as much of the old testament seems to be?

Recent scholarship suggests that the answer may well be yes, and that the Hannuka story is largely Hashmonite propaganda and exaggeration, fostered by a government that was controversial in its time. Steven Weitzman, professor at the University of Indiana argues that the description of the antagonist Antiochus and his edicts were massively out of step with the general trend of the Seleucid emperor’s reign, which generally consisted in religious tolerance and a strong interest in plunder. As Weitzman puts it:

When Antiochus IV’s father first conquered Palestine, he displayed much respect toward the Temple and used his authority to protect the Jews’ traditions…Most of the sources relating these events were written a very long time after they took place. They do not provide sufficient information and are occasionally contradictory.

Why would anyone make up a story, or engage in such an act of hyperbole?

The Maccabees have been considered heroes for so long, that it is hard to imagine that in their time, their rule was extremely controversial. They and their descendants, the Hasmonean dynasty, presented themselves as high priests, but did not belong to a family that held that position for a long time. Neither did they belong to the House of David dynasty, which was supposed to produce kings. Therefore many Jews did not recognize the Hasmoneans as legitimate rulers.

Muffti isn’t really sure what to make of this, since he is no expert and hasn’t seen Weitzman’s paper first hand. Anyone in the know care to fill in some details?

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  • I’ve heard this also. Which is actually one of the reasons I get in arguments with one of my Chabad fellows. I say that Israel’s independence is as significant as Chanukah because it was a similar instance in which Jews were given self-determination on their God-given land. Their argument against me is that Israel is solely a political achievement and not a religious one. My argument against him is that the Hasmonians actually corrupted the religious establishment by granting themselves Cohanim and kings. They were also known for killing fellow Jews who were pro-Greek.

  • This rewriting of history is very similar to david duke and his holocaust denial and or holcaust revision saying it was only a few thousand Jews.

    All of a sudden you have “Recent scholarship” by people who were not there, coming to tell us that all the history that was testified to us all the way from the generations who were, didn’t exactly happen like that.

    The Hashmonaim were priest of the family of Aaron and as far as killing Jews who were pro-greek ie pro-idols in the Holy Temple, pro-banning of the brith milah, pro-banning of our covenant, pro-forcing girls to lay with the greek army commander before marriage and other assorted items…
    well yes they did what is correct.

  • They were not Cohanim. Look it up. This is common knowledge even outside of this recent scholarship. It’s one thing to have an opinion, another to be in denial.

    You think killing people because they disagree with you is ok. I mean, I hate the Naturei Karta, but I’m not sure I would find myself able to kill them.

  • Can you tell me where to look it up? I can give you a reference of his being a priest.
    -the “Al Hanisim” that is in the siddur:
    “In the days of Mattithyahu the son of Yochanan the Hight Priest”

    and here is a link to wikipedia
    “a rural Jewish priest from Modiin, Mattathias the Hasmonean…”

    Now you give me a reference to back yourself up.

    My point as far as the killing goes is that it is incorrect for you to say “corrupted the religious establishment” as if somehow the religion is against it. Say rather that you, Seth, don’t like it.
    That would be fine -after that we can discuss why I disagree with you. But we have to distinguish between what you or anybody might personally dislike and what is against the religion.

    Have good night and Happy Hanukah.

  • I heard the world was flat. With the Jewish people publishing nonsense like this to debunk themselves, it’ll just make it easier for the rest of the world to throw us over the edge.

    Too bad, Seth. The Hashmonaim were a Priestly family. That, in fact, is the common knowledge. Has been so for almost 2500 years. Your post on a blog in 2007 doesn’t detract from the fact one iota.

    Yes, they fought and killed Hellenists. They seriously harmed, both physically and spiritually, the Jewish Kingdom of Israel. Cry for the poor Hellenists.

    Is history repeating itself? I hope it doesn’t have to.

  • Yes, a lot of the Tanakh, especially Maccabees (which I don’t think is known for its verisimilitude) is up for radical interpretation.

    But in any case, I’ll never call it the “Old Testament!”

  • Jewish tradition holds that the claiming of kingship by the later Hasmoneans led to their eventual downfall, since that title was only to be held by descendants of the line of King David. The Hasmonean bureaucracy was filled with men with Greek names, and the dynasty eventually became very Hellenised, to the annoyance of many of its more traditionally-minded Jewish subjects. Frequent dynastic quarrels also contributed to the view among Jews of later generations of the latter Hasmoneans as degenerate.

  • Wow! You read it on the Internet. Fascinating.

    Yes and Esther and the whole Megillah are a figment of the national Jewish imagination.

    And there was no Sinai. No David. Oh yeh, Ezra made it up. Wait. There was no Ezra. Yeh. Whatever.

    Let’s close up shop, folks. We Jews are the world’s biggest phonies.

    I’m packing up my bags and returning today back to the land of the Kazars, home sweet home.

  • Seth, Just looked at the WikiPee article. Where does it say that the Hashmonaim were not Cohanim?

    BTW, everything you say about the eventual Hellenization of the Hashmonai dynasty is precisely what’s been taught all along.

    Am I missing a point here?

  • my whole point from the beginning was that channukah was not this huge Jewish spiritual uprising that people celebrate it as. it was a significant event when jews regained self-determination, just like in Israeli independence. And that is all it should be celebrated as because the Hasmonians ended up being big corrupt hellenized losers.

    I never said everything was a lie. Good job being an asshole though.

    I used the wiki citation because i was taking it from the same source that joeschmo used.

  • This is not so. It was a hugh spiritual uplifting to the Jews at the time of the battles and the miracle. The fact that the uplifting didn’t last long and that the Hashmonaim wound up becoming corrupt rulers in the following generations does not detract from the miracles of Chanukah itself.

    “Va’Yomer Yehuda Nakel Ki Yisgeru Rabbim Be’yad Me’atim Ve’ein Ma’atzor lifnei Shamayim Le’hoshea Ba’rabim Oh Ba’me’atim, Ki Lo Be’rav Chayil Nitzachon Hamilchama U’min Ha’shamayim Le’hoshia.”
    – Sefer Hashmonaim, 3:17-18

  • I’m sorry, did we ever believe that Maccabees was divinely written? If so how come it never made it in to the canon? Had it not been for the church’s preservation of it for centuries we would not have the books today.

    Given that it was man written – why is it such a problem of faith that it was fulfilling a specific political purpose? Does that make the lessons and allegories of Hanukkah less valuable?

  • im just saying that we are focusing on the wrong miracle here. the real miracle was that we gained self-determination on our own land, not that it was a new era for judaism.

  • laya said:

    I’m sorry, did we ever believe that Maccabees was divinely written?

    No. It was written by people at the time.

    If so how come it never made it in to the canon?

    Recall that the Anshei Knesset Hagedolah begrudgingly added Megilat Esther as the last book to the Tanach. We are past that here.

    Had it not been for the church’s preservation of it for centuries we would not have the books today.

