Religion...?

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ohrdruf
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Re: Religion...?

Post by ohrdruf » 04 May 2008 16:11

Patzinak

I am grateful for your remarks, but I think you go too far in your admiration.

Hitler's secretary Christa Schroeder in her memoir "Er War Mein Chef" (Herbig 1983) makes clear that Heims was a member of the intimate circle around Hitler. She does not challenge the Heims accounts. The female secretaries were present at the intimate conversations at FHQs with Hitler virtually throughout, certainly far more frequently than anybody else, and she does not fault the summaries. From the Heims record Frau Schroeder was obviously involved in, and interested in, the religious conversations and so would certainly have disputed inaccuracies of this general nature appearing in the Heims account.

Accepting that the Heims stenographic record is correct, as I mentioned above there is a definite change in Hitler's views from about 1942. Previous to that he had declared that National Socialism existed to pursue a religious truth founded on rationalism and science: he wanted to destroy the remnants of a pagan temple on the Pöstlingberg near Linz for example and to erect on the spot an astronomical telescope so that people could marvel at Nature: he also declared that the idea of "reintroducing the cult of Wotan" was utter stupidity, which seems to suggest all forms of worship were eventually to be excluded in favour of a doctrine founded on a Buddhistic or possibly Druidistic concept of reincarnation. This would match his evident devotion to the Buddhistic outlook of Schopenhauer. Frau Schroeder could quote Schopenhauer as could Hitler, another indication of her interest in religion. From 1942 onwards there are various tracts in Heims which show that a new factor had entered Hitler's thinking.

The sun cult pursued by the SS, and of which the swastika was its symbol, has clear origins in Meunier's late 19th century work "Nordic Mythology" and "Germanisches Leben" published by a Professor of the Nordic Antiquities at the behest of the SS press in 1935. Should there be a question on these two volumes I have them at hand. From these two indications alone the nature of what was being revived is evident. One must also not forget the Thule Society, whose racial-esoteric aims were set out in Dr Wilhelm Daims' biography of Lanz von Liebenfels "Der Mann der Hitler die Ideen gab", published in Munich in 1985. This was based on earlier interviews with the subject, a co-founder of the Thule Society, and the man from whom Hitler bought up all issues of the magazine "Ostara" which von Liebenfels sold from a Vienna kiosk in 1907-1908. It may well be that the very name "Ostara" suggests a line of enquiry which has been overlooked.

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Patzinak
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Re: Religion...?

Post by Patzinak » 04 May 2008 17:10

ThomasG wrote:Yes but the Talmud popularized […]
The Talmud as popular literature?! Gimme a break! Other than rabbis, how many Jews (let alone Gentiles) ever read even part of the Talmud? It's difficult to see how anyone who knows what it is can imagine the Talmud popularising anything whatsoever.
ThomasG wrote:the smear that Mary was an adulteress.
You're probably thinking of Toledoth Yeshu, a mediaeval compilation. It's not part of the Talmud, or even of rabbinical literature.
ThomasG wrote:The "German Christianity" movement actually claimed that the father of Jesus was a German person who served in the Roman army. Max Bewer proposed this theory in his book "Der deutsche Christus" in 1907.
First, you've just demolished your own thesis, ie
ThomasG wrote:The claim that the father of Jesus was a Roman soldier has its origin in Talmud which was hardly trusted by Hitler or other National Socialists.
If a völkisch anti-Semite like Bewer found no problem with this notion, then why should the Nazis?

Bewer was a littérateur rather than a scholar, and a Catholic, not a Protestant like the Deutsche Christen. I don't know how influential Bewer himself was, but separating Jesus and Christianity from their Jewishness was very much a zeitgeistliche enterprise. One can see it in de Lagarde, in Chamberlain, in Renan (although he defined Aryan vs Semite in terms of language, rather than race); one can see its echoes in the Wagnerian "Aryan Christ" (even if Wagner himself didn't describe Parsifal thus, others close to him did; cf Werner); and it can be traced as far back as Fichte (cf Davies; Arvidsson), and even -- if one stretches a point -- all the way to Marcion.

