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Abraham's Knife: The Mythology of the Deicide in Antisemitism

The deicide charge, that "the Jews killed Christ" has become an antisemitic cliche but it remains a bizarre notion to the Jews against whom it is leveled. How could anyone kill God? Where did this idea originate and how could it have played such an important role in Western culture and history over some two thousand years? A literary study of the figures of Abraham, Isaac, Jesus, Judas, and Shylock - drawing upon biblical scholarship as well as the work of historians of subsequent periods - attempts to make some sense of this persistent and pernicious myth which turns out not to be so much about the killing of God as about the sacrifice of children, about parental love, ambivalence and guilt, and the human sense of vulnerability.

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Praise for Abraham's Knife

"... Based on solid historical and literary scholarship and psychological insight, the book is learned without being ponderous, and the author's style makes reading it an esthetic as well as intellectual experience."
Dr. Jeffrey Tigay, Ellis Professor of Hebrew & Semitic Languages & Literatures, Graduate Chair, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, University of Pennsylvania

"...a thoughtful book about the formative events in the early history of Christianity that led to the deicide, or Christ-killer, charge..."
Jack Fischel, Hadassah Magazine, March 2005, p. 68

"... Judith Civan provides so much food for intellectual thought in this dense oriental carpet of interwoven facts, fancies and ideas..."
Dr. Bernard Kaplan, M.B. B.Ch., F.A.A.P. Laffey-Connolly Professor of Pediatric Nephrology, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, The University of Pennsylvania

"Civan directly confronts an issue that has plagued Western culture and civilization for centuries: the deicide or 'Christ-killer' charge... In her closely reasoned 352-page book, Civan plumbs the depth of the 'Christ-killer' canard, reaching back to the origins of the church... scholars of religion: not to worry. There are 25 pages of footnotes and nine pages of bibliography in 'Abraham's Knife.' "
Rabbi James Rudin, the American Jewish Committee's senior interreligious adviser, and Distinguished Visiting Professor at Saint Leo University

"Judith Civan seeks to trace a thread linking child sacrifice and the fear of infanticide to the charge of deicide in the legacy of Christian anti- Semitism...."
The Jewish Book Review

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[Reviews of Abraham's Knife] [Read Excerpts] [Buy the book] [About the author]