Friday, November 25, 2005

Finer point

Apropos yesterday's last post S writes:

If the former, then the Jews (if you can call them that) were pagans with a god called YHWH in the pantheon. At that time Judaism (or Isralitism) didn't exist. If the latter, then your friend is right and these syncretistic Jews in Tanakh were deviants from Judaism--which only existed as early as Jews were monotheistic.

Let's suppose the latter. God gave the Torah, and those Jews were sinners. But their sin was overwhelmingly popular and overwhelmingly tolerated. We're told that Pesach was not celebrated from Joshua to Josia, and Sukkot was ignored until Ezra. Elijah himself testifies that no one in Israel remembered God. The kings are evil and corrupt. Yes, all along the musty old books might have said that idol worship was wrong, but who lives in musty old books? In the world of men, idols were worshipped by most everyone, as most every page testifies.

Now, extrapolate to our day. Another friend, a feminist, insists that Judaism is better than the Jews, because Judaism "properly understood" places no limits on female achievment. Perhaps, she is right about Judaism, but so what? If no one "properly understands this" what good is it? It is the difference between the theoretical and the actual.