Mordecai Would Not Bow Down: Anti-Semitism, the Holocaust, and Christian Supersessionism

ISBN : 9780197538050

Timothy P. Jackson
248 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
May 2021
Send mail

"Never again!" In the years following the Holocaust, the phrase came to signify a general determination never again to permit systemic anti-Semitism and genocidal violence. Yet anti-Semitism endures, and its underlying causes persist. The resilience of anti-Semitism casts the Holocaust not as inexplicable or singular, but as an event shaped by identifiable-and universal-human prejudices. Despite the intense attention focused on the Holocaust, we consistently misrepresent it. By describing it as a purely irrational phenomenon, we risk minimizing the threat that anti-Semitism continues to pose. Instead, we must identify and acknowledge its causes, which are not only political, economic, and pseudoscientific but ideological as well. Taking its title from the Book of Esther, Mordecai Would Not Bow Down investigates these ideological causes. Timothy P. Jackson argues that the Jewish victims of the Holocaust were persecuted for their belief in one God who is the sole Creator of a moral order centered in selflessness and love. Judaic teachings about the importance of caring for the weak and vulnerable overtly contradicted the Nazis' "natural" lust for power and enjoyment of cruelty, which further fueled their anti-Semitism. By analyzing the ideological clash between Nazism and Judaism, Jackson reveals the ways in which Christianity was complicit in the Holocaust-specifically, the role of Christian supersessionism: the belief that the New Covenant supplants or erases the Old Covenant, making Christians and not Jews God's elect. Supersessionism has historically enabled Christian anti-Semitic violence. Yet Judaism and Christianity are ultimately complementary in their shared origins and analogous aims: the Law that saves the Jews and the Gospel that saves the Gentiles are of a piece. God's choosing the Jewish people to embody collectively a message of fellowship and moral responsibility is parallel to God's calling on Jesus to save humanity individually. Moreover, both divine vocations often engender demonic resentment. Recognizing that Auschwitz and Calvary are but two sites of the same murderous despair is an important step toward eliminating the pervasive menace of anti-Semitism.


Introduction: Judaic Holiness and a Holistic Approach to Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust .
Chapter 1: Legitimating a Topic as Old as Esther
Chapter 2: The Perennial Either/Or
Chapter 3: Nazism and the Western Conscience
Chapter 4: The Evils of Supersessionism
Chapter 5: Jesus and the Jews: Two Suffering Servants Incarnate
Chapter 6: Naming Good and Evil: Hitler's Insidious Genius
Chapter 7: A Closer Look at Schadenfreude and the Prophetic
Conclusion: Guilt, Innocence, and Anne Frank

About the author: 

Timothy P. Jackson is Professor of Christian Ethics at The Candler School of Theology at Emory University. He is the author of Political Agape: Christian Love and Liberal Democracy and The Priority of Love: Christian Charity and Social Justice, among other works.

The price listed on this page is the recommended retail price for Japan. When a discount is applied, the discounted price is indicated as “Discount price”. Prices are subject to change without notice.