“THE JEWISH CIVILISATION” v2

Vol. 2

ACQUISITIONS OF THE DIASPORA AMONG CHRISTIANS

XI.Race

There is no such thing as a Jewish race. They hybridized with other people even in Biblical times (ample evidence in the Scriptures). Polygamy and the habit of taking ithe women of the conquered enemy, favoured the hybridization. A barrier to it was first placed by antisemitism since the ГѴ cent. B.C., and later by Christian laws that forbade intermarriage. Under the Moors in Spain they crossed freely and thus the Spanish Jews were racially different. When expelled from Spain they became known as Sephardim. In Protestant countries mixing became common. The German Jews who migrated to Poland remained isolated for the longest period of time. They became racially distinct and are known as Ashkenazim. Throughout the world there are many Jewish communities of various racial structure, usually related to the indigenous one as in China or N. Africa, but everywhere a separate identity is preserved through reduced intermarriage. The Jews did not preserve racial identity in the diaspora but acquired it there.

XII. Jewish languages

Abraham was ethnically a Chaldean, but he assumed the Hebrew language in Canaan. The language knows no vowels in its script and as a living one did not need them. When it became written only, accentuation marks were added by dif­ferent schools, becoming complex and difficult to decipher by following generations. The language lacks abstract concepts.

Thus it became a barrier to development. Under Babylon Jews returned to Chaldean and its varieties. Hebrew was dead in the II cent. B.C. After Chaldean, Jews used and wrote Greek, then Arabic and finally various European langauges, and among them primarily German which mixed with Hebrew and other European languages and produced the Yiddish language spoken by most E. European Ashikenazim Jews.

In Mishna, the Hebrew is full of Chaldean and Greek in- fluences, the Gemara is in Chaldean. The languages began to mix. The Neo-Hebrew of the Middle Ages was an improvement based on Arabic* The Sephardim used it also after expulsion from Spain. In the XIX cent, a new Neo-Hebrew was being developed under the influence of Yiddish. Tradition needed Hebrew—no matter how awkward—so it was constantly being improved artificially. Generally, home language is for Jews a matter of choice, and they readily change it when migrating. Language is not a binding element of their civilisation.

XIII. Diaspora as a refuge

Studying Greek was forbidden, but among Greeks this law was untenable so it was interpreted (but never abolished) as applying to Palestine only. This created a pathway for avoiding other rules impossible or difficult to preserve in the diaspora. Soon only so much of the Law was binding as it was possible to fulfil. Nowhere except Palestine was it obligatory in its entirety. Thus a geographic relativity of religion developed— unknown outside Judaism. The diaspora became attractive as a refuge from the Pentateuch.

The author gives several examples of this relativity. Best known is the problem of the rule that all debts are to be forgiven in a sabbatical year (every 7th one). However for traders in the diaspora all money transactions, credit, banking etc. would be impossible with this rule in force—so over centuries it was interpreted practically out of existence, limiting it to immovable property in Palestine.

Jews migrated in groups of families to be able to fulfil rules about common prayer, to marry children early, to perform ritual slaughter and circumcision etc., but in diaspora the tribal organisation had to disappear and pressure from non-Jews forced them into monogamy and emancipation of women, Thus the diaspora gave them much of substance.

XIV. Consequences of being the chosen people

In spite of undergoing changes while in diaspora the Jewish civilisation has maintained its identity primarily due to one factor—the consciousness of being the chosen people. A Jew everywhere will consider himself sacrally chosen to dominate non-Jews around him, to make them serve his needs. Other nations arise and fall but Israel is «immortal and its final glory will come in a miraculous way by the intercession of Jahwe, through no effort on the part of the Jews. This is the essence of Messianism. The consequence of this is a double ethics—one for fellow-Jews and one for Gentiles. Examples from the Talmud are given that hatred of non-Jews is obligatory and no scruples are needed in dealing with them. The fact of birth within Jewry determines relations with God more than own efforts. Thus religion is a communal and not a personal affair. Some prayers and rites without the required number of people present are invalid.

