Christianity

Review of David Skrbina’s The Jesus Hoax: How St. Paul’s Cabal Fooled the World for Two Thousand Years

The Jesus Hoax: How St. Paul’s Cabal Fooled the World for Two Thousand Year
David Skrbina
Creative Fire Press, 2019

David Skrbina is a professional philosopher who was a senior lecturer at the University of Michigan from 2003–2018. In addition to the book under review, he has written and edited a number of books, including The Metaphysics of Technology (Routledge, 2014), Panpsychism in the West (MIT Press, 2017), and the anthology Confronting Technology (Creative Fire Press, 2020).

The Jesus Hoax attempts to convince the reader that there is no rational basis for Christianity and that the motivation for its main originator, St. Paul, was antagonism toward the Roman Empire. Within this framework, Paul was a Jewish nationalist whose goal was to recruit non-Jews to oppose the Roman imperium: “Since the biblical Jesus story is false, it was evidently constructed by Paul and his fellow Jews in order to sway the gullible Gentile masses to their side and away from Rome” (43). Indeed, Skrbina claims that Paul may have been a Zealot, i.e., a member of a Jewish sect dedicated to violent resistance against the Romans, concluding “it seems clear that he was an ardent Jewish nationalist opposed to Roman rule, as was the case with most elite Jews of the time” (37).

Skrbina argues that there is no convincing evidence for the truth of the Jesus story, either within the canonical New Testament or from non-Christian sources. The earliest reference from a non-Christian source is a paragraph from the Jewish writer Josephus dated to 93 recounting the basic story, that Jesus was crucified “upon the accusation of the principal men among us”—i.e., the elite Jews of the period. Here Skrbina raises a general issue: the earliest source for the passage from Josephus is from the Christian apologist Eusebius in the fourth century, and the oldest sources for the gospels themselves are dated much later than they were supposedly written (70–95), leaving open the possibility of redactions and interpolations. For example, the oldest copy of the complete Gospel of Matthew, which, as noted below, contains the most inflammatory anti-Jewish passage of all, dates from the mid-fourth century, well after Constantine had legalized Christianity in the Empire and anti-Jewish attitudes were rife among intellectuals like Eusebius and the Church fathers such as St. John Chrysostom.”[1] The extent of redaction and interpolation remains unknown and presents obvious problems of interpretation.

The first Romans to comment on Christianity were Tacitus and Pliny (~115), both of whom disliked Christianity. As Skrbina notes, “the Romans were generally tolerant of other religions, and thus we must conclude that there was something uniquely problematic about this group” (60).

And Skrbina is well aware that an analysis of the entire early Christian movement must be aware of Jewish issues, quoting Nietzsche: “The first thing to be remembered, if we do not wish to lose the scent here, is that we are among Jews” (34). He is quite accurate in his assessment of Jewish ethnocentrism: Jews “saw themselves as special, different, ‘select,’ and thus they put these ideas into the mouth of their God. Certainly, no one would deny a people pride in themselves. But these extreme statements go far beyond normal bounds. They indicate a kind of self-absorption, a self-glorification, perhaps a narcissism, perhaps a conceit. To be chosen by the creator of the universe, and to be granted the right to rule, ruthlessly, over all other nations, bespeaks a kind of megalomania that is unprecedented in history” (63).

Not surprisingly, such a people have often been hated by others, and Skrbina recounts the many examples of anti-Jewish attitudes and actions in the ancient world: “where the Jews settled amongst other peoples, they seem to have made enemies” (65), noting particularly the recurrent theme—a theme that continued long past the ancient world—of Jews allying themselves with ruling elites against the native population. I was particularly struck by a passage Skrbina quotes from recent scholarship referring to advice given in 134 BC to King Antiochus VII, the Greek ruler of the Seleucid Empire, to exterminate the Jews: “for they alone among all the peoples refused all relations with other races, and saw everyone as their enemy; their forebears, impious and cursed by the gods, had been driven out of Egypt. The counselors [cited] the Jews’ hatred of all mankind, sanctioned by their very laws, which forbade them to share their table with a Gentile or give any sign of benevolence.”[2]

Skrbina concludes that there is a “deeply-embedded misanthropic streak” in Jews that continues into the contemporary era, quoting the famous passage from Rabbi Yosef who, in 2010 stated, “Goyim were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world—only to serve the people of Israel. They will work, they will plow, they will reap. We will sit like an effendi [a man of high social standing] and eat” (Jerusalem Post, October 18, 2010). Skrbina: “There is something about Jewish culture that inspires disgust and hatred” (79).

Based on the extensive citations to the Old Testament, Skrbina concludes that the Gospels, commonly dated well after Paul’s writing, were also likely written by Jews. Skrbina notes that the latest-dated gospel, John, is addressed to “intra-Jewish squabbling” (41) over the issue of Jesus being the Messiah—obviously a view rejected by Orthodox Jews. In other words, John identifies as a Jew but as a Jew battling the Orthodox Jewish establishment. Importantly, John contains anti-Jewish passages that would echo down the centuries: Jews “sought to kill Jesus,” and the gospel represents Jesus as saying, “You [Jews] are of your father the devil… He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44) (41). Many contemporary scholars accept the view that anti-Jewish statements in the Gospels are intramural disputes about whether Jews or Christians were the chosen people of God.

Of course, there are many other anti-Jewish statements:

  • John 5:18: For this reason the Jews were seeking all the more to kill [Jesus], because he was not only breaking the sabbath, but was also calling God his own Father, thereby making himself equal to God.
  • John 7:1: After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him.
  • John 7:12–13: And there was considerable complaining about him among the crowds. While some were saying, “He is a good man,” others were saying, “No, he is deceiving the crowd.” Yet no one would speak openly about him for fear of the Jews.
  • John 8:37: I know that you are descendants of Abraham; yet you look for an opportunity to kill me, because there is no place in you for my word.

And the most influential of all:

  • Matthew 27:25–26: When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but thatrather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.

Such sentiments are not only found in the Gospels. St. Paul: 

  • 1Thess 2:14–15: For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they haveof the Jews: Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men.

Skrbina, discussing the Gospel of Mark, notes that Paul et al. had two enemies, the Romans and non-believing Jews like the Pharisees who “wanted to kill Jesus” (95). Mark therefore blamed both, and Skrbina concludes that “Mark’s anger against his fellow Jews … got the better of him; for centuries afterward, Christians would blame the Jews for killing Christ, not realizing that the whole tale was a Jewish construction in the first place” (95).

Later in Matthew and Luke, “the anti-Jewish rhetoric heats up a bit; the Jews are called ‘a brood of vipers’ (Mat 3:7, 12:34, 23:33) and ‘lovers of money’ (Lu 16:14). And there are repetitions of the message of revolution, including armed confrontation (“I have not come to bring peace, but a sword” [Mat. 10:34]) and it depicts that the coming confrontation would split families.

