Friday, August 15, 2008
Constantine's Sword is a wonderful book in spite of the fact James Carroll starts off with Rabbi Heschel's opposition to the VN War. This brings up the overtones of 'stabbed in the back' and the Jewish connection to, particularly, Russian communism. In sorrow over the past, I would forgive the Jews their mistake but, at the point when it mattered, some of the past had not yet happened. I am inclined to think of their actions in terms of a Texas boss who would say, 'I don't know that I'd do that.' The sweep of his book is amazing though as it takes off from there into the kerygma after Christ's death. So much is posed fresh: an explanation for the feeling of the Resurrection, an idea of 'prophecy historicized' in the Gospels, just bulls eye confirmation in the Gospel of John, the competing diversity of narratives with little rancor, the Roman toleration of diversity and accommodating the Jews after the fall of the Temple. Then Constantine, murderer of son and wife, and the one who insisted on a single dogma leading to killing of pagans who didn't convert, heresy instead of diversity, wage and price controls, having to stay in your father's profession. Enough to wonder why Christianity isn't seen as a reason for the fall of the Roman Empire. Perhaps I shall say more, a book wonderful in its challenges.