Posts Tagged ‘Judea Wars’

Judaism, Fanaticism, Empire, And Self-Destruction

August 31, 2017

Our Civilization Is Not Just “Judeo-Christian”, Far From It, Yet All Too Many Think It Is:

Judaism contained the initial versions of Abrahamism. 2,000 years ago it gave birth to Christianism (in its many versions) and later Christianism was adopted as “Orthodox Catholicism” by Roman emperors as a metaphysical version of, and indomitable support for, their secular fascism.

Many scholars have argued that Christianism was the straw which broke the back of the Roman state. (Although it seems likely to me that Christianism gave an excuse to a much deeper rot, which, in turn, caused the altruism of Christianism.)

13 centuries ago, Meccan Arabs rejected their 365 gods polytheism around the goddess Moon, and adopted instead a hard-core desert version of Abrahamism, Islamism. Some go around, claiming that our civilization is “Judeo-Christian”, although neither Jews nor Christians invented the alphabet (Egypt, Sumer, Phoenicia did), nor basic mathematics (Egyptians, Greeks, Indians did), nor basic physics or engineering nor the idea of fairness embodied by the law (Babylonians did), nor basic state organization (Egypt, Sumer, Achaemenids), nor welfare (imperial Rome).

This cult of “Judeo-Christianism”, however mistaken, precisely because it’s so mistaken, has to be addressed.

Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, Largest (Herod’s) Version. Destroyed in 70 CE. King Solomon Built Part of It, A Millennium Earlier. Solomon was married to the daughter of Pharaoh. Only a 488 meters long retaining wall is left today, while Christians and Muslims built churches and mosques on top of the emplacement, in an apparent demonstration of whom owned what, the old fashion (jungle) way!

***

Paleologue O asks me in Aeon: “I would be interested to hear more about how the intolerance of the Jews led to the Judean Wars and their subsequent dispersal. What’s your thesis?”

Answer: More exactly it was the intolerance of some Jewish faction leaders, especially Simon bar Giora. Although the revolt started in part for tax reason, Simon instigated the war, if I remember well, with the surprise massacre of more than 600 Roman legionaries.

Simon was captured alive, although he fought to the bitter end. He was brought to Rome and executed by very public whipping (the leader of the Zealots, John of Gischala was condemned to life imprisonment). The first approach to the period is to read the (huge) entire work of the historian Josephus, adoptive son of emperor Vespasian. Josephus had been elected general by the Jewish People, but, after much valorous fighting, was besieged and had to surrender to (then) general Vespasian and his son, general Titus.

In general, the attitude of the Jews made little sense, except if one believed, as many Jews did, that they had a deal with god. Under Rome, the Jews could practice their religion, and even apply some of their most abusive theocratic laws: witness Saint Paul, a Jew named Saul who committed the (fatal) sin of having visited the Jewish temple in Jerusalem with a bodyguard who was not a Jew.

Saul had persecuted the Christians (supposedly) before becoming one himself. Saul’s work on behalf of the Gentiles infuriated Jewish theocrats.

So Saul was condemned to death, and arrested by the authorities. He was imprisoned 2 years by the Roman governor of Judea. As Saul was also an important Roman citizen (a prosecutor), he successfully asked to be judged in Rome, and not by the order of the High Jewish Priests, the Sanhedrin. Paul disappeared in Rome around 67 CE or 68 CE (executed by order of the evil Jews, said some Christians, or the evil Nero, said others, if he was not exfiltrated to Spain say still others…)

Meanwhile, by 66 CE, fanatical Jewish factions, the “Zealots” and “Sicari” took control of Jerusalem (full of hatred for each others, not just the Greco-Romans). When other Jews tried to flee the city they were crucified (with as many as 500 crucifixions in one day!)

In general, Abrahamism stinks, as the founding legend, Abraham, was ready to execute his son, just because his boss asked him to. (Imagine Google, aka God ask you to kill someone dearest to you?) Whereas I say that when a God asks for the death of one’s child, or any child, He should be told: F U! That’s a question of basic morality. If a god doesn’t deserve respect, it should get it.

One can compare how Celts, Punics and Jews reacted to the rise of civilization (in its Greco-Roman version). The former two laid low superstitiously speaking: they stopped pretending that they had better metaphysics than the Roman Republic (the Saxons would do the same after being beaten into submission by Charlemagne for 30 years).