Skrbina’s reconstruction of the trajectory of Christianity is presented as tentative (“I’ll not claim certainty here” [81]). For example, he imagines a soliloquy by Jewish patriot Paul asking, “What message could our ‘Jesus’ take to the masses,” answering “we need them to be pro-Jewish, not make them Jews–no, that would never work. We need something new, a ‘third way’ between Judaism and paganism. Maybe for a start, we could get them to worship our God Jehovah, and not that absurd Roman pantheon” (84; emphasis in text). And the whole point was to encourage revolt: “Throughout [Paul’s] letters we find numerous references to enslavement, revolution, insurrection, war, the importance of the disempowered masses, and so on. In the early Galatians we read of the need for Jesus to ‘deliver us from the present evil age’ ([Galatians] 1:4)” (90). Skrbina considers the following passage, from 1Corinthians 1:4 “decisive” (92): 

For consider your call, brethren, not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth; but God chose what is foolish to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong. God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are. (Skrbina’s emphasis)

Militancy increases in Luke and Matthew, both dated to 85. Matthew (10:34): “Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

If one agrees with Skrbina on all this, then he suggests that you “go to your local church leaders and confront them with the evidence (or lack thereof). Their response will confirm everything you need to know. Then, make it clear to them that you have been swindled” (112). And: “Christians need to own up the fact that they have been swindled, and then see if anything can be salvaged of their religion. Keep the social club, do charity work, help the poor—just dump the bogus metaphysics” (116). 

Discussion

Since I am not a believer and since I am quite cognizant of Jewish efforts to manipulate the beliefs and attitudes of non-Jews—the thesis, after all, of The Culture of Critique—I am quite open to Skrbina’s interpretation. However, there are a few things that bother me. 

Liars? In Skrbina’s view, the entire project was based on lies, lies made possible by Jewish contempt for non-Jews. In a section titled “Paul, Liar Supreme,” we find “The Gentiles were always treated by the Jews with contempt. … They could be manipulated, harassed, assaulted, beaten, even killed if it served Jewish interests” (99). The gospel writers were also likely liars: “Even in ancient times, people were not idiots. How could Mark accept without any apparent evidence or confirmation, such fantastic tales? And accept them so completely that he would write them down as factual truth, as real and actual events? And then how could the same thing happen three more times, to three different individuals?” (106). And Paul is even more unlikely to have actually believed what he was writing because he was so close to the events he wrote about, and because he was a “clever man. How could he possibly have fallen so completely for a bogus Jewish messiah that he would dedicate his life to spreading the story?” (106).

This is presented as an issue of cleverness, and it is certainly true that there is a small but consistent negative correlation between intelligence and religiosity.[3]  But the weakness of the association—explaining around four percent of the variance—indicates that there are plenty of intelligent people who are quite religious. This would have been even more likely in the ancient world—a context in which religion was taken very seriously, where miraculous events were taken for granted by many, and where there wasn’t already a long history of philosophical skepticism about religion, as there is in the contemporary West. Or consider the medieval period in the West that produced highly intelligent believers, such as St. Thomas Aquinas or William of Occam. Or the ultra-religious but very intelligent Puritans who settled New England and quickly founded Harvard University and the other elite Ivy League universities. We live in an age where science has become the height of respectability—hence the attempts to manipulate what can pass as scientific to serve other interests and have a dramatic impact on contemporary culture. However, the cultural context has been much different in the past, and I suspect that correlations between intelligence and religiosity would have been approximately zero in many historical periods.

Another issue related to lying is martyrdom. The proposal that Paul and the gospel writers were liars must deal with the issue of “Who would die for a lie? … as Jews, they were all, already, under persecution from the Romans. As extremist, fanatical Jews they were willing to do anything and suffer any punishment, in order to help ‘Israel’” (110). It’s certainly true that Jews died and were enslaved in droves when the Romans put down the Jewish uprisings, and this was presumably on the minds of the putative gospel writers (the first Roman-Jewish war was in 70), so the extreme altruism of martyrdom for the benefit of the group seems possible, particularly among Jews—there is a long tradition of Jewish martyrdom that continues to be an important aspect of Jewish identity. However, stories of martyrdom in both the Christian and Jewish traditions may well be at least exaggerated if not entirely apocryphal (e.g., here) because of their usefulness in creating a strong sense of ingroup identity.

Again, there are the questions of who wrote the New Testament and when was it written, including possible redactions and interpolations. I am not at all a scholar on the New Testament, but I note that a recent scholar, Robert Price, dates the first collection of St. Paul’s letters from Marcion in the second century, with the authorship of some letters highly contested, and a strong possibility of interpolations by later collectors:

The question of authorship would have little bearing here one way or the other. In this process, interpolations were made and then gradually permeated the text tradition of each letter until final canonization of the Pastoral edition (and concurrent burning of its rivals) put a stop to all that. … But the first collector of the Pauline Epistles had been Marcion. No one else we know of would be a good candidate, certainly not the essentially fictive Luke, Timothy, and Onesimus. And Marcion, as Burkitt and Bauer show, fills the bill perfectly. Of the epistles themselves, he is probably the original author of Laodiceans (the Vorlage [i.e., original version] of Ephesians) and perhaps of Galatians, too. Like Muhammad in the Koran, he would have read his own struggles back into the careers of his biblical predecessors.

But there are other scholars who continue to uphold the view that the New Testament is a reliable account, or at least reliable enough (see, e.g., Craig L. Blomberg, The Historical Reliability of the New Testament: Countering the Challenges to Evangelical Christian Beliefs). I am certainly not in any position to evaluate what continues to be a very contentious area which has been covered in minute deal for at least 200 years, often by highly motivated scholars. At this late stage of scholarship, it seems unlikely that a consensus will ever be reached, especially because a great deal of the scholarship may well be motivated by a desire to defend deeply held religious beliefs—or dispute them; e.g., Blomberg describes himself as “a Christian believer of an evangelical persuasion” (xxv), which doesn’t mean that he is incorrect, but indicates that he would be motivated to defend his beliefs.

Given all this complexity I take that path of humility in trying to assess these issues, resulting in my being an agnostic about the historicity of the New Testament, whether whoever wrote it were liars, and what their real agendas were. I am persuaded that there is no consensus on what was actually written in the first century, and I accept the possibility that the writings that survive as the canonical writings of Christianity may well include later redactions and interpolations that reflect very different perceptions and interests from those of the putative first-century writers.

The Anti-Jewish Statements in the New Testament. I noted above that there are quite a few anti-Jewish passages in the New Testament, including from St. Paul himself. Skrbina claims that “The scattered anti-Jewish statements in all the Gospels—especially John—more reflect an internal Jewish battle over ideology than an external, Gentile attack” (107–108). This is a common scholarly view, but if you are trying to recruit Gentiles to your movement to serve Jewish interests, would you really want to litter your writing with anti-Jewish statements? In fact, these statements, particularly the claim that Jews committed deicide, have been used by Christians against Jews throughout the succeeding centuries, most notably “His blood be on us, and on our children.” Although the major outbreaks of anti-Semitism have always involved far more than Christian religious beliefs—they have typically occurred during periods of resource competition of various sorts (MacDonald, 1998)—I have no doubt that Christian beliefs about Jews fed into and exacerbated anti-Jewish attitudes, especially in the past when vast sections of the European population were deeply religious—e.g., during the Middle Ages when religious beliefs motivated the Crusades and long, arduous pilgrimages to sites where miracles were said to have occurred. It was a period when, e.g., Notre Dame de Paris, the symbol of traditional France, was adorned with anti-Jewish imagery.

