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Passions in Poetry

From Hitch

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Bob K
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25 posted 05-05-2011 10:25 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K


     Proof of what?
Brad
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26 posted 05-05-2011 11:31 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

That God exists.
Stephanos
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27 posted 05-10-2011 08:55 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Brad, Bob,

I have had no time to put into this lately.  But perhaps soon I can get back to it.  


Stephen
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28 posted 05-10-2011 09:53 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Hey, I don't have time.  But I figured it's either now, or a long time from now, so here goes ...


Brad:
quote:
What this means is that we can argue on Monday and work together on Tuesday, that you're not going to the guillotine on Wednesday and I'm not going to be burned at the stake on Thursday.


Yep, that’s quite a good thing.   A solid point of agreement in practice we’ll always share.


quote:
And now I've thought about it and realized that I could never say that.

Stephen,

Do you think this is the more or less standard way that theistic people see things?  Is the idea that atheists are moral monsters a caricature of an opinion and not the reality?


I’m not sure.  I know that when I encounter this attitude in professing Christians, I do my best to challenge it.  I also know that it is human nature to identify the “other”, and to proceed to villify and make “them” a focus of opposition.  Obviously this is no less true of Hitchens.  I also know that there are many Christians who do not see agnostics and atheists in this light, notwithstanding passionate disagreement.  Can Christian “truth” be a scaffolding upon which to hang  a bad approach, a bad attitude about other people?  Yes.  But I think its only achieved by consciously evading very specific warnings by Jesus not to do so.

I also try to remind those who fit your description, that many atheists and agnostics are so, at least in part, because of a disillusionment with practical religion ... in other words, church people are partly to blame for skepticism and unbelief.  Paul expressed this thought in Romans 2:24 when he wrote to Jewish Christians that “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you”.

The doctrine of salvation by Grace, is another means of challenging this tendency.  If it really is about unmerited favor toward sinners, then there is no basis for rancor toward those who are not believers.

This may sound condescending or patronizing to some, since Christians still believe that agnostics and atheists are wrong, and (like themselves) rebellious to God.  But it’s no more patronizing than atheists accepting "nice" or "intelligent" Christians, even though they are self deluded believers in the supernatural.  I guess that much is unavoidable for now.  Civility, though, isn’t.

quote:
The essence I was shooting for there was Hitch's claim that religion was our first stab at explaining the universe.


Maybe, maybe not.  It seems that rudimentary science was somewhat concurrent with religious thought, in regard to explaining things.  The Eleatic philosophers seemed to be making quasi-scientific claims about reality quite early on.  But neither science nor religion should be called archaic (as a category) simply because it has existed a long time.  If there can be bad science, then there can be bad religion.  If there can be superseded science, then there can be superceded religion  (even, I would argue, with the kind that really was given by God, and not just conjured from imagination).  It just seems like the charge of all religion being archaic, is a rash one, that makes complex phenomena far to simplistic.    


quote:
also think that we'll have a pretty good proof on May 22nd for the other position, but most people won't see it like this:

That that particular God doesn't exist.


What particular God?  There’s always the possibility that they’ve misrepresented a particular God.  For example, religions that claim to revere the New Testament as authoritative have to explain how the knowledge of the exact time of the end-of-the-world, is compatible with historical statements by Jesus the Christ, to the contrary (Matthew 24:36).

It would be rash for you to deduce I don’t have a girlfriend named Laurie, just because you found out something I said about her isn’t true.  It would be even more rash for you to conclude there wasn't such a person, even if your conclusion that she isn't my girlfriend, is warranted.

Stephen
Brad
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quote:
I also know that there are many Christians who do not see agnostics and atheists in this light, notwithstanding passionate disagreement.


These are the people I can work with.

From my own point of view, I very much like the idea that two people with radically different ideas can come together over a common cause.

Atheists are also accused of condescension and arrogance; they also accuse theists of the same thing.  I suspect we just have to learn to live with this.  

Stephanos
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30 posted 05-20-2011 11:14 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

By the way, Laurie is my girlfriend.  She's also my wife.  
Brad
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31 posted 12-16-2011 09:44 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Hitch, RIP.

Essorant
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32 posted 12-20-2011 03:53 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Peace be upon him, especially now that he has found God.
Bob K
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33 posted 12-21-2011 02:29 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     Rest in Peace.
Huan Yi
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34 posted 02-22-2012 11:26 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.


Anyone consider Hitch's mother
and the manner of her death
on his belefs?

It reminds me of Job’s wife:
“Curse God and die”

Someone else remarked that Hitch was
an ironic atheist in that he spent a great deal
of time arguing against a god he didn’t believe in.  

And much of his anger had to do with the practices
of men in the worship of god as if they were god
directed.   Face it, at times he could be pretty adolescent.


"There are things in life that we must endure which
are all but unendurable, and yet I feel there is a great goodness.
Why, when there could have been nothing, is there something?  This
is a great mystery.  How, when there could have been nothing, does it
happen that there is love, kindness, beauty?"

Jane Kenyon


................


God’s Sadness

(God Speaks)

I see you coming and going upon the trembling of the Earth
as in the world’s first days, but great is the difference,
my work is no longer within me.
I have given it entirely to you.

Men, my beloved, I am powerless in your misfortunes,
I could give you only tears and your courage,
which are the warm evidence of God’s existence.
The moisture in your soul is what you have left of me.
I could do no more. I could do nothing
for the mother whose son is going to die
except give light to you, candles of hope.
If it were not so, would you know,
you undefended little beds, the paralysis of children.

I am cut off from my work,
what is finished is far away and goes further still each day.
When the brook runs down from the mountain
can there be any going back?

I can no more speak to you than a potter can speak to his pot,
of the two one is deaf, the other dumb before his handiwork
and I see you advancing towards blinding precipices
and cannot even identify them for you,
and I cannot hint to you how you should set about them,
you must get yourself out of trouble alone like orphans in the snow.

And I tell myself each day beyond a vast silence:
‘There’s another doing wrong what he could do right,
another stumbling by not looking where he should,
and here’s another
leaning much too far over his balcony, forgetting gravity,
and that one who hasn’t checked his engine,
farewell aeroplane, farewell man!’
I can do no more for you,
alas if I repeat myself it is through enduring it.

I am a memory descending,
you are living in a memory,
the hope that climbs your hillsides,
you are living in expectation.

Shaken by the prayers and the blasphemies of men,
I am everywhere at once and cannot show myself,
without moving I move about and pass from heaven to heaven,
I am the wanderer within myself and the inwardly teeming hermit,
familiar with distances, I am very distant from myself,
I stray deep within myself like a child in the woods,
I call myself, I haul myself in and draw myself towards my centre.
Man, if I created you it was to see it more clearly
and to live in a body,
I who have neither hands nor face.

I want to thank you for doing earnestly
all that will have only a brief time on the beloved earth.
O my child, my precious one,
O courage given by your God, my son,
you have gone roaming the world in my place
ahead of me in your so vulnerable body with its great poverty.
Not a small parcel of skin where deep decay may not form.
Each of you knows how to be a dead man without the need to learn,
a perfect corpse that can be rolled and rolled again in all directions,
in which no fault can be found.
God outlives you, he alone survives
in the midst of great massacre of men, women, and children,
even alive you are constantly dying a little,
make your peace with life, with your trembling loves.

You have a brain, fingers to fashion the world to your taste,
you have talents to give life to reason and madness within your shell,
you have all the animals that form Creation,
you can run and swim like the dog and the fish,
move forward like the tiger or the week-old lamb,
you can bring death to yourself like the reindeer, the scorpion,
yet I remain the invisible one,
undiscoverable on the Earth,

have pity on your God who could not make you happy,
small fragments of myself,
O throbbing sparks,

I offer you only a furnace
where you will find fire once again.


                      Jules Supervielle


.

.

[This message has been edited by Huan Yi (02-22-2012 11:57 PM).]

Bob K
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35 posted 02-23-2012 12:25 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



quote:


Anyone consider Hitch's mother
and the manner of her death
on his beliefs?

It reminds me of Job’s wife:
“Curse God and die”




     You need to be specific about what you mean here, John.

     I know that she committed suicide.  I hear that she committed suicide while living in Greece with her new companion, perhaps a husband in the late ‘80’s.  Hitchens had a history of interest in left-wing causes before his mother’s death and no particular history of fondness for religion.  

     While many people find it difficult to believe that atheism is an actual philosophical and perhaps religious choice on the same footing as Catholicism, Taoism or Buddhism, others will note that there is nothing that makes it more or less correct in a philosophical sense.  Catholicism insists on a variation of the monotheism.  Some variations of Taoism skip the necessity of Gods entirely, as does the Buddhist position generally.

     Hitchens seems to have a serious animus for those religions that that seemed to him most aggressive about their own righteousness.   They and Hitchens supplied each other a sort of mirror of each other’s most pyrotechnical unpleasantnesses. It often seemed entertaining to me to watch them match each other drink for drink — as it were — from what appeared to my eyes to be the same bottle of rotgut bourbon.

