Wednesday, December 01, 2010

holiday myths: chanukkah

""""Over the next 100 years, the Maccabees used their military might to expand the Jewish kingdom, forcibly converting the Idumeans to Judaism... They epitomized the worst in military dictatorship... The more successful the Maccabees became, the wealthier and more Hellenistic they became!... they ended up becoming the single most successful Hellenizing force in Jewish society!...the Maccabean Kingdom was conquered by the Romans, and by the time the Rabbis, heirs of the Perushim and Hasidim, edited the Talmud, the land of Israel had known tremendous loss of life and destruction due to vainglorious military resistance and rebellion against Roman might. The martial memories of the Maccabees were no longer seen as reminders of a glorious past but dangerous, seditious influences which must be supressed at all costs ... The rabbis feared glorifying a martial past while still occupied and oppressed...The myth of the cruse of oil masked the truth about Hanukkah for centuries. The rabbis may have deliberately lied about the military origins and Hellenistic causes of Hanukkah in order to maintain the holiday but shifted its focus to God and more religious themes out of a greater need for survival!...""""

The real message of chanukkah however may involve more than glorifying "a martial past" (though that's a part of it, as Israelis realized post-1948): the Maccabee zealots not only reacted to greek "paganism" (ie, the proverbial statue of Zeus...probably concocted), but to....rationality itself, and really to secular civilization. This process continues today: many sublime greek and roman temples (anything with columns wasn't built by semites, at least initially) in and around the "holy land" have been claimed by jews and muslims as their own (and defaced, covered with hebrew or arabic scribbling, called "King Solomon's Fort" or something of the sort, though they were probably dedicated to Apollo, etc). Why Aristotle, Euclid, Pythagoras, Plato, creepy poets et al when ...levitical law-code contained everything the pilgrim needed to know? Logos is bad for business, including the judeo-christian business.

No comments:

Custom Search

Blog Archive