Ecclesia (right) and Synagoga, illustrating Jewish blindness in rejecting Christianity

Indeed, Jewish perceptions of the anti-Jewish nature of Christian theology have resulted in Jewish activism to essentially rewrite or reinterpret the New Testament in their interests. Antonius J. Patrick summarizes this strand of Jewish activism in his review of Vicomte Léon de Poncins’ Judaism and the Vatican: An Attempt at Spiritual Subversion:

The pronouncements on non-Christian religions and the declaration Nostra aetate passed in the Fourth Session of the Council (1965) accomplished almost all that the Modernists had hoped for. In effect, these pronouncements repudiated nearly two thousand years of Catholic teaching on the Jews. Ever since, the Church has continually bowed to Jewish pressure in regard to its liturgy, the naming of saints, and in the political realm—its most infamous decision in the latter being the recognition of the state of Israel in 1994.

Poncins, who closely covered the Vatican II proceedings, wrote of the declaration:

. . . a number of Jewish organizations and personalities are behind the reforms which were proposed at the Council with a view to modifying the Church’s attitude and time-honored teaching about Judaism: Jules Isaac, Label Katz, President of the B’nai B’rith, Nahum Goldman, President of the World Jewish Congress, etc. . . . These reforms are very important because they suggest that for two thousand years the Church had been mistaken and that she must make amends and completely reconsider her attitude to the Jews.

The leading figure in the years prior to the Council was the virulent anti-Catholic writer Jules Isaac, and he played an active role during the Counsel. “Isaac,” Poncins describes, “turned the Council to advantage, having found there considerable support among progressive bishops. In fact, he became the principal theorist and promoter of the campaign being waged against the traditional teaching of the Church.”

Isaac had long before begun his hostile campaign to overturn Catholic teaching on the Jews with his two most important books on the subject: Jésus et Israel (1946) and Genèse de l’Antisémitisme (1948). Poncins accurately summarizes the main thrust of these works:

In these books Jules Isaac fiercely censures Christian teaching, which he says has been the source of modern anti-Semitism, and preaches, though it would be more correct to say he demands, the ‘purification’ and ‘amendment’ of doctrines two thousand years old.

Moreover, whatever the beliefs and motives of St. Paul and the Gospel writers, the Church had essentially become an anti-Jewish movement by the fourth century when Catholicism became the official religion of the Roman Empire:

The proposal here is that in this period of enhanced group conflict, anti-Jewish leaders such as [St. John] Chrysostom [who retains a chapel named after him at St. Peter’s basilica in Rome] attempted to convey a very negative view of Jews. Jews were to be conceptualized not as harmless practitioners of exotic, entertaining religious practices, or as magicians, fortune tellers, or healers [as had been the case previously], but as the very embodiment of evil. The entire thrust of the legislation that emerged during this period was to erect walls of separation between Jews and gentiles, to solidify the gentile group, and to make all gentiles aware of who the “enemy” was. Whereas these walls had been established and maintained previously only by Jews, in this new period of intergroup conflict the gentiles were raising walls between themselves and Jews….

The interpretation proposed here is that group conflict between Jews and gentiles entered a new stage in the 4th century. It is of considerable interest that it was during this period that accusations of Jewish greed, wealth, love of luxury and of the pleasures of the table became common (Simon 1986, 213). Such accusations did not occur during earlier periods, when anti-Jewish writings concentrated instead on Jewish separatism. These new charges suggest that Jews had increasingly developed a reputation as wealthy, and they in turn suggest that anti-Semitism had entered a new phase in the ancient world, one centered around resource competition and concerns regarding Jewish economic success, domination of gentiles [especially enslaving gentiles], and relative reproductive success. …

Jews were increasingly entering the imperial and municipal service in the 4th century until being excluded from these occupations in the 5th century—an aspect of the wide range of economic, social, and legal prohibitions on Jews dating from this period [particularly prohibitions on Jews owning Christian slaves—itself an indication of the superior wealth of Jews]. These factors, in combination with traditional gentile hostility to Judaism (because of its separatist practices and perceptions of Jewish misanthropy and perhaps of Jewish wealth), set the stage for a major anti-Semitic movement. The proposal here is that this anti-Semitic movement crystallized in the Christian Church. (Separation and Its Discontents, Ch. 3, 96, 98, 99)

It is quite possible that the anti-Jewish statements in the New Testament are interpolations made much later by anti-Jewish writers motivated by resource competition and Jews enslaving Christians. If so, the liars were not Paul and the Gospel writers, but Christians concerned about Jews in the third and fourth centuries. J. G. Gager suggests that the extant literature from the early Church was deliberately selected to emphasize anti-Jewish themes and exclude other voices, much as the priestly redaction of the Pentateuch retained from earlier writings only what was compatible with Judaism as a diaspora ideology (J. G. Gager, The Origins of Anti-Semitism: Attitudes toward Judaism in Pagan and Christian Antiquity (Oxford, 1983), 7; N. deLange, “The origins of anti-Semitism: Ancient evidence and modern interpretation,” In Anti-Semitism in Times of Crisis, S. L. Gilman & S. T. Katz (NYU Press, 1991, 30–31). It’s quite conceivable that, rather than reflecting real intra-Jewish squabbles in the first century, as suggested by Skrbina, these early works were deliberately embellished in order to emphasize anti-Jewish themes in the originals—or they were completely fabricated—at a time when these writers had become strongly anti-Jewish for reasons that would not have been salient in the first century. In any case, this possibility is highly compatible with the view that there was a qualitative shift toward the conscious construction of a fundamentally anti-Jewish version of history during the formative period of the Catholic Church.

Consequences of the Lies. Skrbina ends by claiming that Paul’s lies were successful: “It took a few hundred years, but when enough people fell for the hoax, it helped to bring down the Roman Empire” (122). And he describes the lies as a “mortal threat”: “eventually drawing in 2 billion people, becoming an enemy of truth and reason, and causing deaths of millions of human beings via inquisitions, witch burnings, crusades, and other religious atrocities” (101).

I have never seen a scholarly argument that the institutionalization of the Catholic Church contributed importantly to the fall of the Empire. The Eastern Empire, although losing substantial territory to the Muslims, was only overthrown in 1453 after centuries of battling them. However, it’s certainly a reasonable idea given that Christian religious ideology was the polar opposite of thoroughly militarized Indo-European culture upon which Rome was built. Ancient Greco-Roman culture was fundamentally aristocratic and based on ideas of natural inequality and natural hierarchy. Thus, Plato’s “just society” as depicted in The Republic was to be ruled by philosophers because they were truly rational, and he assumes there are natural differences in the capacity for rationality—a modern would phrase it in terms of the behavior genetics of IQ and personality. Aristotle believed that some people were slaves “by nature” (Larry Siedentop, Inventing the Individual: The Origins of Western Liberalism (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2014), 52), i.e., that the hierarchy between masters and slaves was natural. Reflecting themes common in Indo-European culture emphasized by Ricardo Duchesne (The Uniqueness of Western Civilization), the ancients prized fame and glory (positive esteem from others) resulting from genuine virtue and military and political accomplishments—but not labor, because laborers were often slaves and the rightful booty of conquest.

