[OPE-L:6496] Re: Marx and the bible

From: gerald_a_levy (gerald_a_levy@msn.com)
Date: Fri Feb 01 2002 - 10:36:33 EST

 Re Patrick's [6482]:

> The Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Writings represent the
> corpus of the Hebrew bible - all of which is accepted by
> Christians and Jews. In fact, I believe that the
> Hebrew bible is also accepted by Muslims (I am not certain of this).

Patrick -- the message of Christians towards 'Moses and the Prophets'
is mixed. There is a literal meaning such as one might hear from the pulpit
but there is another image in popular culture -- that of a caricature of
Jews. Long before Marx -- for instance, look at the role of 'Shylock' in
Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice" -- there was an image presented in
which there was an association of Moses and all Jews with certain
stereotypes concerning physical characteristics (which Marx voiced also) and
social behavior (greedy, miserly, not to be trusted, in league with the
etc.). Indeed, this is one of the characteristics of modern Christianity --
on the one hand, they have their historical and theological origins in
Jewish society and yet at the same time there is this deep-seated prejudice
many Christian sects and societies against Jews who are often pictured as
Moses-like in appearance. When you read 'Moses and the Prophets' you are
reading it in accord with the literal meaning in the New Testament. What I
am suggesting is that this expression in Marx's time would have been
interpreted differently for instance by many readers of _Capital_.
Similarly, when
John Adams talked about 'states rights' he meant that differently from what
expression came to mean (a codeword for racism and segregation). When people
in Marx's time and our own ridicule the appearance and behavior of Moses and
Abraham et al, it is often just a thinly-veiled form of anti-Semitism. Was
this Marx's intention? I don't know. But, given what he wrote in some of his
personal correspondence, it makes me wonder.

In solidarity, Jerry

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