However, IMHO you are quite wrong in asserting that the Deutsche Christen adhered to the notion outlined in "Der deutsche Christus", which -- by denying Christ's divinity and the Virgin Birth, and thus rejecting the Symbolum Nicenum -- placed itself outside normative Christianity. By contrast, the German Christians sought to fuse National Socialism with Christian dogma from within normative Christianity, by purging the latter of its Jewishness; to coin a phrase, they strove for a spiritual Holocaust, ie, a counterpart, in the spiritual realm, of the temporal Holocaust carried out by Hitler. This was expressed in such works as Reichsbischof Müller's "German" version of the Sermon on the Mount, the "cleansed" version of the New Testament (Die Botschaft Gottes), and various official statements, such as the Godesberg Declaration.

The most authoritative expression of the Deutsche Christen's view of Jesus was Jesus der Galiläer (1940), by Walter Grundmann, director of the Institute for the Study and Eradication of Jewish Influence on German Church Life. It argued that Galilee had become Judenrein following the Assyrian invasion, and that its Aryan inhabitants had been forcefully converted to Judaism under the Hasmonaeans. Therefore, Jesus was Aryan, and Christianity an Aryan creation. (The hitherto prevalent whitewashed, edulcorated version of the Deutsche Christen and Walter Grundmann and his institute was thoroughly demolished by Heschel.)

Sources:
  • Arvidsson, S (1999) Aryan Mythology As Science and Ideology. JAAR 67(2): 327–54.

    Davies, A (1980) Racism and German Protestant Theology: A Prelude to the Holocaust. Ann Am Acad Polit SS 450: 20–34.

    Heschel, S (1994) Nazifying Christian Theology: Walter Grundmann and the Institute for the Study and Eradication of Jewish Influence on German Church Life. Church Hist 63(4): 587–605.

    Werner, E (1985) Jews around Richard and Cosima Wagner. Music Quart 71(2): 172–99.
--Patzinak

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Re: Religion...?

Post by ThomasG » 04 May 2008 18:57

Patzinak wrote: However, IMHO you are quite wrong in asserting that the Deutsche Christen adhered to the notion outlined in "Der deutsche Christus", which -- by denying Christ's divinity and the Virgin Birth, and thus rejecting the Symbolum Nicenum -- placed itself outside normative Christianity. By contrast, the German Christians sought to fuse National Socialism with Christian dogma from within normative Christianity, by purging the latter of its Jewishness; to coin a phrase, they strove for a spiritual Holocaust, ie, a counterpart, in the spiritual realm, of the temporal Holocaust carried out by Hitler. This was expressed in such works as Reichsbischof Müller's "German" version of the Sermon on the Mount, the "cleansed" version of the New Testament (Die Botschaft Gottes), and various official statements, such as the Godesberg Declaration.
No, the "Deutsche Christen" were indeed heretics who denied Christ's divinity and even sought to eliminate the crucifix.
Berlin's vast Sportpalast rumbled one night last week with a great gathering of the "German Christians," Nazi Wing of the Evangelical Church (TIME. June 12, et seq.). on deck to demand the super-Nazification of the Church. Their presiding officer was brisk, sleek, pomaded young Rev. Joachim Hossenfelder. Bishop of Berlin and Brandenburg. Their prime hot-head was one Dr. Reinhold Krause. Meeting a few days after the 450th birthday of their Church's founder, Martin Luther, they proceeded to juggle ecclesiastical dynamite. According to Nazi Pastor Krause, German Protestantism needed a "second Reformation." He submitted three reforms:

1) Elimination of the Old Testament and of "palpably misrepresenting or superstitious passages in the New Testament."

2) Elimination of the crucifix.

3) Strict enforcement of the Nazi "non-Aryan clause" which has barred professing Christians of Jewish blood from Evangelical churches. Special "Ghetto churches" should be provided for such "Jewish Christians."

