Friday, June 5, 2009

Biblical criticism - Scholarship or thinly veiled anti-semitism - 2

[Continuing from here]

" It's an attitude that infects all modern "critical" scholarship on ancient Israel. That picture is of an Israel, alone among its neighboring nations, that couldn't build, couldn't field and army, couldn't have a king, couldn't write, couldn't do anything that all the other small nations around them were doing at the Biblically indicated times. At core, this is antisemitic, the claim that instead of Israel possessing a distinct civilization of its own, it was uncivilized, incapable of art or literature, and certainly nowhere as accomplished as its writings (cobbled together out of borrowed themes and stories from other cultures, and full of falsehoods and later inventions, of course) would indicate. The claim of critical scholarship thus comes down to the evaluation of Israel as at the very least less capable than its neighbors, and at the very most, subhuman.

I think that not only the faithful are oblivious to this, but most of the well-intentioned people involved in scholarship, so many of them being Jewish themselves. The problem consists of several parts: 1.) most people don't know that the foundational scholars were actually German (and other national) antisemites; 2.) the circular nature of critical scholarship as currently conceived is completely immobile, and considers the consensus to be completely proven and unchangeable truth; 3.) the consensus is enforced by a kind of intellectual intimidation: "if you don't believe this, you are an unintelligent fundamentalist"; 4.) this shared mentality is inculcated early in the training, so that the new scholar becomes a drone of the hive mind as well, an unquestioning adherent to the foundations.

The revelation that various of these scholars were antisemites will be a blow, but look for this attempt to recover: "Ah, but their antisemitism is something that was separate from their intellectual achievements. It's as in the case of someone like Ezra Pound, a wild antisemite, but who wrote excellent poetry." This is misdirection. Ezra Pound was not writing about the origins of Israel! The antisemitism of these scholars is profoundly interwoven in their work, which is precisely in the area that their antisemitism would affect. Aside from the kind of miasma or taint that arises from this connection, one must concede also that their ideas were not based in an objective state to investigate the evidence, and to construct rational (i.e. untainted by the irrationality of antisemitism) hypotheses. This applies to both OT and NT studies, as the New Testament was, at the time it was written, a compilation of books written by Jews, every single one. Reconstructions of the early church based in the maunderings of Luther, the vicious antisemite [ See here - W.] who bequeathed his filth to an entire nation, are based in a completely antisemitic view of Jews of the days of Jesus, and of, indeed, the Jewish aspects of the New Testament itself."


andy said...

Every single book of the New Testament was written by a Jew? Certainly not the concensus view.

Kevin P. Edgecomb said...

Andy, yes, it is consensus view. All the early Christians were not at the time of the writing of the NT documents differentiated from Jews. They were a subset of Jews.

Mississippi Fred MacDowell said...

It's the consensus that Luke was a Jew? News to me.

Kevin P. Edgecomb said...

He was a convert to the undifferentiated at the time Christian movement, so yes, he was.

This reflects the argument between Paul and his supporters and others: who had the right to admit others into "Israel" and under what conditions. The Judean authorities had one idea, Peter and Paul (et al.) had another. Thus the grafting language found in Romans.

To an outsider, however, these were all Jews.

Kevin P. Edgecomb said...

Of course, my message above assumes that Luke was a later convert. This may not be the case at all. He might very well have been a gentile convert to Judaism before ever hearing of Paul and/or Jesus. That's certainly possible. Traditionally, however, he was a convert of Paul's.

Anonymous said...

awesome blog, do you have twitter or facebook? i will bookmark this page thanks. lina holzbauer

Creative Commons License
Ishim V' Shittos by is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at