December 5, 2007

Hitchens hates Hanukkah.

You already know why if you've read his book "God Is Not Great," but he spells it out here in Slate. Excerpt:
When the fanatics of Palestine won that victory, and when Judaism repudiated Athens for Jerusalem, the development of the whole of humanity was terribly retarded.

And, of course and as ever, one stands aghast at the pathetic scale of the supposed "miracle." As a consequence of the successful Maccabean revolt against Hellenism, so it is said, a puddle of olive oil that should have lasted only for one day managed to burn for eight days. Wow! Certain proof, not just of an Almighty, but of an Almighty with a special fondness for fundamentalists. Epicurus and Democritus had brilliantly discovered that the world was made up of atoms, but who cares about a mere fact like that when there is miraculous oil to be goggled at by credulous peasants?

60 comments:

Henry said...

Hitchens: Without the precedents of Orthodox Judaism and Roman Christianity, on which it is based and from which it is borrowed, there would be no Islam, either.

Well at least we'd still have communism to kick around.

Lefty John said...

Hasn't Hitchens seen Criss Angel on A&E? And he still doesn't believe in miracles?

People like Hitchens think of themselves as all about "reason" and "evidence," but I find them extraordinarily closed-minded.

ricpic said...

Boo hoo, poor little Athens. Like the Greek way, which is the fountainhead of both modernity's glory (science and technology) and its curse (paganism) was dealt a death blow by - who else? - the Jews.
Get real, Chrissy.

Alan said...

What's good about religion?
:)

Paddy O. said...

Fighting against the well reasoned, literary minded, high ideals of the pro-Science Antiochus Epiphanes.

"Jewish beliefs are scandalous! Worship me instead! And a pig!"

Methinks Hitchens depends on the fact that few folks know history while making up their own convenient versions to fit their present biases. Fight for political independence and religious freedom becomes Oil versus Science.

Such folks do with history what a lot of Creationists do with science. Make up their own version while mocking their opponents supposed ignorance.

Interesting to note that the early Christians were charged and killed for being atheists. They refused to worship the Emperor or any of the other many gods and would only say there's one god.

MadisonMan said...

Hitchens is dustless black pepper.

Ann Althouse said...

'Well at least we'd still have communism to kick around."

I don't think Hitchens would agree. Doesn't he blame Christianity for that too?

Joan said...

I don't know, but Hitchen's lionization of Greek culture seems bizarre to me after reading Victor Davis Hanson's A War Like No Other. There may have been some high-minded ideals floating around the ancient Greek city-states, but life on the ground wasn't the egalitarian dream a lot of folks seem to think it was.

Henry said...

Right. Without Roman Christianity, there would be no Western Capitalism, entrepreneurship, or wealth creation. Without Western Capitalism, there would be no Communism.

What a lovely world that would be.

jawats said...

How odd - Hitchens also hates Christianity, which preserved the heritage of Athens in many ways over and against the Romans, esp. in the Middle Ages.

He is simply a contrarian hack who gets attention by screaming and writing books.

Richard Fagin said...

Yeah, Chris, tell all those nasty Jews to return all those Nobel chemistry, medicine and physics prizes and take their damned vaccine for polio with 'em on the way out, will ya?

I once read an opinion piece entitled "Jews go Home" that made the above points much better than I can. I wish I could find it.

JSinger said...

Such folks do with history what a lot of Creationists do with science.

Same for the notion that "Epicurus and Democritus had brilliantly discovered that the world was made up of atoms". Uh, yeah -- their experiments conclusively demonstrated that. jawats has Hitchens pegged perfectly.

former law student said...

Fagin: the Nobels, etc. that you mention followed the Jewish Enlightenment, which pioneered Jewish study of secular subjects. Imagine the record of Jewish achievement had Jews remained part of Greece.

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/Haskalah.html

George said...

First he came for the menorah, then for the dradles, then the Christmas tree, then the cookies, and all the trimmings went up the chimney with Christopher Grinchens.

Hisss....

Joshua said...

Without Roman Christianity, there would be no Western Capitalism, entrepreneurship, or wealth creation.

Capitalism developed despite, not because of, Christianity.

Gedaliya said...

He is simply a contrarian hack...

Hitchens is no hack. He's a brilliant guy with a peculiar tic against religion, like Voltaire or Bertie Russell. I found the essay very entertaining, and despite my disagreement with its conclusions, it was certainly thought-provoking.

There is much truth in the essay. The Maccabees were indeed religious fanatics who used force to turn back the Hellenistic tide that at the time threatened the entire ediface of Temple Judaism.