XV.Legal aspects of Judaism

The Jewish religion is based on a contract with Jahwe. Jahwe threatened his people with sanctions and Jews speculate on how to interpret this contract, to ease the terms and to avoid the sanctions. The author gives numerous examples of such speculations which never question the Law but which interpret all inconvenient rules out of existence. This is the consequence of taking law literally and not its spirit. Ethics derives from law and not vice versa. This leads to apriorism. It requires law to precede experience. Jewish law has no philosophy and no system—it is casuistic. Through Jewish influence codifications of various countries specify rules for every circumstance which results in elephantiasis oif law — a situation where there is never enough of laws. By contrast a Christian needs no know­ledge of law to remain rightous.

XVI. Absence of historical consciousness

Jews have had no interest in their own history until Christian scholars started to investigate it in the XVIII cent. Being an ancient civilisation did not help Jews in being con­scious of the past. Without a sense of history there is no con­trol over time—no need for chronology, or an accurate calendar. There are no definite dates in the whole of the Old Testament, Jews frequently wrote memoirs without mentioning a single date!

Tradition by selecting from the past has a creative value for the present, but in a sacral civilisation choosing within heritage would be sacrilegious and therefore it is not done. The past is not being evaluated.

Jews know no family traditions. They took up family names when required to do so by European laws, and change them at convenience.

A priori legal thinking leads to doctrinairism which dep­rived of a historical consciousness results in revolutionism. This is hampered within Judaism by sacrality but serves Jews as a tool in disrupting Christian societies.

XVII. Around the synagogue

Romans contrary to their practice did not introduce the cult of Jahwe into Rome. They destroyed Solomon’s Temple being contemptuous of what they considered barbaric rites;—the blood offerings. Jews were early to adopt prayer as a religious function for everyone – not only the priests, Deprived of the Temple they were left with the prayer. Anyone can be a leader in prayer, but knowledge of things religious is an advantage. Rabbis are men learned in the Law and not priests. The latter (members of the Levi tribe) are jobless since the fall of the Temple. Synagogues are houses of prayer—not temples. There were no attempts to reintroduce temple customs in the diaspora. Jews need a synagogue close-by to live a pious life. Thus in towns Jewish sectors developed around the synagogues. All communal life centres on it. Maximal separation from non-Jews was aimed at. Some communities obtained the privilege of closing their street or town sector for the night. This is the origin of the ghettoes. Different customs, choice of attire, rules about food etc. also separated the Jewish community from the rest of the town, adding a moral dimension to the spacial concept of the ghetto. However, Jews had no religious hierarchy, no leaders with representative authority. Napoleon needing intermediates to deal with the Jewish com­munities created official leaders out of the rabbis, treating them as clergy. This imposed organisation was later adopted by Jewish communities in other countries,

XVIII. Unavoidable conflicts

In Mediaeval Europe states were officially and in spirit Christian and thus resident Jews had to be considered as alien visitors given asylum and private but not civil rights. As long as the principle “cuius regio, illius religio” was in force, all jobs in state administration were closed to Jews as to members of all dominations other than the ruling one. Even today some states have official religions. Some states or bishops enforced baptism on the Jews which naturally led to crypto—Judaism and hatred of the Christians. Aquinas condemned this pra­ctice but stated that Jews must not rule over Christians— hold Christian slaves or servants. States had various rules restricting the privileges of Jews, such as land ownership, or right of residence in certain areas.

Messiandsm of Jews, the belief in their sacral right to supremacy in the world could not endear them to their hosts. Jewish contempt of Christianity, so evident in the pages of the Talmud, was another factor in the inevitable conflicts. The famous “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” were no such thing (there is no supreme Judaic authority), but they were certainly written by a Jew, probably Ginsberg, for eminent Jews to con­sider in their dealings with the gentiles. They show well why Jewish interests are unreconcilable with those Of Christian nations.

XIX. Rossica

Jewish trade entered Ruthenia early, primarily for slaves, and settlements are known there since prehistoric times. XVth cent. Russia lacked learned theologians and knowledge of Latin or Greek. A Russian translation of the Bible was needed and so it was done from Hebrew by Jewish converts or dissidents —astrologists among them. The translations have Judaic addi­tions and alterations unrelated to the Scriptures. Together with the exiled Balkan sect of Bogomils a centre of astrological- cabbalistic-Bogomilic science developed. Influential in ruling circles, it engaged among other things in calculating the calen- dar. However, its activity was declared heretical and since 1504 its adherents were prosecuted.