     I found your sly insinuation that Hitchen’s mother’s suicide and Hitchen’s belief in atheism might have some causal connection entertaining.  I looked and looked, and couldn’t find it actually stated in print, and yet the implication is very clear, as though an intelligent man couldn’t actually  present cogent arguments for the atheistic position unless he was suffering from some deep psychological illness.

     Please feel free to correct me here if I have misunderstood what you were communicating.  To me this seemed clear as day, and I couldn’t understand why you actually didn’didn’t say it in so many words, other than the fact that it’s not an easily supportable position.  There’s nothing less philosophically valid about atheism than there is about the other major religious positions, and, to be fair, nothing more valid about it either.  A person can be sick and unhealthy in their advocacy of almost anything, including proper posture and regular dental care.

     There is in fact a book on how proper posture was subverted to extraordinary ill effect in what is probably the most famous single case of paranoia ever written up (called “The Schreiber Case,” for what it’s worth, it was written up by Freud.  A recent addition to the Freud write-up was published — titled Soul Murder, it deals with some of the aspects of that case, specifically the use of machines to produce extreme varieties of postural effects, that Freud overlooked.  It’s well written and accessable to lay readers.)

     Simply because Hitchens advocated atheism doesn’t mean he was wrong in the head.  It’s simply another variety of religious experience where the emphasis is foolishly placed on the rational elements of thought and behavior.  The rational is just as untrustworthy, by the way in my humble opinion, as the theological.  I mean, really; what kind of trust are you going to place in the kind of thinking that says that you should use radiation treatment to shrink adenoids and give generations of children freedom from stuffed up noses?

     And expose them all to the risk of thyroid cancer.  Hmmm?

     Whether the Philosophy of Atheism is correct or not, I don’t know; nor do I have any way of knowing.  But in terms of the argument it makes, it seems just as valid as the arguments made by most of the other religions; and, for the most part, I make an effort to avoid calling them sick, which is more than many of them do about each other.

     Hitchens does seem to have a weakness for wanting to triumph in intellectual discussions.  I believe that’s a serious flaw, but it’s also one he seems to have had the intellect to be able to indulge; and in one example in which he debated some Muslim students — an example which I believe you posted — he was able to do so with restraint and kindness that allowed the students in question their dignity and self respect.  I wish I were skilled enough to be able to do that, and compassionate enough to keep that foremost in my mind.  I was very admiring.

      The quotation from Job is also one that seems ambiguous to me.  Esophageal cancer is not a good way to go.  I have no understanding what connection you seem to be trying to draw here between Hitchen’s suffering and his death.  He certainly never cursed God.  You would have to be a believer to do that, wouldn’t you?  And nobody ever accused Hitchens of being a believer in God.  Lot’s wife was urging Lot, as I understand the passage, to curse God to provoke a backlash from God:  God, in His fury, might then strike Job dead and relieve Job’s suffering.  That is the way that I’ve always read that most incredibly beautiful and moving passage, as a cry from the heart for relief from unbearable suffering.

     Otherwise what would be the point, right?

     You might imagine that God would punish you for denying Him, but it’s a fairly primitive psychology that sees death as that punishment, isn’t it, John?  God arranges things so that everybody dies whether you  Curse Him or not, and suggesting that He’ll kill you more quickly for one than for the other puts the psychology of the person who’s doing the thinking at under the age of about 10, when the preoccupation is all about fairness.

     If there is a God, people under 10 will understand Him that way, but that doesn’t mean that God’s obligated to follow their rules, any more that you’re supposed to follow the rules of the ant colony at the end of the driveway.  Maybe today you will, of course; then again, maybe you’ve got the hose in your hand and you’re on your way back from washing the car and you don’t like what the ants are going to the azaleas.

     Why not let Hitch rest in Peace, Hmmm?

     I mean, Really, Hmmm?
Stephanos
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36 posted 02-23-2012 11:48 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

I honestly had hoped this thread was resting in peace, for sure, since we've talked about Hitchens quite a bit.  But I do want to make a couple of comments since it has been raised from dead, so to speak.  


John, the poem you quoted seems to be a description of Hell.  I can make no other theological or even psychological sense of it than that.


Bob:
quote:
Hitchens seems to have a serious animus for those religions that that seemed to him most aggressive about their own righteousness.


Yes, but if you're well aquainted with his position, it was that "Religion poisons everything", period.  He makes no distinction between good and bad religion, which was a major point of contention with his critics.  He allowed the distinction with every other tradition or enterprise, but was adamant not to concede it for religious thought or practice.  This is not just my opinion, it was actually one of his most signaturely prominent themes.


quote:
He certainly never cursed God.  You would have to be a believer to do that, wouldn't you?


Not at all.  To closely paraphrase Hitchens, "If he existed then he would be a cosmic dictator, and his rule a Celestial North Korea."  The doctrine of self-sacrifice especially as exhibited in the life of Jesus, he called immoral and wicked, with no mincing of words.  Dinesh D'Souza, one of his more lively debaters from the position of Christian Theism, noted in his very presence that Hitchens is more of an anti-Theist than atheist, a point that Christopher seemed to agree with and made no effort to deny.


I say none of this with rancor.  I'm just calling it as I see it.  Even for a human being, to refer to them alternately as bully, wicked, and of no consequence whatsoever, amounts to a curse, at least in my simple understanding.  I'd not say it of even those I like least.  


My prayer is that there was something in Hitchens that didn't quite believe this, that longed for the God whom he cursed.  I certainly opt for the "Rest In Peace" sentiment that has been nobly expressed in this thread.  


quote:
Lot's wife was urging Lot, as I understand the passage, to curse God to provoke a backlash from God:  God, in His fury, might then strike Job dead and relieve Job's suffering.  That is the way that I’ve always read that most incredibly beautiful and moving passage, as a cry from the heart for relief from unbearable suffering.


That's an interesting interpretation.  But there is another.  Having lost her own integrity, by cursing God in despair, she urged her suffering husband to do the same.  Job actually calls her a "foolish woman" in the narrative, and asserts the propriety of devotion to God even in the presence of unexplained and harrowing pain, putting forth a practical Theodicy.  

The entire book of Job is a polemic to contrast those who talk of the "problem of evil" on one hand, or the religious who don't admit any ambiguity in God's dealings with humanity, on the other.  In such a context, it's hard to imagine Job's wife's words as an expression of compassion.  Rather, I think, it's more reasonable to see her as an embodiment of one of the ways of thinking which the book of Job was written to dispute.  


Stephen  
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quote:
My prayer is that there was something in Hitchens that didn't quite believe this, that longed for the God whom he cursed.  I certainly opt for the "Rest In Peace" sentiment that has been nobly expressed in this thread.

http://youtu.be/E9TMwfkDwIY

Bob K
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     It may be possible, Stephen, that Hitchens longed for God at the end.  I think that he arranged to have constant and daily access to God all the time, and in fact to be bathed in God all the time, and be possessed by Him and to be completely taken Up by God through all his final years.  Some of us a good children and some of us a naughty children, and it may be one of the more annoying traits of Good children to believe that bad children must be punished with particular severity.

     That may even be true, but they shouldn't bank on it.

     Mostly, Good kids tend to be very strict and straitjacketed  folk.  Many of them insist on being rewarded for their goodness and are very resentful of people who get things from mom and dad simply because  they are loved, and believe not so secretly that they have a better idea how their misbehaving brethren ought to be treated.

     One of the things I see over an over in looking at the bible — which you must know better than I do — is the fury and puzzlement that people show when they look at the works and sometimes the Word of God.  He doesn't translate well into language.  One must be fluent in compassion, a language which I don't think anybody human has entirely mastered.  

     As to whether Hitchens was wrong or not about religion, I couldn't say.  Personally, I would categorize him as an extremely religious guy.  He was quite concerned with how people treated each other.  He wanted people to love each other and to behave ethically.  He simply didn't think the notion of God was essential to the process.  

     My personal take on the matter is that a belief in God is essential for most people to pull off any but the most limited semblance of care for others.  Without it, they'd actually behave more callously than most voters in a Democracy funding a human services health care measure for treatment of the retarded, the mentally ill, the poor, the orphaned, the widowed, the jobless, or — as they are called in Republican circles — the deadbeats.

     Hitchens didn't think God was a necessary concept.  I do.  But then, Hitchens was an Atheist, and I'm an Agnostic.  Hitchens was certain there was no God.  I think the concept is needed to make people behave, but have no idea at all whether there's anybody home inside that vital concept.

     That's why I think Hitchens was secretly one of Youse Guys, the believers.  

     He thought he had an answer where no answer is possible without the intervention of faith.  I'm all for faith, by the way.  It keeps more of Youse Guys scared Straight, which is almost enough to get you to Act Right.

     Not, sadly enough, enough actually to really act right and make sure that people don't starve to death and that you don't poison each other (and me, too, by the way) to make money, and kill each other in the name or religions that you don't really believe in anyway — or at least won't actually act as though you believe in.  You won't actually Act Right, but you will try to get everybody else to act the way you won't act yourselves.


     Folks who bear the burden of having The Right Religion, and who thus bear the burden of making sure that other people have to follow it, are a burden the rest of us have to bear; and Mr. Hitchens stood up for us against them, and he did so pretty well.  I for one will miss him.

