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James Carroll (1) (1943–)

Teoksen Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews -- A History tekijä

Katso täsmennyssivulta muut tekijät, joiden nimi on James Carroll.

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About the Author

James Carroll is the author of nine novels & the memoir "An American Requiem," which won the National Book Award. His essays on culture & politics appear weekly in the "Boston Globe." He wrote "Constantine's Sword" while on fellowships at Harvard University. Before becoming a writer, Carroll was a näytä lisää Catholic priest. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts. (Bowker Author Biography) näytä vähemmän
Image credit: Patricia Pingree

Tekijän teokset

Family Trade (1982) 173 kappaletta
Mortal Friends (1978) 150 kappaletta
Prince of Peace (1984) 130 kappaletta
Practicing Catholic (2009) 120 kappaletta
The Cloister (2018) 111 kappaletta
Secret Father: A Novel (2003) 80 kappaletta
The City Below (1994) — Tekijä — 79 kappaletta
Supply of Heroes: A Novel (1986) 66 kappaletta
Firebird (1989) 62 kappaletta

Associated Works

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Enjoyed this book but it is slow going. Had to return it to the library before I finished it.
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Dabble58 | 5 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Nov 11, 2023 |
First edition
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RCornell | 1 muu arvostelu | Oct 30, 2023 |
The Cloisters, James Carroll, author and narrator
Separated by centuries, two stories intersect unexpectedly. The first begins in the 12th century, in Paris, with the forbidden relationship between Peter Abelard and Heloise D’Argenteuil; when betrayed, he became a monk and she a nun. Their secret love has survived scrutiny for hundreds of years. The second story begins in the middle of the 20th century. It tells the tale of a Catholic priest and a survivor of the Holocaust, Father Michael Kavanaugh and Rachel Vedette. They are unexpectedly drawn to each other when they accidently meet in The Cloisters. She has secrets, and so does he. Both were betrayed by those they trusted.
Peter, an accomplished philosopher, was engaged to enhance Heloise’s education, by her uncle, Canon Fulbert. They soon discovered that they were attracted to each other in forbidden ways. Unable to help themselves, Heloise soon finds she is with child. Although Peter wants to marry her, she fears for his reputation and refuses. Peter takes her to his sister in Nantes for her confinement. They hope to be able to save their child from a life of condemnation. They leave their son, Astralabe with his sister, and they set off for Paris, hoping to restore their reputations. They were unaware that their secret love affair had already been discovered. Abelard is guilty of heresy. He accepts the Jews and engages with a Jewish scholar. The Church confronts him. He does not believe that Christ was forsaken by his Father. However, if that was G-d’s will, then it was not the Jews fault, at all, for it was also G-d’s will that they make that choice. Yet, the Church mocks and denigrates Jews. They actively promote negative views about them, defining them as Christ killers. They criticize them for sacrificing their own children to save them from becoming slaves. They Promote antagonism toward them. Peter disagrees with the Church’s approach to Jews. He is bucking the norm. He is condemned. Peter believes the Catholic Church is responsible for the atrocities committed against the Jews because of how they define them. While Peter respects Jews, the Church resents them. The Church turns against him because of his heresy. This part of the book is written authentically in the verbiage of the times. It is lyrical and eloquent.
Move ahead now, to the 1950’s. Father Michael Kavanaugh is a calming influence. His parishioners love him. One day, an old friend turns up during his service, but refuses the sacrament. Father Kavanaugh is surprised. He recognizes him. It is his former best friend, John “Runner” Malloy, who had supposedly left the seminary because of Michael, according to the bishop. Michael has carried that guilt for years. When John runs out of the Church, Michael follows him. Unable to find him, as rain begins to fall, he takes refuge in The Cloisters. There he meets Rachel Vedette, a Frenchwoman from Paris. She is Jewish. He is surprised that she is a docent there, in a place for Catholics. She, however, is a scholar. Her father was a foremost expert on Peter Abelard and his philosophy about Jews. When he was fired as Hitler gained power, she was able to step in to complete his research. Although she was unable to save him, she had saved his favorite book, Abelard’s biography, “Historica Calamitatum. Peter’s suffering at the hands of the Church and his love for Heloise is documented within it. Here is the intersection of the two centuries that are far apart.
After Father Kavanaugh examines his faith, he comes to an unusual conclusion. He places the blame for all of the catastrophes that have befallen Jews, at the feet of the Church. Soon, he withdraws from the priesthood and joins his brother in a tugboat business. He has been drawn to Rachel and her suffering and coupled with the bishop’s betrayal; it unites them. The bishop has hidden the shameful behavior of a priest and subjected innocent boys to unnecessary further pedophilia. Instead of condemning the priest, he has blamed the young boys. Somehow, both Rachel and Michael find the strength within themselves to help each other.
Heloise’s advice led Peter to tragedy, not freedom. Rachel’s advice led Michael to freedom, hopefully it will not end in tragedy. So, while Peter sought solace as a Monk, when the Church betrayed him, Father Kavanaugh abandoned the Church, when he felt betrayed. Just as the Rabbi was known to offer solace, so known was Father Kavanaugh. While Heloise became more involved with the Church as a result of the church’s betrayal, Rachel abandoned her religion when she felt betrayed. The Rabbi is Peter’s mentor and savior. The bishop is Kavanaugh’s mentor and tormentor. Both sides of the coin are represented for the reader to ponder. Both men’s lives were drastically altered by the teachings of their mentors.
The book covers the history well, including the charges of blasphemy, heresy, the superstition, the bigotry, the hierarchy of the church, the condemnation and the horrors committed in the name of religion, the tragedy of the Holocaust, and the damning of the Jews. It will give the reader much to contemplate and discuss.
… (lisätietoja)
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thewanderingjew | 5 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Mar 18, 2023 |
I just finished reading Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews, by James Carroll. Constantine was the Roman emperor who fused the Roman Empire with Christianity, forming what is now known as the Roman Catholic Church. James Carroll, the author, was a Catholic priest from the late 1960's through 1973, when he left the priesthood.