"We must demand a return to the heroic conception of Jesus," clarioned Dr. Krause, "not as a God enthroned to be conceived dogmatically, but as a fearless fighter and leader."* The meeting enthusiastically adopted a resolution supporting Dr. Krause's reforms.

Instantly cries of "Sacrilege!" "Infamy!" rang throughout the Evangelical Church. Three influential non-Nazi pastors even demanded a rescinding of the rule against "non-Aryans" in the Church. The sounds of fury and chaos rose to Reichsbischof Ludwig Muller. As the personal friend and henchman of Chancellor Hitler, he might have been expected to side with the Sportpalast "reformers." Instead, caught by the news from Berlin while traveling in southern Germany, he sent a telegram of strong reproof: "I speak only as leader of the Church who is responsible for the preservation of the creed before God. ... It is said, though I can hardly believe it, that the sacred cross has been rejected as the symbol of our Christianity. ... I, as leader of the Protestant Church, reject such a spirit with all my energy. ... I shall never permit that such heresies shall be taught in the Protestant Church."

Scudding north hot behind his telegram, Reichsbischof Muller expelled Heretic Krause from the Church.
Source: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/artic ... 54,00.html

The "Deutsche Christen" were led by Krause and Hossenfelder and most influential 1933-1935. Their influence declined afterwards as Reichsbischof Ludwig Muller and nearly all dioceses broke their association with them.

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deutsche_C ... Niedergang

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Patzinak
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Re: Religion...?

Post by Patzinak » 05 May 2008 16:11

If you seriously propose to base your argument on a 1933 news report in an American popular magazine, then one of us in the wrong forum.
ThomasG wrote:[…] The "Deutsche Christen" were led by Krause and Hossenfelder and most influential 1933-1935. Their influence declined afterwards as Reichsbischof Ludwig Muller and nearly all dioceses broke their association with them. […]
There's a reason why you don't see me citing Wikipedia.

The Deutsche Christen (DC) were not a sect, or party, or organisation, but a movement within the German Protestant church (Müller himself was one of them). Most German Protestants did not formally align themselves either with the DC, or with their opponents, the Bekennende Kirche. While some may find the notion that DC influence "declined" after 1935 comforting (or perhaps merely convenient), that facts do not support it. By 1937, DCs occupied all of the deanships, over 1/3 of professorships, and 1/2 of lectureships in Reich Protestant theology faculties. Due to their positions in regional church councils, they were also largely in control of church finances, educational curricula, etc. Their influence peaked during the war years; the Institut zur Erforschung und Beseitigung des jüdischen Einflusses auf das deutsche kirchliche Leben was set up in 1939 with wide support among regional church leadership. As mentioned above, at a time of war-induced shortages, the Institut published an ethnically cleansed New Testament and a Judenrein hymnal in runs of 100,000 each, in addition to other papers; it also sponsored well-attended conferences and exchanges (including with Swedish theologians), and founded a branch in Romania.

(In addition to the papers mentioned earlier, one should study Bergen's monograph on the DC; a review by John Moses is available on-line. A paper by Eldridge -- not without some shortcomings -- may also be available on-line.)

Sources:
  • Bergen, DL (1996) Twisted cross : the German Christian movement in the Third Reich. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 0807822531.

    Eldridge, SW (2006) Ideological incompatibility: the forced fusion of Nazism and Protestant theology and its impact on anti-Semitism in the Third Reich. Int Soc Sci Rev 81(3): 151–65. May also by available at http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-160103826.html.

    Moses, JA (1996) [Review of: Twisted Cross: The German Christian Movement in the Third Reich, by Doris L. Bergen] [electronic version]. H-German/H-Net Reviews. Retrieved 2008-03-20 from http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.cg ... 6849378558.
--Patzinak

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Re: Religion...?

Post by ThomasG » 05 May 2008 20:12

German Christians

"Christian faith is a heroic, manly thing. God speaks in blood and Volk a more powerful language than He does in the idea of humanity." -Joachim Hossenfelder, Bishop of Brandenburg.

