Sunday, December 14, 2008

Maybe Augustine Wasn't...?

Paula Fredriksen of Boston University claims that contrary to accepted wisdom, St. Augustine was for the Jews after he was against them. She admits that this change of his mind seems to have escaped the notice of all those subsequent Christians who cited him (along with many others) as they merrily murdered Jews in the ensuing 16 centuries or so. Still, in a new book she's just published she apparently demonstrates that those violent folks were not doing justice to what Augustine really said or meant. Being a historian, she feels the historical truth is not only interesting, it's also important, and might contribute to inter-religious discussions.

Due disclosure requires I tell that I know Paula, and she's a serious person always worth listening to, so her book should be taken seriously. So I've added it to the (alas, very long) list of things I've got to read, and once I've done so perhaps I'll come back and report to what extent she convinced me.

(And note that the book is available in Kindle - a technology I've duscussed which appears not to be going away).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Why not start at the beginning? Plenty of Jews showed up for the shows where Rome murdered a whole slew of Jesus followers. And, yes. In the beginning they were all Jewish.

Does Paul intoduce the newcomers? Seems so. Seems he also knew Jesus' brother, James. And, then Paul got in trouble for bringing "the uncircumcized" into the Temple. Well? It displeased the Jewish priests.

As to what happens when people argue dogma? You'd learn from America's Founding Fathers that religious wars was a major factor in Europe's calamities. Wasn't localized. But was MAJOR!

America's Founding Fathers used REASON to arrive at a form of government (not perfect ... because, in general, people aren't perfect. And, power can be aggrandized.) To come up with a system that actually works best as America grew into it's space. From the Original 13 Colonies.

The Greeks had said you "couldn't have democracy" over a broad area. It would be limited by city/state.

And, the Greeks were wrong.

What a pleasure to read the ancient texts, and to see how they "didn't get it right." But with the foundations of the United States; and the way powers were dissected, to be shared ... among equals ... You basically have a sytem that can even survive trends ... of "families" occupying high office.

If you don't believe me, then you don't notice what Dubya did. But it stands to reason that just "getting in" isn't enough.

Christianity, today, is fragmented. Which is a GOOD THING! While in Israel, a demented approach to giving the whole religious pie to the inferior "ultra's" has led to harms.

Including harms where Israelis, themselves, wanting to marry; and also to avoid the rabbis, toodle off-shore to Cypress.

But your politicians? HA! They're not going to fix anything! They're still squabbling about Olmert's "double billing" of charities ... as if that wasn't once a font of money ... where you got plenty. And, gave back NOTHING.

Meanwhile, in India, there is now more focus on befriending America; than what happened with Nehru. And, his running to stalin. Because both of them understood raw power.

Oh, my mom said Augustine suddenly got religious because he stopped getting erections. Well? What made him stop, except that he was tempted not to look down, anymore, and see flacid tissue where once he felt manhood. And, prevailed.

Of course, the best you get from all the popes? They actually kept records! The kept the books!

It's a fly in the ointment when your own cadres tend not to make oral realities ... last on paper.

Ah. And, beyond religion there is PHILOSOPHY.

And, then, there's LITERATURE! Both Shakespeare, and the King James Bible. Which is 80% the Geneva Bible. Where Tindale gets no credit. Why not? The angry pope had him burnt at the stake.

You can't get hurt with knowledge. With each and every step, instead, you're giving a small candle that lights the way.