Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Ideology and Biblical archaeology

Wonderful piece by Eric Walberg on the misuse of Biblical archaeology (my emphasis throughout in red):

“. . . it is now clear to the most respected Christian, Jewish, Muslim and/or secular archaeologists that this supposedly scholarly, rigorous and objective discipline, with its methodology of taking biblical passages and digging and poking away in likely places, looking for proof of what they say, has been a big failure, if not a hoax. While the financial benefits of tying the Bible to archaeology have increased, historical and intellectual benefits have just as rapidly diminished.

Two egregious flaws lie behind this. Firstly, it is somehow overlooked that both the Old and New Testaments were first written down only in the fourth c BC (mostly from the third c BC) to the first c AD by Hellenised Jews, i.e., over a relatively short historical period of approximately four centuries, the culmination of Hellenism as it flourished in the Middle East up to and including its manifestation under the Roman empire. The references to ‘old Israel’ of the distant past are directed at the enlightenment of people living at that time, and have much more to do with events at that time than some distant, mythical history which was never recorded in stone, so to speak, but was rather passed down from generation to generation much like other peoples have passed down the legends of their origins – orally, embellished by talented composers and poets. Furthermore, the OT and NT are closely integrated in structure, themes, and underlying philosophy, and to reject one part as heretical (as the Jews do the NT) or another part as a mere harmless introduction to the real text (as do the Christians concerning the OT) is not only unprofessional, but foolish and even subversive.

Secondly, the worldview of those recording the Biblical legends, stories, poems, philosophical essays, etc differs radically from ours. It was a product of Hellenism, where true reality is a Platonic ideal, recognising the ineffable quality of life, our overwhelming ignorance, and the fractured, shadowy nature of daily life as experienced by our senses. Our Aristotelian, materialist outlook, sees reality in hard, cold facts which we directly perceive and duly record, where the only truths are what can be physically demonstrated and/or refuted. This is quite alien to the mindset of the Biblical composers, writers and scribes. Taking the Bible literally, as a materialist recounting of ‘history’ is a classic example of misplaced concreteness. To its credit, there is no word for history in ancient Hebrew, reflecting its origins in the pre-Aristotelian worldview.

To go a step further and assume that this bogus history is the ‘real’ history of mankind, with the history of the thousands of other peoples taking a back seat, is just not on. The reality of the Bible is transcendent, universal, traditional, intuitive and emotional. To profit from it, we must rediscover this worldview, where myth is the ‘reality’ and very essence of our lives, and the dunya is a lame, pale version of the sacred myths guiding us. Karen Armstrong, who has written widely on the monotheisms and the loss of myth as a vital part of our worldview, argues in The Bible: a biography (2007) that fundamentalist religion, be it Islamic, Christian or Jewish, is a response to and product of modern materialist culture, which undermines the role of myth as a vital element in the social matrix. Myth is reduced to its literal meaning, i.e., Jerusalem is a physical location at a fixed point in time, not a metaphor for the City of God, transcending the limitations of the physical world.”


“Never was there an ethnically coherent Israel, and according to Thomson, neither Jerusalem nor Judah ever shared an identity with Israel before the rule of the Hasmoneans in the Hellenistic period of the 3rd-1st cc BC, coincidentally, when the legends were first written down. Ironically, the Samaritans, scorned by Ezra's (and today's) Jews, are the most likely Semitic ancestors of the historical Israel.”

and (“colonising a metaphor”!):

It is impossible in the confines of an article to trace the transformation of post-Christian Talmudic Judaism, which is very different than pre-Christian variant. Though Jews continued to live in Palestine, Diaspora became its defining feature along with the ritual prayer to ‘return’, though post-Christian Jews have no more right to immigrate and live there than anyone else. Christians also continued to live there happily until the Catholic pope decided they must be liberated in the 10th-12th cc and raised a European army to invade Palestine not once but four times. But after that fiasco, Christians learned their lesson and have left Palestine in relative peace, satisfying their spiritual urges by living quietly as monks in desolate caves, making pilgrimages, and collecting souvenir bones and bits of wood which they cherished as holy relics – again guilty of misplaced concreteness, but usually harmlessly so. This blessed peaceful period in Palestine only changed with the ascendancy of the Jews in the 19th c, who all this time had been nurturing their tribal Yahweh and their dream of concretising the metaphorical promises he supposedly made millennia ago, a misplaced concreteness far from harmless, as they set about invading and colonising a metaphor.

With the eclipse of the Socratic worldview and of myth as central to society, and the ascendancy of Judaism after the reformation, the myth of ‘returning to the promised land’ took on a new concrete meaning. The actual prospect by a wealthy cosmopolitican Jewish elite of engineering a physical takeover of Palestine and populating it with Jews became an Aristotelian reality. Today, with Rome (the Catholic Church) now in disarray, a rebuilt Third Temple could become the chief shrine, not only for Jews but for Christians too, the icing on the Zionist victory cake, confirming irrevocably the cultural shift in the Western world as a whole from Hellenism to Hebraism, as argued by SGF Brandon in The Fall of Jerusalem and the Christian Church (1951). Pope John Paul II reconciled the Church with Judaism and Israel, and Christian Zionists welcome the Jewish colonisation of Palestine .

The Zionists reconvened the ancient Jewish supreme court, the Sanhedrin (which condemned Jesus), in 2005 for the first time since 425 AD, and have been plotting virtually since the creation of Israel to blow up the Al-Aqsa Mosque and rebuild a replica of Solomon's temple there. Just recently, Israeli archaeologists ‘found’ remains of a temple under the mosque, yet another astounding victory for this bogus science. Reconstruction plans are in place for the mythical and no doubt magnificent temple of Solomon, a temple that never existed except in the imaginations of dreamy-eyed Jewish scribes in third c BC Alexandria. Truly a breathtaking prospect, however mad. But nonetheless the logical culmination of the Zionist project, eagerly fuelled by the official Israeli archaeological establishment.”

and (!):

“Then there's the notorious Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which sets out just such a programme in albeit an overtly grotesque form and is solemnly disowned by Zionists as a forgery, though a forgery of what is never made clear.”

I’ve been thinking about the Protocols, universally described as a Tzarist forgery.  This is based on the fact that they are described in a previous French novel, from which the Tzarist agents are said to have stolen the idea.  But what if the French novel was just repeating an earlier, accurate, source?  More Walberg (who reminds me of a very subtle ‘scientific’ anti-Semite, which is not to say that he is in the least bit wrong):

“What is behind the Bible is not simply a record of historical facts or of even doctrines, but ultimately, the presence of God. There is much self-reference of symbols within the Bible for which the only ‘proof’ that, say, the gospel story is true is that it fulfils the prophecies of the OT, and the only ‘proof’ that the prophecies of the OT are true is that they are fulfilled by the gospel. This has absolutely nothing to do with digging up shards to establish some self-referential ‘event’ in one of the Bible's many tales. There is no temple out there (or under there, where ‘there’ happens to be the very real Al-Aqsa Mosque). The real temple exists in one's heart, though it is very unlikely that one can find it in the scheming Zionist's inflamed and secular heart. And by murdering and tormenting peaceful natives in order to scrounge some bits of a previous building and call it God's temple is unspeakable in its evil. The Naturei Karta heart has the temple in it, but for such a Jew, physical Israel itself is an abomination, and should be dismantled forthwith, or to borrow a particularly colourful metaphor of recent vintage, wiped off the map.”

If we start to see much more analysis like this, the Jewish Billionaires will have their work cut out.