The German Christian movement was born out of the tendency of the Protestant church to incorporate of elements of the volk traditions as a response to the uncertainty of the Weimar years. It incorporated the renewed emphasis on scripture that began in 1920's, as well as the belief that the German people had a deep spirituality, rooted in the land, that was unlike that any other people. They also sought to deemphisise the Old Testament, and insert an "Ayran paragraph" that asserted the primacy of the Ayran race. Another influence was the Luther Renaissance Movement, led by Professor Emmanuel Hirsch. The movement did not believe in the static nature of religion, but in its evolution. In Hirsch's view, the Church became more Lutheran by becoming more German.

The German Christians were strongly nationalistic, and adopted Luther's anti-Semitism, as well as his respect for state authority. This passage in Romans 13 was often cited as proof of a correlation between the Church and State:
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore he who resists the authorities resists the what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.
Because the German Christian ideology was so compatible with National Socialist ideology, the Nazis were able to gain support among many Protestant churches. The official incarnation of this movement, the German Christians movement was officially founded 1932, and quickly became an instrument of Hitler's regime.The German Christians enthusiastically supported Nazi propaganda, and sought to join Church and State. To further this end, they wanted to join the 28 regional churches of the German Evangelical Church into a national Reich Church.

In April 1933 the German Christians adopted an constitution, one article of which reads, "Christian faith exacts war against atheistic Marxism and ultramontanism. A religion such as ours conforms to nature in being a message of salvation to all men, though it is given to each folk in a special way." (Shuster, 99)

The movement was initially quite popular. Although the German Christian values were not endorsed by the general Lutheran community, the movement did garner significant support. Of Germany's 17,000 Protestant pastors, 3000 were fervent enough in the support of Hitler to join the German Christian movement.

The leader of the German Christian movement was Pastor Ludwig Muller. Muller was appointed Hitler's advisor on Protestant affairs in 1933. Muller was an Alte Kampfer, a navel chaplain in World War One, a member of the Nazi party, and knew Hitler since the 1920's. A pastor from eastern Prussia, Muller was elected Reich Bishop in 1933. Despite having virtually no support within the Protestant community, he instituted several policies that attempted to diminish the prominence of the Lutheran Church. Muller was easily the most committed and effective leader of the pro-Hitler Protestant movement.

The Protestant Church and the Third Reich Until 1935

Early in his regime, Hitler generally avoided discussing his views towards religion. He stressed the compatibility of Nazism and Christianity, and blamed any conflicts on individual clergy. Hitler advocated a "Positive Christianity," a meaningless but attractive term that characterized his discourse of religion. The phrase generally implied values like love of neighbors, social welfare, etc. When Hitler came to power, he actually had significant support among the Lutheran leaders, many of whom had even joined the National Socialist Party. The Lutheran establishment as a whole supported Hitler for his promise to eliminate bolshevism and stabilize Germany. Hitler's support of "positive Christianity" was not alarming to a church that was highly anti-Semitic. The Nazis saw the German Christian movement as a way to gain control of the German Evangelical Church, and gave them heavy support for as long as they felt the movement had a chance to succeed. When German Christianity was no longer politically viable, the Nazis ceased to support it.

The first conflict between the German Evangelical Church occurred in 1933, at a meeting of the regional churches, over who the first Reich Bishop would be. The German Christians nominated Muller as their candidate. His opponent was Friedrich von Bodelschwingh, a popular and respected pastor from Westphalia. Protestant leaders were outraged that the unknown Muller was placed on the ballot, and, after several votes, elected Bodelschwingh Reich Bishop by a vote of 91 to 8.

After the election of Bodelschwingh, Hitler appointed August Jager as his expert of Protestant affairs. Jager mounted a heavy police campaign against the Protestant Church, suspending, firing, and arresting a number of pastors. Nazi leaders also undertook a publicity campaign against Bodelschwingh. One month after taking his post, Bodelschwingh resigned.

For the next election, the Nazis openly supported the German Christians, and in many places only German Christians were placed on the ballot. At the national synod to confirm Muller as Reich bishop, the 75 out of 229 delegates who were not German Christians walked out when the synod passed a measure prohibiting pastors or their wives from having Jewish blood.