    I don’t know. Many of the historical recollections jive with what is brought down in the Talmud and early writings.

    I saw that there’s an interesting book on the Sefer Hachashmonaim currently available in Hebrew. I don’t have the author or other info in front of me right now. Another book to the list!

    Given that it was man written – why is it such a problem of faith that it was fulfilling a specific political purpose? Does that make the lessons and allegories of Hanukkah less valuable

    I would think not.

  • Seth said:

    im just saying that we are focusing on the wrong miracle here. the real miracle was that we gained self-determination on our own land, not that it was a new era for judaism.

    Self-determination was an effect – not a cause. It, too, is something to celebrate, depending on what you want to do with it. Hence the modern day opinions of celebrating Yom Ha’atzmaut or not. (I smell another discussion tangent).

    However, when you go back the the Gemara of “Mai Chanukah”, self-determination is clearly not mentioned as the reason for saying Hallel Shalem and establishing these days as a yearly holiday.

  • It is a bit odd that the factual accuracy of the tale, and its context, is being questioned/rewritten but the “miracle” seems perfectly acceptable and factual.

    It is much more suspect, to me, that God is continually an interventionist, than that a winner in a historical victory is guilty of hyperbole.

  • “Hakol Beyedei Shamayim – Chutz Me’Yirat Shamayim.”

    Yes, G-d has been an interventionist from day 1 – literally.

  • so the Muffti thinks that the answer to that rather inflammatory and unfair title “may be” because of those sad few lines that are supposed to qualify as evidence? The “experts” are one professor and his main point is that the Seleucid Empire was inititally tolerant and the account was written after the events took place? Well the Roman empire was also very tolerant, and we all know how that ended up. And even if its true that the Maccabee account wasnt written by contemporaries,well all survivng accounts of Alexander’s life werent written by his contemporaries either. And guess what, they are contradictory and filled with fantasy.Oh well, if a few years ago “new historians” came out and brought “incontrovertible proof” of Israel’s “sinful” birth and its “agressive intentions” in every war, of course we can exprect ” a revision” of events that took place 2000 years ago.

  • Seriously, calling into question historical analysis and interpretation does NOT de-legitimize our existance, our history or anything else. If anything, our ability to question and explore such notions is part of a bigger means of understanding ourselves and ultimately understanding our place in this world. Wantonly throwing out the word “revisionist” does absolutely nothing. We can call specific facts into question, and still understand and accept the beauty of the lessons that we pass down each generation.

    Does the popular story of Masada (which is significantly in doubt) have to be absolutely true in order for us to understand the lessons from that story? I say no. What is most important is how we understand and teach such ideas.

  • Adam said:

    Does the popular story of Masada (which is significantly in doubt)


    I see nothing wrong in calling a spade a spade.

  • The facts in the Books 1 and 2 of the Maccabees which are in the “apocrypha” of the Christian canon are pretty straight. Even the most conservative of scholars will acknowledge that 1 Maccabees is “Hasmonean propaganda”, i.e., the book was written in order to legitimize the Hasmonean usurpation of the high-priesthood and their later combination of this position with that of monarch. 1 Maccabees was written by a close associate of the Hasmoneans, and the syntax Greek (the language in which the work survived) makes it pretty obvious that it was written originally in Hebrew. You could stop there and write it all off as propaganda. But there is 2 Maccabees, which is written from a completely different perspective, by a Jew living in the Diaspora, in Greek, and about a different holiday – Nicanor Day, meant to commemorate the death of that Selucid general. Nonetheless, despite its distance from the events, different audience, and different purpose, 2 Maccabees corroborates to a great extent the “propaganda” in 1 Maccabees.
    That a work is propaganda does not necessitate its exclusion from the historical realm. FOX and CNN report the same news, but in highly different fashion. That doesn’t mean it never happened.

  • Adam,

    Hmmm a “Sociologist” professor – what do you expect.

    There is not much difference between David Duke vis a vis the holocaust and
    ‘recent scholarship’ vis a vis any other history.

  • Seriously, if your statements weren’t so uninformed and extreme, I would have a good laugh.

    Ok, ready for this:
    American history has traditionally been written by wealthy, white, European males (until, say, the 1960s). And thus our understanding of events, persons, even locations are shaped by that perspective. Thus how we had legalized segregation in this country for so long, women were denied the right to vote, etc..etc…

    So now that we understand, say, that Columbus was a genocidal, racist prick, does that mean that we are all like David Duke? Or just that we are trying to better understand the world we live in order to produce a better future?

    There, something from an Israeli arcaheologist that changes our knowledge of Masada. Is that revisionist?

  • The victors write the history.

    Did anybody study about the Indian’s suffering through smallpox and the usurpation of their land (aka the entire US and Canada) for more than a few days in elementry school?

    When was the last time you picked up a book and read about the effects of atomic weaponry on the children of Japan?

    For centuries, the victors write what they want to write in order to achieve their own means. This was true with the Egyptians (destroyed sculptures and wall art showing their rivals), Muslims (destroyed Christian and Jewish holy places and replaced them with Mosquest), as well as every other religion and race.

  • I remember reading the revisionist stuff on Masada as well, and I put in alongside Torah stories — sometimes the truth is best told through fable.

  • Right, exactly. Just because a story is proven to be factually untrue (and I’m not saying that truly definitive evidence exists either way), doesn’t erase what we learn from those stories. But, I think it is just so close-minded to blindly accept all stories as being factual because they seem nice and pretty and comprehendible. We are just lying to ourselves if we pretend to be able to attain absolute truth on events that occurred 2000 thounsand years ago or so. No matter what the precise details, the story of Masada is still one which we can be inspired by. Trying to understand what actually happened is, I might argue, far more Jewish-y (and Talmudic) than blindly accepting the absolute truth as presented to us. It is impossible to get factual agreement on what happened two days ago.

  • ***sorry for the long comment***

    i have read weitzman’s article “plotting antiochus’s persecution” (jbl 123/2 (2004), 219-234).
    he is interested in the history of the maccabean *narrative* which he traces back to babylonian sources and the book daniel (i found in particular the babylonian sources not too convincing) and not in history as “what happend.” it is important to understand this difference.

    just two quotes to show his approach and his conclusion:

    “this [his article] is not to suggest that the maccabees invented this story. […] what i am suggesting, rather, is that once they established their control, the maccabees appropriated and reshaped the memory of antiochus’s sacrileges to insert themselves into tradition, just as other nontraditional elites elsewhere in the near east used similar stories to discredit the established rulers they were displacing and to minimize the disruptiveness of conquest or usurpation by casting it as a restoration of disrupted tradition. as one such nontraditional elite, the maccabees found in antiochus’s persecution exactly the sort of scenario that might justify their rise.” (233)

    “it was not *simply* the actual course of events that determined how this book plots its story, but the structuring effect of literary converntion and the need of an untraditional regime [= maccabees] to render itself traditional.” (234)

    i would not call him a revisionist, unless one prefers to render the term “revisionist” meaningless by calling *all* history revisionist (#24). his article has to be understood in relation to elias bickerman’s writings on the maccabees and i find bickerman by far more problematic.
    weitzman refers to the “linguistic turn” in historiography (i do not agree with him when he says that this turn happend only three decades ago) and subsequently applies traditional philological methods.

    and: yes,–as this was grandmufti’s question–i think that the books of maccabee as man-written and non-canonical books are open to philological methods and radical interpretation, but i am not sure whether “radical interpretation” is the right label for weitzman’s article.

