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Nazi Decontextualization of the Bible

Jason Hensley

Vol. 4, No. 1

Summer 2022

Pages: 30‒44

Nazi Decontextualization of the Bible

DOI: 10.33929/sherm.2022.vol4.no1.03

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Abstract

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Holocaust Studies

Shoah, Holocaust, Judaism, Jewish Studies, Holocaust Studies, Christian-Jewish Relations, Anti-Judaism, Nazi Theology, Christian Antisemitism, Biblical Context

When spreading antisemitic ideology, Hitler and his followers sometimes turned to the Bible to verify and support their hatred of the Jews. Passages such as “you are of your father the devil,” were used to encourage Bible-believing Christians that Jesus himself was antisemitic and that those who held antipathy towards the Jews were following Jesus’s legacy. However, many of these passages that the Nazis used to support their antisemitism were taken out of context and the original intent of the author was ignored. Anti-Jewish Christian expositors also ignored the contexts of Biblical passages––expositors both during the time of the Nazis and earlier. This article will consider this decontextualization of the Bible by the Nazis and anti-Jewish theologians. It suggests that if the original meaning of the text has been obscured by decontextualization, the solution is not to reject the text as anti-Jewish, but rather to reevaluate the anti-Jewish interpretation and recontextualize the passage.

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