     I'm reasonably certain that somewhere there's a movement afoot to have him baptized as a LDS.  They can do that, baptize the dead.  The living tend to think of it as a favor they can do those who died before they could reap the benefits of the new revelation.  I suspect that the dead would think of it as another way in which they will have had their humanity stripped from them, were they able to think at all.  I think that imagining Hitchens coming to a reconciliation with God is a way of imagining winning an argument with the man that it's unlikely you could have won when he was alive, and of insisting that your position and your familiarity with it would be enough to change his mind.

     Whether Hitchens was right or not, he had a position at least as well thought out as anybody else's, and imagining his position was not a religious position simply suggests that you underestimate how deeply he believed in it and how central it was to him.  He may have spoken about it in rational terms, and the terms were rational indeed, but he certainly believed he was correct as firmly as anybody else believed in the rightness of their theology.  At least that's my observation.

Huan Yi
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39 posted 02-25-2012 01:20 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.

"John, the poem you quoted seems to be a description of Hell.  I can make no other theological or even psychological sense of it than that."


That's because for you God must be
omnipotent, and thereby ultimately
responsible.  That was the God Hitch
could not believe in because by his
examples, ( which could have included
a defrocked priest destroying his parents’ marriage
and then killing his mother through suicide),
God then would be a cruel vicious
deity requiring cruelty from his worshipers .
But if you accept God as being limited
in his power as the poem suggests
you can then have a good God
that makes sense.


In Job, God’s response is basically: who are you
to question ME?   The old testament God was a
god to be feared,  as in Islam God is a god to be
submitted to .   In both cases any affection has its
basis in a need to placate.   With Christ comes
a God to be loved in response to love.  And
therein is a great difference


.


Bob K
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40 posted 02-25-2012 09:41 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     The fear of God may be the beginning of wisdom, I don't know, John.  But I suspect that it isn't the end of it, even in the five books.  The church was horrified and appalled to find out that  there were sources of Jewish wisdom that had post-dated the death of Jesus, and ordered them burned.  It was the beginning of one of the first great persecutions directed not at the conversion of the Jews but at their extermination.

     Love of God must, I believe, require a love of justice.  If you love God and if you love Justice, I believe you need not fear God, though you'd have to be a fool not to fear your fellow man.

     My understanding is that the Books of Job is also one of the earliest if not the earliest book in the bible, and may well predate the Jews.  The questions raised are certainly universal ones, and suggesting that they are unique to Jews and Christians sounds to me like the Russians being quick to claim credit for everything during the cold war, from the invention of flight to anything else they could think of.

     Of course it may have been written by Jews or by God.  I wasn't there, and I couldn't tell you for sure.

     The narritive frame for the book of Job, however, was that Shaitan approaches God with a proposition, that God tests Job's faith.  Shaitan is shown in a different aspect than the one portrayed in current Christian theology, and I don't believe that you've taken this into consideration in your proposal, John.  He is an interlocotur, not an adversary.  God already knows the answer, that Job is a righteous man who does not need testing.  Any other answer suggests that God is other than The One God, All knowing and All Powerful.  The Book of Job is an exploration of The Problem of Evil.

     I, for one, find it a failure as such, and believe that all the attempts to portray it as successful are the failures of brilliant men attempting to find a way to make an accurate description of a spiteful and humanly un-understandable God soothing and bearable when these ways are basically beyond human comprehension and painful beyond toleration.  That's my opinion.

     Christians tend to try to say that God's behavior is merciful and compassionate.  I like their stubbornness.  

     I tend to believe that there really is evil out there.  I don't believe that it's God's responsibility, any more than Good is, but if you're lucky a belief in God can help you find a model for living a good life and for avoiding an evil life.  

     So I'm splitting hairs.
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Bob:  
quote:
I think that he (Hitch) arranged to have constant and daily access to God all the time, and in fact to be bathed in God all the time, and be possessed by Him and to be completely taken Up by God through all his final years.  Some of us a good children and some of us a naughty children, and it may be one of the more annoying traits of Good children to believe that bad children must be punished with particular severity.


I fully appreciate the sentiment, but there's a lot of hyperbole in your statements.  An atheist who berated God as Hitchens did, certainly in no way "arranged" anything.  About the togetherness-plan, all the arrangement, would have been God's.  That's of course true of all who finally get with God, even the "good" ones you speak of.  If the "good" ones have no inkling how bad they are, not believing that Adam's original-sin is also their individual-sin, then they more resemble the prodigal's older brother.  And we all know how unsympathetic and self-righteous he and his progeny can be.  

But the parable doesn't leave out the necessity of the prodigal "coming to himself" either, and the necessity of confessing his state, before fellowship with the Father is possible.  Therefore to presume that all those who blaspheme God and declare unbelief are going to be just fine, is a misrepresentation of the Grace of God.  To use your own words ...

"That may even be true, but they shouldn't bank on it."  


Does this mean that the older-brother-types need no correction?  They certainly do!  And in the parable he certainly comes across with less grace and virtue than his wayward little brother who came back with an enlarged heart.  Still, it would have been entirely correct for the elder sibling to have remained at home in orthodoxy, without taking it all for granted and imagining he was so deserving.  He could affirm the dangers of wandering, without resenting those who do, and without wishing their possible ill-fate upon them.  In other words, the best stance takes the best of both sons, and recognizes their worst, rather than straining to eulogize everything.


quote:
Many of them insist on being rewarded for their goodness and are very resentful of people who get things from mom and dad simply because  they are loved, and believe not so secretly that they have a better idea how their misbehaving brethren ought to be treated.


You really do have a good understanding of what God's Grace is like, and state it quite well.  And if this sounds patronizing, it isn't.


quote:
Hitchens didn't think God was a necessary concept.  I do.  But then, Hitchens was an Atheist, and I'm an Agnostic.  Hitchens was certain there was no God.  I think the concept is needed to make people behave, but have no idea at all whether there's anybody home inside that vital concept.

     That's why I think Hitchens was secretly one of Youse Guys, the believers.


Yeah, it's what we've been saying all along ... that unbelief is a commitment just like religious-faith is a commitment.  It's not obvious that there's no God, to say the least, but one must decide something.  

The only difference between you and I, is that I don't exclude you from the congregation of those who exercise a kind of "faith".  The agnostic position also makes a commitment to the belief that God cannot be known.  Many who feel this way even believe that such an epistemology is universal, and that all believers are really deluded agnostics themselves.  I don't know where you stand really on such questions.  But I don't want you to think any stance is exempt from the ingredient of personal commitment.


quote:
Not, sadly enough, enough actually to really act right and make sure that people don't starve to death and that you don't poison each other (and me, too, by the way) to make money, and kill each other in the name or religions that you don't really believe in anyway — or at least won't actually act as though you believe in.  You won't actually Act Right, but you will try to get everybody else to act the way you won't act yourselves.


You sound like a regular Old Testament prophet, which not altogether a bad thing.  The spirit of a reformer.  But regarding your above statement, does it include you, me, we, all?  Exceptions, none, some, sometimes, ever?  All have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God, me certainly included, and even those who don't believe in Original sin.  But is there never any consistency among those who preach moral reformation?  Would you want there to be?  Would you overlook it in your polemic?  


quote:
Folks who bear the burden of having The Right Religion, and who thus bear the burden of making sure that other people have to follow it, are a burden the rest of us have to bear


But you just admitted that Hitch had a religion too.  And I reminded you that you don’t lack one yourself.  He certainly crusaded in its name.  And even a respectable and ethically-charged-agnosticism has a liturgy, that you express and urge quite well quite often, obviously thinking it's right too.  Saying “It’s only my opinion” doesn’t ever change that.  I guess some burdens we all share.  

quote:
I think that imagining Hitchens coming to a reconciliation with God is a way of imagining winning an argument with the man that it's unlikely you could have won when he was alive, and of insisting that your position and your familiarity with it would be enough to change his mind.


That's interesting Bob, accusing believers of thinking that the dead can be raised!... Um, wait a minute ... Haha.  

Seriously though, I know its tempting for you to make every statement of someone you don't agree with out to be a psychological projection of themselves, and as coming from an egoist motive.  But in my best moments, I'm really aware that Hitch's argument was not with me at all but with God.  I'm not throwing stones, I've tended to argue with God myself, and still do.  And yet, there is the possibility that some believers, some of the time, really want Hitch to "rest in peace", for his own sake.  Because there is the possibility that certain believers really believe the happiness of his eternal soul is dependent upon his relation to God.  Of course, this is only possible if you're not projecting your own agnostic liturgy upon believers, where religious expression can be nothing other than self-expression.  And I'm not even going to discuss what hidden reasons you might have for doing so, as if I could divine your motives.  I certainly admit there’s a measure of honest-to-God uncertainty.  


quote:
imagining his position was not a religious position simply suggests that you underestimate how deeply he believed in it and how central it was to him.


I already told you I think his position was essentially religious, as in making a commitment to something, come what may, in the lack of comprehensive knowledge.  