It was at this point that serious Protestant opposition to Hitler's government began. The opposition stemmed not from the anti-semitic views expressed by the German Christians, but the interference in Church matters that the Ayran paragraph and poliece pressure signaled. In 1933, the Pastors' Emergency League formed to help pastors who were arrested or threatened by the police.

There were three primary ideological issues separating the Nazi state and the German Evangelical Church became apparent. The first two, traditional state supremacy over the church and the the trend toward the separation of church and state conflicted with each other, and were a source of conflict within the Protestant opposition to Nazism. The third issue questioned the very legitimacy of the Nazi state.

As resistance to his policies mounted, Hitler began to separate himself from the German Christians. He emphasized the separation between church and state, and took a less active role in intimidating other church groups.

Muller, however continued to serve as Reich Bishop, even as Hitler's interest in the German Christians waned. In an effort to forestall the collapse of the German Christian Church, Muller declared that all Evangelical youth groups would be incorporated into the Hitler jugend. This created a furor among the opposition, because the Baldur von Shirach, the jugend's leader, was a declared atheist who placed the State ahead of all else. Muller also ordered the Gestapo to go to churches and monitor what was said.

By the middle of 1934, Protestant opposition to Hitler was well organized, and the German Christian Church became fraught with internal division. Without support from the government, the German Christians and Muller became totally ineffective.

This did not stop Jager from brutally oppressing pastors in Wurttemberg (although the strength of the resistance in Prussia handicapped Jager's ability to interfere with church operations), and continuing to spread propaganda denouncing the Protestant opposition. A Protestant Kulturkampf was instituted, and throughout Germany, with the exception of Westphalia, opposition was brutally repressed. Pastors were fired, arrested, and jailed.

In October of 1934 Jager was dismissed by Hitler, and all measures against dissenting bishops were annulled. Opposition leaders were summoned to Berlin, and Frick assured them that neutrality was now the official government policy towards the German Evangelical Church.
http://www.claremontmckenna.edu/hist/jp ... otesta.htm

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Patzinak
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Re: Religion...?

Post by Patzinak » 09 May 2008 16:07

As undergrads go these days, I suppose this page is a fair effort. Criticising it would be a bit like shooting fish in a barrel (eg, the failure to consult even basic references, like Scholder or Meier, although the former has been available in English since 1988). But don't you think it's about time you read something a little, shall we say, better informed on the subject?

--Patzinak

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Re: Religion...?

Post by ThomasG » 10 May 2008 11:46

Patzinak, you are making incorrect generalizations about Deutsche Christen. There were large theological differences between the moderate and radical factions of the Deutsch Christen movement. Reichsbischof Müller was a moderate German Christian like the famous and still respected theologians Gerhard Kittel, Heinrich Borkamm, Friedrich Gogarten, Paul Althaus, and Emmanuel Hirsch.
Despite the leadership's anxiety, few were disturbed when on 25 April
Hitler named the German Christian army chaplain, Ludwig Miiller, his
special representative to the Three Man Commission. A bland and cautious
man, Miller appeared to signal that the Reich Chancellor supported the
moderate faction of German Christians whose views were considerably less
offensive than those that surfaced during the convention. Muller attracted
Hitler's attention in the late 1920s by an act highly revealing of his later
importance as a transitional figure during the first months of the Third
Reich. He successfully resolved a dispute between the army and the Nazi
Party's anti-elitist paramilitary organization, the "Storm Troops" (Sturmabteilung
or S.A.), in eastern Prussia. Muller's long career in the army did
not in this period give him reason to wish the overthrow of the church
establishment, nor did he give way to enthusiasm for folk Christianity. His
major objective evidenced his traditionalist outlook. He hoped the creation of
a Reich church would bring the monarchical title of Summus Episcopus
(supreme bishop) to Hitler.