Constantine's Sword gets, from me, five stars. Constantine's Sword was incredibly moving. It highlights the fraught relationship between Christianity, focusing on the Catholic Church, and the Jewish religion from which it sprang. This book ultimately is a paean to the Jewish religion far more than to his own Catholic religion. My copy of this book is a sea of highlighting but here is a brief quote:
There is a special tragedy in the fact that, for contingent historical reasons; the Catholic Church set itself so ferociously against the coming of democracy -tragic because Christianity began its life as a small gathering of Jews who were devoted to conversation. This was, of course, characteristically Jewish, since Judaism was a religion of the Book. Indeed, that was what made Judaism unique. That the Book was at the center of this group's identity meant that the group was never more itself than when reading and responding to texts, and while the rabbinical schools may have presided over such a process, all Jews participated in it, especially after the liturgical cult of sacrifice was lost when the Temple was destroyed. Gatherings around the Book became everything. Conversation became everything.,

So while this is one of the most important books I have read, I have to provide criticisms, some quibbles and some substantive:

1) The writing structure was complex and I had to flip back through the pages often (quibble);
2) The book had an annoying number of run-on sentences(quibble);
3) The book was unnecessarily harsh to the Pope in office in 2001, when the book was published. 4) While the author heaps praise in Pope John (1959-63) he asserts that John Paul II hewed to previous doctrines of supersessionism (essentially an argument that Christians have replaced Jews as the people of G-d over the Jewish religion;
5) The author is unnecessarily critical of Nostra Aetate, which he feels did not go far enough in seeking rapprochement with the Jewish people and religion; and
6) The author proposes an unrealistic agenda for a Vatican III conference.

I am an avid reader of history and remember much of John Paul II's reign, and the Nostra Aetate era. The author provides no analysis of whether the Catholic parishioners would follow where James Carroll would have a Pope lead as far as abandoning the cross as a major religious symbol, and other major liturgical changes. I am Jewish and I have my doubts as to whether this book represents idealism more than possible reality.

As for James Carroll's severe criticism of John Paul II, I have cued up to read, as my next book, John Paul the Great: Remembering a Spiritual Father by Peggy Noonan. I feel that Karol Józef Wojtyła, the former name of John Paul II, had a crucial rule in demolishing the tragic tyranny of Communism. He actually did recognize the State of Israel, a major leap about which James Carroll is strangely silent. Choosing one's battles is important, and mounting a confrontational and divisive Vatican III would likely have been counterproductive, or so John Paul II may well have believed.

One of my friends, who recommended I read this book, suggested that it took much "courage" for a former priest to write it. I must partially depart from this view, however. s the beneficiary of education sufficient to admit him to the priesthood the author presumably had access to information not generally available. I thus to some extent question his loyalty.

In conclusion, it is impossible to agree with everything in as sweeping a tour de force as Constantine's Sword, and that is not necessary. I highly recommend this book.

Note: While I started reading this book almost two months ago, a few books on reserve at the library interceded. Four weeks should about do it, even if employed full-time, which I am
… (lisätietoja)
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JBGUSA | 19 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jan 2, 2023 |



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