Otherwise, I simply affirmed that his atheism or anti-theism was real and may have real Theological consequences, and thus tried not to "underestimate how deeply he believed in it and how central it was to him."    


quote:
He may have spoken about it in rational terms, and the terms were rational indeed, but he certainly believed he was correct as firmly as anybody else believed in the rightness of their theology.  At least that's my observation.


I never doubted that believed he was correct, which is a truism for all.  What's the point to be made?  Have you ever doubted that those who hold wrong answers, at least at some point, think they're really correct, as well as those who hold right (or better) answers?

His terms were rational.  His ideas were not always rational.  For example.  He conceded the possibility of good or bad in every realm of knowledge and discipline, except for religion.  Religion poisons everything, is not a rational statement.  It is obviously a dogma (though dogma can rational too).  You, though calling his belief religious (In what sense you mean this, I'm not quite sure), don't seem to be recognizing where his creed annexes or undermines the cool literary rationalism he portrayed.

quote:
The church was horrified and appalled to find out that  there were sources of Jewish wisdom that had post-dated the death of Jesus, and ordered them burned.  It was the beginning of one of the first great persecutions directed not at the conversion of the Jews but at their extermination.


Could you be more specific here, and cite what you’re referring to?  



quote:
 Shaitan is shown in a different aspect than the one portrayed in current Christian theology, and I don't believe that you've taken this into consideration in your proposal, John.  He is an interlocotur, not an adversary.


Is it possible to see different perspectives as contradictory, when they're not?  Certainly this pre-Judaic conception of Satan is different than the Christian one, but not in conflict.  As someone who is attempting to alienate Job from God and vice-versa, he can easily be understood in the context of slanderer (devil) and therefore adversary.  He’s up to no good in either context, and to suggest radically different conceptions is splitting heirs.  Christians are heirs of both conceptions, and theirs is at least partially derived from that which came earlier.

quote:
I, for one, find it a failure as such, and believe that all the attempts to portray it as successful are the failures of brilliant men attempting to find a way to make an accurate description of a spiteful and humanly un-understandable God soothing and bearable when these ways are basically beyond human comprehension and painful beyond toleration.  That's my opinion.


In what sense spiteful and humanly understandable?  To find a place for human ambiguity, within Theology, is very much reasonable.  If God is not humanly understandable in a comprehensive way (the argument of Job’s friends), and not altogether incomprehensible (the nihilistic argument of Job’s wife), we are given the option of a more nuanced view ... an incarnational God, who reveals himself, who has purpose in the good as well as the bad in life, but is not constrained to our own simplistic syllogisms.  






John:
quote:
That's because for you God must be omnipotent, and thereby ultimately responsible.  That was the God Hitch could not believe in because by his examples ... God then would be  ... cruel ... requiring cruelty from his worshipers. But if you accept God as being limited in his power as the poem suggests you can then have a good God that makes sense.



Old argument, but it is only rational if we consider ourselves possessing all the information.  

If we have ever conceded that good can sometimes come from "evil", then we should be able to admit that it is possible that unforseen good, by God's grace, might come of the kinds of evils you've mentioned too.  Or if not direct good coming from evil, at least the arrival of certain kinds of good and healing which could render past evils innocuous. We certainly haven't seen all the ends of the meanness you've mentioned.


It makes just as much sense (I would say more since it allows ALL kinds of data, seredipitous good as well as seemingly random evil) to believe that God's allowance of temporal evil may be somehow justified.  It just takes a different kind of faith, not the kind of humanistic faith which says "we know all the information needed to either take God to court, or to strip him of his divinity in exchange for our ever-gracious exoneration".  Okay, there.  You can be god now.  


quote:
In Job, God’s response is basically: who are you to question ME?


I have to suggest that your reading, though not entirely incorrect, is at least narrow here.  Taken in context, this "Who are you?" section is less severe than one might think.  God begins and ends the book with nothing but praise for Job.  While his so-called "friends" seemed to take the hard-line view that God’s dealings with men are simple and he should not be questioned, they were not the ones who were favored.  Job’s questioning, beckoned correction, but not out and out rebuke.  I consider the answer of God to Job to be rough-and-tumble, and good-natured.  I don’t get the undercurrent of contempt you detect, rather the contrary.    

quote:
The old testament God was a
god to be feared ... with Christ comes
a God to be loved in response to love.  And
therein is a great difference


Surely there is a great difference.  And yet replacement is too radical.  Fulfillment is the better pattern.  Jesus, though the embodiment of God’s love rather than law, certainly uttered some hard sayings.  And his grace didn’t soft-pedal the righteous requirements of God one bit.  Consider the possibility of a less-complete revelation giving away to a fuller one, without the losing the organic connection and common characteristics.  For while fulfillment explains mutual characteristics in both (the hard green fruit has the same shape as the ripe sweet one), replacement makes no sense of either.  

Stephen
Bob K
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42 posted 03-05-2012 05:14 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

     Okay, Stephen.  I can’t imagine why you want the material, but here is at least some of it.  I grew up around this stuff.

     If you wanto to find it presented in a really decent fashion, you might try the novel, The Last of The Just, by the french author Andre Schwartz-Bart.  His novel is very well researched — that is, he’s got his facts straight, and he manages to make it one of the most moving books I’ve ever read, and not because it’s about Jews, but because it’s about transcendence.  It’s well worth the reading, if you can find it.  It’d out of print, but usually available in good libraries and on line, used.  Amazing and shattering, both.


     For convenience, the first listing is about the burning of the Talmud.

      http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0019_0_19544.html


quote:


