabid anti-Semitism.

Within the Nazi-era German Protestant Church, there were two major competing views of Jews:

a) The "Confessing Church," including famous names like Martin Niemöller, held that present-day Jews are evil, but that the Old Testament, with its Jewish origins, forms a permanent part of the Christian religion. These CC pastors were generally supportive of "non-Aryan" Christians, i.e. Jews who had undergone the Christian baptism.

b) The "German Christians" embraced a more "racial" anti-Semitism. They agreed that Jews are evil, but, in addition, also held that Jesus was not a Jew, and that those portions of the New Testament that say otherwise need to be revised. These pastors of the GC were more enthusiastic supporters of Hitler (although, generally, the Confessing clergy, including Niemöller despite his imprisonment at a certain stage, lost few opportunities to declare their loyalty to the regime). One of the more comical aspects of the story is how each side accused the other of being less anti-Semitic than it should be.

Although the broad outlines have been known for a long time, this remarkable book is the first to study the German Christians in detail, basing itself on archival material that nobody else has studied before. The result is a chilling story of distinguished clergymen and professors of theology who, in pursuit of their eagerness to please the Nazi movement, discovered and in some cases invented sophisticated speculative arguments to bolster a case for a non-Jewish, indeed an anti-Semitic Jesus. The author is particularly strong in showing how academic careerists -- of a type that would nowadays be called academic "operators" -- combined vanity, ideology, and egotism to secure acclaim and high position. In some cases these advantages were retained long into the post-war period.

The great villain of the piece is a certain Reverend Walter Grundmann, the evil genius behind the German Christians' Institute for the Study and Eradication of Jewish Influence in German Church Life. Grundmann was the author of many learned volumes on the evil of Judaism, but also on complicated issues of New Testament theology. And guess what: after the war, living in the Communist German Democratic Republic, the Rev. Grundmann became a secret agent of the Stasi, the Communist secret police.

I do have some minor reservations about this book. While the author makes it clear that the German Christians contained a great number of influential Protestant leaders, there is no systematic effort to gauge its precise strength as opposed to that of the Confessing Church. Another lack that I found is that the author, though very good in discussing previous work on wartime German churches, fails to mention the indispensable work of Klaus Scholder. Finally, the publisher must be faulted for an inadequate index (Martin and Wilhelm Niemöller are treated as if they were the same individual), and also with poor proofreading of German text. But these minor shortcomings in no way detract from the seminal importance of this important work.
Ionzar
Uncovering records thought to be lost or destroyed, Heschel ploughs new ground in this ever more distressing history. That many or most of Germany's best minds and supposed models of ethical behavior and bastions of Christian charity competed with each other to provide the logic of anti-Semitism and the murder of the millions of Jews, throwing babies and children alive into the ovens, re-writing history and re-writing the Bible, are grounds for despair. A brilliant book emerges from this awful task of research, yet a fascinating tale in itself of Susannah Heschel's tenacity against the odds as doors slowly opened to her. Paired with her earlier Abraham Geiger and the Jewish Jesus, the two provide a cohesive grand sweep. Bravo!
Der Bat
Interesting read.
Celace
Susannah Heschel's "The Aryan Jesus" makes a nice complement to other recent books on the Nazi Christian phenomenon, such as The Holy Reich: Nazi Conceptions of Christianity, 1919-1945 by Richard Steigman-Gall and Catholicism and the Roots of Nazism: Religious Identity and National Socialism by Derek Hastings. All three books discuss the Nazi relationship with Christianity. The Hastings and Steigman-Gall books demonstrate that Nazi approach to Christianity was to incorporate a particular strand of post-modern or liberal Christianity. As is typical of post-modern or liberal Christianity, the Nazi approach to religious identity identified the Jesus it wanted to discover - an Aryan fighter against the Jews - and then used the techniques of modern scholarship to find that Jesus. From Steigman-Gall and Hastings, we learned that insofar as the Nazis were Christian, their Christianity was essentially a heretical version of Christianity that would have been unrecognizable in its Marcion-like willingness to amputate such "Jewish" aspects of Christianity as the Old Testament.