  • I neglected to mention that there are a few choice verses in Daniel (11:31-35) which make very close to explicit allusions to Antiochus Epiphanes’ persecutions. Some of antiquity’s most famous historians, including Josephus, Diodorus of Sicily, Strabo, and Tacitus also make reference to the persecutions. Finally, the Dead Sea Scrolls (you can all yawn collectively now) contain important information about this period. It may be that the very seizure of power by the Hasmoneans is what caused the Dead Sea sect (kohanim, by the way), to leave Jerusalem and settle in the desert.

  • Like most self-denigrating “revisions” of Jewish tradition – this consists of several parts wishful thinking, and some embarrassingly ignorance-revealing moments of barging through already open doors.

    We have Midrashic and Talmudic accounts of the Maccabee story that are as close to contemporary as one can expect – and they already incorporate many of the observations about the problematic Hasmonean dynasty, which itself lurched back and forth between Torah Judaism and Hellenism.

    However – the Talmudic accounts make it clear that by the time of the revolt both the goyim and the Jews on the Hellenistic side of the cultural battle were far from tolerant. Muffti – I hope you are aware of how lame that first quote is:

    “When Antiochus IV’s father first conquered Palestine, he displayed much respect…”

    … but the rebellion took place years later, during his son’s reign. So? This is selective academic revisionism of the worst (and clumsiest) kind.

    In addition, the Talmudic accounts also treat the issue of “the miracle” from different angles – it is noteworthy that the passage we recite in our silent Amidah prayer does not explicitly mention the miracle of the oil – the main miracle is the military victory and the political independence, as some here have mentioned. So there are several different symbols and messages in play – as is typical in Judaism.

    In other words – nothing new of substance here, and the traditional sources being trashed display all the depth and multivalence that the revisionists claim for themselves – despite the thinness of the material they offer up.

    The MUCH MORE INTERESTING QUESTION is: what is the impetus for such attacks? The paucity and subjectiveness of the arguments reveal more about the revisionists’ drive to trash received traditions than they do about the Maccabees.

    Kinda pathetic.

  • Why not live in real time? It’s the sixth night tonight.

    WHO gets enough oil in their life?

    G-d will make it last, and fill in the deficiencies.

    Latkes: a couple of baking potatoes put through the shredding blade and an onion or two, mixed with 2 beaten eggs and enough matzah meal to dry it up a bit. Fry flattened spoonfuls in a bland oil. Have a non-stick pan and a splatter screen. No need to drain; just eat hot from the pan. Wash down with sparkling cider.

  • The best place to find a spouse is at somebody else’s wedding. Look very nice. All those people have the same background you do and they are not all married or ugly. Get busy.

  • This reminds me of a debate I just read on the reconstructionist website where educators debate whether to teach children the myth or the truth about chanukah – – the bottom line is: does it actually hurt a kid to tell stories about the fairy godmother when they will eventually discover that she doesn’t exist. What’s wrong with a little metaphor, a little creativity?

  • GM, it’s not history, it is meta history. It is not false history, it is something else entirely.

    Wear a kippah around campus for a few days, just to see what happens. Keep a journal of what happens.

    Then pretend to read the journal to the people whose works you teach, one at a time.

  • Adam and Boomer,

    This is your mistake: you compare interpretation of whether people were ‘good’ or ‘bad’ with a revision of facts.

    Does anybody deny the indian’s suffering through smallpox? -or the effects of the atomic bomb? segragation? The difference is HOW you look at the facts not what the facts WERE.
    Understand that.

    You call Columbus a “genocidal racist prick” maybe yes maybe no – but thats interpretation of what you feel is right or wrong in what he did. No facts are being changed.

    Not so by history revision. Revisionists tell us that the facts are different and that we were told bold lies by the people who lived then and are our witnesses as to the events of those times.

    Now as far as the Muslims you are absolutely correct in their case. Their whole religion is based on history revision.
    Mohammed came and claimed that he as a prophet was told the ‘correct events’ and that the history known by all which included such things as Issac on the alter with his father Abraham happened differently. It was Ishmael… and many other ‘corrections’ in the Koran to historical events known by all. So yes, Islam is based on history revision – and they will admit it if you push them against the wall. They know that until Mohammed known history was one way and Mohammed “corrected’ it in his new book (Modern Scholarship of his time) the Koran.

  • Precisely! And my point is that everybody does it, so why wouldn’t we be willing to look at our histories with an objective and open mind? To accept that histories and perceptions of people have been entirely fabricated in order to put forth specific ways of life, both good and bad. Say, on the malicious end of the spectrum, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion or the film Birth of a Nation (which, by and by, Woodrow Wilson called “history as it happened.”). On the “positive” side of the spectrum could really be anything that elicits feelings of patriotism. Overall, yes, our belief in the Constitution is a good thing. Yet we would be lying to ourselves if we ignored the fact that it defined Black Americans as 2/3 of real people.

  • Exactly wrong. You cannot deny history and get away with it. Even those who attempt are forced to acknowledge what they are doing.

    Muslims know that Mohammed is the one who changed it. They know that the whole world had a different history until then. There was no way for Mohanned to avoid that fact – the fact that he revised it -every muslim knows that.

    The protocols are known to be a forgery. the only ones who accept them are Jew haters who themselves know that it is a fake. They use it to stir up emotions of anti-semitism in ignorant people. Once anyone looks into it they know its false.

    Duke himself knows the holocaust happened. He is simply a Jew hater who wants another holocaust and wants to wipe away any guilt feelings from the nations and to reverse things and claim they we are evil.
    The proof is that the same Holocaust deniers will say ‘Hitler didn’t finish the job’ – a clear contradiction. They are simply Jew-haters.

    You see you cant get away with history revision.

    And again you bring an incorrect example. If one says that black amercans are 2/3 of real people that is not revising history – that is an opinion – no fact of history is being challenged.
    -It is important that you distinguish between a history reviser and someone who gives a different interpretation or opinion of the same facts.

  • I agree. In fact, that was my original-original-original point. You compared the historians studying the Maccabean story to David Duke. Second post:

    “This rewriting of history is very similar to david duke and his holocaust denial and or holcaust revision saying it was only a few thousand Jews.”