So the Christian ethic of prizing meekness, humility, and labor was quite a change. Within Christian ideology the individual replaced the ancient Indo-European family as the seat of moral legitimacy. Christian ideology was intended for all humans, resulting in a sense of moral egalitarianism, at least within the Christian community, rather than seeing society as based on natural hierarchy. Individual souls were seen as having moral agency and equal value in the eyes of God—a theology that has had very negative effects in the contemporary world.

However, universalism and the Christian virtues of meekness and humility are not the only story and indeed, as Skrbina notes, the sword also makes an appearance in the New Testament. In the Middle Ages Christianity was Germanized (James Russell, The Germanization of Early Medieval Christianity, Oxford, 1996), making it much more compatible with an aristocratic warrior ethnic. And in the medieval period and beyond, Christianity facilitated Western individualism and essentially ushered in the modern age of science, technological progress, and territorial expansion (Joseph Henrich, The Weirdest People in the World, 2020; MacDonald, Individualism and the Western Liberal Tradition, 2019).

As a direct result, Christians who had a firm conviction about their beliefs eventually conquered the world and have been responsible for essentially all of the scientific and technological progress that created the modern world. Indeed, in his The WEIRDest People in the World, Joseph Henrich argues that the medieval Church invented Western individualism by insisting on monogamous marriage and by “demolishing” extended kinship relations, presented by Henrich as an attempt to understand, as phrased in his subtitle, How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous (Harvard, 2020). I have quite a few objections to his approach (see here), but he is certainly correct that the Church was influential in opposing the power of extended kinship groups and preventing concubinage and polygyny among elites, thereby facilitating a relatively egalitarian marriage regime. Essentially Henrich ignores the ethnic basis of Western individualism that reaches back into pre-historic Western Europe and is certainly reflected in the classical Western civilizations of Greece and Rome. Henrich also ignores genetic influences on IQ and personality. But I agree with a much weaker version—that the Church facilitated Western individualism and so helped give rise to the modern world (Chapter 5 of Individualism and the Western Liberal Tradition, 2019).

So it’s not entirely a story of “causing deaths of millions of human beings via inquisitions, witch burnings, crusades, and other religious atrocities.” But the sad reality is that contemporary Christianity, or at least the vast majority of it, is utterly opposed to the interests of the people who have historically made it their religion. For example, Prof. Andrew Fraser has interpreted fundamental Christian texts in a manner consistent with an ethnic form of Christianity (e.g., “Global Jesus versus National Jesus”, and in The Sword of Christ (2020; this book seems to have been banned by Amazon), Giles Corey attempts to rescue an ethnically viable Christianity from the ruins of contemporary, leftist-dominated Christian theology. As I note in my preface:

Religious thinking is by its nature unbounded—it is infinitely malleable [so that, for example, redactions and interpolations on the New Testament could easily have been adapted to create a fundamentally new theology]. It is a dangerous sword that can be used to further legitimate interests of believers, or it can become a lethal weapon whereby believers adopt attitudes that are obviously maladaptive. One need only think of religiously based suicide cults, such as People’s Temple (Jonestown), Solar Temple and Heaven’s Gate. Mainstream Christianity from traditional Catholicism to mainstream Protestantism was fundamentally adaptive in terms of creating a healthy family life. It was compatible with a culture characterized by extraordinary scientific and technological creativity, [territorial expansion], and standards of living that have been much envied by the rest of the world. …

Corey is well aware that contemporary Christianity has been massively corrupted. Mainline Protestant and Catholic Churches have become little more than appendages for the various social justice movements of the left, avidly promoting the colonization of the West by other races and cultures, even as religious fervor and attendance dwindle and Christianity itself becomes ever more irrelevant to the national dialogue. [Guillaume Durocher notes that only 6–12 percent of the French population are practicing Catholics, indicating that Catholicism cannot be blamed for France’s current malaise.] On the other hand, [American] Evangelicals, a group that remains vigorously Christian, have been massively duped by the theology of Christian Zionism, their main focus being to promote Israel. [In general, they have rejected an explicit White identity or a sense of White interests.]

Until the twentieth century, Christianity served the West well. One need only think of the long history of Christians battling to prevent Muslims from establishing a caliphate throughout the West—Charles Martel at the Battle of Tours, the Spanish Reconquista, the defeat of the Turks at the gates of Vienna. The era of Western expansion was accomplished by Christian explorers and colonists. Until quite recently, the flourishing of science, technology, and art occurred entirely within a Christian context.

Corey advocates a revitalization of Medieval Germanic Christianity based on, in the words of Samuel Francis, “social hierarchy, loyalty to tribe and place (blood and soil), world-acceptance rather than world-rejection, and an ethic that values heroism and military sacrifice.”  This medieval Christianity preserved the aristocratic, fundamentally Indo-European culture of the Germanic tribes. This was an adaptive Christianity, a Christianity that was compatible with Western expansion, to the point that by the end of the nineteenth century, the West dominated the planet. Christianity per se is certainly not the problem.

The decline of adaptive Christianity coincides with the post-Enlightenment rise of the Jews throughout the West as an anti-Christian elite, and Corey has a great deal of very interesting material on traditional Christian views of Judaism. Traditional Christian theology viewed the Church as having superseded the Old Testament and that, by rejecting the Church, the Jews had not only rejected God, they were responsible for murdering Christ. …

In fact, intellectual movements of the left—disseminated throughout the educational system and by the elite media—have exploited the Western liberal tradition. The intellectuals who came to dominate American intellectual discourse and the media were quite aware of the need to appeal to Western proclivities toward individualism, egalitarianism, and moral universalism by essentially creating a moral community that appealed to these traits but also served their interests. A theme of The Culture of Critique is that moral indictments of their opponents have been prominent in the writings of the activist intellectuals reviewed there, including political radicals and those opposing biological perspectives on individual and group differences in IQ. A sense of moral superiority was also prevalent in the psychoanalytic movement, and the Frankfurt School developed the view that social science was to be judged by moral criteria.

The triumph of the cultural left to the point of substantial consensus in the West has created a moral community where people who do not subscribe to their beliefs are seen as not only intellectually deficient but as morally evil. Moral communities rather than kinship are the social glue of Western societies. Westerners, being individualists and relatively unconcerned about the prospects of their kin beyond their immediate family, willingly punish other Whites who oppose their moral community, even at cost to themselves (altruistic punishment). Their main concern is to have a good reputation in their moral community which is now defined by the media and the educational system—a moral community that was created by hostile elites out of fear and loathing of the traditional White American majority (see Culture of Critique, Ch. 7).

