Wednesday, October 28, 2015


In a classroom exchange years ago with post-Jungian guru James Hillman --whose Jewishness was covered up by his apparently Anglo name, like Jon Stuart-- he took me to task for using the phrase "Judeo-Christian" to describe the West.

I forget precisely why he objected. It had something to do with either condescension or colonialism, I think. I had used it in the generously inclusive sense that I had been taught as the Right Thing To Do in Post-Vatican II Catholicism, where Jewish roots were as enthusiastically praised as they had been systematically rejected prior to that time.

I have now come to the same conclusion as Reb Hillman, although for my own reasons. It is not a phrase I will use anymore. Western civilization is not Judeo-Christian. It was created by Christians. And until the Enlightenment rejection of Christianity, Judaism was virtually always seen as the alien Other. Ask any Jew. And what is now condescendingly condemned as Christian "supercessionism" --yet another fraudulent ism-- was for 2000 year simply orthodoxy.

Hillman played it both ways. When he was part of European tradition, he could claim the whole thing as his inheritance (although his loathing of Christianity was never far from the surface) but when he wanted to gain traction as a sacred outsider, he'd drag out his Judaism. Well, not his Judaism, since he was not remotely religious in any traditional halachic way, but his Jewishness.

That is one of the great tragedies of Emancipation, that now Jewishness rather than Judaism is the religion of most Jews, as Dennis Prager points out. And for most, Jewishness --like gayness for now for homosexuals-- requires worship of the gods of the Left.

"Judeo-Christian" is now fashionably used as a way of getting Christians to feel a kinship with Jews that is rarely reciprocated by the official organs and the many organizations of the Bnai Israel. Individuals are another matter, but in collective terms, it's a one-way street. Hence, my eschewal of the term from now on.

BTW, WWII was not all about the Jews and what happened to them is neither the center of history nor the worst thing ever to happen, despite what the Hitler Channel would like to make us think.


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