I argued that the great philosophers like Nietzsche, Aquinas and Locke could be understood independent of their time. Digestion of my favorite Christian authors, CS Lewis and GK Chesterton, might be improved with a small amount of context, but their work was perfectly comprehensible without it.
His response was that the teacher in his Pauline theology class had opened his eyes to the historical context of the writings of St. Paul and through that lens, the Letters of Paul seemed to have a very different meaning from what we give them today. In fact, there was some connection made between Hitler's persecution of the Jews and Pauline theology. He couldn't remember the precise connection, but he felt sure that Hitler had been heavily influenced by St. Paul's writings.
That, of course, is complete nonsense.
Hitler saw the Jews as a race, not a faith. That right there ends the discussion. To the Church, race and faith are orthogonal dimensions. In fact, that was one of the central tenets of St. Paul's writings - Christianity was universal and not Israel-centric. To the Nazis, everything was about race. As for the Final Solution in particular, the minutes of the Wannsee conference refer to Darwinistic thought directly, but never to anything even vaguely Christian.
Under proper guidance, in the course of the final solution the Jews are to be allocated for appropriate labor in the East. Able-bodied Jews, separated according to sex, will be taken in large work columns to these areas for work on roads, in the course of which action doubtless a large portion will be eliminated by natural causes.
The possible final remnant will, since it will undoubtedly consist of the most resistant portion, have to be treated accordingly, because it is the product of natural selection and would, if released, act as a the seed of a new Jewish revival (see the experience of history.)Emphasis mine.
One of the things I learned when I went to college many, many years ago was that outside of the science and engineering departments, you couldn't trust a lick of what was being taught. Everything needed to be questioned and tested for bias. The bias was omnipresent and always in the same direction, too. Since then, the experiences of our children indicate the situation has only gotten worse.
|St. Paul, Gauleiter of Magdeburg.