Finally, Skrbina asks, “Can it really be beneficial to accept a myth as truth? Can one really live a happy, successful, and meaningful life dedicated to a false story or a lie?” (16). I think that the answer is that yes it can. As an evolutionist, my working hypothesis is that when it comes to the realm of ideas, evolution does not aim for truth but rather for success in continuing one’s family and increasing the prospects of one’s tribe. Certainly the religious beliefs of other groups, say Muslims, Jews, or Mormons, may well be false and based on inventions. But the people believing in these lies have often done very well in evolutionary terms and are continuing to do so. Ashkenazi Jewish eugenics proceeded for centuries in a religious context, resulting in a highly intelligent elite able to wield vast influence throughout the West. Islam expanded over hundreds of years, controlling vast territories, with leaders rewarded by large harems and many descendants; Islam is now rapidly expanding in Europe and has higher fertility than native Europeans. It’s well known that seriously religious, fundamentalist Christians in the West have more children on average than non-Christian Europeans, which is certainly adaptive. But they are also more likely to swear fealty to the interests of Israel and in general they are entirely resistant to being informed about the negative effects of multiculturalism or about Jewish cultural influence (whose effects they despise) or even Jewish traditional hostility toward Christianity.

And it can scarcely be doubted that Catholicism and mainline Protestantism have been completely corrupted and actively subverted so that millions of White Americans have been swept up by the multiculturalism and replacement-level immigration as moral imperatives. Jewish activism has certainly been part of this, but traditional Christian universalism and moral egalitarianism are also part of the equation. One might say that Christianity, despite periods when it was highly adaptive, carried the seeds of its own destruction—a chink in its armor that made it relatively easy to subvert once the culture of the West had been subverted by our new hostile elite.

So, in my view, it’s a complex story, and one that is far from finished.


[1] Kevin MacDonald, Separation and Its Discontents: Toward an Evolutionary Theory of Anti-Semitism (AuthorHouse, 2003; originally published: Praeger, 1998), Ch. 3.

[2] Quoted in Emilio Gabba, “The Growth of Anti-Judaism or the Greek Attitude toward the Jews.” In W. D. Davies & Louis Finkelstein (Eds.), The Cambridge History of Judaism. Vol. 2: The Hellenistic Age (Cambridge University Press, 1989), 614–656, 645).

[3] Miron Zuckerman, et al., “The Negative Intelligence–Religiosity Relation: New and Confirming Evidence,” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 46, no. 6(2020): 856–868.

 

Kevin MacDonald’s Preface to Giles Corey’s The Sword of Christ

 

 

Note: Giles Corey’s new book, The Sword of Christ, may be purchased here. Get it before it’s banned!

Giles Corey has written a book that should be read by all Christians as well as White advocates of all theoretical perspectives, including especially those who are seeking a spiritual foundation that is deeply embedded in the history and culture of Europeans. This is excellent scholarship combined with a very fluid writing style. He has thought deeply about all the issues confronting the peoples and cultures of the West.

Corey is well aware that contemporary Christianity has been massively corrupted. Mainline Protestant and Catholic Churches have become little more than appendages for the various social justice movements of the left, avidly promoting the colonization of the West by other races and cultures, even as religious fervor and attendance dwindle and Christianity itself becomes ever more irrelevant to the national dialogue. On the other hand, Evangelicals, a group that remains vigorously Christian, have been massively duped by the theology of Christian Zionism, their main focus being to promote Israel.

Until the twentieth century, Christianity served the West well. One need only think of the long history of Christians battling to prevent Muslims from establishing a caliphate throughout the West—Charles Martel at the Battle of Tours, the Spanish Reconquista, the defeat of the Turks at the gates of Vienna. The era of Western expansion was accomplished by Christian explorers and colonists. Until quite recently, the flourishing of science, technology, and art occurred entirely within a Christian context.

Much of my scholarly interest has been to attempt to understand the people and culture of the West, resulting in my book Individualism and the Western Liberal Tradition: Evolutionary Origins, History, and Prospects for the Future. As I argue there, individualism lends itself to moral and ethical universalism which led to the religiously based eradication of slavery long before the rise of an elite hostile to Christianity itself. And White intellectuals in the nineteenth century attempting to understand their own moral universalism often attributed it to their racial origins.

Such individualism was not disastrously self-destructive. As Corey notes, “Christian universalism historically posed little to no danger to White survival because it was preached by Whites living in a world ruled by Whites; it was only in the multicultural Egalitarian Regime inseminated in the mid-twentieth century that Christian sacrifice was transformed into a call for racial suicide.” The individualist, Christian West was thus highly adaptive—until the rise of a hostile, Jewish-dominated elite bent on corrupting adaptive forms of Christian individualism in favor of a completely deracinated individualism, now accompanied by powerful religious, media, and academic voices preaching White guilt, often from a Christian perspective.

Instead, Corey advocates a revitalization of Medieval Germanic Christianity based on, in the words of Samuel Francis, “social hierarchy, loyalty to tribe and place (blood and soil), world-acceptance rather than world-rejection, and an ethic that values heroism and military sacrifice.” This medieval Christianity preserved the aristocratic, fundamentally Indo-European culture of the Germanic tribes. This was an adaptive Christianity, a Christianity that was compatible with Western expansion, to the point that by the end of the nineteenth century, the West dominated the planet. Christianity per se is certainly not the problem.

The decline of adaptive Christianity coincides with the post-Enlightenment rise of the Jews throughout the West as an anti-Christian elite, and Corey has a great deal of very interesting material on traditional Christian views of Judaism. Traditional Christian theology viewed the Church as having superseded the Old Testament and that, by rejecting the Church, the Jews had not only rejected God, they were responsible for murdering Christ. My view, developed in Chapter 3 of Separation and Its Discontents: Toward an Evolutionary Theory of Anti-Semitism is that traditional Christian theology was fundamentally anti-Jewish and was developed as a weapon which was used to lessen Jewish economic and political power in the Roman Empire. Here Corey describes the writings of the fourth-century figure, St. John Chrysostom, who has a chapel dedicated to him inside St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome as well as a statue outside the building. His writings on Jews are nothing less than scathing and reflect long-term tensions between Jews and Greeks in Antioch. And Chrysostom was far from alone in his hatred. For example, St. Gregory of Nyssa, also writing in the fourth century: “ [Jews are] murderers of the Lord, assassins of the prophets, rebels against God, God haters, . . . advocates of the devil, race of vipers, slanderers, calumniators, dark-minded people, leaven of the Pharisees, sanhedrin of demons, sinners, wicked men, stoners, and haters of righteousness.” The traditional Church was certainly far from friendly toward Jews.

And although Protestantism was generally far more amenable to Jewish interests even before its current malaise, there certainly are exceptions. Here Corey emphasizes Martin Luther’s writings on Jews. Luther emphasizes Jewish hatred toward Christianity and their sense of superiority vis-à-vis Christians, seeing the latter as “not human; in fact, we hardly deserve to be considered poor worms by them.” But he is also concerned about Jewish economic exploitation and domination of Germans via usury—certainly the biggest complaint about Jews in traditional Europe. And he is repulsed by Talmudic ethics which promote very different moral codes for Jews and non-Jews.

