By Rodney Stark

As we know and as a lot of our good tested textbooks have argued for many years, the Inquisition was once the most scary and bloody chapters in Western historical past, Pope Pius XII was once anti-Semitic and rightfully known as “Hitler’s Pope,” the darkish a while have been a stunting of the growth of information to be redeemed in basic terms via the secular spirit of the Enlightenment, and the non secular Crusades have been an early instance of the rapacious Western thirst for riches and gear. yet what if those lengthy held ideals have been all wrong?
during this wonderful, strong, and finally persuasive e-book, Rodney Stark, the most very hot sociologists of faith and bestselling writer of The upward thrust of Christianity (HarperSanFrancisco 1997) argues that a few of our such a lot firmly held principles approximately historical past, rules that paint the Catholic Church in the slightest degree confident gentle are, in truth, fiction. Why have we held those wrongheaded rules so strongly and for therefore lengthy? And if our ideals are incorrect, what, actually, is the truth?
In each one bankruptcy, Stark takes on a well-established anti-Catholic delusion, provides a desirable historical past of the way each one delusion grew to become the traditional knowledge, and offers a startling photo of the true fact. For example,

  • Instead of the Spanish Inquisition being an anomaly of torture and homicide of blameless humans persecuted for “imaginary” crimes similar to witchcraft and blasphemy, Stark argues that not just did the Spanish Inquisition spill little or no blood, however it was once an incredible strength in help of moderation and justice.
  • Instead of Pope Pius XII being apathetic or maybe necessary to the Nazi circulation, similar to to benefit the name, “Hitler’s Pope,” Stark indicates that the crusade to hyperlink Pope Pius XII to Hitler was once initiated by way of the Soviet Union, possibly in hopes of neutralizing the Vatican in post-World conflict II affairs. Pope Pius XII used to be largely praised for his energetic and dedicated efforts to saving Jewish lives throughout the war.
  • Instead of the darkish a long time being understood as a millennium of lack of knowledge and backwardness encouraged by means of the Catholic Church’s energy, Stark argues that the total inspiration of the “Dark a long time” used to be an act of satisfaction perpetuated by way of anti-religious intellectuals who have been made up our minds to say that theirs used to be the period of “Enlightenment.”

In the tip, readers won't in simple terms have a extra actual heritage of the Catholic Church, they are going to come to appreciate why it turned unfairly maligned for thus lengthy. Bearing fake Witness is a compelling and sobering account of ways egotism and beliefs usually interact to provide us a fake truth.    
 

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Additional resources for Bearing False Witness: Debunking Centuries of Anti-Catholic History

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Gottschalk led a murderous attack on the Jews of Ratisbon (Regensberg). ”50 However, it turned out that there was a lot that the knights of Hungary could do. When Volkmar and his forces reached Hungary and attempted to continue their attacks on Jews, they were wiped out by Hungarian knights who rode in support of their bishop. The same fate befell Gottschalk. And when Emich and his forces reached Hungary, they too were denied passage because of their bloody attacks on Jews. When they tried to force their way through, they also were dispatched by Hungarian knights.

ROBERT CHAZAN is professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University. He studied to become a rabbi at Jewish Theological Seminary (graduated in 1962) and then earned his PhD from Columbia University in 1967. He has published a dozen books, all of them well received. DAVID G. DALIN is an American Conservative rabbi and historian. He received his PhD in history from Brandeis University and has held distinguished visiting appointments at various universities and institutes, including Princeton and the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

So there we have it. New Testament antagonism toward the Jews is fully balanced by Talmudic antagonism toward the Christians—and keep in mind that most of this exchange took place when Christians were the tiny minority. Of course, when Christians became the overwhelming majority, their attitudes toward Jews became of far greater social significance than whatever anti-Christianism Jews sustained in that era. But misleading or misled historians to the contrary, the Church did not translate the antagonisms of the New Testament into a warrant for anti-Semitic attacks.

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