James D. Tabor
This article focuses on ancient Jewish and early Christian millennialism, which are found to be intrinsically inconsistent—there are no specific pointers towards marking the end of time; messianic figures appear in some texts and not in others; and God is humanized in some while others are exclusively emphatic on the transcendental paradigm. It makes the whole millennialist gamut essentially subjective. The groundwork was laid by the pre-Hellenic invasions of Israel and the context for the emergence of Jewish millennialism was provided by the widespread suppression under Greek emperor Antiochus. This article demonstrates that from the second and third centuries onwards, the trend increasingly tended from literal expressions towards symbolic subjective millennialism, to the extent that the former was considered inferior.
Kevin P. Spicer
Catholic and Protestant churches were on-lookers and sometimes worse, as their responses to persecution included forms of inaction that spilled over into complicity. Beginning with an examination of the corrupting influence of Catholic antisemitism on European Christians through the centuries and the role of religious prejudice in advancing racial antisemitism, this article explores the controversial choices and modulated actions of the Catholic Church. It gives particular attention to German Catholicism's response to the question, ‘who is my neighbour?’ and assesses the reaction and attitude of the Church hierarchy, especially Pope Pius XII (1876–1958), to Nazi acts of persecution.
Stephen R. Haynes
Without Christianity and its centuries-long hostility toward Jews and Judaism, the Holocaust scarcely would have been possible. What difference has that recognition made to Christian traditions, institutions, and Christians themselves? This article addresses these aftereffects of the Holocaust, underscoring how reflection on Christianity and the Holocaust has produced challenging questions, fierce debates, and a voluminous literature. As with Holocaust studies generally, perspectives have evolved steadily in the decades since the end of World War II, with new developments catalyzed by important publications. It focuses on three salient issues in Christianity's unsettling and unfinished encounter with the Holocaust: the relationship between Christian belief and antisemitism, the role of Christian people and institutions during the Nazi era, and the post-Holocaust need to change Christian understandings of Jews and Judaism.
This article begins in the early Middle Ages, and specifically addresses questions concerning the economic and political situation of Jewry in Western Europe. The period of the high Middle Ages follows, with a focus on developments in community life and the character of Jewish society. The discussion considers the Jewish foundation myths that were born in the twelfth century in an attempt to explain and interpret the social and cultural changes of the time. It examines the nature of the interaction and the form of discourse that characterized the medieval relations between a Christian majority and a Jewish minority culture. It also describes the legal status of the Jews in Western Europe and the Byzantine Empire. The article also discusses Jewish life in Spain, since, for a significant segment of the period under study, Spain was under Muslim rule.
Robert P. Ericksen
This article examines the so-called Kirchenkampf (Church Struggle) waged by German Protestants in the Third Reich. It shows that it hardly represented forthright opposition to the Nazi state, as claimed by some of its veterans after World War II. Most Protestants were more supportive than resistant to the Nazi regime. Even the Confessing Church, once considered a resistance movement, showed considerable support for Hitler and little concern for the Jewish victims of his policies. The other side in the church struggle, the Deutsche Christen, sought to prove their Nazi credentials by separating Christianity from its Jewish roots, even suggesting an ‘Aryan Jesus’. Some Protestant individuals, such as Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) and Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906–1945), did oppose Nazi policies at risk to their lives. More typical, however, was Gerhard Kittel (1888–1948), a renowned theologian who joined the Nazi Party in 1933, claimed a natural affinity between Christianity and Nazism, and engaged in polemics against Jews.
Repeated defeats at the hands of the Romans and the subsequent pan-European migration made the Jewish people pragmatic and their religion, rid off radical traits, with the exception of rare, obscure flares. Nevertheless, the painful memories and the hope of a holistic redemption always maintained presence in the Jewish psyche, waiting for the opportune moment to flare up. The resigned postmillennialism and rational, secular, European Jewish philosophy was content with the creation of Israel on the lost land. The subsequent turmoil, and the perpetual war footing of Israel reoriented the new generation of Jews in a catastrophic millennialism and radical ideas of redemption, inspired by the permanently belligerent milieu of its existence. It facilitated a tendency to aspire for a messianic age. Fascinated by prospects of a Jewish commonwealth and rebuilding of the temple on Mount Zion, the conservative Protestants have been funding the radical Jewish cause.