Jews Russify readily. Orthodox Russia has much in com­mon with Judaism (study of God’s attributes, communality of life, inadequacy of historism). For a Russian progress is the destruction of the past by the future. Some common roots may have come from gnosis, but the Jewish civilisation undoubtedly affected Russia.

XX. Admiration for Israel

Even today Jews are credited with supplying the Old Test­ament that stands at the roots of Christianity and European culture in general. Most conflicts with the orthodox Catholic doctrine involve a return to these roots, at the expense of the New Testament and all later teachings of the Roman Church. Thus most heresies were ready to draw ideas from Judaism, even from the Cabbala, astrology, magic etc. Jews on the other hand supported all heresies’—because they support all opposi­tion to Rome as a matter of principle. Thus convergence of heretics and Jews is a natural process. The author gives many examples of the influence Judaism had on Protestantism. Many Protestant thinkers go out of their way to explain everything that is alien to Christian ethics in Judaism. Admiration of Israel comes from its adherence to the Law, from its indestruc­tibility in spite of adversity. Conversion to Judaism was unkown in the Roman Empire nor among the Arabs, but it does occur where the Latin civilisation limps—among Christian heretics.

Many Christian thinkers (among Poles Hoene-Wroński, Towiański, Mickiewicz, Przybyszewski) have dabbled in the Cabbala, admired Jews and meandered philosophically from orthodoxy. Freemasonry has a cabbalistic, Judeophilic back­ground. Socialism is also of Judaic origin though it is not cab­balistic. Readiness to admire Judaism comes from a primary Christiam education which instils in us all a belief that Israel stands at the roots of our culture.

XXI. Neojudaism

Deism in XVIII cent. Europe equated all religions, first Christian, but later also included Judaism, which led to non- denominationalism. Since Jews had to oppose denominational states the new current was well received by them. Some tried to eliminate as much from Judaism as could offend the Protestants. This Neo-judaism altered much in liturgy and form, adopted European attire, style of life, quality of language etc. but noth­ing of substance. This trend happened before, under Hellens and Arabs, but adopting forms from non-Jews never implied abandon­ing the Jewish civilisation. Mendelsohn, a major name among the originators of Neojudaism wrote about Jewish laws that he still considered them obligatory. Everything except form is there—as in the Talmud—binding as the laws of God. Slowly his “progressive” approach became popular among most European Jews. But in fact Neojudaism is nothing else than neorabbinism.

XXII. Neorabbinism

At first only eminent Jews assimilated, took education from Christians and mixed socially with them. This caused a high opinion about Jewish intellectual capacities. Orthodox Jews considered the “maskilim” (educated by gentiles) as dissidents, but when Napoleon needing Jewish representives gave rabbis the status of clergy, a tendency developed for rabbis to be also maskilim. Reforms of the synagogue and liturgy followed, usually mimicking Christians. The trend gradually became accepted as normal. However gatherings of rabbis never worked as an intermediary in dealings with Jewish communities. The emancipation and reforms initiated by the gentiles proved beneficial for Jews only.

XXIII. Dark synthesis

We tend to consider Jews as being materialistic—concerned primarily about money and -interests. However, they devote much effort, time and money to study things religious or to support those who do so.

The largest Jewish population, in Poland, remained most orthodox and religious, In XVII cent. Poland was the most prominent centre of Jewish culture and knowledge. Emancipa­tion was late to arrive, and thus through the XIX cent, they were left behind as the most backward of Jewish communities. The author gives numerous examples of the Jewish talmudistic and Hasidim life styles still observable in XX cent. Poland. It is very hard to live a pious Jewish life. For a Christian mind there was in it more from sorcery and superstition then from religion, but for Jews it was the essence of their spirituality.

In Poland the orthodox Talmudists and the Hasidim united forming a dark synthesis in opposition to the progressive emancipation of the maskilim. However, since mid. XIX cent, the maskilim increase in numbers and the dark synthesis was doomed to disappear—but this will not deprive Jews of their identity. Maskilim are also orthodox and they are better pre­pared to exert influence among the gentiles.

 

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