Baker Academic

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

You Should Read This Book

Now that the 2017 SBL Annual Meeting is behind me, I'm beginning to look forward to the week ahead. This week:
  • my family will travel to Phoenix, AZ, for Thanksgiving;
  • Ohio State will continue to celebrate Coach Harbaugh's tenure Up North;
  • and I'll finish reading Bruce Longenecker's recent book, Hitler, Jesus, and Our Common Humanity (Cascade, 2014).
Longenecker tells the compelling and touching story of a Jewish family in Germany: Rolf Gompertz and his parents, Oskar and Selma. Rolf was ten—almost eleven—on the night of 9–10 November, 1938. Kristallnacht. The Night of Broken Glass. Shortly afterward, the Gompertz family fled Nazi Germany and landed in Los Angeles. From there, Rolf Gompertz has spent the life he was privileged to live—a life denied to so many of his fellow German Jews—confronting the ideology of hate, of the Nietzschean will to power in which the pursuit of one's or society's ends are freed from the bonds of any notion of morality.

Longenecker's story turns on Rolf's "most powerful memory." On the infamous Kristallnacht, as Nazi thugs pounded on the door of the Gompertz family's home, demanding to be let in, the then-10-year-old Rolf told his father, "Vati! If they take you, I'm going with you!" In that moment, a little boy's stand against evil seems small and ineffectual. Nearly eighty years later, that boy's enemies have faded into history while he himself continues to speak life into the world.

I've not finished reading Hitler, Jesus, and Our Common Humanity, but I've read enough to recommend it to all of you. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. GO BUCKS! O-H!!

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