This book will break your heart. Written by Edward Flannery, a Roman Catholic Priest, it studies some twenty three centuries of worldwide anti-Semitism.
This considerable, well written revised & updated edition is all the more significant and encouraging due to it's Christian authorship. This itself is commendable due to the many aspects of historic anti-Semitism prevalent within some areas of the Church itself. Whilst many might see some of the writings as self incriminating, others might see a refreshing honesty and a wish to heal the relationship between Christian and Jew, both of whom share a common foundation in their faith.
At the outset, the author claims that the vast majority of even well educated Christians have been relatively ignorant of what has happened to the Jews throughout history and the culpable involvement of many facets of the Church. Apart from a few recent publications, little having been included about anti-Semitism in Christian history books or social studies.
The author states that, by comparison, the Jews themselves are largely & acutely aware of their painful history in such matters.
This excellent book covers anti-Semitism in all it's many forms, including persecution, torture, pogroms, massacres, social degradations, forced baptisms & conversions throughout the many periods of the Diaspora.
These including the Black Death (plague), the Spanish Inquisition, the Holocaust and the present day Middle East. Throughout all these eras in history, many peoples having found in the Jew the scapegoat needed to rationalise the evils of their social, political and natural calamities.
Writing about the 'Black Death' (1347-50), the author describes how the Jews were directly blamed not only for the onset of the plague but also it's spread. This virulent myth leading to the untold massacres of whole Jewish communities. The population of one entire Jewish town in France being burned to death on just such a assertion.
Indeed the author painfully outlines that during this era, the extent of Jewish casualties was virtually impossible to determine. Over 200 Jewish communities, large & small, being destroyed in similar manners. These massacres of Jewish people being so widespread, with the greatest perhaps in Germany, where every sizeable city was affected. The scope of the slaughter being given some scale when the Polish casualties of some 10,000 being described as relatively light in comparison to other areas. The utter savagery of some incidents not being suitable to describe here.
In relation to the Holocaust, which is commendably covered in itself, the writer illustrates the sympathies for the Nazi regime & the 'Final Solution' expressed by prominent Arab personages such as the close confident of Adolf Hitler, Haj Amir El Husseini, the Grant Mufti of Jerusalem. (The latter being an uncle to PLO leader, Yasser Arafat, whose family name is al-Husseini.).
With reference to the modern day Mid-East, the writer covers what he calls the overt expression and practice of Arab anti-Semitism. He proceeds to describe how Arab propaganda, already hostile to the existence of the State of Israel, has widened it's focus to further include the Jewish people and their religion.
The author describes how the horrendous myths of the 'Blood Libel' and the 'Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion' have been revived in the Mid-East often through state approved channels of some Arab countries.
Considered in the context of how these two myths have resulted in the historic massacres and slaughter of innocent Jews worldwide, the impact of their revival is analysed.
All in all this is an upsetting book. However, I really consider it to be required reading on this subject. There is not really any prejudice towards any one group as being responsible for the anti-Semitism so graphically illustrated and discussed here. This work just really shows how widespread the actual sources and origins of this virulent enmity actually are. It also shows the basic evil of this racial hatred that has seen one people suffer more than any other, just because of their religion, just because they are Jews.
on 30 January 1998
Edward Flannery's book lucidly explains the historical bias against the Semitic people. To get a clearer picture of the division that occured between the Christians and the Jews of the second Temple, I would highly recommend Richard G. Patton's inspired book "THE Autobiography of Jesus of Nazareth and the Missing years". Flannery gives the historical perspective while Patton depicts the same - through the human being we now refer to as Jesus. Flannery's book, while lucid, does get a little too academic at times. Patton gives the same historical perspective, but through the eyes of the person on whom Christianity later became founded.
on 25 May 2014
It has been said that unless we read and learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it. This deeply researched book will ensure that the reader is left in no doubt in regard to, as the title states - the anguish of the Jews. Without doubt the best account of the phenomenal opprobrium they have know throughout their entire history.
on 12 January 2011
The book will be most useful as my husband is a Pastor and very interested in teaching about the Jewish Roots to the Christian Faith. Because Jesus was a Jew and an orthodox Jew at that, meaning that Jesus would attend synagogue on every Sabbath day. He believes that Christians everywhere need to have a greater understanding of their Jewish Roots and therefore the book will be of a great help to him. It is also important to understand that Anti-Semetism is very prevalent in today's societies.