Interestingly, it was less than 200 years after the Maccabees' victory over the Syrian satrap Antiochus that the Romans sacked Jerusalem and the Jews were forced to re-group. What emerged was Rabbinic Judaism and with it the Talmud, a remarkable document that has kept the Torah relevant through the ages.

Hitchens, despite my disagreements with his anti-relgious fanaticism, is one of the most important religious critics of our time, and people of faith should be thankful that he is around to keep our beliefs sharp and honest.

Lefty John said...

Kind of like in a jury trial where critical information gets excluded or suppressed from the jury's consideration under arbitrary "rules of evidence," athiests march to the beat of their stunted "logic" inexorably and inevitably to their foregone and tautological conclusion.

Trooper York said...

Det. William Moreland: Them Greeks sure have some weird-ass names.
Det. James 'Jimmy' McNulty: Hey, don't knock the Greeks. They invented civilization.
Det. William Moreland: Yeah, and ass-fucking, too.
Det. William Moreland: Not that there's anything wrong with that.
(The Wire 2002)

JSinger said...

There is much truth in the essay. The Maccabees were indeed religious fanatics who used force to turn back the Hellenistic tide that at the time threatened the entire ediface of Temple Judaism.

That's a fair assessment. The notion that Greek science was discernibly set back by the Hasmonean victory in a backwater of a backwater is absurd, Hitchens himself doesn't believe such a thing and the only goal of saying so is to grab him some holiday-themed attention. "Hack" seems fair.

Trooper York said...

Put on your yalmulka, here comes hanukkah
Its so much fun-akkah to celebrate hanukkah,
Hanukkah is the festival of lights,
Instead of one day of presents, we have eight crazy nights.

When you feel like the only kid in town without a x-mas tree, heres a list of
People who are jewish, just like you and me:
David lee roth lights the menorrah,
So do james caan, kirk douglas, and the late dinah shore-ah

Guess who eats together at the karnickey deli,
Bowzer from sha-na-na, and arthur fonzerrelli.
Paul newmans half jewish; goldie hawns half too,
Put them together--what a fine lookin jew! [esus]

You dont need deck the halls or jingle bell rock
Cause you can spin the dreidl with captain kirk and mr. spock--both jewish!
Put on your yalmulka, its time for hanukkah,
The owner of the seattle super sonic-ahs celebrates hanukkah.

O.j. simpson-- not a jew!
But guess who is...hall of famer rod carew--(he converted!)
We got ann landers and her sister dear abby,
Harrison fords a quarter jewish--not too shabby!

Some people think that ebeneezer scrooge is,
Well, hes not, but guess who is:all three stooges.
So many jews are in show biz--
Tom cruise isnt, [tacit] but I heard his agent is.

Tell your friend veronica, its time you celebrate hanukkah
I hope I get a harmonica, on this lovely, lovely hanukkah.
So drink your gin-and-tonic-ah, and smoke your mara-juanic-ah,
If you really, really wanna-kah, have a happy, happy, happy, happy
Hanukkah. happy hanukka!
(Adan Sandler)

Trumpit said...

And of course, the Jews stole the olive oil from the butcher, the baker, & the candlestick maker. So the goyim had to eat in the dark without dressing for their salad or smear for their bagel; and the Jewish moneychangers lent them gold & silver drachmas & shekels at exorbitant interest to fund their wars so that they'd kill each other off. Since there was no olive oil available for the 1st Christmas, except for the bloodthirsty Jewish Grinches and their retarded Hanukkah, butter & lard were used as poor substitutes leading to a pandemic of obesity & heart attacks further harming Gentile humanity up until the modern era.

[This impromptu lesson in history was provided in holiday honor of Cederford, who as yet hasn't made his regular "Dirty Jews in History" remark.]

former law student said...

trooper:
It's the Carnegie Deli, ferchrissakes

Trooper York said...

On Moische! On Herschel! On Schlomo!
It's Hanukkah Harry 8 nights a year!
On Moische! On Herschel! On Schlomo!
Means that Hanukkah Harry is here!
Delivering Toys to Jewish girls and Jewish boys
We dance the horah around the menorah
'Cuz Hanukkah Harry is Here!"
(The Hanukkah Harry Song, Saturday Night Live, Season 15 Episode 9)

Roost on the Moon said...

Hitchens, despite my disagreements with his anti-relgious fanaticism, is one of the most important religious critics of our time.