However, much has changed since the origins of Christianity. In the contemporary United States, Christian Zionism has had a very large influence on Evangelical Protestantism whose theology departs radically from traditional Christianity, particularly with respect to the Jews. Corey has an excellent section on how Jews helped shape this new theology; it should be required reading for Christian Zionists because it would open their eyes to the sordid history of the movement. The result of such thinking is that Zionism has often become a vehicle of moral idealism in the minds of a great many gentiles, from Lloyd George to the present, who believe that the restoration of Israel is far more important than the fate of their own people.

Jews have not stood by idly on this but have actively supported the Christian Zionism movement. I noted in a 2010 article on the delusional Pastor John Hagee:

Beginning in 1978, the Likud Party in Israel has taken the lead in organizing this force for Israel, and they have been joined by the neocons. For example, in 2002 the Israeli embassy organized a prayer breakfast with the major Christian Zionists. The main organizations are the Unity Coalition for Israel which is run by Esther Levens and Christians United for Israel, run by David Brog. The Unity Coalition for Israel consists of ~200 Christian and Jewish organizations and has strong connections to neocon think tanks such as the Center for Security Policy, headed by Frank Gaffney, pro-Israel activist organizations the Zionist Organization of America, the Likud Party and the Israeli government. This organization claims to provide material for 1,700 religious radio stations, 245 Christian TV stations, and 120 Christian newspapers.[1]

Corey notes that Hagee’s organization, A Night to Honor Israel, has donated over $100 million to right-wing causes in Israel over the years. He has been well rewarded financially for his efforts and is the recipient of numerous awards from Zionist organizations.

Christian Zionism is a fitting reminder of how humans, unlike animals, can be motivated by ideas, including ideas that are completely unrelated to believers’ real interests. These ideas may be disseminated by people who are only doing so for selfish reasons, such as the dishonorable Cyrus Scofield, whose annotated Bible has become central to Christian Zionism. Maladaptive ideas may also be disseminated by people who are utterly opposed to the legitimate interests of believers or even hate Christianity and the West in general. Here Corey discusses the role of Felix Untermeyer, a wealthy Jew, in promoting Scofield and his Bible. It was a religious ideology “with a new worship icon—the modern state of Israel,” and Corey does an excellent job showing how Christian Zionism is a radical departure from traditional Christian theology. I found the following passage quite stunning:

The heresy of Christian Zionism, using an arbitrary and self-contradictory literalist and futurist hermeneutic, contends that the Jews remain God’s chosen people, separate from and superior to the Church; indeed, they believe that earthly Jewish Israel will replace the Church, and that as such, “Christians, and indeed whole nations, will be blessed through their association with, and support of, Israel.”

Although Christian Zionism is far less influential than the Israel Lobby in furthering Jewish interests in the United States, it has certainly had some influence and creates a ready-made cheering section for wars in the Middle East on behalf of Israel. After all, other attitudes typical of Christian Zionists, such as opposition to abortion or pornography, have had much less traction with the current left-oriented establishment despite their powerful commitment to the state of Israel.

Religious thinking is by its nature unbounded—it is infinitely malleable. It is a dangerous sword that can be used to further legitimate interests of believers, or it can become a lethal weapon whereby believers adopt attitudes that are obviously maladaptive. One need only think of religiously based suicide cults, such as People’s Temple (Jonestown), Solar Temple and Heaven’s Gate. Mainstream Christianity from traditional Catholicism to mainstream Protestantism was fundamentally adaptive in terms of creating a healthy family life. It was compatible with a culture characterized by extraordinary scientific and technological creativity and standards of living that have been much envied by the rest of the world.

Corey has great material on Jewish perceptions of Christianity in the Talmud and on negative Jewish influences on culture in the present West, including pornography and the sexual revolution generally. As is so often the case with Jewish activism, the pornography movement has been motivated not solely by money but by hatred toward Christian morality and Christian family functioning. The results have been devastating: huge increases since the 1960s—the breakthrough decade of Jewish power—in all the markers of family dysfunction and poor child outcomes: lower marriage rates, higher births out of wedlock, higher rates of teenage pregnancy, precocious sexuality, high divorce rates, and unstable pair bonds. In other words, the Western family pattern of monogamous nuclear families based on strong husband-wife pair bonds has been under attack from Jewish dominated movements, the most noteworthy of which was psychoanalysis promising an idyllic future if only people would jettison traditional Christian constraints on sexuality. These negative trends in family functioning have been most pronounced among the lower social classes and thus have much less effect on high-IQ middle- and upper-income groups, including Jews as a relatively high-IQ group. The disaster in family patterns has fallen far more severely on the White working class.

Corey’s has an extended treatment of the corrosive effects of pornography, now extended to child pornography and legalized pedophilia as the “final frontier” in the sexual revolution. As in other areas, this starts out by advocating language that makes the activity more or less acceptable depending on the interests of advocates. In the case of pedophilia, the first step is to label them “minor attracted persons,” whereas in the area of free speech, we find labels like “hate speech”—even for speech that is reasonable and fact-based. If issues related to free speech are any guide, there will soon be articles in law journals arguing that pedophilia is normal and should not be punished, and eventually courts will begin to adopt this logic in particular cases. Already Supreme Court justices like Elena Kagan have signaled a willingness to curtail speech on diversity issues,[2] and this would be joined by the other liberals, which would mean that curtailing free speech on race is at most one Supreme Court appointment away. And when that happens, it won’t be long before it is embraced by conservatives. As Corey notes in the case of pedophilia, “We are presumably one Supreme Court ruling away from the National Review cocktail ‘conservative’ crowd celebrating pederasty as the next great achievement of individual liberty.”

Given the exhaustive summary of the negative effects of pornography—including neurological impairments related to impulsivity and lessened interest in familial relationships of love and nurturance—it is horrifying indeed that “sixty percent of boys and thirty percent of girls were exposed to pornography in early adolescence, including ‘bondage, rape, and child pornography’, and another which concludes that children under ten years old now account for over twenty percent of online pornographic consumption.” This definitely was not happening when I was growing up in the 1950s, prior to the deluge. I agree with Corey’s conclusion, “We have conclusively established that Jewish leadership and participation was instrumental in and a necessary condition of the pornographic war that has struck at the most sacred foundation of the West, the family.” As Freud famously said, “we are bringing them the plague.”

Corey has an excellent and exhaustive section on Jewish ritual murder—an absolutely convincing presentation on a topic that, like so much of Jewish history, is a minefield for serious scholars. As he notes, “There are … hundreds of accusations and cases of Jewish ritual murder, each just as sadistically depraved as the last, involving barrels of nails, crucifixion, decapitation, spit-roasting, stoning, and a litany of other barbaric evils; we could fill entire volumes with the accounts of each of these innocent lives so cruelly taken from this world.”