  • Adam wrote:
    Precisely! And my point is that everybody does it, so why wouldn’t we be willing to look at our histories with an objective and open mind? To accept that histories and perceptions of people have been entirely fabricated in order to put forth specific ways of life, both good and bad.
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    …. because:

    1) This history was not fabricated. The major elements of the story really did happen. We are talking at best about narrative slant.

    2) The inevitable conclusion of such “exposes” is that Judaism is somehow bad, or lacking, or false. That is, the purpose it not just to “understand” Judaism through a human/historical lens, but to discredit it.

    3) Such lines of inquiry about Judaism are inevitably undertaken by people with axes to grind.

    They are not at all about pride or appreciation for the Jewish values transmitted by the myth, even though its a myth. Not at all about respecting the power of myth, tradition, community, and belief in human life.

    They are about slipping the bonds of a Jewish tradition that is perceived (unconsciously in most cases!) as onerous, uncool, burdensome.

    They are undertaken in anger and sometimes in spite.

  • Nobody actually regrets that Columbus & Co. came here.

    Nobody actually regrets the daily human sacrifices etc of the cultures he wiped out.

  • Jewish Mother, respect diversity. There’s nothing wrong with human sacrifice. Aztecs should be allowed to worship God(s) in their own way.

  • If you will please introduce me to a Native American person who would prefer to live in stone age conditions I will take that person to lunch at a nice place.

  • If I can preserve the core excellence of my culture while wearing machine-made cloth, so can everybody else.

  • JM,

    Wow, yeah I am sure they are indebted to us for small pox and the Trail of Tears. Or the millions killed. Wow, that is really such a mind-numbingly amazingly level of ignorance. Have you been on a reservation lately? Or seen the state of health care or schools on reservations? Wow, talk about revisionist history.

    It scares me that Jews would be so ill-informed about what happened to others with similar experiences like ourselves.

  • GM is having his own personal Chanukkah.

    That shows that he is exactly in tune with the Jewish calendar, although painfully. This is an honor.

    If he grasps the Tree of Life (the Torah) it will stop beating him. We are all rooting for GM. There is nothing easy or cute about Chanukkah. This might not be the moment to send GM little chocolate dreidels wrapped in tinsel.

  • Adam, when people move around, diseases go with them. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t move around. At least THAT was not intentional.

    And, men fight. They just do that. There is such a thing as history. Everybody with sense regrets others’ pain. The contact of these two cultures was complicated and two-way. It was not always hostile, and everybody learned from everybody. And the Native people did not always lose, either. They fought as men and lost as men. They have plenty of dignity and skill, then as today. As men, they are responsible for themselves and they don’t need lessons for me about that.

    Take care of your own culture and trust that others will do the same. That’s their job, after all.

    Yes, life can be very, very tiresome. I am not unconcerned at all. I am however busy. I have to light candles and make latkes.

    How are the children? What are you reading?

  • Umm, there is a major difference between the “accidental” spread of disease when peoples come in contact with each other, and the purposeful spread of such things like small pox. Which was often done conciously by European colonialists.

    I am a man. I don’t fight. In fact, my desire to not fight is pretty fundamental to my being. In fact, I bet that I make much better latkes than I do fight.

  • Hey Adam, while you’re at it, don’t forget to apologize to the Canaanites and Baal-worshipers, OK?

  • Making latkes is easy and fun.

    Fighting is and hard and painful.

    Therefore, your views are natural.

    But they are inconvenient when someone who is not a woman is making a problem for a daughter of Israel.

    I repeat, I acknowledge that life can be very tiresome but I didn’t design it.

    Didn’t you say Shachris this morning? Why do you think He put that thing in there about requiring you to appreciate being a man?

    He wanted to keep you at your post. Put down that potato grater. You are holding it wrong, anyway. Gay avec. They will be ready in a few minutes. Go read, or something.

  • Pssh, the Canaanites. Don’t get me started on those lazy bastards. I mean, pick a G-d already!

    Seriously, all I am saying is that we have to understand our true past, or at least make the effort. But, hey, I suppose there is something to say for the blissful ignorant life.

  • Adam, you’re a good metaphysician, which I respect– good enough, anyway, to decline to view history as an exercise in Darwinism. But be careful. I’m from virtually undiluted Canaanite stock…. and it still hurts.

  • Good thing you didn’t ask my opinion on the Hittities; then it gets REALLY ugly.

    JM: Yes, I did say shacharit this morning. I am entirely missing your point though? Are you suggesting that manliness is defined through the ability to be violent?

    I will keep the potato grater, thank you very much. Actually, my tagines are far better than my latkes anyway.

  • Adam, history is very interesting, but it is over. By definition.

    What is not over, and is still going on in real time, is that you are a Jew.

    Now, what are you going to do about that? THAT at least you can DO something about.

    Tom Morrissey is smart, but it is not his holiday this week. Not until Monday. This week it is yours.

    Tom Morrissey is a very serious person. He is not going to horse around on Monday night. He is very likely going to Mass, and he should, too.

    You never told me how the children were.

  • Umm, I’m going to go ahead and say no on that. In fact, history (and our sense of history) is entirely vibrant and organic, and our sense of history is entirely reflective of ourselves at any moment in time. And, trust me, I do plenty about myself as a Jew and because of that I am that much more intent on ensuring that I (and in teaching) and others understand history.

  • JM,

    By the same token you’re using for the Indians, the Jews must be very happy the holocaust happened, because we got Israel!

    Holy hell woman, you’re just so anti-apology you can’t get over yourself.

    Do I think that that black people are sad their ancestors from 400 years ago were slaves, because now they’re US citizens? Absolutly not! But the fact is, their ancestors were forcibly separated from their land in order to become nothing more than pack mules. THAT IS HISTORY. Anything taught differently is REVISIONISM.

    Thank G-d we live in a plural society, otherwise their plight, as well as the plight of the Indians, would be totally ignored and written out of history books. This is what is happening in the Schtachim, Iran, Syria, as well as China (remember them, they’re still our enemies) and other dictator run countries.

    I’ll come to a point. Christianity destroyed many cannons in order to prevent honest and open debate about it’s historical and spiritual context. That’s why there was such a hubub when the Gospel of Judas was found and opened to public comment. Do you REALLY think that such a thing didn’t, or couldn’t, happen in a Jewish society?

    We already had a huge war (though not violent) between the sagucees and pharacees, and we all know who won that one. You think the victor wouldn’t try to discredit the loser? GET REAL.

  • Adam you should know that the 3/5 compromise was a setback for slaveholders bacause it was they who wanted to count slaves at their actual numbers and thus dominate the goverments through the geater population of their states. The 3/5 compromise reduced their power.

  • Great.

    I do trust you.

    But don’t tangle history up with religion, because history is INSIDE time, and religion snags what is OUTSIDE time, even as it functions inside time, and engages time. That is why it is important to know what the parsha is every week. It matters in a particular way, this particular week.

    I mean, don’t pray to history.

