A. Roy Eckardt, "Is There a Way Out of the Christian Crime? The Philosophic Question of the Holocaust," Holocaust and Genocide Studies, 1:1 (1986) 121-126

Abstract by Jerry Darring


"Through the centuries of Christendom, the Jewish people were put on trial and Christians were their presumed judges. In the Shoah, heaven raged and the roles of the dramatis personae were reassigned: Jews, living and dead, became the judges; Christians, the accused. And if, furthermore, Jews had always been, objectively considered, innocent of any actual crime, Christians were, objectively considered, guilty. For they helped ensure the Abomination of 1933-45" (121).

The Resurrection comprises the center of the Christian theology of replacement, and insisting the Resurrection is exclusively a deed of God constitutes the foundation of Christian triumphalism and supersessionism. This raises a dilemma: "how could anyone now concede even the thought of Christianity, viz. of the victimizing dogma of the eschatologized Resurrection of Jesus Christ?" (123). Yet, as in the parable of the prodigal son, the younger son is accepted, not because of achieved goodness but because where sin abounds, grace abounds the more.

And so, the crime lives on, and yet the Christian is said to be accepted. How to resolve this dilemma? 1) "... after Auschwitz, it is a major question whether the Christian Messianic faith is not falsified -- whether Jesus as the Christ has not become a religious and moral impossibility. The authentication, if authentication is needed, that the Resurrection of Jesus cannot in fact embody eschatological fulfillment, even a fragmentary realization, lies in that event's contribution to the deaths of million of human beings, including great numbers of children" (125). 2) Christians are accepted by the God of Israel, and Christological affirmations should be assimilated to that God. 3) If there is any event which can judge and redeem the victimizing Resurrection, it may be the State of Israel: "The one allowable and fitting gift for Christians is the State of Israel as a sign and a witness that God continues to accept human beings totally apart from the Resurrection of Jesus Christ" (126).