Nah. And this article is a perfect example of why not. He seems to think that without Judaism, there'd have been no western religion at all. Everybody would be as dazzlingly clever as Christopher Hitchens. We'd have colonized the moon around 500 a.d., and everyone would spend their days sipping gin, penning witty ripostes, and bedding supermodels.

He's a profoundly shallow historical thinker. That the beliefs are stupid is the end of the story, for him. People believed these dumb things first, and then that caused all the badness. He doesn't seem interested in why religion is such a powerful force in human history in the first place.

It's not just the simplicity that religion caused badness. In this article, he reveals his facile view that some specific beliefs of an ancient religion caused all this. But if not Yahweh, it would've been something else, and very likely something similar. Our history isn't "poisoned" by any particular religion.

One could much more coherently argue that religious beliefs rise necessarily out of human nature because of the Hitchensesque need to assert the inferiority of other people.

But back to the original point, he is not an important critic of religion. Important thinkers concern themselves with more than just whether a phenomenon is stupid or not.

Trooper York said...

Thank You, Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin
(Sly and the Family Stone, 1969)

Hoosier Daddy said...

Right. Without Roman Christianity, there would be no Western Capitalism, entrepreneurship, or wealth creation. Without Western Capitalism, there would be no Communism.

What a lovely world that would be.


Yeah I think that was called feudalism. Smashing times indeed.

Pogo said...

Wow, anti-Semitism at fever pitch across the globe.

It's a worrisome sign, I think, and not just for Jews. It's a barometer, a kind of canary in the coalmine for societal stress, a call to "round up the usual suspects" at Rick's Café when things get dicey.

How long before the religious, especially the Joos, get called 'vermin' infecting the body politic, requiring the obvious remedy? Anyway, it's a sign, I think, of bad times ahead, if history serves as any guide at all.

Hnkn said...

I once read an opinion piece entitled "Jews go Home" that made the above points much better than I can. I wish I could find it.


I suspect this is the piece you are thinking of:

http://www.jfednepa.org/mark%20silverberg/judenrein.html

Jb said...

Does anyone want to place bets on which arguments Hitch will be using for his impending anti-Christmas screed? I'm kinda up for a game of Hitchens vocab Bingo whenever that essay gets printed ... [I haven't gotten to "God is not Great" yet, so I'm flying blind on this one.]

I love reading Hitchens, regards of his argument, but you just know the "fuck Christmas" essay is already in the pipeline.

Gedaliya said...

But back to the original point, he is not an important critic of religion. Important thinkers concern themselves with more than just whether a phenomenon is stupid or not.

Well, each to his own opinion. Hitchens certainly an entertaining writer. I imagine you'd not quibble with the assertion that Nietzsche was an important critic of religion, and he was at least as contemptuous of Christianity as Hitchens is. Voltaire's acid tongue so enraged the religious authorities of the day that his life was often in danger. There are other examples aplenty.

Trooper York said...

Last night we lit the first candles in the menorah that we put in the window of our store to honor Hanukkah. Six of our jewish customers stopped in, just to thank us for acknowledging them in what is so obviously a guinea Catholic store. I thought that was very interesting.

Paddy O. said...

Hitchens, despite my disagreements with his anti-relgious fanaticism, is one of the most important religious critics of our time.

This is an interesting comment to ponder. Is he? He's certainly among the most popular. But I doubt he is the most important. The fact is that he's a good writer who echoes what a lot of people are already thinking.

He's not saying anything new. And, like the Da Vinci Code, he depends on the fact that because his version of events is written in a pleasing way it will be taken as fact.

He's popular, but when all is said and done in 20 years or so no one will be talking about Hitchens. He's an essayist who makes good money slinging well organized words. He's not an important religion critic in ideas or influence.

Indeed, from my vantage point there are a lot more important critics of religion within various religions who will substantially change practice and theology for coming generations. Only because they are actually important they're not on the popular radar.

Paddy O. said...

I imagine you'd not quibble with the assertion that Nietzsche was an important critic of religion, and he was at least as contemptuous of Christianity as Hitchens is.

Nietzsche was important and still is. Voltaire is important. Martin Luther was a vitally important critic of religion as well. So too Roger Williams and George Fox.

Being pro or against Christianity isn't necessarily the issue here, it's if what Hitchens is saying is new or bold or constructing a cogent philosophical system.

He's not a philosopher or a society leader. He writes in a calculated, very well-crafted way, that which tickles the ears of a popular audience.

He's certainly a gifted writer and communicator, but not all too original or world-changing.

Henry said...