    No matter what people think about history, it is still over. Their sense of history is just another thing they think, and while interesting, it is only an important background. A canvas they still have to put themselves into. So light.

    Thanks for talking! Happy Hanukkah.

  • Whoa, Muffti goes away for a couple of days and an onslaught follows. HEre’s a few comments:

    1) Since we are taking Wiki as a source, here is what they say about historical revisionism:

    Historical revisionism is the attempt to change commonly held ideas about the past. In its legitimate form (see historical revisionism) it is the reexamination of historical facts, with an eye towards updating historical narratives with newly discovered, more accurate, or less biased information, acknowledging that history of an event, as it has been traditionally told, may not be entirely accurate.

    So, sure, this may qualify as historical revisionism. But, so fucking what? What the hell is wrong with using normal historical techniques to try to gain greater insight into an event, even if that contravenes normally held assumptions? If you want to, for inflamatory purposes, compare it to David Duke, Joe Schmo, you go right ahead. Ya smug bastid!

    2) B-D, Muffti hasn’t read the article…he tried briefly to track it down online but gave up and figured he’d get to it later. He was putting the question out there for people who knew more than him to answer. He wouldnt’ put much stock in evaluating the article by a line from an interview with the author that Muffti quoted. Maybe that’s because Muffti deson’t really trust reporters to get academics right in any way.

    As for what you say about hte character and conclusions of people who question the authenticity and truth, you may well be right. But in teh first instance you seem to be implicitly commiting the fallacy of ad hominem.

    3) As usual, JM Muffti has no clue what you are talking about. But he thinks it’s well said.

    4) Adam Hyman, thanks for your input.

  • Gotta show up at the 8am Mass, JM, ’cause I got a public speaking gig– I do the readings up there at the alter. No pay involved, but I don’t want the local priest to be upset with me. He may have influence, etc.

  • Muffti, Joeschmo’s FedExing you some hemlock, disguised as a maple syrup holiday sampler.

  • Boomer — the two hundred year wrangle between the Pharisees and the Saducees is STILL REMEMBERED exactly BECA– USE the victors did NOT enforce annihilation and forgetfulness. And it was, as you say, non-violent, although a huge things were at stake.

    This is very cool.

    GM, please re-read my poor paper before failing it. I meant the Chanukah story can be internal. Inside one’s mind.

  • Getting back to the Maccabean issue, I spoke with a highly informed and qualified source today, who read Prof. Weitzman’s article from JBL and the article from Haaretz.
    The source criticizes the journalist who wrote the newspaper article for editorializing without disclosing that he was submitting his own opinions and not those of Prof. Weitzman. The Weitzman article, as far as I understood, did not depart from the widely accepted consensus in Second Temple scholarship that affirms the historicity of the Maccabean narratives, even if they are propagated through a book which is considered propaganda.

  • Well GM, Post 70 ought to help some with your original question, before we went all over the place.

    Yoni sounds very sharp.

  • Mufti wrote:
    “for inflamatory purposes, compare it to David Duke, Joe Schmo, you go right ahead. Ya smug bastid!”

    -Getting hot under the collar?

    Why then don’t YOU explain to us why David Duke is wrong.

    Bottom line is that with all your talk you haven’t clearly explained the difference between Duke and and “Recent scholarship”

    – after all Duke, Ahmadinejad and Co. are claiming exactly that: freedom to to have new and current scholarship on the holocaust.

  • Adam,

    While mufti gathers his thoughts and tries to figure out why its wrong for David Duke to do “modern Scholarship” just like Mufti thinks is OK for Hanukah

    I would like you to clarify what about the Indians, that people believe today, is a revision of history. I have to admit that I don’t follow you line of reasoning.

    Let me remind you that when I use the term ‘history revision’ I only refer to changing the facts of history that were testified to us by the past generation and saying, for example, that event ‘A’ witnessed by that generation did not happen.

    I do not refer to our now saying that an event ‘A’ which the previous generation felt was a good thing is really a bad thing. That is not contradicting the testimony of the past generation.

  • Sorry I wasn’t being entirely clear. Ok, so…traditional historical narratives in the United States (textbooks, popular culture, etc…) have helped solidify ideas of Native Americans as being savages, intellectually inferior, etc…etc…And the salience of such ideas is still resonant today, despite all of the work that has been done which has shown the complex systems (tribal, governmental, etc…) that existed throughout many tribes. So, I suppose what my point is, all history is technically “revisionist” because history is inevitably written by those who are powerful, in one way or another. There are just degrees of that revision, and within the intents of that revision.

  • Mufti and Adam have perfecty described the phenomenon of “revisionist history.” Specifically, it is a casual, broadly applicable descriptive label – like, say, “modern art” or “new-age music” – that refers to historical work that is generally considered unorthodox. As with so many other terms, rightwing ideologues have tried to transform the term into some rigid categorical distinction. Along with terms like “politically correct,” “moral relativism,” and “activist judges,” it serves precisely one function; to distinguish stuff they like from stuff they don’t. There is no meaningful distinction between revisionist history and any other kind. Some is good, some sucks.

    after all Duke, Ahmadinejad and Co. are claiming exactly that: freedom to have new and current scholarship on the holocaust.

    I have no idea what that nonsense refers to. No one needs to “claim” the freedom to conduct new and current history about the Holocaust; they already have it, about the Holocaust and every other subject. What makes Duke and other Holocaust deniers problematical is that their “history,” such as it is, is complete bullshit. They make it up. It has nothing whatever to do with some illusory distinctions between different types of historiography.

    As to Jewish Mother’s post-mortem on the conflict between Europeans and Native Americans:

    Everybody with sense regrets others’ pain. The contact of these two cultures was complicated and two-way. It was not always hostile, and everybody learned from everybody. And the Native people did not always lose, either. They fought as men and lost as men. They have plenty of dignity and skill, then as today. As men, they are responsible for themselves. . . .”

    No problem there, as long as we’re willing to apply the same thinking to the disposition of the Jews in Germany. Complicated interaction? No doubt. Always hostile? By no means. Just like the Indians, everybody learned from everybody. Freud, Einstein, Heine, Rauthenau, and on and on and on. And God knows the Jews didn’t always lose; look at the triumph of the Warsaw Ghetto. They, too, fought and lost as men, and are responsible for themselves. If only they could have held their breath in the gas chambers a little longer, who knows how things might’ve turned out. Oh well, c’est la vie!

  • Ok I understand and I agree with you on that. Notice though that it is all opinion – shallow opinion I grant you. Just like the British will tell the history of the revolutionary war and depict the colonialists as disloyal and selfish whereas American history depicts the colonies as being in the right and fighting English tyrants. If that is what you mean by revision then I am with you.

    That is why I was so careful in defining and distinguishing what you mean which is certainly true and the revision of testified fact ie. specific events.

    Once we toss out testimony from the past generations who were there, we may as well deny the holocaust like Duke. After all how many of the people of that generation are around now and who will be there in the future to testify about what happened in the past, if we are willing to ignore or not take seriously events that the people before us saw with their own eyes and testified to the next generations.

