Defending the 12th century since the 14th; blogging since the 21st.

Catholicism, Conservatism, the Middle Ages, Opera, and Historical and Literary Objets d'Art blogged by a suburban dad who teaches law and writes stuff.

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Who was Cacciaguida? See Dante's PARADISO, Cantos XV, XVI, & XVII.

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Saturday, June 30, 2007
Desert prophets v. the Hellenized

A comment found at the Gates of Vienna blog:
xlbrl said...

Paul Johnson, in his volume "A History of the Jews" briefly makes mention that Islam is a mutant Hebrew religion. We see similarities to this day in some details of Hassidic grooming, dress, religious school chanting, and separation of sexes, however superficial they may be.

For the many centuries preceeding the diaspora Jewish prophets came from the desert regions and gained followings of varying significance. Most did not have staying power, but the culture was not ever static, and these movements all had effects on the general state of Israel whether it was a state at the moment or ruled by others. The desert prophets tended to be austere and fanatical, representing traditional Hebraic thinking against the upscale urbanized Jews living with and absorbing the powerful cultures of occupying powers like the Greeks. Jesus was most certainly a Hellenistic Jew and not a desert prophet.

We forget that Moses and a long line of his desendants were polygamous. There was no Microsoft or Berkshire Hathaways stock to store and create wealth, power, and prestige. It was done with seventy children in Moses's case, and Brigham Young later had the same idea. Believing themselves to be the lost tribe of Israel, why wouldn't they?

The Jews spent a few centuries working through their worst habits and understandings. The Moslems do not seem to care to.

I call particular attention, of course, to the last paragraph.

I have not read the Johnson book referred to (though I've read other Johnson books and consider him the model of what a well-read journalist-historian should be). I will say, though, that in every recent confrontation that I have followed between "Hellenization" and the alteratives to it, Hellenization comes out ahead. The Holy Father's Regensburg Address, for example.

I repeat here my invitation to readers to join my Manuel II Paleologos Appreciation Society and Anti-Dehellenization League. A Serb-activist friend in DC, with whom I don't see eye-to-eye on everything but who's a good egg, is co-chairman. (When Croats and Serbs aren't getting along, neither are we. Lately they have been, so we are: we're all in the antemurale Christianorum business together.)