Galleries: Penance

Paintings that explore the history of Jewish-Christian relations and the religious roots of anti-Semitism which paved the way for the Holocaust. Viewers may find these paintings dark and distasteful, but that is because they are dealing with a dark and distasteful topic, namely the persecution of Jewish people by so-called Christians. "Penance" is financed in part by a grant from The Puffin Foundation.

Saint Valentine's Day Massacre
Saint Valentine's Day Massacre
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Luther Baptizing Jews
Luther Baptizing Jews

Luther Baptizing Jews is based on Luther's statement that if a Jew came to him for baptism, he would tie a millstone around his neck and throw him in the river in the name of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

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Luther Baptising Jews (Detail 2)
Luther Baptising Jews (Detail 2)

Luther Baptizing Jews is based on Luther's statement that if a Jew came to him for baptism, he would tie a millstone around his neck and throw him in the river in the name of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

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Luther Baptising Jews (Detail 1)
Luther Baptising Jews (Detail 1)

Luther Baptizing Jews is based on Luther's statement that if a Jew came to him for baptism, he would tie a millstone around his neck and throw him in the river in the name of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

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Dona Dona: Luther Driving Wagon
Dona Dona: Luther Driving Wagon

Dona Dona: Luther Driving Wagon is patterned after Jewish artist Marc Chagall's painting The Driver. The cattle car filled with Jews on their way to a concentration camp is added to show that Luther's anti-Semitism helped pave the way for the Holocaust.

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I Have a Dream Matt Hale Doing Penance
I Have a Dream Matt Hale Doing Penance

Matt Hale, East Peoria's notorious anti-Semitic white supremacist, happens to be my neighbor (or was, until he was sent to prison). In the summer of 1999 I told Matt that I hoped he would someday see the error of his ways and repent and turn to the God of the Bible. I told him that if he ever decides to repent, he should show the sincerity of his repentance by publicly washing the feet of a black man and a Jew, as Jesus showed His humility by washing the feet of His disciples.

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Inquisition in the Americas The Burning of de Castro
Inquisition in the Americas The Burning of de Castro

Because Isaac de Castro's Jewish mother had him baptized as an infant, he was considered a Catholic by the Church. However, his family maintained their Jewish identity by secretly observing Jewish practices, something which was forbidden by the Church and punishable by death. When de Castro went to South America to escape the Inquisition, the Inquisition followed him there. He was shipped back to Portugal to be tried by the Church.

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I'm a Good Christian and So Am I
I'm a Good Christian and So Am I

John Chrysostom (349-407) spoke wonderful things about God but terrible things about Jews. Greek text on left, "The Love Chapter," 1 Corinthians 3. Greek text on right, excerpts from Chrysostom's sermon "Against the Jews." Hebrew text on frame, James 3:1012.

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Fall of Martin Luther
Fall of Martin Luther

The Fall of Martin Luther is patterned after Jewish artist Marc Chagall's painting The Fall of the Angel and is based on the following statement by Luther: "You [Jews] are not worthy of looking at the outside of the Bible, much less of reading it. You should read only the Bible that is found under the sow's tail, and eat and drink the letters that drop from there."

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Fall of Martin Luther (Detail)
Fall of Martin Luther (Detail)

The Fall of Martin Luther is patterned after Jewish artist Marc Chagall's painting The Fall of the Angel and is based on the following statement by Luther: "You [Jews] are not worthy of looking at the outside of the Bible, much less of reading it. You should read only the Bible that is found under the sow's tail, and eat and drink the letters that drop from there."

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