After the Romans defeated (some of) them, Celts and Punics condemned their own religions, they said OK to Rome, and they helped build a constructive empire (defeated “Gaul” was the most important and powerful province of Rome after the First Century, and the relationship of Italy and Gaul got inverted, pacifically; soon enough, Carthage was again one of the Greco-Roman empire’s greatest cities).

Whereas some Jewish factions in Jerusalem opted to resist fanatically and murderously the Greco-Roman empire. Not all Jews did so, thus Judaism survived the eradication of the fanatics (differently from the Samaritans who fought as one, later, so only 3,000 are left, now…) Those vicious factions were based in Jerusalem, but not present among the dozens of thousands of Jews in Alexandria. After the second Jewish war, in 132-135 CE, the Jews were dispersed out of Israel, rebaptized “Palestina” on the occasion, so here we are…

***

Paleologue replied: “Thanks for the Cliff Notes version. I hadn’t realized they’d started off by killing 600 Roman soldiers. A fatal tactical blunder. Obviously the Zealots didn’t have a proper diplomatic corps, to put their case in more reasonable terms. Had they followed the advice of some in-house Gandhi figure, to suggest the non-violent way, they might have met with greater success. (They certainly couldn’t have done any worse.)

I do have a nice copy of Josephus sitting around. But it’s so heavy I have so far put off reading it. I do have kind of a long reading list already. Maybe I should bump it up a hundred places.”

Not just that, but an entire Roman legion, Legio XII Fulminata, was sent to re-establish order, and then, after evacuating Jerusalem, fell into an ambush. This time more than 6,000 Roman soldiers died, shocking the entire empire.

Reading Josephus is a must. One of the greatest classics ever, which even the crazed-out Christian monks found valuable enough to save. The Zealots, Sicari and others were into hatred and killing (as they showed by killing each other). Being out there to kill humans en masse is one of the most instinctive, if not the most sacred, mass behavior of humans. Because, without it, humanity would not exist anymore than it would, without love. Yeah, right, it’s crazy. But even more crazy to ignore it.

***

One thing is clear to me; those who claim to love Judaism should decrease their fanaticism, and tribal exaltation:

(Besides, it’s hypocritical as the inertness of American Jews demonstrated, when confronting Nazism: it’s the French Republic, which is not Jewish, but laic, which stood in the way of Nazism, not the Jews; as Hannah Arendt and Simone Weil pointed out, making lots of PC enemies in the process… Life among intellectuals would be devoid of spice without PC, Perfect Cretins…)

In particular, genital mutilation, a hallmark of Jews shouldn’t not have to be tolerated when visited on males more than it should be when visited on females. (Yes, there are good arguments for both; but good arguments can be found for anything, whatsoever, if one changes one’s parameters to crazy enough…)

Jewish fanaticism backfired many times in history. (Christian fanaticism was, mostly, done away with, and mostly an imperial tool, anyway; but Christians never claimed to have been given a piece of land by their own private god… Only the all too secular Charlemagne gave land to the Pope…)

Now the Jews claim they own the land of Israel. They have a good historical case, but moderation is key. Punics, Celts, the Franks, and all sorts of Germans and the Saxons saw the light, when confronted to higher civilization, and, after fighting it, learned the mistakes of their ways, and embraced it. (By 950 CE, the Saxons had become the pillar of the Franco-Roman empire, while Western Francia disintegrated in 63 political authorities…) 

The problem with, and the force of, Judaism is tribalism. Tribalism without a higher cause is just racism. Some will say the god of the tribe is enough of a higher cause. Not so. The tribal god himself needs a higher, universal cause: this is why Catholicism became universal (Catholic means universal). This is also why Islamism became universal (it has universal pretense, although it’s to call for the killing all sorts of people)

Now, pleasing the empire is more important than ever. Because the empire, and its enemies, have never been more powerful. A mistake or two, and billions of people could end up dead.

Thus those who cultivate tribalism and exclusion, as if they were delicate flowers of the greatest value, tickle the dragon. The thermonuclear dragon. Let us remind them their gods are of the highest immorality.

Patrice Ayme’

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