Heschel's book offers a nuts and bolts view of how that amputation took place under the Nazi regime. Her focus is on the Institute for the Study and Eradication of Jewish Influence on the German Church and its academic director Walter Grundmann. Heschel does the heavy lifting of demonstrating the role that the Institute had in "dejudaizing" the Protestant German Christian churches by such expedients as publishing a bible without the Old Testament and which removed other indications of Christ's Jewish origins, publishing hymnals in which old hymns were made "Teutonic" and holding conferences dedicated to proving that Galilee, and therefore, Jesus were Aryan.

An issue which seemed to concern Heschel is, how important were the activities of the Institute? The Institute was closely identified with the German Protestant Church of Thuringia, rather than with a national body, and it never achieved its dream of becoming the agency which officially mediated Nazism to Christianity and Christianity to Nazism. In fact by the end of its short life (essentially 1939 to 1944), the Nazis had distanced themselves from Christianity, such as by refusing to permit Nazi regalia from being used in Christian services, or allowing the Institute to identify its journal with the Nazi party, and the leaders of the Institute, including Walter Grundmann, had been drafted to serve as soldiers in the German army.

The issue of significance remains somewhat open for me. I think that Heschel made her case by pointing out the large number of "German Christian" (i.e., pro-Nazi) local churches and the control of the German Christian "sect" over various state churches as compared with the Confessing Churches (i.e., those local churches that resisted a full Nazi take-over of the Protestant German Church.) The Institute seems to have been a pillar of support for the German Christian sect and, so, a significant player in what might have been a significance development in Christian theology, and one which certainly shows how a significant development in Christianity - i.e., liberal Christianity - could go so very wrong.

I felt that Heschel was not very helpful in explaining how Protestant Christians of any sort could be persuaded to jettison the Old Testament and otherwise tamper with the language of the Bible. Heschel devotes a few pages to a kind of psychological/sociological explanation of anti-semitism in order to explain that the German Christians really weren't that different from earlier Christian Germans, but this goes nowhere near to explaining how a substantial number of Protestants could be persuaded to adopt a proposal rejected by Christianity during the Second Century when Marcion first raised the idea. I would have been interested in hearing about the roots of the "History of Religions" school - from which the Institute theologians drew their academic background - in order to see if things like the elimination of the Old Testament were a radical departure from their intellectual foundations and, if not, how they justified that move.

Heschel also pointed out the effect "race science" had on the German study of the Bible during the Institute years. I wanted to understand what these people thought they were doing. For us moderns the very idea of "race science" is "crazy" and those who are engaged in "race science" ought to be institutionalized. Obviously, this is a temporally parochial attitude - those scholars didn't think they were crazy. They thought they were using cutting edge science, just like a modern liberal Christian might think that incorporating the findings of physics into their interpretation of the Bible isn't crazy. Unfortunately, apart from being opportunistic Anti-Semites, I never got a real feel for how these scholars justified themselves.

The theme of opportunism seems to be the conclusion that lies just under the book's surface. Heschel points out how certain of the Institute theologians were second-rate or otherwise not properly qualified for their positions, but were advanced because they had the correct attitudes. In a particularly fascinating section on the post-Nazi history of the Institute's theologians, Heschel points out how comfortable Grundmann was with turning into a spy for the Communists in Communist East Germany, albeit while retaining his anti-Semitic prejudices. In fact, the post-war history is almost the most interesting part of the book - or, perhaps, horrifying is a better word - as Heschel points out that the Institute's Nazi theologians were able to avoid censure, but in fact were able to retain their positions. As she points out, often pro-Nazi theologians and pastors were preferred by their former adversaries in the Confessing Church because they could be "controlled" better because of their Nazi associations.

I was originally going to give this book three stars, but after a conversation with someone about Deitrich Boenhoffer, I realized how much the book had taught me about the Confessing Church's adversaries, and, so, I am giving it four stars.
Wyameluna
an invaluable resource for anyone that wants to better understand how the Holocaust could have happened in a Christian nation.
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