  • Muffti isn’t sure where all this is going, but essentially he thinks that the difference between David Duke and Weitzman is that the one is questioning a historical event on absolutely no grounds while the other is taking an event to which there are few sources and trying to assess the plausibility of the narrative. Truthfully, if there were only a handful of eye witness reports of the holocaust, and evidence that the Germans during the period were typically fairly happy to let oter people be, Muffti would question the holocaust. Fortunately, the historical record has an overwhelming amount of data in support of it. The revisionist have very little data to work of off, and the data they have is suspect at best. This makes their motives and methodology naturally suspect.

    In any case, Schmo, we often in history toss out the first hand reports of witness, or at least we regard them as being of only limited value. Einhard, author of the biographical Vita Caroli Magni, was Charlemagne’s paid biographer. He witnessed nearly everything Charlemagne did. Do we suspect him when he paints nearly everything Charlemagne did in a ridiculously positive light? Absolutely. Why? Because he had motives to colour the narrative in a way most favourable to Charlemagne. Does that make him a liar? In some instances, probably. And perhaps not entirely intentionally.

    Does suspecting the first hand narrative of Einhardt mean that we should be skeptical of the holocaust? Of course not. And neither should a cold hard look at the traditional story of Hannukah.

    And, just so you know, ‘smug bastid’ is a mildly derogatory term, but used as one of endrearment. Muffti isn’t hot under the collar. At least not yet. And he’s been called a ‘douchebag’!

    Speaking of whcih, Hyman, of course it’s a compliment. Hope you enjoyed it.

  • David Smith, post 76, you haven’t nicked me at all.

    The Jews who remained alive took responsibility for themselves, as men, and have shouldered the task of continuing their culture, as men. Happy Hannukah.

    No, I am not saying our story and history is somehow comparable to anybody else’s. It’s not. Ask a rabbi about that, I can’t handle that now.

    But nobody is cutting to the chase! The chase is that GM needs a cup of tea.

    Now, who has the capacity to do that?

    It is more complicated than it sounds. It requires 1) an interior, 2) a heat source, 3) a few clean vessels, which implies possession of soap, 4) a table and a minimum of two chairs, 5) some tea, and possibly sugar, or Equal, 6) the personality, intelligence, kindness, manners, concern for others, grace, dignity, charm, wit and INSIGHT INSIGHT INSIGHT INSIGHT INSIGHT to 1) invite GM for tea, 2) insist he come, no matter how busy, if not this week, then next, or the week after, and 3) actually prepare the tea, and make civil talk, and listen. Yes, listen.

    So what if he talks in the third person. You get used to it after a while. He is very intelligent. Just a little dehydrated, from lack of tea. That is easily fixed.

  • Make sure it’s uncaffinated tea … Caffiene is a diuretic and can cause dehydration, though studies (like Jews) disagree to what extent.

  • The only solution to that is more tea. Don’t you know tea is good for you? So is coffee. So is conversation.

    If you need a cup too, there is no harm in it whatsoever, but somebody has to plug in the samovar.

    Real men drink their tea in glass, not porcelain.

  • Adam, you can have some too. Revisionism is not applicable to tea, which is always the same.

  • JM,

    I’m not sure why you think I was trying to “nick you,” but I was pointing out what struck me as the extraordinarily casual dismissal of the genocide of another civilization. But, then again, if you’re equally cavalier about the fate of European Jewry, then I’d have to concede that an accusation of bigotry clearly would be unjustified.

  • Mufti,

    YOU claim Duke has no grounds but I heard Buchanan argue based on a ‘scientist’ that the gas chambers could not have held and gassed so many and that therefore the holocaust only killed in the thousands. A conference is only that – a conference and the search for the truth. If your issue is only tha amount of grounds, well what can be wrong with seeing if they have more grounds such as other ‘scientific’ evidence. I don’t see what you are saying.

    You say the historical record for the holocaust is overwhelming. When the witnesses will have passed away what will the evidence be? A museum? Aren’t there whole museums filled with dinosaurs and other items that no person has ever witnessed. A museum is easy to build. What is ‘historical evidence’ if not witness testimony?

    Id like to explain what you think ‘historical evidence’ is.

    You compare Hanukah to a report based on ONE person like Einhard?
    You refer to Hanukah as “an event to which there are few sources” but the Holocaust as having many eye witnesses as you wrote: “if there were only a handful of eye witness reports of the holocaust…” implying there were many witnesses.

    -But you description of Hanukah as having “few sources” is inaccurate. The whole generation saw it at the time and told it over to the next generation. Whether there are many ‘written sources’ is irrelevant. Who knows how many accounts there were but were lost during the wars and the exile that came shortly thereafter. Many documents are lost when People is moved off their land. And even with all our exile we still have numerous documents and references to it throughout the Mishna, Talmud, Josephus, Book of the Maccabees…

    The evidence though is not the book it is the witness account that we heard from our parents. Had we ‘found’ these books in some library without it having bee passed down to us then it might be like you say. But thats not the case. It was told to us as history just like that which happened in the holocaust we know not from books or other ‘found’ evidence – but rather from the generation that went through it themselves.

    Understand this – you and all others.

  • Joeschmo:

    I think your assessment of the texts in which Hanukka is mentioned is a little off.
    The story is attested in the Books of Maccabees and Josephus (who paraphrases 1 Maccabees). As for rabbinic sources, Hanukka is mentioned only tangentially in the Mishna, with no reference to the nature of the holiday itself. Every other Jewish holiday has extensive treatment in the Mishna, if not an entire dedicated tractate. In the Talmud, Hanukka is mentioned more extensively, but again, as a tangent in a discussion regarding types of candles used for lighting on Friday night. The language of that anecdote would suggest, further, that the anecdote belongs to one of the later layers of the Gemara.
    Many have suggested various theories as to why Hanukka is downplayed so much by Hazal; an especially pertinent question nowadays when the holiday is so popular and when it has spawned such an extensive secondary halakhic literature.

  • Yoni,
    The Mishna does not go into the story of any holiday -only laws. Take a look at Tractate Megilla. Is the story of Purim told? Barely, it is mainly laws pertaining to who can read the megilah, what days do different comunities read it, how to fulfill the sending of packages of food, gifts to the poor and drinking. Without the book of Esther there would be very little of the story. So too with the mishna for all the festivals. Hanuka happens to be the very last holiday – and there are almost no laws pertaining to it.
    The only thing on Hanukah is to light a candle every evening. Even the way we do it which is to light one the first night, 2 the second…and so on was not obligatory and is a custom.

    Thus the reason there is no tractate dedicated to its laws.

  • Joe Schmo said:

    YOU claim Duke has no grounds but I heard Buchanan argue based on a ’scientist’ that the gas chambers could not have held and gassed so many and that therefore the holocaust only killed in the thousands. A conference is only that – a conference and the search for the truth. If your issue is only tha amount of grounds, well what can be wrong with seeing if they have more grounds such as other ’scientific’ evidence. I don’t see what you are saying.

