Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Weird Account of Early Christianity; Professor X in the Basement of the Ivory Tower

( Originally written and posted on MySpace on  June 14, 2008 )

Weird Account of Early Christianity

Most of the books in my home library I have obtained by not paying the full price for them.  They were given to me as review copies, copies bought at a used bookstore, or remaindered books.   Often, a hardback book is remaindered when the paperback edition is published.   Other books are remaindered because they are slightly damaged.   I was leafing through one of my remaindered books yesterday, Robert Wolfe's  Remember to Dream: A History of Jewish Radicalism, and came across this strange account of the origin of Christianity:

    "Like all the other Middle Eastern peoples, the Judeans were eventually subjected to Roman rule.   The Romans treated all their subjects harshly, but they were particularly cruel and vindictive in their relations with the Judeans because they associated Hebrew law with slave revolts.   The Romans relied heavily on slave labor and imported literally millions of slaves into Italy to work in the fields and mines.   They were aware that Hebrew law was basically hostile to the institution of slavery, and therefore sought to suppress all manifestations of Hebrew culture in Judah.   When the Judeans rebelled against these policies, the Romans put down the uprising in a genocidal manner, killing over 1 million Judeans in the First Jewish War alone, which ended in 73 CE.   This unprecedented act of mass murder gave rise to a widespread movement of sympathy with the martyred Judeans.   Within the Roman empire itself, this movement assumed the form of a strange, cannibalistic cult of a martyred Jew, whose flesh and blood was eaten in effigy by the contrite but still bloodthirsty Romans.   This same movement of sympathy expressed itself in a more positive way outside the Roman world in the form of a number of new kingdoms which sought to pattern themselves after the laws and culture of Judah.  Kingdoms of this type were established in Ethiopia, Yemen and the coast of North Africa during the period from the 3rd to the 7th centuries CE.   These kingdoms called themselves Jewish and many of their subjects called themselves Jews.   In Ethiopia they spoke Ge'ez, in Yemen Arabic and in North Africa Berber" (pp. 326-7).

Wolfe's book was published in 1994 at New York City by the Jewish Radical Education Project.   During the 1960s, the Students for a Democratic Society set up a number of urban-based "radical education projects."   Wolfe's book comes out of this tradition.   It makes interesting reading because it reveals that Communism and Marxism both in Russia and in the United States have been virtually created and sustained by the Jews.   This is an assertion sustained by the research of almost innumerable other Jewish authors.  However, Wolfe's interpretation of Christianity as an early Jewish movement of protest against the Roman genocide of the Jews is rather remarkable.   Supposedly, if one accepts this theory, this means that Christianity, when it developed into a European-based faith, had somehow "forgotten" this aspect of its origins.   This theory is even more fantastic than Sigmund Freud's account in  Moses and Monotheism   which represents Moses as having been a renegade Egyptian.     

( Originally written and posted on MySpace on May 22, 2008 )

"In the Basement of the Ivory Tower," by Professor X

The June 2008 issue of The Atlantic Monthly has a revealing article about a two-sided collapse of standards in large areas of higher education.   The author is identified only as Professor X, self-described as teaching as an adjunct at a private college and a community college somewhere in the northeastern USA.  Adjuncts, part-time instructional appointees who usually work on a semester-by-semester basis and who also usually lack all benefits and earn very low pay, have become the industrial reserve army for postsecondary education.   The number of students taught by adjuncts steadily grows.

Professor X teaches English composition.  He dwells on the difficulty in working with students of this subject.  Objective tests are not involved.  Moreover, there is the problem of showing students with abysmal writing (and thinking) skills what their shortcomings are.  As if that were not daunting enough, Professor X has come to the firm conviction that American higher education with its mania for ever-growing enrollments of students, capable or not, is debasing itself and deceiving the hapless students who hope to acquire skills that will be forever denied to them because of their own lack of inherent ability.

I see this sad situation as an outcome of two seemingly contrary forces:  (1) the unrealistic egalitarianism of academic people in the humanities and the social sciences and  (2) the  capitulation of college administrators to the Chamber of Commerce's expectation that more is always tantamount to better.


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