 

This is a topic that I have never written about, although I was somewhat familiar with Blood Passover, Ariel Toaff’s book on the topic. As to be expected, Toaff’s book was condemned by the activist Jewish community and he was pressured into publishing an apology, promising to prevent distribution of his book, etc. However, we should not be surprised to find that such practices occurred. Ritual murder is an extreme manifestation of normative Jewish hostility toward the surrounding society which is an important facet of the entire subject. The eighteenth-century English historian Edward Gibbon was struck by the fanatical hatred of Jews in the ancient world:

From the reign of Nero to that of Antoninus Pius, the Jews discovered a fierce impatience of the dominion of Rome, which repeatedly broke out in the most furious massacres and insurrections. Humanity is shocked at the recital of the horrid cruelties which they committed in the cities of Egypt, of Cyprus, and of Cyrene, where they dwelt in treacherous friendship with the unsuspecting natives; and we are tempted to applaud the severe retaliation which was exercised by the arms of the legions against a race of fanatics, whose dire and credulous superstition seemed to render them the implacable enemies not only of the Roman government, but of human kind.[3]

The nineteenth-century Spanish historian José Amador de los Rios wrote of the Spanish Jews who assisted the Muslim conquest of Spain that “without any love for the soil where they lived, without any of those affections that ennoble a people, and finally without sentiments of generosity, they aspired only to feed their avarice and to accomplish the ruin of the Goths; taking the opportunity to manifest their rancor, and boasting of the hatreds that they had hoarded up so many centuries.”[4]

As I noted in an article titled “Stalin’s Willing Executioners: Jews as a Hostile Elite in the Soviet Union,” “Hatred toward the peoples and cultures of non-Jews and the image of enslaved ancestors as victims of anti-Semitism have been the Jewish norm throughout history—much commented on, from Tacitus (“they regard the rest of mankind with all the hatred of enemies”[5]) to the present.”[6] Toaff brings out the revenge motive: “In their collective mentality, the Passover Seder had long since transformed itself into a celebration in which the wish for the forthcoming redemption of the people of Israel moved from aspiration to revenge, and then to cursing their Christian persecutors, the current heirs to the wicked Pharaoh of Egypt.”

Hatred and revenge were clearly on display in the early decades of the Soviet Union, a period in which around 20 million people were murdered. From “Stalin’s Willing Executioners,” a review of Yuri Slezkine’s The Jewish Century:

There can be little doubt that Lenin’s contempt for “the thick-skulled, boorish, inert, and bearishly savage Russian or Ukrainian peasant” was shared by the vast majority of shtetl Jews prior to the Revolution and after it. Those Jews who defiled the holy places of traditional Russian culture and published anti-Christian periodicals doubtless reveled in their tasks for entirely Jewish reasons, and, as Gorky worried, their activities not unreasonably stoked the anti-Semitism of the period. Given the anti-Christian attitudes of traditional shtetl Jews, it is very difficult to believe that the Jews engaged in campaigns against Christianity did not have a sense of revenge against the old culture that they held in such contempt. …

Slezkine seems comfortable with revenge as a Jewish motive, but he does not consider traditional Jewish culture itself to be a contributor to Jewish attitudes toward traditional Russia, even though he notes that a very traditional part of Jewish culture was to despise the Russians and their culture. (Even the Jewish literati despised all of traditional Russian culture, apart from Pushkin and a few literary icons.) Indeed, one wonders what would motivate the Jewish commissars to revenge apart from motives related to their Jewish identity. …

Slezkine’s argument that Jews were critically involved in destroying traditional Russian institutions, liquidating Russian nationalists, murdering the tsar and his family, dispossessing and murdering the kulaks, and destroying the Orthodox Church has been made by many other writers over the years. …

The situation prompts reflection on what might have happened in the United States had American Communists and their sympathizers assumed power. The “red diaper babies” came from Jewish families which “around the breakfast table, day after day, in Scarsdale, Newton, Great Neck, and Beverly Hills have discussed what an awful, corrupt, immoral, undemocratic, racist society the United States is.”[7] … It is easy to imagine which sectors of American society would have been deemed overly backward and religious and therefore worthy of mass murder by the American counterparts of the Jewish elite in the Soviet Union—the ones who journeyed to Ellis Island instead of Moscow. The descendants of these overly backward and religious people now loom large among the “red state” voters who have been so important in recent national elections. Jewish animosity toward the Christian culture that is so deeply ingrained in much of America is legendary. As Joel Kotkin points out, “for generations, [American] Jews have viewed religious conservatives with a combination of fear and disdain.” And as Elliott Abrams notes, the American Jewish community “clings to what is at bottom a dark vision of America, as a land permeated with anti-Semitism and always on the verge of anti-Semitic outbursts.”

As the quote from neocon Elliott Abrams—and much else—indicate, this fear and loathing continues into the present. Consistent with what we know of the psychology of ethnocentrism, a fundamental motivation of Jewish intellectuals and activists involved in social criticism has simply been hatred of the non-Jewish power structure perceived as anti-Jewish and deeply immoral—Susan Sontag’s “the white race is the cancer of human history,” which was published in Partisan Review, a prominent literary journal associated with the New York Intellectuals (a Jewish intellectual movement), is emblematic.

As I write this in the summer of 2020, we are experiencing what feels like the end game in the Jewish conquest of White America. Because Jews have become a hostile elite with a powerful position in the media and educational system, Jewish attitudes in the 1950s that the U.S. is an “awful, corrupt, immoral, undemocratic, racist society” are now entirely mainstream and the cancel culture that we see now is indeed directed most of all toward White red state voters, particularly in the South. Cancel culture started with toppling Confederate monuments, but of course it didn’t stop there, so now statues of the Founding Fathers are being destroyed and there are demands that statues dedicated to Christian religious figures be removed. Jews in particular have demanded the removal of a statue of King Louis IX of France because of his attempt to curb Jewish moneylending in the interests of his people and for burning 12000 copies of the Talmud.

The Cathedral of Notre Dame burning, April 15, 2019. Much of the cathedral was built during the reign of St. Louis.  

This hatred won’t end if and when Whites become a minority. Jews were responsible for the 1965 immigration law that opened up the United States to immigration from all over the world, and they have energetically worked to make alliances with these immigrant groups who are encouraged to hate White America and often adopt anti-White rhetoric almost as soon as they arrive because they can see the political advantages of doing so.

This won’t end well. As I concluded in my recent book, Individualism and the Western Liberal Tradition:

I agree with Enoch Powell: “as I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding; like the Roman, I seem to see ‘the River Tiber foaming with much blood.’”[8] All the utopias dreamed up by the Left inevitably lead to bloodshed—because they conflict with human nature. The classical Marxist Utopian vision of a classless society in the USSR self-destructed, but only after murdering millions of its own people. Now the multicultural utopian version that has become dominant throughout the West is showing signs of producing intense opposition and irreconcilable polarization. 

Given the very large Jewish involvement in these projects consequent to the Jewish rise to elite status throughout the West, the big picture is that the thrust of Jewish power has been to create societies envisioned as being good for Jews, inevitably advertised in idealistic, morally uplifting, humanitarian terms [to appeal to the evolutionary psychology of individualism where social ties are based on belong to moral communities rather than communities based on kinship ties]. Historically, such projects have typically not ended well and have resulted in massive social upheavals. It would thus not be surprising if current social divisions result in a movement characterized by anti-Jewish overtones. …

All of the measures of White representation in the forces of social control will continue to decline in the coming years given the continued deterioration of the demographic situation. At this point, even stopping immigration completely and deporting illegals would not be enough to preserve a White America long term.

