Jews as a nation and antisemitism
Jews as a Nation and antisemitism
Christianity as any other belief system that is based on dogmas, expects that everyone excepts it as the final truth. When opposed it has tendency to become violent againt any phenomena that doesn’t fit to these dogmas. And the very existence of Jews was exactly about this. Saint Augustine solved the Jewish problem more humanly than Luther. He pointed on them as wretched people, whose suffering is a proper punishments for their refusal to recognize the truth about the Savior. But as compared to Luther , he was for continuous Jews existence, just not to let them thrive. But then Augustus lived in the fourth century, at times when the Vandals and Visigoths threatened the very existence of his community.
Luther lived more than thousand years later, before the European religious wars of the 17 century, that his own ideas woke up, on the other hand was an extreme example of Christian theologists, who had problem to cope with the very existence of Jews, who as it appears stubbornly refusing to except Jesus as the Messiah.
As contrary to some apologetic claims of some Christian scholars, Saint Augustine is the very prove that the antisemitism didn’t start with the crusaders but is derived from the foundations of the Christian faith itself. But then let’s not forget, that Augustus lived in times, when it seemed that nothing will stop the destruction of Christian Roman empire, (he died when the Vandals besieged his city). Naturally his approach had to be more mild than that of Luther, who lived when Christianity looked as the superior faith.
The Christianity based on Luther’s ideas is as dogmatic and vigorous as the Catholic Church, if not more than that. Yet the Reformation movement made an U-turn from its dogmatic anti culture and education position, yet not due to spiritual but rather material reasons, mainly colonialism and renaissance in arts and sciences partly supported also by the Catholic church. The truth is, the Catholic church was a very corrupt organization at the time, but as to my view, corruption of any autocratic entity is the good news, because it give hope that the autocracy is close to collapse. The bad news are when the autocracy succeeds to keep its zealousness popular and murders all its real or imaginary opponents. An other urban mythology is the intellectual openness of the Lutheran movement that brought to enlightenment and scientific revolution of 17-18 century. France was Catholic and its achievements were comparable to that of protestant English. The English were more lucky because they had a rather gradual and not revolutionary political change to non autocratic political system. Then they invented the steam engine because of need of coal to heat the cities, but above all because North America became rather a protestant English country than a French one. And it could easily be otherwise if not the stupidity of the French kings and dictators. Yes the English King Gorge III was disastrous too, but he had the parliament that eventually forced him to come to reason (or rather to lose his reason).
The theological foundation of Judaism is the intensive God-human-God relation loaded with tension and activity based on recipe prescribed in the Five Books of Moses the Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy or in other words the Pentateuch. This books of stories and law prescribe to Jews many complicated rules God ordered to follow. Most of the laws have no human to human consequences, and it is almost impossible strictly to follow them without to fail. This creates a constant relation of sin and guilt, to which the all mighty God reacts with continuous punishment, threats for the future, but also consolation and promises.
One of these promises is to help the Jews to create an independent statehood under a king directly appointed by the God, the Messiah. (Messiah in Hebrew means one who was anointed, or greased, which is the part of act of ceremony of apotheosis of a king.) The best known Messiah was of course King David (Who according to last archeological findings was rather a local chieftain between the mountains of Jerusalem and Hebron than a great King). But since David times, for thousand years of Jews living in the Levant the “Holly Land”, the Jewish statehood had only very few years of real independence. In the eighth century b.c. came already the Assyrians, followed by Babylonians, Persians, Greeks and finally the Romans. All these empires of the region left very little gap for Jewish independence.
After 1000 years of God’s not fulfilled promises for independent Jewish Kingdom ruled by king Chosen by God how could the Jews cope with this frustrating situation? And on top of sll this, the Promised land was again ruled by a Roman dictator, who was not only non Jew, but claimed that he and his horse are God. To a Jewish believer like Jesus, his followers and many other Jews it had to be a shocking experience to see, that God allowed these people to rule the Promised Land, and it seems it is not going to change very soon. But you can’t go to complain to your all mighty God and claim your promised kingdom, viz. what happened to Job in the Book of Job.
So what could the Jews do in their frustration? Leaving the belief in Torah was not an option, so some of them tried to find new definition for Messiah. Not anymore an earthly creation, but a divine creature, who’s promised kingdom is not on earth but in the heaven. All I wanted to say is that Christianity is a understandable development of Jews theological concept, of Jews living in the first century under Roman governance.
So why had it become the major source of anti-Judaism? First, because in the Canonical gospels when the general public heard about Jesus crucifixion ceremony, where the mocking audience are called Jews and not just “the audience”. The second and even more important issue is, that when Christianity has become the dominant political religion in Rome, they tried to destroy every hint, that could shake the foundations of their obscure belief, and every thought that is not compatible to their expansionist intentions. So they destroyed all the gospels except of the four canonical gospels. They persecuted the Arians and many others like them, and of course the Jews, who happened to have the copyright for gospels, yet they themselves or at least some of them refused to except the ultimate truth, the truth of the official Christian church.
Zion is a hill but also became in late eighteen century a symbol. Symbol of Jews who believe that the Jews have the right for homeland at least as much as the Albanians. This need for homeland at beginning of the Zionism seemed to be a rather spiritual need than material so not many were interested. Then around the turn off 20 century, with rise of neo-antisemitism the need became material and more Jews became interested. The Holocaust unfortunately proved how right they were. The remaining left overs of European Jews believed that they can secure their physical and cultural survival only by establishing a independent Jewish state. And then the world community feeling ashamed of its own deeds agreed to it. The Jewish state proved its competence as it successfully absorbed the Jews from the Islam world and most probably saved them from a new holocaust.
But since the seventies and eighties started again the “old new” voices continuing the tradition of St. August, Luther, the Russian Czar, you name the rest who worked very hard to de-legitimate the very right of Jews to exist as a separate culture, with all its anomalies for good or bad. This voices started under the cover of internationalism orchestrated by the imperialistic intention of the post WWII bastion of evil, the USSR. After the collapse of USSR, it’s agents who lost their directive, out of confusion continue until today the crusade against the Jewish culture, under the pretext of anti Zionism. I wonder for how long they can nourish this internationalism pretext until they realize that the enemies of Israel the Muslimo-Nazis are not exactly partners for internationalism, unless it will be an internationally imposed fundamental Islam on the non Islamic world.
As to the question is Judaism just a religion or also a nation, we have to ask what it means nation. Once I read somewhere that Stalin wrote “nation is group of people with common language and common land they occupy”. From this perspective the Jews in diaspora are not a nation while the Jews in Israel are. But who really cares what this primitive butcher has to say about the subject.
My opinion is very different from his. To my opinion nation is a group of people with joint cultural heritage and a joint epic story or history they identify with. From this point of view of course Jews are a nation even if without a common land. The oddity about the Jews is that their epic story is more than a tribal-national story, it is a theological epic story or in other words a religion.
What’s more their theological story became the basis for theological epics of the Christians and Muslims as well, and this annoys them a lot. ” How come such a wretched nation claims the priority upon our epic story?”
It may be interesting to compare the Jewish identity with that of the Greek national identity. The Greeks have a very long history with a influence on western civilization that is comparable with the influence of the Judaism. But the modern Greeks are hardly connected to their ancient culture. They are orthodox Christians and don’t believe in their ancient myths. Their language is very different from the classical Greek etc. Yet they claim they are the rightful descents of classical Greece. Viz how they opposed the usage of name Macedonia. So what are the Greeks? nation? culture? an epic story? it just shows to you that the definition of what is nation is more complicated than what Stalin thought.