The history of Palestinian Christianity is tragic and inspiring
Dying in the Land of Promise presents the reader with two simultaneous narratives, the dominant of which is the story of Palestinian Christianity. The narrative is set within the context of Palestine's changing political and religious history. Gradually the secondary narrative overtakes the Christian narrative, particularly during the last 125 years with the rise of nationalism, Zionism, the triumph of Israel, and the dramatic decline of Palestinian Christianity in the Holy Land.
Written for the non-specialist and geared towards a Western audience, the volume challenges traditional assumptions articulated in the mainstream media concerning the Christians of Palestine and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The history of Palestinian Christianity is tragic and inspiring as it calls for a profound and immediate response from Western Christians and all concerned friends to a community that is truly an endangered species in the ‘land of promise', given the present rates of emigration, economic blight, and an all too delayed resolution to the political conflict in the Holy Land today.
This is an amazing book, and greatly needed. It is the continuous history of Christianity in Palestine from the year 33 to now, detailing the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian Christians by the Israelis. Wagner writes without hate and without fear. This is not an attempt to bash Jews in any way. It is an attempt to bring to light a forgotten history. How we as Christians have been present there since the very beginning, in a continuous witness, until the present day. How Palestine was about 20% Christian, until al Nakba- the Catastrophe, when the Zionists invaded the land and took the land from the people of Palestine. And now, it is about 2% Christian- mostly because of flight to Western lands, since the Christians tended to be better educated and wealthier and able to leave when things got too hard. And Wagner shows who it was who made it hard, and how purposely this plan was put in place. It is gut-wrenching to read accounts of people who saved Jews from the Nazis, as they watch the ethnic cleansing of a town. The Zionists go from house to house, shooting the victims. And the man who protected Jews, who watches this, reflects that it seemed just like what he had witnessed under the Nazi regime. Thankfully, such genocide was localized. Unlike with the Nazis, on the whole, the ethnic cleansing was done without murder and mass destruction of a people. It was done surreptitiously, through disinformation, through enforced poverty, and generally making it hard to live there. We've perhaps heard this before. What Wagner does is remind us that it was also happening to Christians- that this was an area with a large Christian minority at one point. He writes simply the story of Christianity in the land of it's birth, and it has its end with these last 50 years, as native Christians have endured persecution from the Israeli government as well as from Palestinian Muslims around them. Wagner is to be applauded for writing a book about a neglected history, and doing it without resorting to hate speech to denigrate the Jewish people. He points out the problems with the government, and as he says, in order to truly be a brother to someone, you have to point out how they need to change, and become more just. This is the true sign of love and brotherhood. Wagner's evidence is overwhelming, and his writing compelling. This book should challenge and enlighten you into new ways of seeing and believing. -Amazon Reader Review