Joshua: Capitalism developed despite, not because of, Christianity.

How ironic for the rest of the world, and all of its history too.

Joshua, I'm not seriously proposing this daisy-chain of causality. That's Hitchen's job.

Smilin' Jack said...

Loved his reference to Santa nailed to a cross. That image so perfectly captures the essence of Xmas that I can't wait to put one on my lawn.

Roost on the Moon said...

What Paddy said. I don't object to criticism of religion. I just don't think that is what Hitchens is up to. His (perfectly-titled) book merely points an accusing finger at religion. That could only be considered "important" if you assume we could've been free of it, and that's a pretty naive idea.

I doubt Hitchens really views history that way, it's just a rhetorical trick. You can offend more people if you pretend to believe that without their religion, everything would be hunky-dory.

That isn't Important Thought, it's insult-comedy.

Sigivald said...

Democritus "discovered" atoms, did he?

Hitchens must have read a different Democritus than I did, then.

In my reading, Democritus posited them for philosophical (not natural-scientific) reasons, and they were so unlike the atoms of physics (which are not even atoms in the same sense!) as to count for nothing as a "discovery".

Hitchens is trying a little too hard with that.

Trooper York said...

Messalina: [arrogantly] You'll never get him back. What can you offer him ? The company of slaves and beggars ? The refuse of Rome ? Poverty and self-denial ? Prayers ? Tears ? Death ? You see, I've studied your teachings, and I, Fisherman, I can give him the world. If he has to choose between us, do you think he'd hesitate for one minute ? Of course not. And that's why you hate me. I can see it in your eyes.
Peter: What you see in my eyes in pity.
[she tosses her goblet of wine in his face]
Messalina: Get out !
(Demetrius and the Gladiators,1954)

JackDRipper said...

Richard Fagin said...Yeah, Chris, tell all those nasty Jews to return all those Nobel chemistry, medicine and physics prizes and take their damned vaccine for polio with 'em on the way out, will ya?

You really ought to keep your Jewish paranoia, and ethnic cheerleading, in check.

Hitchens, born of a Jewish mother and a self identified Jew in an ethnic sense, is not criticizing Jews as a categorical group.

He's simply pointing out what he believes is a tradition of reactionary tribalistic biases among Jews that are not conducive to "progess". He is a leftist "progressive" after all.

Hitchens might point out to you that Jewish achievements in the areas you mentioned are due to Jewish participation in the larger Western intellectual culture whose rational/scientific roots trace to Greece and not Judea.

JackDRipper said...

Pogo said...
Wow, anti-Semitism at fever pitch across the globe.

It's a worrisome sign, I think, and not just for Jews. It's a barometer, a kind of canary in the coalmine for societal stress, a call to "round up the usual suspects" at Rick's Café when things get dicey.

How long before the religious, especially the Joos, get called 'vermin' infecting the body politic, requiring the obvious remedy? Anyway, it's a sign, I think, of bad times ahead, if history serves as any guide at all.


First they came…..thank you Pastor Martin Niemöller.

Yes, antisemitism is everywhere, the Jews are cowering in attics and basements and their horrible persecution is a warning to us all.

First they came for the menorah, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a menorah.

And then they came for the dreidel, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a dreidel.

And then they came for the...

Pogo said...

...and their horrible persecution is a warning to us all.

"I know I’m a Jewish lesbian and (Ahmadinejad would) probably have me killed. But still, the guy speaks some blunt truths about the Bush Administration that make me swoon...

Okay, I admit it. Part of it is that he just looks cuddly. Possibly cuddly enough to turn me straight. I think he kind of looks like Kermit the Frog. Sort of. With smaller eyes. But that’s not all...

I want to be very clear. There are certainly many things about Ahmadinejad that I abhor — locking up dissidents, executing of gay folks, denying the fact of the Holocaust, potentially adding another dangerous nuclear power to the world and, in general, stifling democracy. Even still, I can’t help but be turned on by his frank rhetoric calling out the horrors of the Bush Administration and, for that matter, generations of US foreign policy preceding." --sallykohn
KOS diarist

Roost on the Moon said...

Hey Dripper, the sarcasm doesn't come across well, I'm having trouble understanding your point.

Is it "Jews are whiners?"

ricpic said...

Be a mensch, be a mensch,
Don't indulge the haters' stench;
Soon enough will come Messiah,
Until then do right, be better.

JackDRipper said...

Will somebody please tell these poor people to run for their lives before it's too late.

"Iran's proud but discreet Jews"

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/
middle_east/5367892.stm

Revenant said...