Miiller's followers from the church province East Prussia espoused a
conservative program. Their platform, in existence since late 1932, affirmed
in orthodox fashion the "full safeguarding of the Confessions of the
Reformation"
and expected the continued adherence to "historically based
special rights." While the East Prussians condemned "parliamentism" with
its connotations of party fractiousness, they did not demand the abolition of
synods altogether. They asked only that church bodies include younger,
"front generation" representatives. Moderate German Christians included
the few theologians of significant reputation who supported the movement-
Emanuel Hirsch, Paul Althaus, Friedrich Gogarten and Heinrich Bornkamm.
They and such prominent church officials as the former imperial
court chaplain, Bruno Doehring, and Heinrich Rendtdorff, bishop of
Mecklenburg, belonged to the conservative "Christian German Movement,"
whose ties rested with the right wing German National People's Party and
the conservative paramilitary organization, the Stahlhelm. These notables
adhered to a conservative if nationalistic Lutheranism and a church
autonomous from politics, and they refuted secular, racial anti-Semitism as
an inappropriate criterion for church membership.
Source:
The 1933 German Protestant Church Elections: Machtpolitik or Accommodation?
Shelley Baranowski
Church History, Vol. 49, No. 3 (Sep., 1980), pp. 298-315

You claimed that:
By contrast, the German Christians sought to fuse National Socialism with Christian dogma from within normative Christianity, by purging the latter of its Jewishness; to coin a phrase, they strove for a spiritual Holocaust, ie, a counterpart, in the spiritual realm, of the temporal Holocaust carried out by Hitler.
This does not correctly describe the radical faction of the German Christian movement on the other hand.

And if you need an account how the influence of German Christians declined after 1935 read "Die Deutschen Christen as Bild einer Bewegung im Kirchenkampf des Dritten Reiches" by Kurt Meier although Meier's communist bias and dogmatic "anti-Fascism" leads him to judge the German Christians unfairly.
Their influence peaked during the war years; the Institut zur Erforschung und Beseitigung des jüdischen Einflusses auf das deutsche kirchliche Leben was set up in 1939 with wide support among regional church leadership. As mentioned above, at a time of war-induced shortages, the Institut published an ethnically cleansed New Testament and a Judenrein hymnal in runs of 100,000 each, in addition to other papers; it also sponsored well-attended conferences and exchanges (including with Swedish theologians), and founded a branch in Romania.
The main purpose of the institute was not the advance theological arguments for the elimination of Jewry but to defend Christianity against the accusations of atheist or pagan National Socialists some of whom regarded the Christian God as a "Jewish" God and therefore Christianity as an unsuitable religion to a German person. It had a relatively marginal status.
The most authoritative expression of the Deutsche Christen's view of Jesus was Jesus der Galiläer (1940), by Walter Grundmann, director of the Institute for the Study and Eradication of Jewish Influence on German Church Life. It argued that Galilee had become Judenrein following the Assyrian invasion, and that its Aryan inhabitants had been forcefully converted to Judaism under the Hasmonaeans. Therefore, Jesus was Aryan, and Christianity an Aryan creation.
Grundmann's book dealt with Jesus's historic ethnic background. His assumption was that Galilee was ethnically mixed and had an Indo-European element at the time of Jesus which is supported by archeological evidence and 1. Macc 5:15.
(S. Freyne, The Geography of Restoration: Galilee–Jerusalem Relations in Early Jewish and Christian Experience. New Testament Studies (2001), 47: 289-311.)

Because Jesus's faith had a distinctly Hellenistic (universalist) character in contrast to the tribalist, nationalist Jewish faith Grundmann thought it likely that Jesus was of Indo-European background and returned to the religious tradition of his ancestors. Grundmann's views about the historical identity of Jesus are not heresy.

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Re: Religion...?

Post by Patzinak » 11 May 2008 03:10

ThomasG wrote:Patzinak, you are making incorrect generalizations about Deutsche Christen.
Fine, please show specifically which are the "incorrect generalizations".
ThomasG wrote:There were large theological differences between the moderate and radical factions of the Deutsch Christen movement.
Of course there were, just as there were within the Bekennende Kirche. But didn't you say earlier,
ThomasG wrote:[…] the "Deutsche Christen" were indeed heretics who denied Christ's divinity and even sought to eliminate the crucifix.
Where was the issue of the "large theological differences" then?