TALMUD, BURNING OF

Despite the mass of restrictions imposed on the Jews by the Church in the political, social, and economic spheres, and the attacks on the Oral Law by Christian theologians, the campaign to proscribe Jewish literature was not launched until the 13th century. An attempt had been made to prevent teaching of the "second tradition" (??????????) by Emperor *Justinian in 553 (novella 146), and in 712 the *Visigoths in Spain forbade converts to Christianity to read Hebrew books. The first condemnation of the Talmud to burning was preceded by a period in which new forces of rationalism had made their appearance in Western Europe as well as an upsurge of sectarian movements such as the Cathari or *Albigenses. Such trends were countered with strong measures by the Church. In 1199 Pope Innocent III declared that since Scripture contained lessons too profound for the layman to grasp, Christians should rely wholly on the clergy for its interpretation. The Church also directed its attention to Jews as potential subversive elements. One outcome of the suppression of rationalistic tendencies was the burning of *Maimonides' Guide of the Perplexed at Montpellier, southern France, in 1233. The Guide was originally denounced to the Dominican inquisitors by Jewish leaders who opposed the study of Maimonides' works. Although the connection between the burning of the Guide and the subsequent burning of the Talmud is tenuous, it set a dangerous precedent.
Paris
In 1236 a Jewish apostate, Nicholas *Donin, submitted a memorandum to Pope *Gregory IX listing 35 charges against the Talmud. These included allegations that it contained blasphemies of Jesus and Mary, attacks on the Church, pronouncements hostile to non-Jews, and foolish and revolting tales. They asserted that the Jews had elevated the Oral Law to the level of divinely inspired Scripture, and that this impeded the possibility of their conversion to Christianity. Gregory thereupon ordered a preliminary investigation, and in 1239 sent a circular letter to ecclesiastics in France summarizing the accusations and ordering the confiscation of Jewish books on the first Saturday of Lent (i.e., March 3, 1240), while the Jews were gathered in synagogue. Any other persons having Hebrew books in their possession who refused to give them up were to be excommunicated. He further ordered the heads of the Dominican and Franciscan Orders in Paris to ensure that "those books in which you find errors of this sort you shall cause to be burned at the stake." Similar instructions were conveyed to the kings of France, England, Spain, and Portugal. It was in response to Gregory's circular that the first public religious *disputation between Jews and Christians was staged in Paris on June 25–27, 1240. The chief Jewish spokesman was R. *Jehiel of Paris, the most eminent French rabbi of the period. An inquisitorial committee condemned the Talmud two years later. In June 1242, 24 wagon loads of books totaling thousands of volumes were handed to the executioner for public burning. Copies may also have been seized and destroyed in Rome.
Subsequently the burning of the Talmud was repeatedly urged by the popes. In France, Louis IX ordered further confiscations in 1247 and 1248 and upheld the principle in an ordinance of December 1254. It was confirmed by Philip III in 1284 and Philip IV in 1290 and 1299. A further burning was ordered in Toulouse in 1319 by the inquisitor Bernard Gui and in Perpignan. In his manual for inquisitors Gui also singled out the works of *Rashi, David *Kim?i, and Maimonides for condemnation. The conflagration in Paris was compared by the contemporary scholar *Meir b. Baruch of Rothenberg to the destruction of the Temple in an elegy Sha'ali Serufah ("Ask is it well, O thou consumed in fire") included in the kinah of the Ninth of Av. *Jonah Gerondi, who had led the anti-Maimonists, is said to have connected the burning of the Talmud with the burning of the Guide in Montpellier and to have bitterly repented his attacks on Maimonides.
Outside France little action was taken in response to the papal appeals. Confiscations may have taken place in England and were ordered in Sicily. There seems to have been widespread destruction in southern Italy in 1270. After the disputation of *Barcelona in 1263, James I of Aragon ordered the Jews to delete all blasphemous references to Jesus and Mary from their copies of the Talmud under penalty of burning the work. Condemnations of the Talmud were issued by popes *Innocent IV in his bull of 1244, *Alexander IV, John XXII in 1320, and *Alexander V in 1409. The restrictive legislation imposed on Aragonese Jewry after the disputation of *Tortosa, 1413–14, contained a condemnation of the Talmud. Pope *Eugenius IV issued a bull prohibiting Jews from studying the Talmud following the Council of Basle (see *Church Councils), 1431–43.
Although the orders of the popes were not effectively upheld by the secular authorities, copying of the Talmud and its study could not be carried out openly and proceeded with difficulty. However, in the new spirit of liberty engendered by the Renaissance, the great German humanist Johann *Reuchlin defended Jewish learning and the Talmud, which had again been condemned to destruction by the emperor in 1509 because of charges leveled against it by the apostate Johann *Pfefferkorn. The polemical battle which ensued between supporters of the humanists and the obscurantists involved leading Christian scholars, and was a prelude to the Reformation.
Rome
It was during the Counter-Reformation in Italy in the middle of the 16th century that the attacks on the Talmud had the most far-reaching consequences. In the reactionary climate, a quarrel broke out between rival Christian printers of Hebrew books in Venice. One of them, with the connivance of certain apostates, denounced the works produced by his competitor as containing matter offensive to the Holy Catholic Church. It developed into a wholesale attack on Hebrew literature. After a council of cardinals had examined the matter, the pope issued a decree (August 1553) designating the Talmud and related works as blasphemous and condemning them to be burned. On Sept. 9, 1553, the Jewish New Year, a huge pyre was set up in the Campo de' Fiori in Rome of Hebrew books that had been seized from Jewish homes. Subsequently the Inquisition ordered all rulers, bishops, and inquisitors throughout Italy to take similar action. The orders were obeyed in the Papal States, particularly in Bologna and Ravenna, and in Ferrara, Mantua, Urbino, Florence, and Venice, the center of Hebrew printing, and also in 1559 in Cremona. Representations by the rabbis gained a reprieve of the indiscriminate destruction. A papal bull issued on May 29, 1554, specified that while the Talmud and works containing blasphemies of Christianity were to be burned, other Jewish works were to be submitted for *censorship. The Talmud was included in the first Index Expurgatorius in 1559. The ban against publication of the Talmud, with certain excisions or without them, under a different name, was temporarily lifted (1564) by Pius IV. However, confiscation of Hebrew works continued in Italy, especially in the Papal States, down to the 18th century. The same was the case in Avignon and the papal possessions in France. Renewed interdictions were issued by popes Gregory XIII (1572–85) and Clement VIII (1593). The burning in Rome was commemorated by an annual public fast day observed on the eve of Sabbath of ?ukkat (Shibbolei ha-Leket 263).
The events in Italy were described by the contemporary chronicler *Joseph ha-Kohen in Emek ha-Bakhah and by a number of other writers. Mattathias *Delacrut, who managed to escape with his own books to Brest-Litovsk, relates that in Venice over 1,000 complete copies of the Talmud, 500 copies of the code of Isaac *Alfasi, and innumerable other works were burned. Judah b. Samuel *Lerma lost all the copies of his newly printed Le?em Yehudah in Venice and had to rewrite it from memory. The burning also aroused protest in Christian circles. The Hebraist Andrea Masio openly voiced his resentment of the pope's ruling, saying that the cardinals' report condemning a literature of which they knew nothing was as valueless as a blind man's opinion of color. The proscription of the Talmud in the main center for Hebrew printing was felt throughout the Diaspora. The Jewish centers in Poland and Turkey were prompt to answer the challenge, and printing of the Talmud commenced in Lublin in 1559 and shortly afterward in Salonika. Scholars in Italy subsequently turned to other branches of Jewish learning, and the study of *Kabbalah in particular spread rapidly in Italy after the Talmud had been condemned.
The last auto-da-fé of the Talmud took place in Poland, in Kamenets-Podolski in the fall of 1757, following the spread of the *Frankist movement in Podolia. Bishop Nicholas Dembowski intervened in the controversy between the Frankists and Jewish leaders and ordered a disputation to be held between them. He subsequently condemned all copies of the Talmud found in his diocese to be seized and burned after they had been dragged through the streets in mockery. A search was made with the aid of the clergy, the police, and the Frankists for the Talmud and other rabbinical writings. Nearly 1,000 copies of the Talmud were thrown into a pit at Kamenets and burned by the hangman.
BIBLIOGRAPHY:
Loeb, in: REJ, 1 (1880), 247–61; 2 (1881), 248–70; 3 (1881), 39–57; J.D. Eisenstein (ed.), O?ar Vikku?im (1928), 81–86; A.M. Habermann (ed.), Sefer Gezerot Ashkenaz ve-?arefat (1945), 183–5, 263–4; Roth, Italy, 289–94; R.N. Rabbinovicz, Ma'amar al Hadpasat ha-Talmud, ed. by A.M. Habermann (1952); Rosenthal, in: JQR, 47 (1956/57), 58–76, 145–69; A. Ya'ari, Me?kerei Sefer (1958), 198–234; Baer, Spain, 1 (1961), 155; 2 (1966), 15–16, 224–9; Baron, Social2, 9 (1965), 55–96; S. Grayzel, Church and the Jews in the XIIIth Century (1966), 29, 241; Merhavya, in: Tarbiz, 37 (1967/68), 78–96, 191–207 (and Eng. summary).
[Yvonne Glikson]

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.




quote:

1275 ENGLAND, STATUTE CONCERNING THE JEWS (Statutum de Judaisno)
King Edward banned usury and tried to encourage Jews in agriculture, crafts and local trades. He failed, partly because of local prejudice and opposition. Jews were forbidden to lend money at interest and the order was renewed that all Jews over the age of seven had to wear a badge shaped like the twelve tablets of law. This was similar to the edict of Louis IX (1254). The Jews, mostly financially drained and impoverished, were replaced by the Lombards of Italy as the bankers of the King - and were thus no longer considered an asset.

1278 November 17, EDWARD I (England)
Arrested all the Jews for alleged coin clipping and counterfeiting. 680 were arrested, jailed and put on trial. The judges were given prior instructions clearly biased against the Jews. Although many Christians were accused, many more (ten times as many) Jews were hung than Christians (269 Jews and 29 Christians). Edward received 16,500 pounds from the property of the executed Jews and the fines of those charged. At that time Jews comprised 1% of the English population. 16,500 pounds was almost 10% of the exchequer's national income.

1280 January 2, LONDON (England)
Jews were forced to hear Dominican conversion sermons. Jewish blasphemy of the Church was deemed a capital offense. Abraham the son of Deulecresse of Norwich was drawn and burned for "Blasphemy and other trespasses" including alleged coinage violation. The punishment for coinage clipping alone was hanging.

1283 April 19, MAYENCE (Germany)
Ritual murder accusation (blood libel). Thirty-six Jews were slain.

1285 April 4, - 1314 REIGN OF PHILIP IV PHILIP THE FAIR (France)
(The Fair - referring to color, not to temperament). The grandson of Saint Louis. His policy regarding the Jews was to use them solely for his financial benefit.

1287 April 19, WERNER OF OBERWESEL (Germany)
A 16 year old boy was found dead on the shore of the Rhine.Immediately a ritual murder accusation placed the blame on the Jews. Over the next few months forty men, women and children - were killed by riots as they spread down the Rhineland. Werner himself (despite the order of King Rudolf I to burn the corpse) was buried in a chapel in Oberwesel where he was venerated as a saint. Nearby Bacharach, where his body was found, also erected a chapel. Although Pope John XXIII ordered the “holy” day deleted from diocese of Trier in 1963 it still appears in some German Saint Directories. The “Saint Werner’s Chapel” was renovated in 2001.rn

1287 May 4, ENGLAND
Jews were arrested and again accused of "clipping" the coinage. Although there was no evidence, the community as a whole was convicted and ordered to be expelled. A ransom of 4,000 (others say 12,000) pounds of silver was paid.

1288 June 8, BONN (Germany)
Riots, after a ritual murder accusation, left 104 Jews dead.

1289 GASCONY (France)
Jews were expelled from France and their property was confiscated. (Edward I of France had incurred large debts and he needed money quickly.)

1290 July 18, EDWARD I (England)
Pressured by his barons, the Church and possibly his mother, he announced the expulsion of all the Jews. By November 1 approximately 4,000 had fled, mostly to France. The Jews had to pay their own passage. They were allowed to take movables (i.e. clothing). A number of Jews were robbed and cast overboard during the voyage by the ship captains. The Jews did not return to England until 1659. This was the first national expulsion of the Jews. (England was one of the only centralized and national monarchies of that time.)

