This is such a wonderful book, and I can only recommend that as many people read it as possible. As such it's as much a duty as it is a pleasure to write this review. It's also a pleasure to give it 5 stars because it's an absolutely faultless documentation of the centuries of abuse Jews have had to face on the basis of religious hate and religiously inspired mistrust. We don't even stop to think these day about where Hitler's hatred of Jews came from, it seems so obvious and clear to simply blame it on the Depression and on the Reparations the defeated powers had to pay after WWI. But Jews had experienced hatred and discrimination, genocidal cleansing for centuries and the origins of this hatred have long since been left to dark corners of our psyche where taboos lurk. This is not going to be a comfortable read for many people (especially Christians) and further credit has to given to James Carrol who is himself a Catholic theologian and researcher. As a long and detailed history of one of oddest hatreds that continues to endarken our lives I can only promote a thorough reading of this book - it's wonderfully written, gentle, always sympathetic to anyone who can be hurt, but nevertheless, always driven towards creating a realistic picture of the past and present based solely on evidence. There is no bending towards a pragmatic rearranging of facts to suit Christian sensibilities; Carrol is an excellent researcher. In brief: eye opening, illuminating and a book that offers to take its readers to a newer, more refined understanding of our pasts. The book is about getting to honest grips with the past so that we can go forward, but I have to admit, I don't see that atonement happening yet. It is still virtually impossible to talk about Jews (enough in 21st century Europe) in a calm and rational way, without someone eventually offending someone else's taboos or prejudices. Nevertheless, no person should be left the same person after reading this book. 5 stars are not enough.
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Constantines Sword is an informative book for those who are interest in this period of Roman history. Constantine, it is alleged, became a Christian on his deathbed and his belief in this new kind of thinking spread across the world and put Christianity at the forefront of religious belief.