God and Humanity in Auschwitz synthesizes the findings of research developed over the last thirty years on the rise of anti-Semitism in our civilization. Donald J. Dietrich sees the Holocaust as a case study of how prejudice has been theologically enculturated. He suggests how it may be controlled by reducing aggressive energy before it becomes overwhelming. Dietrich studies the recent responses of Christian theologians to the Holocaust and the Jewish theological response to questions concerning God's covenant with Israel, which were provoked by Auschwitz.Social science has dealt with the psychosocial dynamics that have supported gecide and helps explain how ordinary persons can produce extraordinary evil. Dietrich shows how this research, combined with theological analyses, can help reconfigure theology itself. Such an approach may serve to help dissolve anti-Semitism, to aid in constructing such positive values as respect for human dignity, and to point the way to restricting future outbreaks of gecide. God and Humanity in Auschwitz surveys which religious factors created a climate that permitted the Holocaust. It also illuminates what social science has to tell us about developing a strategy that, when institutionally implemented, can channel our energies away from sanctioned murder toward a more compassionate society. The book has proven to be an essential resource for theologians, sociologists, historians, and political theorists.
Donald J. Dietrich is a professor of theology at Boston College. He is the author of Catholic Citizens in the Third Reich: Psycho-Social Principles and Moral Reasoning and Human Rights and the Catholic Tradition, (both available from Transaction) and has edited Christian Responses to the Holocaust: Moral and Ethical Issues. He is a member of the Church Relations Committee at the United States Holocaust Museum.