C. 1290 BARTOLOMEO DE CAPUA (Apulia, Italy)
Was a Dominican friar who accused the Jews of killing a Christian child in a derision of the death of Jesus. The king ordered them to either accept baptism or flee. Most of the local synagogues in Trani, Bari, Naples, Apulia, and other cities were converted to churches. Thousands of Jews throughout southern Italy either fled or converted as a consequence, ending 1,000 years of active Jewish life.

1291 May 18, ACRE (Eretz Israel)
After a two month siege, the fortress fell to the Fatimid Egyptians under Al-Ashraf Khalil. Any inhabitants Christian or Jews who did not succeed in fleeing were killed. To all intents and purposes the Crusades were at an end. The various crusading armies never succeeded in uniting as a cohesive force. They were defeated as much by infighting and separate treaties as by the Fatimid armies.

1296 June 19, BOPPARD AND OBERWESEL (Germany)
A blood libel instigated by Rindfleish, a German knight, resulted in the murder of 40 Jews. Heine's Der Rabbi von Bacherach was based on this massacre. Over the next few years the slaughter of thousands of victims, if not tens of thousands, in 146 communities in southern and central Germany and Austria were attributed to Rindfleish and his mobs. Emperor Albert I was too busy with internal threats to defend the Jews. A few years later he did make a half-hearted attempt at restoring peace, which was mostly ignored.

1298 April 20, ROTTINGEN (Germany)
Rindfleish accused the local Jews of profaning the host. He then incited the Burgher and local populace to join in the killing. Twenty-one Jews were murdered.

1301 EGYPT
Riots broke out, encouraged by the Mameluke rulers. Many Jews and Christians - including all the Jews of Bilbeis - were forcibly converted to Islam.

1306 January 21, FRANCE
Phillip the Fair, needing funds after his war with the Flemish, issued secret orders to ready for the expulsion of the Jews and the confiscation of their property. Any Jews found after a given date were to be executed.

1306 July 22, PHILIP THE FAIR (France)
Expelled the Jews from his lands after arresting all of them (on the day after the 9th of Av) and confiscating their property. Most Jews went to the next Duchy. Gradually, they were allowed to drift back.

1310 - 1380 COUNCIL OF ZARMORA (Spain)
The Council, under the patronage of the Queen Mother Maria, decreed the wearing of the "Badge of Shame" for Jews, the exclusion of Jews from all state occasions, and a ban on the employment of Jewish physicians. Jews were also forbidden to use Christian names. However, the council rejected the request of Pope Clement V to cancel all debts to Jews.

1315 LOUIS X (France)
Philip's brother and successor, he allowed the Jews back into France for financial considerations. (Jews were often expelled because of pressure from the Church, economic or political considerations, only to be readmitted at a later date.) The Jews were promised one year's notice should permission to return be rescinded.

1320 July 7, PASTOUREAUX (Southern France)
A crusade against the Jews was started by a shepherd. It spread throughout most of southern France and northern Spain. One hundred and twenty communities were destroyed. At Verdun, 500 Jews defended themselves from within a stone tower where they killed themselves when they were about to be overrun.

1320 PRINCE GEDIMIN OF LITHUANIA
Founded Vilna and made it his capital. He then brought in Jews to live there.

C. 1320 LUCERNE (Switzerland)
A town proclamation demanded a fine for anyone perpetrating a blood libel against the Jews without notifying the council in advance.

1320 September 6, POPE JOHN XII
Ordered the burning of the Talmud and the expulsion of Jews from the Papal States. A large bribe managed to avert the expulsion order although two years later the Talmud was burned in Rome during the festival of Shavuot (Pentecost). During the riots which ensued, the father-in-law of Immanuel of Rome was killed and local expulsions did take place ( Milan).

1321 August 21, FRANCE
Jews were accused of encouraging lepers to poison Christian wells. This directly led to wide-spread and similar accusations during the Black Plague. This time, five thousand Jews were killed. At Chinon, 160 Jews were burned in a pit on an island outside of town. The king, Philip the Tall, in due course admitted that the Jews were innocent. The island is still known as Ile de Juifs.

1321 CASTILE (Spain)
Henry II forced the Jews to wear the yellow badge.

1322 June 24, CHARLES IV OF FRANCE
Expelled all the Jews from France without the promised one year's warning.

1328 March 5, NAVARRE (France)
After the death of Charles the Fair, Philip's brother and successor, Pedro Olligoyen, a Franciscan friar, used the Jews as a scapegoat against French rule. All Jewish houses were pillaged then destroyed. Approximately 6000 Jews were murdered. There were 20 survivors.

1329
A street with the name of Via Scannaguidei (Kill the Jews Street) was noted and is still in existence today.

1334 October 9, CASIMIR III THE GREAT (1310-1370) (Poland)
Re-affirmed the policies of Boleslav regarding protection of the Jews. This document was instrumental in encouraging Jews to begin to flee Germany and move East. In general Casimir protected Jewish interests. Later a myth developed, claiming that it was due to influence of a beautiful Jewish mistress, Esterka of Opoczno.

1336 July 29, ROTTINGEN (Germany)
Led by John Zimberlin, a self proclaimed prophet, a group of peasants known as the Armleder (for their leather straps worn on their arms)or Judenschlaeger ("Jew-killers") attacked Jewish communities in Franconia and the Alsace region. They also destroyed Jewish communities in Bohemia, Moravia and elsewhere along the Rhine. Roughly 1500 Jews were murdered. Eventually, when the Armleder began to attack non-Jews, they were opposed by local Lords.

1337 September 30, DECKENDORF, BAVARIA (Germany)
Host desecration was alleged and violence spread to fifty-one communities, including Bohemia and Austria. To this day people come on pilgrimages to the church where paintings show Jews in medieval dress desecrating the host "wafers".

1338 August 19, WOLFSBERG (Austria)
Host desecration riots. The Jews were accused of stealing the Eucharist, making it bleed, and trying to burn it. Over 70 Jews were burned at the stake and the community was destroyed, never to be revived.

1339 SOLOMON B. SAMUEL (Urgench, Transoxania present day Uzbekistan)
Published the first Judeo-Persian dictionary Sefer ha-Melizah, with over a thousand words from the Bible, Talmud, and the Midrash. It was written in the literary language common to the Jews of Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asia in this period.

1348 September 21, PLAGUE RIOTS SPREAD TO SWITZERLAND
Bern, Chillon, Zurich. In the Castle of Chillon on Lake Geneva, Jews under torture admitted to being given poison to place in wells around Venice.

1348 September 26, POPE CLEMENT VI
Issued a Bull contradicting the libel against the Jews. In it he stated that the Jews were suffering just like the rest of Europe. Other rulers issued similar denunciations, but to little effect.

1348 November 22, RIOTS REACHED BAVARIA AND SWABIA (Germany)
Jews in eighty towns including Augsberg, Munich and Wurzburg were attacked.

1348 - 1349 THE BLACK PLAGUE (Europe)
One third of Europe's population died from the Black Death (Bubonic plague). Though many Jews were among the dead, they were accused by local church leaders and tortured to confess that they had poisoned the wells (Chillon) in order to kill Christians. During the next few years - despite the protests of Pope Clement VI - over 60 large and 150 small Jewish communities were destroyed as a direct result of these accusations. These included untold atrocities in cities such as Basel, Cologne, Strasbourg, Worms, Zurich and others. The plague, which originated in China, was spread for the most part by rats which came aboard ships from Asia to European ports. It is estimated that 25 million people perished within three years.

1349 January 16, BASEL (Switzerland)
The guilds brought up charges against the Jews accusing them of poisoning the wells. Despite an attempted defense by the town council, 600 Jews together with the rabbi were burned to death. One hundred and forty children were taken from their parents and forcible baptized. The victims were left unburied, the cemetery destroyed and the synagogue turned into a church. The remaining Jews were expelled and not readmitted until 1869.

1349 February 14, ST. VALENTINES DAY (Strasbourg)
Earlier that month, a riot ensued in the town after corn prices fell. The Jews were accused of a conspiracy. The mayor and some members of the city council had voted against the action and were removed from office by the tradesmen. The entire Jewish population (2000) was dragged to the cemetery and burned to death. Only those who accepted Christianity were allowed to live. The new council voted that Jews could not return for 100 years and their property and possessions were divided amongst the burghers. Within six months Emperor Charles IV pardoned the town council for the murders. Twenty years later, Jews were re-admitted.

1349 February 22, ZURICH (Switzerland)
Although the town council initally tried to protect the Jews of the town, they were forced to give in to the mob, resulting in the murder of many of the Jewish inhabitants.

1349 March 21, ERFURT (Germany)
After a mob marched into the Jewish quarter carrying a flag with a cross, the Jews tried to defend themselves. Over a hundred Jews were killed and much of the ghetto burned.

1349 August 23, COLOGNE (Germany)
As the riots began, many of the residents took shelter in the synagogue. When it was attacked as well, the Jews inside set fire to it rather then be taken by the mob outside. Most of those who had not taken refuge in the synagogue were also murdered. Their property was confiscated by the Church, with the municipality and the Count of Juelich each fighting over their share.

