Aryan Jesus

Yesterday in the US there was a parade of White Supremacists which turned violent. While White Supremacy is a very general term for different ideologies held by a collection of very small, largely independent groups in the West, also known as the Alt-Right, they share the common feature of racism, a lot of it being focused against Jewish people as well others. Most Ghanaian Christians have never heard of any of these groups and know very little about antisemitism (hatred of Jewish people) but they are relevant in a larger discussion that does affect Christianity, which is something I hope to explore later on. Unfortunately, western Christianity, the form of Christianity Africa inherited, has played a role in antisemitism.

Today, while some of these people who belong to the Alt-Right are fiercely anti-Christian, some of them do consider themselves to be Christians, perhaps the most famous example of them all being the Westboro Baptist Church. When you look at this history of such beliefs, they go back to Hitler and the Nationalist Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nazis) and even much earlier in Germany. In the following episode of OnScript Dr Susannah Heschel, discusses her book The Aryan Jesus: Christian Theologians and the Bible in Nazi Germany which traces the origins, development and some of the social consequences of such beliefs where Jesus is depicted as the ultimate anti-Semite. Her work is particularly timely for our American brothers and sisters in helping them understand and defeat this abominable evil. It is also relevant in the larger global context where antisemitism is on the rise which is arguably concomitant with the recent increase in worldwide Christian persecution. We must remember Christianity owes an unfathomable debt to Jewish people.

Susannah Heschel is the Eli Black Professor of Jewish Studies at Dartmouth College. Her scholarship focuses on Jewish-Christian relations in Germany during the 19th and 20th centuries, the history of biblical scholarship, and the history of anti-Semitism. Not only is he scholarship illuminating but she has had a fascinating life, personally knowing great figures of 20th century history. Her father is the important Jewish rabbi, thinker and theologian Abraham Heschel. Abraham Heschel was a famous figure in the Civil Rights movement working personally with Martin Luther King Jr. Susannah, his only child, was profoundly impacted by these men also personally meeting and hearing Dr King herself which you can see in her work.

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