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The Church & the Jews


Available in print, and ebook:

Adapted by Oscar-nominated documentarian Oren Jacoby

Read more about the documentary Constantine's Sword

More than a chronicle of religion, this dark history is the central tragedy of Western civilization, its fault lines reaching deep into our culture.

The Church’s failure to protest the Holocaust, the infamous “silence” of Pius Xii, is only part of the story: the death camps, Carroll shows, are the culmination of a long, entrenched tradition of anti-Judaism. From Gospel accounts of the death of Jesus on the cross, to Constantine’s transformation of the cross into a sword, to the rise of blood libels, scapegoating, and modern anti-Semitism, Carroll reconstructs the dramatic story of the Church’s conflict not only with Jews but with itself. Yet in tracing the arc of this narrative, he implicitly affirms that it did not necessarily have to be so. There were roads not taken, heroes forgotten; new roads can be taken yet. Demanding that the Church finally face this past in full, Carroll calls for a fundamental rethinking of the deepest questions of Christian faith. Only then can Christians, Jews, and all who carry the burden of this history begin to forge a new future.

Drawing on his well-known talents as a storyteller and memoirist, and weaving historical research through an intensely personal examination of conscience, Carroll has created a work of singular power and urgency. Constantine's Sword is a brave and affecting reckoning with difficult truths that will touch every reader.

REVIEWS FOR Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews

"A deeply religious book written at levels of understanding and with clarity of insights rarely–if ever–reached in the telling of this painful story."

"For two thousand years Jews have been longing for a Christian who would understand their experience. At last James Carroll has written a book delineating the history of Jewish-Christian relations that demonstrates empathy and compassion for both sides."

"Sprawling, capacious…Carroll marches through church history, delineating signal events with great sophistication. Yet there seems a young boy’s amazement with an institution allegedly founded on the highest of divine principles."

"This searingly honest book is Augustinian in the way Carroll searches his own soul"

"A triumph, a tragic tale beautifully told…a welcome throwback to an age when history was a branch of literature."

"Monumental…an eye-opening journey through twenty centuries of history…This is a book for everyone."

"Remarkable…a book of a deeper sort."

"[Carroll's] narrative is heartfelt and eloquent. Most important, he writes as a committed Catholic. His book could, therefore, do what the Vatican has signally failed to do: to help Catholic's accept the truth, as a first step to repentance."