1349 August 24, MAYENCE AND BRESLAU (Germany)
After a mob marched into the Jewish quarter of Mayence carrying a flag with a cross, three hundred young Jews tried to defend themselves. Although as many as 200 of the attackers were killed, they soon overcame the defenders. Rather then be converted, the Jews set their houses on fire. 6,000 Jews died and another 4,000 died in Breslau.

1349 September 29, ALBERT II (Austria)
After an attack on the Jews at Krems, he forcibly ended the riots. Austria was thus one of the few places of relative security in Europe.

1349 March 1, (10 Adar I 5109) WORMS (GERMANY)
Riots broke out in the town. Many Jews fled to Heidelberg, others in desperation set fire to their homes or were murdered. An estimated 420 people died that day. Their property was seized by the town.

1350 - 1369 PEDRO (Peter) OF CASTILE (Spain)
Known as "the Cruel", he was in general friendly to the Jews. When he was overthrown by his step-brother, Henry, the Jews were forced to wear the Yellow Badge in penance for their loyalty to Pedro. They also had to renounce their Spanish names, the use of which was considered a privilege.

1355 May 7, TOLEDO (Spain)
Henry de Trastamasa, step-brother of Peter the Cruel, invaded Toledo on the pretense of rescuing the Queen Blance from Peter. 1,200 Jews were killed. Bitter fighting within the Jewish quarter repelled the attack. As a reward for the courage of the Jews and loyalty of his advisor, Samuel ben Meir Halevi (Abulafia), Pedro allowed him to construct a beautiful synagogue (1357) which was later converted into a church under the name of El Tránsito. A few years later despite his service, Abulafia lost favor with the king and he was painfully murdered. (see 1360).

1356 GOLDEN BULL OF CHARLES IV (Germany)
Alienated all rights of Jews. This led to the common practice of expelling the Jews from one district and, due to financial considerations, accepting them in another.

1359 FRANCE
A defeat by the English at Poitiers led to a financial crisis that prompted re-admittance of Jewish financiers and Jews to France, this time for 70 years.

1360 MIRANDA DEL EBRO (Castile, Spain)
Furious after a massacre of the Jews, Pedro I roasted one of the perpetrators alive, boiled another and executed eight others with an axe.

1367 April 25, CASIMIR III
Expanded the "priviliges" of 1334 to include the Jews in Lesser Poland and Ukraine.

1370 May 22, ALLEGED HOST DESECRATIONS (Brussels, Belgium)
After killing a local wealthy Jew, the perpetrators tried to cover their tracks by accusing the Jews of Host desecration and escaping in the resulting confusion. A few hundred Jews were killed and the rest were banished from the country. A holiday was declared by the local churches.

1376 ABRAHAM CRESQUES (Majorca)
The famous Majorcan cartographer to Pedro IV of Aragon. He sent a map of the world as a gift to Charles VI of France. He is also credited from creating the famous Catalan atlas. Many of the maps of this era - which were known as Portolanos - charted coastlines and oceans (mostly of the Mediterranean area). Many Jews from the island of Majorca - as well as from Alexandria - have their names signed to these early maps.

1376 HUNGARY
Following persecutions in the wake of the Black Plague, many Jews fled south to Greece, becoming absorbed into the local Sephardic population. The term "Sephardic Jews" originally refered to those Jews who lived in the Iberian peninsula and followed certain customs. After the expulsion of 1492 the Sephardic community spread throughout the Levant, to Turkey , Greece, and North Africa. Ladino (which is the equivalent of Yiddish) was spoken by some but, was not as widespread as the former among its population.

1378 - 1400 KING WENCESLAUS (Germany)
During the fights between the cities and the nobility, he tried a compromise proposal using the Jews as a pawn (1385). He later retracted and broke up the Swabian League, (the league of free cities in S. Germany) remitting all debts owed to Jews, with the Emperor getting his percentage. This provided further impetus for the Jews to move eastward.

1380 November 15, CHARLES VI ASCENDS THE THRONE (France)
He told a mob that he would relieve some of the taxes but not expel the Jews. Instigated by the nobles, they plundered and murdered in the Jewish quarter for four days. The nobles hoped that this way they would relieve themselves of some of the debts owed to Jewish money lenders. Some Jews took refuge in the royal prison. Hughes Abriot, the Provost, obtained an order for restitution of all property and the return of all infants forcibly baptized. Because of this, he was accused of converting to Judaism and sent to jail for a year in penance.

1382 March 2, MAILOTIN RIOTS (Paris, France)
These riots were similar to the tax riots held two years previously. Both times the Jews were considered accomplices in over-oppressive taxes. Sixteen Jews fell victim to this outbreak.

1384 WISSENBURG, WINDSHEIM, AND NORDLINGEN (Germany)
Guilds revolt against the patricians. The Jews, an old enemy of the guilds, who saw them as competition, shared the fate of the patricians. The Federation of Swabia tried to put down the revolt. In many cities (i.e. Nuremburg), the Jews were forced to buy the protection of the local councils.

1385 June 16, King WENCESLAUS (Germany)
Arrested Jews living in what was known as the Swabian League, and confiscated their books. A hefty fine had to be paid for the release of the prisoners and the return of the books.

1385 ULM (Germany)
At a meeting of the Swabian League cities it was decided that one fourth of the debts owed to Jews should be cancelled and the other three-quarters should be paid to the cities. Jews were prevented from emigrating.

1386 - 1456 JOHN OF CAPISTRANO (Giovanni da Capistrano) (Italy)
Nicknamed "Scourge of the Jews". A Franciscan monk, considered it an obligation and a privilege to persecute the Jews. As such, for the next 40 years, he traveled throughout Italy even reaching Bohemia. John of Capistrano acted as an agent of the Church, attacking Jews and heretics and did his best to undermine their positions. He did not hesitate to chastise the pope on occasion for being too lenient. He even convinced the Queen of Naples to cancel any rights given to the Jews and to reinstate all anti-Jewish measure, although this was short-lived.

1387 THE CANTERBURY TALES
A collection of stores completed by Geoffrey Chaucer (1342-1400). His "The Prioress's Tale" is a story about a child killed by Jews as encouraged by Satan 'That hath in Jewes' heart his waspe's nest'. The story ends with the mention of another ‘ritual murder libel, Little Saint Hugh of Lincoln, in 1255.

1388 - 1430 GRAND DUKE VITORT (Lithuania)
He established the basis for the legal status of Jews, including freedom of trade and worship. This was in sharp contrast to the medieval position of the Jews throughout Poland.

1389 April 18, MASSACRE AT PRAGUE (Bohemia)
A priest, hit with a few grains of sand or pebbles by small Jewish boys playing in the street, became insulted and insisted that the Jewish community purposely plotted against him. The priests followers beat up the boys whose parents arrived to defend them. A mob was then incited to attack the ghetto. Thousands were slaughtered, the synagogue and the cemetery were destroyed, and homes were pillaged. King Wenceslaus insisted that the responsibility rested with the Jews for venturing outside during Holy Week.

1389 July 1, GRAND DUKE WITOLD (Vitold) (Vytautas the Great) (1350-1430) (Lithuania)
Established the basis for the legal status of Jews, including freedom of trade and worship originally in the Grodno Province and then on his other regions. This bill of rights "Cartia" was in sharp contrast to the medieval position of the Jews throughout Poland. Individual Jews were not taxed but the community itself was responsible for the collection and their lives and property were protected. The Duke also brought Jews from the Crimea and settled them in Vilna and even proposed that synagogues and Jewish cemeteries be tax exempted.

1389 July 2, POPE BONIFACE IX
(Based on a Bull of Pope Clement VI), he forbade Christians to harm the Jews, destroy their cemeteries, or forcibly baptize them.

1391 June 6, FORCED CONVERSIONS (Seville, Spain)
Ferrand Martinez, Archdeacon of Ecija, began to incite mobs into attacking the Jewish quarter. The campaign soon spread throughout Spain, except for Granada. The Jewish quarter in Barcelona, located for over 400 years near the castle, was totally destroyed. Over 10,000 Jews were killed, and many others chose conversion and became New Christians or Conversos. Of these, many continued to practice Judaism in secret while paying lip service to the Church. They became known by the Christians as Marranos. The Jews never used the term Marrano themselves although some knew of it. Many scholars have speculated that the origins of the word stemmed from Latin, Arabic and even Hebrew, but in fact it was the Spanish term for pig or pork an expression of extreme disgust on the part of the Christians. The Jews refered to them as anusim "those who were forced to convert". Eventually, these mass forced conversions led to the establishment of the Inquisition.

1391 July 9, VALENCIA (Spain)
The violence, which was begun a month earlier by Ferrand Martinez (see June 6), continued unabated. The community was destroyed and 250 Jews massacred. Many others, including the King's physician, converted to Christianity, while still others found refuge in the houses of their Christian neighbors.

1391 July 10, PALMA DE MAJORCA
As news of the Spanish riots reached Majorca, riots broke out all over the island. Despite the efforts of Francisco Sa Garriga, the local viceroy, the entire Jewish community was destroyed and its inhabitants were either converted or murdered. Over 110 families converted, and the remnants fled to North Africa. Although a number of Jews were again invited to reside there the following year, a blood libel 40 years later ended the 800 year old Jewish community.

