Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Christian Ethics and the "Holocaust"

It has been suggested that the "Holocaust," or Shoah—Hebrew שׁואה, for "ruinous devastation" in the wake of some horrible event, preferable by far to the cultic implications of the Greek ὁλόκαυστον, "whole burnt offering"—should be a central theological and moral datum in the wake of its happening. And, for generations, we have tried to do something like that. To do theology and ethics in the wake of this particular ruinous devastation, however we accommodate it.

With Judaism being thematic to this year's Barth conference at PTS, I've been reading the intersectional work I can find, including some pieces that have been on my list for quite a while. Of recent vintage, that includes the work of Mark Lindsay, whose Barth, Israel, and Jesus: Karl Barth's Theology of Israel is focused on this theme. Barth, "antisemitism," and the Shoah might be a better listing, and it's certainly not a bad goal to figure out what a Barthian has to work with that's of any real use for redeeming ourselves from our own horrible failures in this area. Still, before one gets to Barth, there are questions about the area that have to be answered.