Sunday, March 14, 2010

Martin Luther was an Evil Pharisaic Jewish Rabbi

E. Michael Jones is a radical Catholic historian and moderate Jew hater. His book, the Jewish Revolutionary Spirit and Its Impact on World History is over one thousand pages devoted to the thesis that Jews have been behind every major revolutionary movement in the western world. You see Jews, having rejected Jesus, were in essence declaring war upon the Logos and divorcing themselves from it. Thus, robbed of any genuine religious sensibility, the Jewish religion descended into a mere collection of rules and legalistic hair splitting, hence the Mishnah and the Talmud. The other side of this rejection of Logos was that, having rejected the salvation of Christ because he was not offering political salvation on their terms, the Jews continued to attempt to overthrow the established political order in the hopes of achieving physical political salvation. The entire book becomes an exercise in connecting every revolutionary movement (in essence any movement that Jones does not like) to Jews. In essence this book is a more elaborate and scholarly version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. To be fair to Jones he does not attack Jews as a race, but only as a religion, so he cannot technically be classified as an anti-Semite. I would classify him as a moderate simply because he only hates Jews slightly more than he hates all non conservative Catholics like himself.

Martin Luther is someone that most would classify as an anti-Semite. Ironically enough, Jones hates Luther more than most Jews do. In fact Jones' hatred of Luther is even on par with his hatred of Jews. According to Jones, Luther was a continuation of this Jewish revolutionary heretical disease:

Luther did for Christianity what Jochanan ben Zakkai did for Judaism: he turned the evangelical Church into a debating society, in which the evangelical rabbis would offer competing interpretations of scripture with no way adjudicating differences other than splitting off from whomever one disagreed with. (pg. 266)

While Protestantism, because of its emphasis on the Old Testament, has a much stronger tradition of active philo-Semtism, as I have previously argued, I see Judaism as having more in common with Catholicism than Protestantism. Both Judaism and Catholicism are openly built around tradition. Unlike Protestantism, there is no pretense that Scripture has a plain meaning obvious to anyone who simply reads the text. As such the text of Scripture almost becomes irrelevant, what we really believe in are our respective religious traditions and their interpretations of Scripture. Protestants, in order to function as a religion, are forced at the end of the day to do the same thing. They are just hypocritical enough to deny that this is what they are doing and maintain the moral pretense that they support everyone being able to simply open Scripture for themselves to decide what it means.


YUngerman said...

"To be fair to Jones he does not attack Jews as a race, but only as a religion, so he cannot technically be classified as an anti-Semite."

Modern race-based anti-Semitism started with Voltaire, see Jacob Katz's article on the subject. Medieval Christian anti-Semitism was based on religion - that doesn't mean they weren't really anti-Semites.

Izgad said...

Voltaire is story on to himself, certainly very important for understanding the role of the Enlightenment and modern anti-Semitism.

Anti-Semitism of course is a term that only comes into play in the 19th century. Historians do not like using terms that only come later. You want to understand people as they understood themselves so you use the terms that they used.

As with most academics today, I distinguish between modern anti-Semitism, which is based on race, and medieval anti-Judaism, based on religion. I am not comfortable with referring to the latter as anti-Semitism. I prefer to use anti-Judaism or medieval “anti-Semitism.” Jones is essentially taking tropes from modern anti-Semitism and grafting them onto a traditional Christian anti-Jewish worldview. This makes him an interesting chimera.

YUngerman said...

Interestingly, I found E. Flannery's "The Anguish of the Jews" to describe early forms of anti-Semitism. Basically he says that Greek intellectuals, with the Romans following them (despite official policy favoring Jews), invented "literary" anti-Semitism which focused on the Jewish faith, character traits, and history (not race). Eventually it culminated in ritual murder charges.

Anonymous said...

Martin Luther WAS evil, beyond any doubt, that bit about him being a "Pharisaic Jewish Rabbi" I highly doubt, personally. Interesting fact, Martin Luther was a hardcore philo-Semite, at least in the context of his setting and times, before making a heel-faced turn late in his life and transforming into the virulent anti-Semite who penned "The Jews and their Lies."

Also, just had to mention... the notion that "racial anti-Semitism" is a product of the Enlightenment or purely modern (let alone the spawn of Voltaire) is a MYTH. In fact, "racial anti-Semitism" was a natural outgrowth of "Medieval Christian anti-Semitism." Specifically, look no further than the Spanish Inquisition. In the aftermath of the Reconquista, Spanish Catholics heavily persecuted Jews and Muslims (as well as Christian heretics and unbelievers generally). Any Jews left in the Iberian peninsula were subject to tortuous punishment and all manner of oppression, essentially forcing them to convert to Christianity. Unsurprisingly, many Jews practiced their religion in secret. Such converts were called "marranos." As the Spaniards found out, the attitude of "religious anti-Semitism" naturally evolved into a "racial anti-Semitism." Once content with Jews who abandoned the religion, they ceased trusting even converts.