    If you think that it is plausible that there is scientific evidence to suggest that the holocaust didn’t happen, then Muffti supposes there is no difference for you between what Duke/Ahmidenajad and thel ike are doing at their conference and the investigation into the veracity of the hannuka stories. Muffti thinks there is a difference in that he is suspicious of the motives of the one and not the motives of the other: in other words, he thinks there is next to no evidence against the holocaust and massive evidence in support of it. If there were any reasonably compelling evidence that hte holocaust didn’t happen, Muffti would find it acceptable for people to investigate the veracity of first hand reports. As it happens, no counter evidence for years and years now has stood up to critical scrutiny. Truthfully, if Muffti thought that the people running holocaust conferences in Iran were historians spurred on by an interest in the veracity of first hand reports, Muffti would be less unhappy to let them do the research they wanted to conduct. Truthfully, though, muffti is totally lost as to what you are asking: are you claiming htat any first hand set of reports you can find should be taken seriously and literally no matter what the evidnce against the truth of the claim?

    There is plenty of evidence that people marshall in support of a thesis. First hand witness reports are one thing. But there are plenty of others. Census data that shows that millions of jews disappeared help corroborate the holocaust. The fact that teh first hand reports have massive convergence lends credibility to their testimony. If every survivor of the holocaust located the horrors of hte holocaust in a different place, with radically different experiences and people, Muffti would be a little suspicious of at least some of hte reports. THe fact that they overlap so deeply on locations, events and personage suggests plausibility and worthiness of being taken seriously. The fact that we have movies taken from the time, records by the nazis themselves, death camps that have survived are all testimonies to the fact that the holocaust happened.

    So, you don’t just simply take first person reports at face value; you have to take into account their reliability, their convergence with other accounts, the motives of the writers to tell the truth vs. exaggerate, the plausibility of the events given what else you have evidence was going on at the time, the archeological evidence if there is any…

    Let me give you an example. If a thousand people said they lived in a particular area but all wrote that they never ate meat, but you found stool samples chock full of levels of iron youcould only get from meat, would you not be suspicious of their story? Say that furthermore, they all wrote of their non carnivourous meals and claimed radically different versions: a mother claimed to serve her kids only fruit, the kids claimed only to eat vegetables ever and the father claimed that teh family ate only tofu. Adn say furthermore, that they all believed that, for some odd religious reason, that if you were known to eat meat, you would be beaten up by god but that if them eat eating was kept covert and out of the eyes of hte community,e verythign would be hunky dory.

    At that point would you not be willign to be suspcious of hte first hand accounts?

    Of course, you’ll claim false analogy – the einhardt thing was only supposed to be an example of a case where we take an account seriouly but with a grain of salt. The point is that there intrinsically, first hand reports are only worth so much: like what anyone claims to you, you evaluate it relative to how trustworthy you find the person, how likely they are to be reliable (i.e. you don’t take first hand reports of car accidents from people with bad memory all that seriously, even if you think they are trying to tbe hoenst etc.) Muffti doesn’t have some algorithm for assigning value to historical texts, testimonies and the like. But any reasonable assessment has to be done in terms of overall reliability. And even eye-witnesses are not always reliable, just as no person who tells you think generally enjoys you 100% confidence and reliability (even if you think they are being honest).

    Finally, you said:

    Whether there are many ‘written sources’ is irrelevant. Who knows how many accounts there were but were lost during the wars and the exile that came shortly thereafter. Many documents are lost when People is moved off their land

    Of course this happens. But it is a patent use of hte fallacy of ignorance to argue from ‘we don’t know that not-P therefore P’. Muffti could just as easily ask, if those records were around, how do you know that they wouldnt'[ say things like ‘actually, the rule of antiochus wasn’t really that bad. He made a few scary sounding laws that weren’t enforced in practice. All in all it was a golden time and its a shame we were mislead by hashmonite leaders who weren’t even legitimate heirs to the throne…’ The problem with history, fo coruse, is that it happened in the past and information, as is well known, gets lost as time goes on. You ahve to go wtih the knowledge you have and try to get the best theory that fits the data.

    Or at least so the people Muffti knows who study history tell him. What the hell does he know?

  • Your argument consists of the following four points which I will list just to verify that I understand what you are saying.

    After that I will explain why they are totally off base and incorrect.

    Your points:
    1. No serious counter evidence against the holocaust has been brought for years and years:
    There is no “reasonably compelling evidence that the holocaust didn’t happen…”
    Furthermore “As it happens, no counter evidence for years and years now has stood up to critical scrutiny.”

    It seems that you see a problem with evidence being brought after “years and years” of no counter evidence.
    I agree with that. After all if there was an issue with the account of the Holocaust why was was it not shown close to the time it happened?

    2. We have some physical evidence of the holocaust:
    “The fact that we have movies taken from the time, records by the nazis themselves, death camps that have survived are all testimonies to the fact that the holocaust happened.”

    3. Sometimes first hand witness accounts can be suspect:
    For this point you give a hypothetical case of a thousand people which I don’t think ever happened.
    “If a thousand people said they lived in a particular area but all wrote that they never ate meat…Say that furthermore, they all wrote of their non carnivourous meals and claimed radically different versions…”

    4. Ignorance or lack of documents for whatever valid reasons don’t prove that something happened:
    “But it is a patent use of hte fallacy of ignorance to argue from ‘we don’t know that not-P therefore P’. Muffti could just as easily ask, if those records were around, how do you know that they wouldn’t say things like”

    But you arguments are incorrect for the following reasons.

    Regarding point 1:
    Hanukah has not been challenged for ‘years and years’
    -just as you wrote regarding the holocaust. In fact there are many more years since hanukah than since the holocaust. It is quite unreal to see ‘new’ challenges to what we all know to be true for the last two thousand years.

    Regarding points 2 and 4:

    These two points are related. You misunderstood me in your point 4. I am not saying that a lack of evidence is a proof to anything.

    But what you are in effect saying is that because I have no ‘movie’ of hanukkah and no physical ‘concentration camp’ version of hannukah – I suppoose some statue of mattithyahu you are looking for?… that is why it can be challenged.

    That is completely wrong.
    My point was that physical evidence is not really evidence. Museums, statues, movies are easily created and easiliy destroyed. They can be created falsely and about lies whereas ones depicting the truth can be destroyed.

    Even if you have a movie or a statue or a book how do you know that is is not a fictional movie, a novel or a statue of an action figure?

    You only ‘Know’ any of this through historical testimony that was heard through the past generation.

    Even written testimony alone is worthless. Who wrote it? Maybe one person wrote many documents as if it was from many people! It is only if we are told orally from the last generations that these written works are real that we can trust them.

    Physical evidence is really worthless because we really have no idea how it came and who made it.

