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Jan. 25th, 2010 @ 03:49 pm The Book of Genocide
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From:(Anonymous)
Date:April 2nd, 2010 03:45 pm (UTC)

On the book of genocide you don't mention

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This fairly long comment of mine is a little late in the day but I think it warranted. Mr Morrow to be frank I find your criticism of Genesis as a book of genocide (echoing Dawkins) to be over the top, way over the top. I am no fan of institutional religion, I am no atheist neither btw, but the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, a crude "morality" tale if ever there was one, is one very small part of Genesis and likewise a crude so-called morality tale not unique to the ancient Jewish book, whose sources and influences were not confined to ancient Jewry since they did not live in a cultural bubble, but a heritage and mutual influences of other religions and peoples from the ancient Middle and Near East and Meditteranean. Much of this past 'melting pot' is of course lost to us, the ancient past of humanity is both murky and confused to us. The Jewish religion itself constantly evolved, was never a single set belief system (and is not today) and this was typical of many of the ancient faiths in the region which influenced Jewry and which Jewry influenced in turn. Anybody who makes as cursory study of ancient religions of the Meditteranean and Near and Far East can see as much. This touches on other things though that are beyond the intent of my post...

In fact the five books of the Tanach (what you call the Old Testament but it is not the same book in a Christian bible do you know that and do you know why, and I don't mean the lost in translation problem wich is a significant one by itself) have multiple authorships and diverse sources, hence the many contradictions and different names for God and gods (yes gods). Of course there is much to condemn and criticise severely in the Jewish book of faith, including Deuteronomy and Leviticus and some of the books of the prophets as you know well (and you mention this in your fictions of course) yet the Tanach also contains stories of heroism, great mythical tales that are genuinely epic and moving, tales of triumph against the odds, of loss and betrayal and redemption and great stories of human drama, of love and hate and everything in between, there is beautiful poetry and not everything is meant to be taken literally (like the stories of Jonah and Adam and Eve).

Fact is we live in a world in which Jew-hatred has reached heights in the West unseen since WW2, and it is particularly pervasive and deep-rooted among the political Left (their protest too much denials to the contrary) and the Jews are once again at a very real risk from a second Holocaust in the Middle-East, and your comments are made against this backdrop. This backdrop of pervasive and viscious Jew-hatred is not of course your fault but it needs to be taken into account, this is the harsh reality and one needs to pause and think before one puts finger to keyboard and the like. I am not advocating any kind of self-censorship here just balance and perspective and maybe some deeper reflection. After all rabbis in the synagogues of the world do not use the story of Sodom and Gomorrah to advocate their congregants to genocide any more than they use the selfsame tale of Lot to advocate incest with one's teenage daughters if they are cute and you are drunk or advocate their rape at the hands of a baying mob if the circumstances so warrant. No more than rabbis advocate chopping off the hands of uppity females and stoning rebellious sons at the gates of the cities, simply because it is in Torah. The mass-murder, tyranny, exploitation, greed, barbarity and oppression in the world that is happening all over has nothing to do with legends and myths from Genesis.
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From:james_morrow
Date:April 3rd, 2010 02:07 pm (UTC)

Re: On the book of genocide you don't mention

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Dear Anonymous:

I appreciate your passionate reply. As an aficionado of Jack Miles's "God: A Biography," I am quite familiar with the concept of the Tanach (or Tanakh) -- familiar enough to know that you're using the term somewhat confusingly: the Tanakh isn't synonymous with "the five books" (the Law, Torah). Rather, it's the whole omnibus comprising Torah, Neviim (Prophets), and Ketuvim (Hagiographa).

I was employing the phrase "Old Testament" ironically, but I now see that my intention was not clear. From a Jewish perspective -- and from my own as well -- "Old Testament" is an incoherent, condescending, and often offensive term (as opposed to "Tanakh" or "Torah" or even "Pentateuch"). I should have said "so-called Old Testament."

Please note that my quarrel is with Pat Robertson -- whose evangelical theology, I feel, is viciously anti-Semitic at its core -- and also with the specific and eccentric interpretation of Adam's disobedience articulated by Christian thinkers over the centuries. I was not critiquing Judaism at any level. In the future, let's do each other the favor of careful readings.

B'shalom,

James M

Edited at 2010-04-03 03:11 pm (UTC)
From:(Anonymous)
Date:April 4th, 2010 05:57 am (UTC)

Re: On the book of genocide you don't mention

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Mr Morrow thanks for your reply

You write:
"I am quite familiar with the concept of the Tanach (or Tanakh) -- familiar enough to know that you're using the term somewhat confusingly: the Tanakh isn't synonymous with "the five books" (the Law, Torah). Rather, it's the whole omnibus comprising Torah, Neviim (Prophets), and Ketuvim (Hagiographa)."

ah yes I actually am aware of that. I mistakenly wrote Tanach when I meant to write Torah. That was a silly error of mine, so silly that I can't believe I made it, but I see that I did. I am well aware of what Tanach stands for (I speak Hebrew). Thanks for the correction to a really stupid mistake of mine. Shows one should do a proper double check read-through before posting. Agreed on the likes of Pat Robertson and evangelical theology. However such types as Robertson are not the only ones who share a world-view that is anti-Semitic to the core. It is not 1966 (where most American Jews are still living frankly), when it comes to Judenhass you don't have to stray very far from "progressive" leftwing circles.

Larry