Official Christian Anti-Semitism

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One of the most vivid expressions of anti-Jewish theology through the Middle Ages was through church law. The Nazis claimed to have never enacted a single measure against the Jews that did not already have precedence in canonical law. "The Nazis ‘did not discard the past; they built upon it. They did not begin a development; they completed it.’ This fact makes ludicrous any unqualified claim that the Nazis were the enemies of Christendom. In actuality, they were in very large measure the agents for the ‘practical’ application of an established social logic."

Raul Hilberg (quoted above) gives a detailed and haunting list comparing medieval canonical law with the legislation of the Nazis. Here are a few examples:

  • The law for the Protection of German Blood and Honor (1935) parallels the Synod of Elvira (306), which prohibits intermarriage and sexual intercourse between Christians and Jews.
  • Jews are barred from train dining cars in 1939. The Synod of Elvira (306) forbids Jews and Christians eating together.
  • The law for the reestablishment of the Professional Civil Service (1933) matches the Synod of Clement (535), which disallows Jews to hold public office.
  • A decree of 1938 allows authorities to bar Jews from the streets on given days (such as Nazi Holidays). The Third Synod of Orleans (538) inhibits Jews from showing themselves in the streets during Passion Week.
  • The book burnings that occur in Nazi Germany parallel the burning of the Talmud and other books during the Synod of Toledo (681).
  • The 1940 Sozialausgleichsabgabe enforces a Jewish income tax equal to the party contribution levied on Nazis. The Synod of Gerona (1078) enforces Jews to equal Christian contributions to the church.
  • Jews are forced to wear Star of David badges in 1941. The fourth Lateran Council of 1215 mandates the marking of Jewish clothes with a badge.
  • Synagogues are destroyed in the entire Reich (1938). In 1222 the Council of Oxford bans the construction of new synagogues.
  • Compulsory ghettos for Jews are ordered by Heydrich in 1939, echoing the compulsory ghettos legislated by the Synod of Breslau (1279).
  • A 1939 decree mandates the sale of Jewish real estate. The Synod of Ofen (1279) forbids Christians from selling or renting real estate to Jews.
  • Nazis pass a law against "Overcrowding of German Schools and Universities" in 1933, matching the Council of Basel (1434), which prevents Jews from obtaining academic degrees.

Sidney G. Hall Christian Anti-semitism and Paul’s Theology, pp. 40-41