    So when you in your past posts demanded physical evidence from 2000 years ago..
    I explained that
    a. Physical evidence is not the way we know ANY history – but rather from the testimony of the last generations. and
    b. Something occuring 2000 years ago is not expected to have movies and statues. Almost no events of so long ago would have such remnants.

    Regarding point 3:
    The thousand people case is inaccurate.

    You are giving a case where we ‘find’ written accounts of a thousand people?

    I already explained that written accounts are worthless. Maybe their statements were even taken under duress!

    How do you compare that to when we were told this by the past generations not under duress, in all sincerity and with complete conviction.

    So was it told throughout and it is not becasue of anything written that was suddenly found.

    In the end the ONLY difference between hanukah and the holocaust is that the holocaust is a little more recent so that there are movies and remnants of concentration camps to sway a few people such as yourself.

    Give it a few years when those concentration camp remnants will be taken down by the countries they are in (with the growing Muslim population there this is a very real possibility) and people (modern scholars) will start to say that the holocaust movies are about something fictional like the movies of Atlantis or other fictional movies of wars.

  • Joe Schmo, Muffti is afraid that you have misunderstood him. And that he has misunderstood you.

    Muffti didn’t mean to put much weight on the fact that it had been years and years with no counterevidence. What Muffti meant is that over the years, much attempted counter evidence has been brought, none of which has stood up to critical scrutiny. No one seems to be presenting new evidence agaisnt the holocaust. Thus, Muffti is suspect of david duke and his cronies in Iran becuase, sans new evidence, the motives of the conference are highly suspect.

    The number of years really have little to do with it, though muffti agrees that it is a little hard to fathom why things would happen later rather than earlier on that fron in the case of the holocaust.

    HOWEVER, if someone were to present compelling evidence, Muffti would have no problem with presenting that evidence in an attempt to look at the holocaust. That would be a completely different matter than Duke and cronies. Similarly, if someone has a compelling case to make against the veracity of a piece of history, Muffti is ok with that as well. It’s in part a matter of context: there is a presumption in favour of the historical record as is and if someone has reasons to challenge the historical record, as given to us by older generations etc. then we assess the quality of the challenge for what its worth. David Duek brings nothing of substance to challenge the holocaust and to Muffti’s knowledge, no one ever has. AND TO OUR CREDIT, moreover, people have taken the time to actually refute these challenges (see the multitude of sites you can find information on holocaust denial and its opponents.

    Muffti doesn’t demand a movie of hannuka; of couse htere is no such thing. Muffti is just saying that people should be free to present challenges to the historically accepted view without having people call them names and associate them with people who clearly have no real interest in history, truth or accuracy and care only about furthering an anti-semitic agenda.

    As for generations past, Muffti doesn’t think you can seriously mean what you say. There are many cases where people have passed down stories of miracles that they witnessed as a group: Jesus’ ressurection was witnessed and passed down and ensrined in gospel. As was his walking on water. ARe you inclined to believe that he really did these things? Neither is Muffti…

  • OK your three points here for clarification and then my response…

    Your three points:
    1. people should be free to present challenges to the historically accepted view if they have the truth in mind and do not have an agenda such as the anti-semitic agenda of Duke and company. We to our credit have refuted holocaust denying anti-semites.

    2. Years don’t matter much although even you agree that its hard to fathom why things would be challenged later rather than earlier in the case of the holocaust.

    3. There are many cases where stories were fraudulently made and included being witnessed by a group. Such as J’s resurrection and walking on water which surely even I don’t believe.


    First, just as you feel that Duke and company are interested only in their anti-semitic agenda – which I certainly agree with…

    So to I feel that those challenging Hannuka have their own agenda of denying any history that implies the chosenness of the Jewish people and any sort of religion at all. To me its very similar.

    Second, Just as you find it hard to fathom why history would be challenged later in terms of the holocaust so do I find it hard to fathom why history would be challenged later in terms of Hannuka.
    In addition I don’t agree with you that years don’t matter much. There is a reason that challenges such as these (holocaust and hannuka) ONLY occur later and usually by people who were not there… It is because close to the time it happened it was unchallengable! How do you challenge something that recently happened and everyone knows about?
    So timing IS extremelly important.

    Third, the fraudulant cases of the resurrection and walking on water are bad examples because
    a. The claim is that they were witnessed by a few individuals (at most 12) not by large groups and
    b. It was IMMEDIATELY challenged. The Romans put him on a cross – need I remind you of the recent movie ‘the passion?’

    On the contrary, this example is in my favor. His claim was that these miracles occured only in front of a few people, because if the claim would have been that it happen in front of a very large group – such a thing would be immediately challenged. Even with a few people it was immediately challenged.

    That is why the ‘book of Mormon’ had to be ‘given’ in the forest somewhere in private, and Mohammed had to get a vision in private – because the public claim would never wash.

    So I disagree with you. There are, in fact, NO cases of fraudulant miracles witnessed by a group that was recorded in history as being accepted at the time of the miracle.

    Absolutely NO cases at all.

  • Schmo, Muffti thinks we’ve probably killed this topic to death and more, but..

    So to I feel that those challenging Hannuka have their own agenda of denying any history that implies the chosenness of the Jewish people and any sort of religion at all. To me its very similar.

    Fair ’nuff. Muffti thinks it is different, but Muffti has a certain faith in academics that he doesn’t have for ex-grand dragons of the Klu Klux Klan, no matter how much the latter whines about people mentioning that. (Granted, it is an ad hominem kinda attack, but…) If Muffti thought, truthfully, that David Duke had something interesting to say about the holocaust, he’d listen. But, honestly, Schmo, Muffti thinks tha tyou probably are open minded enough not to take just any historical challenge as an attack on religion rather than an honest look at history. No?

    As for challenges, people challenge accepted history all the time especially when it comes to motives and particular actions. People challenged the moon landing as it was happening! The thing that Muffit is excited about is that as we get better and better at objective measures of history, we learn more and more about how to get a more well rounded picture of what happened when. As we learn to carbon date, and learn what sort of ceramics there were at a time, we learn what sort of food was in people’s diets and thus where they were at certain times. For example (Muffti’s friend is doing her dissertation on the trade of certain sorts of food in ancient china and analysis of bowls that were found that were usd ot cook are particularly important). LGF daily analyzes and busts fake pictures that are presented to us because they are doctored by photoshop in post production; absent that we would claim to know all sorts of things we witnessed.

    As for miracles, Muffti thinks that it is awfully hard to support the claim you are making. but he’ll have to think for a bit about it. He’s pretty suspicious about some claimed in the tanach but he isnt’ sure what you will accept as proof of hteir fraudulence. Certainly Joshua’s having the sun and moon stop in their rotation for him sound suspect and it was claimed to be witnessed – the earth would fly off its rotation had hte miracle taken place. There’s no apparent recoroding of it anywhere else, which is at the very least surprising…