So far, the question of the range of theological differences within the Deutsche Christen hasn't been the point -- merely how influential the movement was, and what were its general aims.
ThomasG wrote:Reichsbischof Müller was a moderate German Christian […]
Moderate or not, he was a German Christian, and remained one to his death -- in contrast to what you wrote earlier,
ThomasG wrote:[…] The "Deutsche Christen" were led by Krause and Hossenfelder and most influential 1933-1935. Their influence declined afterwards as Reichsbischof Ludwig Muller and nearly all dioceses broke their association with them.
It appears that now you are contradicting yourself…

Further, I don't quite see what is the object of quoting from Baranowski's paper (1980), as she does not deal with the DC's beliefs. Be that as it may, you were probably in too much of a rush to read the entire paper, for you seem to have missed this,
Baranowski, 1980, p308 wrote:[…] At a meeting of the German Christian leadership on 23 May, the Hossenfelder wing asserted control. Müller was chosen as candidate for Reich bishop because of his relationship to Hitler, but the moderate Fezer platform, which Müller instituted to appease the leadership [of the Kirchenbund] shortly after the German Christian convention, was rejected. […]
(Note that Baranowski -- here as well as in some later papers -- discusses élite accommodation with the NS régime, which occurred within the Protestant church as well as outside it.)
ThomasG wrote:[…] the famous and still respected theologians Gerhard Kittel, Heinrich Borkamm [sic], Friedrich Gogarten, Paul Althaus, and Emmanuel [sic] Hirsch […]
Kittel, Bornkamm, Gogarten and others resigned publicly from the DC after the infamous Sportpalast rally. However,
Heschel, 1994, p589, wrote:[…] Their resignation should not be taken as an indication of their rejection of DC ideology or opposition to National Socialism, since each remained involved to some extent with National Socialist activities. Nor do the events at the end of 1933 indicate a retrenchment of DC influence, but simply a crisis in its public presentation.
(See RP Ericksen's "Theologians under Hitler…" for details of the careers of Kittel, Althaus, and Hirsch.)
ThomasG wrote:[…] You claimed that:
By contrast, the German Christians sought to fuse National Socialism with Christian dogma from within normative Christianity, by purging the latter of its Jewishness; to coin a phrase, they strove for a spiritual Holocaust, ie, a counterpart, in the spiritual realm, of the temporal Holocaust carried out by Hitler.
This does not correctly describe the radical faction of the German Christian movement on the other hand.
You seem to have missed the first sentence in the paragraph:
Patzinak wrote:However, IMHO you are quite wrong in asserting that the Deutsche Christen adhered to the notion outlined in "Der deutsche Christus", which -- by denying Christ's divinity and the Virgin Birth, and thus rejecting the Symbolum Nicenum -- placed itself outside normative Christianity.
If you still believe that the DCs adhered to the opinions in "Der deutsche Christus", then please feel free to demonstrate it.
ThomasG wrote:[…] And if you need an account how the influence of German Christians declined after 1935 read "Die Deutschen Christen as Bild einer Bewegung im Kirchenkampf des Dritten Reiches" by Kurt Meier although Meier's communist bias and dogmatic "anti-Fascism" leads him to judge the German Christians unfairly.
Meier (to which I referred in the previous message) was indeed the most important reference for the history of the Deutsche Christen -- roughly up to the opening of the archives after the fall of Communism. However, the authors I mentioned earlier, Heschel (1994) and Bergen (1996), demonstrated convincingly that Meier (including in his more recent "Kreuz und Hackenkreuz…") was wrong. If you believe I misconstrued Heschel or Bergen, or that they are wrong and their arguments insufficient, then please demonstrate it -- I should be most interested to see that.
ThomasG wrote:[…] The main purpose of the institute was not the advance theological arguments for the elimination of Jewry but to defend Christianity against the accusations of atheist or pagan National Socialists some of whom regarded the Christian God as a "Jewish" God and therefore Christianity as an unsuitable religion to a German person.
And that is why its name included "Eradication of Jewish Influence on German Church Life", right?!

