I really enjoyed Frederiksen's book; her close reading of Augustine really opened up the exciting possibilities in studying primary sources from the early church period for me.
So I was interested to discover that several of my favorite Jewish bloggers were talking about Augustine and Frederiksen's book. Here are a few quotes:
From Kvetching Editor:
Should Jews thank the church?From Dovbear:
. . . Augustine's philosophy, although really, incredibly backhanded, was that Jews survive and should survive throughout all time until the End of Days in order that they serve as evidence to Christianity's truth. By Jewish survival, Jewish books survive, and, according to Augustine, it is Jews and their books that provide a walking, talking, breathing witness to the truth of Christianity -- that the church fathers didn't just "make it up." Jews and Judaism were not a challenge to Christianity, insisted Augustine, but a witness to it!
. . . Is it Augustine's (REALLY BACKHANDED) doctrine that has allowed the world to not completely destroy Jews and Judaism?
John Chrysostom, was from the "kill them all "school. During his remarkable career as a preacher of violence against the Jews, he put it this way: "When animals are unfit for work they are marked for slaughter, and this is the very thing which the Jews have experienced. By making themselves unfit for work, they have become ready for slaughter."Check out the full discussions!
Augustine, disagreed, and lucky for us, his view won the day. Basing himself on a proof-text found in Psalm 59.11, he argued that the Jews should be kept alive, in a demoralized and decrepit state, to serve as proof that God had rejected them. His model was Cain, a type for the Jews, who had murdered Able, a type for Jesus, and was likewise made into a despised wanderer as punishment.