Nazism Wasn't Born of Christianity, Jewish Scholars Say

By Witham, Larry | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), September 7, 2000 | Go to article overview

Nazism Wasn't Born of Christianity, Jewish Scholars Say


Witham, Larry, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


A panel of Jewish scholars yesterday called on Jews to reject the belief that Christianity fueled Nazism and the Holocaust, the first such initiative within Judaism to appreciate the faith built on Jesus and the New Testament.

"Nazism was not a Christian phenomenon," said the "Jewish Statement on Christians and Christianity," which will be published Sunday in the New York Times and the Baltimore Sun.

While anti-Jewish sentiment and violence opened the way for Nazism, and many Christians stood by as Jews died in the Holocaust, "Nazism itself was not an inevitable outcome of Christianity," according to the statement.

The eight-point appreciation of Christianity is the work of four scholars of different Jewish denominations, who began the project in the mid-1990s under the auspices of the Institute for Christian and Jewish Studies in Baltimore.

It has garnered more than 160 signatures from Jewish leaders of all backgrounds.

"To the best of my knowledge, no Jewish organization or denomination has ever offered a statement on what it thinks about Christianity," said Rabbi David Sandmel, a Reform scholar and spokesman for the institute, which was founded in 1987.

He said the statement is intended to prompt a discussion among Jews on their attitude toward Christians.

"This is not a response to any particular event or document from the Christian world in general, or from the Vatican in particular," Mr. Sandmel said.

The scholars who drafted the two-page manifesto were Tikva Frymer-Kensky, David Novak, Peter W. …

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