You gave an adequate summary of Meier's view of the Institute. And here's Heschel's view, based on studies of archives which were not opened to Western scholars until after 1990:
Heschel, 1994, p590 wrote:The evidence emerging from the archives of the Institute and from its publications suggests different conclusions. First, both archival evidence and published documents contradict Meier's argument that from the time of its founding the goal of the Institute's director, Prof. Walter Grundmann, was the objective, scholarly study of Judaism. Rather, Grundmann and his colleagues sought the eradication of Judaism and the creation of an Aryan Christianity. Second, contrary to Meier's depiction of the Institute as an apologetic defense of Christianity, Grundmann's personal papers indicate that he sought a transformation of the church, using antisemitism to create an Aryan Christianity. Given the option of a return to traditional Christianity, Grundmann writes that he would prefer to leave the church altogether. Finally, the evidence reveals that regardless of the disinterest or even hostility on the part of some NSDAP representatives or government officials, the Institute was able to undertake its work and even flourish throughout the war years, thanks to the support it garnered within the Reich government.
(The emphasis is mine.)

But why don't we ask its founder, Prof Grundmann? In the inaugural lecture, he stated that,
Grundmann wrote:The elimination of Jewish influence on German life is the urgent and fundamental question of the present German religious situation.
The lecture, titled "The Dejudaization of the Religious Life as the Task of German Theology and Church", was printed in a run of 6,000 copies (Heschel, 1994, p591).
ThomasG wrote:[…] [The institute] had a relatively marginal status.
Relative to what? IMHO, a theological institute which, in time of war-induced shortages, manages to print its productions in runs of 100,000 copies is anything but "marginal".
ThomasG wrote:[…] (S. Freyne, The Geography of Restoration: Galilee–Jerusalem Relations in Early Jewish and Christian Experience. New Testament Studies (2001), 47: 289-311.) […]
AFAIC, the archaeology of Galilee in the early Christian era is a tad -- just a tad, mind you -- outside the topic of this forum, and so are issues in Christology. Feel free to debate them elsewhere. (But first let me warn you that you seem to have misunderstood Freyne -- read carefully para ii) on pp298–99, or at the very least the last sentence in his abstract.)
ThomasG wrote:[…] Grundmann's views about the historical identity of Jesus are not heresy.
If you read carefully my posts in this thread, you will notice that they do not contain the word "heresy" (in fact, none of my posts on AHF contain this word).

On the contrary, while I wrote earlier that the Deutsche Christen worked from "within normative Christianity", it is you who argued that,
ThomasG wrote:[…] the "Deutsche Christen" were indeed heretics who denied Christ's divinity and even sought to eliminate the crucifix.
Have you been on the road to Damascus lately, by any chance?

Sources:
  • Baranowski, S (1980) The 1933 German Protestant Church Elections: Machtpolitik or Accommodation? Church Hist 49(3): 298–315.

    Heschel, S (1994) Nazifying Christian Theology: Walter Grundmann and the Institute for the Study and Eradication of Jewish Influence on German Church Life. Church Hist 63(4): 587–605.
--Patzinak

Cantankerous
Member
Posts: 132
Joined: 01 Sep 2019 21:22
Location: Newport Coast

Re: Religion...?

Post by Cantankerous » 22 May 2020 22:49

I was reading a Wikipedia article above Positive Christianity and I was dumbstruck to find out that one of the tenets of Positive Christianity was to eliminate Catholicism and unite all Protestant Christianity into a Positive Christian Church in order to reinforce German nationalism just because Protestant Christianity was born in Germany and Switzerland. Is it possible that Hitler made abolition of Catholicism part of Positive Christianity because he felt that most Catholic priests were too sympathetic to the Jews and communists?

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