Tuesday, December 13, 2005

"Yahweh Won't Go Away"

This is a fascinating interview with Harold Bloom on his new book, "Jesus and Yahweh" (thanks to the Ragincajun for passing it along). I'm curious what his old Reaganista con-rades are saying about this book.

5 Comments:

Blogger mkchicago said...

Stupid, sexy audio link! Can't listen at work. Don't suppose there's a text link I missed?

8:57 AM  
Blogger sexyretard said...

Similar problem here on the far north side. Cookie Kwan shall rise again!

9:00 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

I couldn't find any text of the interview either.

9:08 AM  
Blogger sexyretard said...

I have now listened to the NPR interview and am a bit more impressed with the notolothenoid superprotein argument. Here are my criticisms, which, with accompanying 3 dollars, can purchase for you a starbucks (TM) coffee, with espresso, with which to celebrate Eid.

One of Bloom's arguments is that the God (or gods, as he seems to believe them) of the Bible changes to such an extent that He becomes incompatible with Himself, such that Jesus, he believes, is irreconcilable with the God of the Old Testament. He further states that the Jesus of Mark is irreconcilable with the Jesus of John, indeed saying that there are 7 seperate Jesus' in the New Testament.

I answer that people can remain themselves, even though they handle different people and situations differently, and that this can be true of God. I act very differently at the dinner table in front of my child than I do at the Moose Lodge, and I think that's altogether proper. I hardly think that the Mike of the Moose Lodge is incompatible with the Mike of the dinner table.

Of course, different witnesses are always going to relate different details, with varying degrees of accuracy or precision, to any given event. My wife and I can meet a very real person, give accurate descriptions of our time with that person, and yet diverge greatly on details, particularly the less important ones. If I were trying to get across how nice the man was while my wife was trying to get across how good looking he was, we would be rightly expected to give different descriptions of him, even if they were both correct.

Mr. Bloom also says that the idea of a "judeo-Christian" ethic is absurd, as the two traditions are markedly different.

I answer that the more orthodox a member of the Jewish faith, the higher their view of the Scriptures, family, prayer, etc. That is, the more likely they share such priorities with more fundamentalist Christians. In the political world, the more orthodox Jewish people tend to vote more often for the Republicans, just as the trend is in the Christian churches (mainline vs. fundamentalist). Jewish voters as a whole are, of course, more Democratic than Christian voters, but the trend from democrat to republican, based on orthodoxy, is similar in both groups.

Mr. Bloom also looks at a diminishing Jewish population and asks where God must be, while I say that the Bible all over the place asserts that only a small fraction of Jewish people will exist in the end times, and that this group will inherit the Blessed Land. Many times the exiles in Babylon are promised both a great dispersion and a remnant returning to ownership of the land. That such a small remnant exists today was expected by the Bible, and it's hardly fair to use something expected as proof that something isn't authoritative.

4:48 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

"Mr. Bloom also looks at a diminishing Jewish population and asks where God must be, while I say that the Bible all over the place asserts that only a small fraction of Jewish people will exist in the end times, and that this group will inherit the Blessed Land."

Is that true of the Old Testament (or, as one of my Jewish friends calls it, the Real Testament) as well? If not, Bloom can't really be faulted for his accusation that the covenant was betrayed. Beyond that, I'm not at all sure how to take much of what he says in the interview. He often seems to be referring to concepts like the covenant in more of a mytho-poetic sense than a literalist fundamentalist would, i.e., bemoaning--in humanist terms of "justice"--the generally shabby treatment Jews have received throughout history without the arrival of the eternally promised savior, rather than doing some kind of technical scriptural exegesis designed to exonerate God of his cruelty and neglect, which, to my mind, is the basic objective of evangelical textual analysis. I suspect that Bloom would take your differing views on the matter to be one more piece of evidence supporting his contention that "judeo-christian" is an internally inconsistent modifier.

12:38 PM  

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