Story posted April 02, 2007
James Carroll, National Book Award winner and best-selling author of Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews, will deliver Bowdoin College's 2007 Harry Spindel Memorial Lecture at 7:30 p.m., Monday, April 16, in Kresge Auditorium, Visual Arts Center.
Carroll's talk is titled "No War is Holy: Constantine, Crusades, and the Present Crisis." The lecture is open to the public and admission is free.
A Chicago native, James Carroll attended Georgetown University before entering the seminary. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees at St. Paul's College, the Paulist Fathers' seminary in Washington, D.C. He also studied poetry with Allan Tate at the University of Minnesota. During the 1960s he was a civil rights worker and community organizer in Washington and New York. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1969.
Carroll was assigned by the Paulist Fathers and Richard Cardinal Cushing to Boston University, where he served as Catholic Chaplain from 1969 to 1974. During those years he published numerous books on religious subjects, and a weekly column in the National Catholic Reporter, earning awards from the Catholic Press Association and other organizations. He studied poetry with George Starbuck, and eventually published a book of poems. He remained active in the antiwar movement until the Vietnam War ended.
Carroll left the priesthood to concentrate on writing. In 1974 he was playwright-in-residence at the Berkshire Theater Festival in Stockbridge, Mass., and in 1976 he published his first novel, Madonna Red, which was translated into seven languages. Since then he has published eight additional novels, including Mortal Friends, Prince of Peace, and The City Below, a New York Times Notable Book of 1994.
His memoir An American Requiem: God, My Father, and the War That Came Between Us won several prizes, including the 1996 National Book Award for nonfiction.
His best-selling book Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews, a history of anti-Semitism from Jesus to the Holocaust, was published in 2001.
Carroll is also an occasional contributor to numerous journals, including The New Yorker and The Atlantic Monthly, and his op-ed column appears weekly in the Boston Globe.
He has lectured widely, delivering the Lowell Lecture at Harvard University, the Lowell Lecture at Boston College, the Frost Fellowship Lecture at Amherst College, and the Burke Lecture at the University of California at San Diego.
He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and serves on its International Security Studies committee. He is a member of the Council of PEN-New England, serving as chair for four years. He has been a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a fellow at the Center for the Study of Values in Public Life at the Harvard Divinity School, where he remains a research associate. He is a member of the advisory board of the International Center for Ethics, Justice, and Public Life at Brandeis University, and serves as a trustee of the Boston Public Library.
Rosalyne Spindel Bernstein and Sumner Bernstein established Bowdoin College's Harry Spindel Memorial Lectureship in Judaic studies and contemporary Jewish affairs in 1977 in memory of Mrs. Bernstein's father, Harry Spindel, as a lasting testimony to his lifelong devotion to Jewish learning. Past speakers and presenters have included Tony Kushner, Art Spiegelman, Lucy Davidowicz, Irving Howe, Arthur Hertzberg, Grace Paley, Elizabeth Holtzman, Barney Frank, Michael Walzer, Daniel Boyarin, Sandi DuBowski, and Susannah Heschel.