Broken Gospel?: Christianity and the Holocaust

By Peter M. Waddell

A searching re-examination of Christianity’s core beliefs in the light of the Church’s complicity in the Holocaust.

ISBN: 9780227178478


The Holocaust lies, often unacknowledged, near the heart of our contemporary crisis of religious faith. The horrific fruit of two millennia of Christian antisemitism, the slaughter calls into sharp question the moral and intellectual credibility of the Churches and the Christian faith itself. Can Christianity ever recover? In Broken Gospel? Peter Waddell suggests that it can, but only by facing unflinchingly the history that paved the way for the Nazi genocide, and the Churches’ sins of omission and commission as it took place.

Engaging with both Christian and Jewish scholarship, Waddell also approaches with sensitivity the theological issues that arise from the horror: questions of how the claimed holiness of the Church relates to its wickedness; of Christian-Jewish relations; of prayer and providence; of heaven and hell, and the faint possibility of forgiveness. Scholars, clergy and general readers alike will be challenged by this exercise in repentance and reconstruction, and inspired by the possibility it offers for Christian theology and practice to flourish once more.

Additional information

Dimensions 234 × 156 mm
Pages 188


Trade Information JPOd

About the Author

Peter Waddell is Vicar of Abbots Langley and Bedmond in the Diocese of St Albans. After receiving a doctorate in theology from the University of Cambridge, he taught theology there and subsequently at the University of Winchester, where he remains a Visiting Research Fellow. He is the author of Joy: The Meaning of the Sacraments and Charles Gore: Radical Anglican.



1. Barabbas and His Afterlife
The Story of Barabbas
What Really Happened?
Bearing the Blood: The Consequences of a Story
Coda: Reading the Barabbas Story Today

2. Reaping the Whirlwind: The Christian Churches and the Killing
Pius XII: Hitler’s Pope?
The Case for the Defence
The Case for the Prosecution
The Protestants and the Killing
Dietrich Bonhoeffer and ‘the Jewish Question’
The Broader Protestant Response
Coda: Christian Nazis?

3. The Aftermath
The Protestants and the Aftermath
The Catholics and the Aftermath: We Remember Assessed

4. Has the Church Disproved the Gospel?
Why Is There a Problem at All?
The Usual Defence: Augustine and the Donatists
A Broken Church

5. Christians, Jews and Israel
The Nostra Aetate Revolution
Two Covenants?
Coda: Christians and the State of Israel

6. Where Was God?

7. Is Hitler in Heaven?
Why Even Ask the Question?
A Very Popular, Wrong Answer: Universalism
If Universalism Is Not the Answer, What Is?

Select Bibliography