I don't think Hitchens would agree. Doesn't he blame Christianity for that too?

Well, Communism was heavily influenced by Christianity, so you could definitely make that argument.

On the other hand, the aspects of Christianity that Communism cribbed are mostly the ones that Christianity cribbed from the Greeks. So probably some equivalent to Communism would have come along eventually anyway, since the underlying ideas about justice and so forth were already out there.

Revenant said...

Wow, anti-Semitism at fever pitch across the globe.

I don't see what is anti-Semitic about Hitchens' article. Anti-Semitism is hatred of Jews as an ethnicity. Hatred of the *religion* of Judaism isn't anti-Semitic. There's nothing wrong with hating an idea.

Revenant said...

Without Roman Christianity, there would be no Western Capitalism, entrepreneurship, or wealth creation.

Saying there would be no capitalism is like saying there would be no gravity. Adam Smith didn't invent capitalism -- he described it.

Humans have been engaging in capitalistic wealth-creating entrepreneurial endeavors for at least as long as we've had written history. Hell, pre-Christian Rome even had commercials and paid product endorsements by gladiators.

Smilin' Jack said...

I'm having second thoughts about putting a crucified Santa Claus on my front lawn. I still think it's a cool idea, but every kid passing by would start crying and accuse me of killing Santa. And I'd have to explain that I didn't kill Santa, the Jews did. It's just too much trouble.

Paddy O. said...

What's also interesting now that I think about it is the fact that public education for all children began with this supposedly anti-intellectual Fundamentalist Jews. From the wikipedia article on public education (which is a lot easier than copying academic texts at the moment):

"The first known Public Education System was established in Israel around 63-64 CE when the Head Rabbi, Yehoshua Ben Gamla, not only insisted that a unified system of teaching must be established, but dictated that every Jewish community , regardless of size, must establish a school to educate every child, male or female, over the age of 5, and that to insure the adequate education of all Jewish children, the wealthier members of the community must contribute to the cost of educating the less fortunate children. In other words he basically initiated the first known form of mass public education, as well as a system of taxation to finance it. Not only was religion to be taught , but poetry, mathematics, astronomy, medicine, metaphysics and more. Even the ratio of students to teachers was established.

This was a sort of culmination of Moses requirement, initiated over a thousand years prior, that all Jewish children must be educated in the laws of Judaism. Previously most children were home schooled or to some degree periodically given lessons at the synagogues established around the 6th century BCE.

According to the Jewish/Roman historian Josephus, who wrote during the first century, every Jewish child in his day over the age of 5 was able to read and write."

So, Jewish kids were educated, while most Greeks were not, most Greeks and Romans being slaves or peasants. Why oh why does Hitchens support limited education only for the wealthy?

Does an impoverished childhood or ancient Greek educational model explain his lack of history study? Or does he really think worshipping a whole lot of gods is better for the intellectual climate?

Henry said...

Sarcasm has a short half life.

former law student said...

Not only was religion to be taught , but poetry, mathematics, astronomy, medicine, metaphysics and more.

That curriculum sounds pretty Hellenic to me. Other, Jewish, websites credit ben Gamla only with providing universal Torah instruction.

Paddy O. said...

FLS, yeah it does sound Hellenic doesn't it? Course, the 1st century Jews were pretty Hellenized for the most part. But still. I'd guess Wikipedia isn't entirely trustworthy on this particular point.

I'd also heard Torah instruction, but that did include literacy and rhetoric. Though, now that I think about it the topics listed could be considered included. Numerology was a pretty big approach then, with a lot of writers of that era coming up with some neat mathematics to make a metaphysical example. So too astronomy. Had to know the lunar patterns, and that may have included stars for navigation as well.

Now I'm going to see if I can find the original quote. Somewhere in my archives.

Paddy O. said...

Josephus, the great 1st century Jewish historian, wrote “We take the most trouble of all over the education of children.” Against Apion 1:12

Josephus also wrote, “If one of us should be questioned about the laws, he would recite them all the more easily than his own name. Since we acquire them from our earliest consciousness, we have them as it were engraved in our souls. And a transgressor is rare, but evasion from punishment impossible.”