1391 July 16, VALENCIA (Spain)
King Pedro IV ordered that all Jews who had hidden in Christian houses be allowed to return to their homes unmolested. Furthermore, he decreed that synagogues were not to be turned into churches. This did not prevent him from confiscating all the property of those Jews who had either fled or been murdered.

1391 August 5, BARCELONA (Spain)
Although the city fathers and artisans tried to protect them, more than 400 Jews were killed in attacks instigated, for the most part, by Castilians who had taken part in the massacres in Seville and Valencia.

1392 July 17, PORTUGAL
King John (Joao I) (1385-1432) ordered compliance with the Bull of Pope Boniface IX protecting Jews from forced baptism and extended it to Spanish Jewish refugees.

1392 DAMASCUS (Syria)
Local Jews were accused by the Mameluke ruler of setting fire to the central mosque. Though no real evidence was ever presented, a number of Jewish leaders were arrested, one was burned alive, and the synagogue was converted into a mosque. Two years later the synagogue was restored.

1393 August 18, KING JOHN I (Spain)
In an effort to prevent "backsliding" by converted Jews, he prohibited them from living in the same quarter as unconverted Jews or even eating with them.

1394 September 17, CHARLES VI (France)
Using the pretense that a convert in Paris, Denis Machuit, returned to Judaism, he once again expelled the Jews. The order, signed on Yom Kippur, was enforced on November 3. Jews continued to live in Lyons and papal possessions such as Pugnon.

1399 August 16, YOM TOV LIPPMAN-MUELHAUSEN ( Prague)
Rabbi and philosopher, was arrested along with other Jews accused of defaming Christianity. Despite his efforts, 77 Jews were killed. This outstanding Jewish scholar, in addition to his extensive knowledge of philosophy, knew Latin, studied the New Testament and was a skilled polemicist. He had previously held dialogues with the Bishop of Linda, which was unusual for its time in that they were held in an atmosphere of tolerance.
http://jewishhistory.org.il/history.php?search=jews



     And here are some more references.
http://www.zionism-israel.com/his/judeophobia5.htm

http://www.geschichteinchronologie.ch/judentum-aktenlage/IL/Kovner-Reisinger -d/titelblatt-engl.jpg


http://jewishhistory.org.il/history.php?search=jews

     I can probably dig up more with more detail, though I can’t for the life of me imagine why you’d be interested in this stuff.  I read it and I start to get depressed all over again about the nature of men and the nature of religion, and it get’s me angry at people who want to defend to sort of people who would justify this sort of stuff, or pretend it didn’t happen.

     It’s pretty dismal.

Huan Yi
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43 posted 03-05-2012 07:19 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.


“Old argument, but it is only rational if we consider ourselves possessing all the information.  

If we have ever conceded that good can sometimes come from "evil", then we should be able to admit that it is possible that unforseen good, by God's grace, might come of the kinds of evils you've mentioned too.  Or if not direct good coming from evil, at least the arrival of certain kinds of good and healing which could render past evils innocuous. We certainly haven't seen all the ends of the meanness you've mentioned. “


I’m sorry Stephen but if I believed there was an omnipotent
god who would use the injury to innocent children, ( either
through a Hitler who gases a daughter with her mother or a
sexual predator who rapes and then buries a little girl
alive),  I would be worst than Hitch for I would do everything
in my power here or in any after to cut that god’s throat.  
If God were all powerful and good, God would never resort
to atrocities I , a mere man, even in my unbridled dreams
would contemplate.  My personal reconciliation between God
and ugly human history is a God whose kingdom is not of this world.


.  


Bob K
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since 11-03-2007
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44 posted 03-06-2012 11:02 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K


     John, I don't know if you known the Anthony Hecht poem, "More Light! More Light!"  It was once more well known than it now is, but it's a remarkably powerful and very precisely focused poem about the Problem of Evil.

      Jews, Poles, Nazis, under 40 lines and as good as anything written in English by anybody, ever.  Enjoy! would not be the right word, since I'm still as shaken by the thing as when I first read it in the late sixties, but I hope it will mean as much to you as it does to me in terms of bearing the unbearable.

http://poemhunter.com/poem/more-light-more-light/
Stephanos
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45 posted 03-06-2012 01:41 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Bob:
quote:
Okay, Stephen.  I can’t imagine why you want the material, but here is at least some of it.  I grew up around this stuff.


Bob, all I asked was for you to indicate (a sentence or two would have been fine) what you were referring to so generally, not to cut and paste the encyclopedia of injustices against Jews throughout all time.  I wanted to know what you meant about Christians burning Jewish wisdom literature simply because it was written "after the death of Jesus".  Even the material you pasted shows this isn't the case, as the events you refer to happened in the 12th century, and so could have had nothing to do with chronology.  Otherwise your regurgitative and intolerably long copy-and-paste post, has very little to do with what I asked from YOU.  I support this by noting that your material included episodes where Jews and Christians suffered forced conversions to Islam.  What does that have to do with the price of Tea in Mongolia?    


Yes, the Talmud was ordered to be burned in Paris by a certain Pope, but the whole scandal was initiated by a Jew ... Nicholas Donin, a Jewish convert to Christianity who was most likely not a true convert at all, but seeking revenge for previously being excommunicated from the Synagogue, by bringing charges against the Jews regarding their writings.  Did anti-semitism exist within the Christian churches?  Sadly yes, sometimes, and always against the tenets of Christian scripture.  And it cannot be defended, ever, nor is it by me.  


But we already agree that there is and has been religious conflict, and atrocities done in the name of religion.  So why post an insufferably long excerpt, not to be read (I'm sure you didn't really intend that), but to merely make your position's credibility seem equal to the word count.  Do you think I couldn't also provide multiple page after page of good and humane instances of religious expression throughout history, a panegyric of religious virtue?  Of course I could, if I didn't think it would be unnecessary ineffective and jejune in the context of reasoned debate.


I would like you, however, to comment on the other 99% of my former post, without all the wiki-mania, when you have the time.


quote:
I can probably dig up more with more detail


No, no, please ... you did just fine.  Though I'd want a bit more focus on the question I actually asked next time, your attention to detail (in which, in this case, the devil truly lies) is impeccable.  


quote:
and it get’s me angry at people who want to defend to sort of people who would justify this sort of stuff, or pretend it didn’t happen.

It’s pretty dismal.


It is indeed dismal.  But it is also a partial picture.  It is not that I am pretending these things didn't happen, I just have to point out that a whole lot more has happened than your screed includes, and that I differ in your conclusions.


John:

quote:
If God were all powerful and good, God would never resort
to atrocities I , a mere man, even in my unbridled dreams
would contemplate.


God allowing evil to have a certain amount of freedom, which means human freedom, does not equate to his 'resorting' to evil.  From a race who, perhaps more than anything, wants autonomy, and whose objections to God typically play on how little 'freedom' he gives, it is hard to fathom the argument that God allows too much.  

But if you consider that God has both limited evil, and given all the good human impulses that tend to counter it, it may be rash to say that unless God directly intervenes in evil every time, he himself is evil.  You haven't seen the end of the story.  Nor do you fully understand the story you see.  Nor have you considered a possible perspective that may be larger than our own blinding pain and emotion.  I don't mean to trivialize human pain.  But I don't think a good Theodicy, like the book of Job, does so.  That's where the "Kingdom not of this World" becomes relevant.  But if there is recognition of what God has already done, and does in the world, and the hope that more good may yet to come, that's where "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ" becomes relevant.  


I just think there's another option than to say that only when God ceases to be all-powerful can I believe his goodness.  


Stephen  
Bob K
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46 posted 03-06-2012 04:57 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     Okay, Stephen,
http://www.amazon.com/Constantines-Sword-Church-Jews-History/dp/0618219080

     The incident is covered in here.  The author is James Carroll, a former priest.

     I am thrilled to know that Nicholas Donin was  “a Jewish convert to Christianity who was most likely not a true convert at all, but seeking revenge for previously being excommunicated from the Synagogue, by bringing charges against the Jews regarding their writings.” 

     For a moment, I thought some Christians might have been held responsible in the making of this film.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicholas_Donin
Stephanos
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47 posted 03-07-2012 09:35 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Thanks Bob,

It does look like an interesting read.

Stephen
Bob K
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48 posted 03-09-2012 01:51 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     It's a thrilling, judicious, compassionate and thoughtful read.  I think it may be a bit hard on the Catholics, but I think the reason for that is because Carroll sees so many possibilities for them that I don't think I did.  Were I Catholic, however, I would have been a very happy man to have had a pastor like that, and knowing that there are Christians in the clergy like him even today is one of the things that makes me pleased with so many of the Christians I know.  Deeply spiritual, deeply compassionate people, they are, who can look at the depths of their faith and  themselves and accept themselves with a sort of profound and opening joy.  You can see Christ as a mediating spirit functioning in folks like this that helps them deal with the world in a very fine way without trying to rationalize reality away.  

     I found this book deeply humane and loving at the same time that it covers such very painful material.  I found it good for my soul.  I hope that you give it a shot; though it asks an awful lot, I found that it returned even more.
 
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