[OPE-L:6472] Re: Re: RE: Marx and the bible

From: Patrick L. Mason (pmason@garnet.acns.fsu.edu)
Date: Wed Jan 30 2002 - 21:48:03 EST

The reference to "Moses and the Prophets" is most definitely not intended 
to be anti-Semitic. Technically, it is a reference to a society's most 
fundamental law. So, the fundamental "law" of capitalism is accumulation. 
It is not an identification of money-making with Judaism. "Moses and the 
Prophets" is equally a Christian and a Jewish reference.

Lest we forget Marx was a student of Hegel, who was a solid Methodist. Marx 
knew the bible well. Both the socialist ethic, "From each according to his 
ability, to each according to his worth," and the communist ethic, "From 
each according to his ability, to each according to his need," are lifted 
wholesale from the book of Acts.

Further, Leviticus - the most important book of the Pentateuch, i.e., the 
Law of Moses or the first five books of the Old Testament, as well as Acts 
place a very heavy focus on redistributing wealth. The early Christians 
were communists of the highest order - they socialized personal property as 
well as productive property. So, to the extent that the Jewishness of the 
comment is relevant at all, it is a great complement to the Jewish 
tradition of egalitarian. A tradition that was passed on in toto to the 
early Christians (who did not consider themselves a separate group from 
Jews, or more accurately, Israelites).

I would like to argue that Marx was strongly and positively influenced by 
both the Old and New Testaments. He was, of course, an atheist. 
Nevertheless, the bible's emphasis on social justice and egalitarian 
economics was clearly a source of inspiration for Marx. It is not 
surprising then to find my Christians attracted to Marx's analysis of 
capitalism. For example, see the theological work of Gustavo Gutierrez 
(Catholic) and James Cone (Methodist).

peace, patrick l mason

At 02:50 PM 1/30/02 -0500, you wrote:
>On Wed, 30 Jan 2002, gerald_a_levy wrote [6465]:
> > 3) Never one to shy away from controversy, let me
> > note that the above reference -- given the prevailing
> > anti-Semitism in Europe in Marx's time and given a
> > history by Marx  of making anti-Semitic comments in
> > his personal correspondence  (of course this is known
> > to us but was not known to the contemporary readers
> > of _Capital_) --  is suggestive of a popular prejudice
> > in Europe at the time: the identification of Jews with
> > money-making, saving, and lending.
>What does the cited reference to "Moses and the Prophets" by Marx have to
>do with "prevailing anti-Semitism in Europe in Marx's time" and Marx's
>own prejudices?  Is referring to "Moses and the Prophets" supposed to be

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