Philo, the Jewish philosophy, said, “Since the Jewish people consider their laws to be divine revelations and are instructed in them from their earliest youth, they bear the image of the law in their souls.” Legatio ad Gaium 16

Philo also said, “Even before any instruction in the holy laws and unwritten customs, they are taught, so to speak, from their swaddling clothes by parents, teachers, and educators to believe in God, the one Father and Creator of the world.” Legatio ad Gaium 16

The great rabbi Hillel said: “An ignorant man cannot be pious.” He also said: “The more Torah study, the more life; the more schooling, the more wisdom; the more counsel, the more reasonable behavior. Whoever acquires knowledge of the Torah, acquires life in the world to come.”

Moses, according to Josephus (Jewish Antiquities IV 8:12) commanded that children should begin by learning the laws, most beautiful of lesson and a source of felicity. He commanded that children should be instructed in the rudiments of knowledge (reading and writing) and that they should be taught to know the laws and the deed s of the forefathers: the latter, that they might imitate them; the former, that growing up with them they might not transgress them, or have the excuse of ignorance.

In 1 BC, the great Pharisee Simeon ben Shetah prescribed that all children should attend elementary school. This was unheard of in history.

Resh Lakish also said to R. Judah the Patriarch: I have a tradition from my forebears that a city that has no children at school will be destroyed. Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Shabbat 119b

Resh Lakish said in the name of R. Judah the Patriarch: one may not neglect schoolchildren even in order to erect the Temple.

At five years of age, one is ready for the study of the Written Torah, at ten years of age for the study of the Oral Torah, at thirteen for bar mitzvah [the religious coming-of-age ceremony], at fifteen for the study of halachot [rabbinic legal decisions], at eighteen for marriage, at twenty for pursuing a vocation, at thirty for entering one's full vigor…. Avot 5:21

In the 1st century we read that “Joshua ben Gamala came and instituted that teachers should be appointed in every province and in every city, and children about the age of six or seven placed in their charge.” Bava Batra 21a

Revenant said...

Course, the 1st century Jews were pretty Hellenized for the most part.

Well, yeah. Did you think it was just an eerie coincidence that Christianity -- a direct mixture of Greek philosophical concepts and Jewish religious teachings -- arose in 1st century Judea? :)

Blake said...

Wait.

If the Jews had caved to the Greeks (or the Romans or the Persians, etc. etc. etc.) why would there be any Jews left?

Are there other cultures that adapted to those times that still survive?

rcocean said...

Does Hitchens hate Israel? He should because he hates "religion", and Israel is a religious state. Since atheists believe religion is a delusion, then Judaism is an Illusion, and Israel has no right to exist.

Revenant said...

Are there other cultures that adapted to those times that still survive?

The big reason Judaism survived is that it was the one preexisting religion that neither Christians nor Muslims felt comfortable eradicating.

Revenant said...

Does Hitchens hate Israel? He should because he hates "religion", and Israel is a religious state.

First of all Israel is an ethnic state, not a religious one. Secular Jews are welcome there, too.

That being said, Hitchens has been lambasting Israel over its occupation of the West Bank for ages, and has harshly criticized the idea of Zionism.

Since atheists believe religion is a delusion, then Judaism is an Illusion, Israel has no right to exist.

That doesn't logically follow. The correct line of reasoning would be that since religions are false and Judaism is a religion, a nation that bases its legitimacy on the Jewish faith is not a legitimate one. But Israel doesn't base its legitimacy on religion -- indeed, from the perspective of the Jewish faith the modern nation of Israel isn't the real, legitimate, divinely-ordained nation of Israel promised to the Jews. That kingdom won't exist until the messiah comes and re-establishes it.

Plus, you're forgetting that nations can have "a right to exist" for reasons quite apart from the ones they themselves think are important. For example, the fact that Israel is a representative democracy in which all its citizens have a voice is, by itself, sufficient justification for its existence as a state.

Paddy O. said...

Did you think it was just an eerie coincidence that Christianity -- a direct mixture of Greek philosophical concepts and Jewish religious teachings -- arose in 1st century Judea?

Thesis + antithesis = Synthesis!

Hegel was a very important religious critic. Especially with Baur's application.

So early 19th century though. Kind of passé now. Not enough sacred feminine in Baur to keep the kids of today reading. :-D

Revenant said...

So early 19th century though.

As opposed to that most modern and hip of centuries, the 1st? :)

Kind of passé now.

Well, "passé" in the sense that it is now an accepted fact among historians and philosophers that Christianity was heavily influenced by Greek philosophy. Defenders of the "Christ thought of it first" hypothesis are forced to argue that it is sheer coincidence that he wound up espousing the same ideas the people who had occupied his homeland had been espousing a century earlier. That hypothesis obviously doesn't carry much weight with anyone by the terminally credulous.

(P.S.: "Bauer")