The left and its big business allies have created a monster. Whites have to realize that if they do nothing, they will be increasingly victimized and vilified in the coming decades as the monster continues to gain power. Better that any blood be shed sooner rather than later. 

What happened in the early decades of the Soviet Union is a chilling reminder of what can happen when an alien hostile elite seizes control of a country.

I agree entirely with Corey’s conclusions and recommendations for a revival centered around the adaptive aspects of Christianity—the aspects that produced Western expansion, innovation, discovery, individual freedom, economic prosperity, and strong family bonds. A Christianity that is adaptive in the evolutionary sense of survival and reproduction and fundamentally cognizant of the mistakes of the past.

We must not tolerate subversion. Liberalism must go; we cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of the Enlightenment. We cannot afford to countenance any further anti-American, anti-family, anti-White speech, and this should be reflected in a new Constitution. Just as conservatism was not enough, the United States Constitution was not enough, with gaps that left it gaping wide for judicial “interpretation.” For another thing, we must circle the wagons and inculcate the männerbund, restraining our individualism at least for the time being. For another, we must return to our Lord and Savior. A nation without faith can have no guiding light, no purpose, no drive, no Mission. Izaak Walton, writing of his friend John Donne’s last days, described the body “which was once a temple of the Holy Ghost and is now become a small quantity of Christian dust.” His last line: “But I shall see it reanimated.”

Kevin MacDonald, August 9, 2020


[1] Kevin MacDonald, “Christian Zionism,” The Occidental Observer (March 12, 2010).

https://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/2010/03/12/kevin-macdonald-christian-zionism/

[2] Kevin MacDonald, “Elena Kagan: Jewish Ethnic Networking Eases the Path of a Liberal/Leftist to the Supreme Court, The Occidental Observer (May 20, 2009).

https://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/2009/05/20/elena-kagan/

[3] Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol.1, ed. J. B. Bury (London: Methuen, 1909), 78.

[4] Quoted in W. T. Walsh, Isabella of Spain: The Last Crusader (New York: Robert M. McBride, 1930), 196.

[5] Tacitus, The History 5, 4, 659.

[6] Kevin MacDonald, “Stalin’s Willing Executioners: Jews as a Hostile Elite in the USSR.” Review of Yuri Slezkine’s The Jewish Century.  Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. The Occidental Quarterly, 5(3), 65–100, 93–94.

[7] This quote comes from Kevin MacDonald, The Culture of Critique, Chapter 3.

[8] “Enoch Powell’s ‘Rivers of Blood’ Speech,” The Telegraph (November 6, 2007).

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/3643823/Enoch-Powells-Rivers-of-Blood-speech.html

The Way Forward: A New Christianity, Partition, and a General Operational Plan

Jews, White Guilt, and the Death of the Church of England

“Wrong theology in this area has been bound up with wrong action, giving legitimation for Christian support for persecution and discrimination of Jewish communities and eroding the recognition of Jewish people as neighbours whom Christians are bound to love … Christian communities may wish to consider whether there could be suitable opportunities in their public worship to focus and express repentance for Christian involvement in fostering antisemitism.”
“God’s Unfailing Word,” Church of England Faith and Order Commission, 2019

If it can be said that Europeans are today largely blind to Jewish aggressions, then Christians are among those fumbling around in deepest darkness. Historian Jonas Alexis once remarked that, contrary to older Christian anger at depictions of Jesus and Christianity in the Talmud, no such reactions are evident in relation to the modern Jewish comedy in which “Jesus, Christians and the cross are routinely mocked, even obscenely treated.”[1]

Jewish aggression against Christianity is, of course, nothing new. In the fifth century, edicts had to be pronounced banning Jews from burning and desecrating crosses, and Socrates Scholasticus reported in Historia Ecclesiastica that Jews had taken a Christian boy during Purim and crucified him.[2] In his Princeton-published Reckless Rites: Purim and the Legacy of Jewish Violence (2006), Elliott Horowitz pointed out multiple cases of Jews urinating on, and otherwise exposing their genitals to, crosses from 12th-century Germany and 13th-century England.[3] Even today, Daniel Rossing, a former advisor on Christian affairs to Israel’s religious Affairs Ministry, has commented on anti-Christian violence in Israel, which peaks during Purim. “I know Christians who lock themselves indoors during the entire Purim holiday,” he says. And yet, while Christians are spat upon and assaulted in Israel, and mocked and obscenely treated in the Diaspora, the majority of Christians remain among the most guilt-ridden and philosemitic of Europeans, applauding Zionist wars that kill their sons, and lauding a people that has done more than any other to overturn traditional Christian moral values. It is one of the most glaring contradictions in this age of contradictions.

The latest chapter in this sorry state of affairs is that the Church of England has, in its latest official treatise, decided to announce formal repentance to the Jews for centuries of putative injustices, as well as the Church’s unconditional adoption of Zionism. The Guardian explains:

Christians must repent for centuries of antisemitism which ultimately led to the Holocaust, the Church of England has said in a document that seeks to promote a new Christian-Jewish relationship. … The document, God’s Unfailing Word, is the first authoritative statement by the C of E on the part played by Christians in the stereotyping and persecution of Jews. Attitudes towards Judaism over centuries had provided a “fertile seed-bed for murderous antisemitism”, it said. Theological teachings had helped spread antisemitism, and Anglicans and other Christians must not only repent for the “sins of the past” but actively challenge such attitudes or stereotypes.

I must confess to an overwhelming fatigue when reading statements like this. They blend a profound historical ignorance with the most septic obsequiousness. The first instinct is simply to protest, and then to try to provide a litany of factual correctives. But I have carried out this Sisyphean task so many times, and in so many prior articles. I now find myself asking only why we should even offer explanations or responses to such accusations as “the part played by Christians in the stereotyping and persecution of Jews.” We owe nothing to the Jews. Any Christian intellectually and morally weak enough to be convinced that he does, probably isn’t worth the effort of convincing otherwise.

But how is it that yet another major Western institution has collapsed into White Guilt, in the process rendering itself pathetically pliable to Jewish manipulations? Having read God’s Unfailing Word, I argue that total Jewish dominance in the academic production of histories of the Jews and anti-Semitism has played a major role in shifting opinion in philosemitic directions. This has been amplified by Jewish activity in so-called “interfaith” dialogue, which has been ongoing internationally for over a century and has served Jewish interests exclusively while undermining Christian theology, especially those elements that made Christianity beneficial to Europeans in the past. This poisonous combination possesses lethal power because the Church of England is already in its death throes. Read more

Metanarrative Collapse: Has the Christian Cosmology Invented by St. Augustine of Hippo Stood the Test of Time? Part Two

St. Augustine [1]of Hippo (354–430)

Augustine’s Hellenistic Hermeneutic

Augustine’s interpretation of the biblical metanarrative portrays both the creation and the end of the world as the appearance and disappearance of corruptible material existence.  He had no doubt that the New Testament writers were predicting the literal end of the earthly world when, as “[t]he whole Church” expected, Christ would “come down from heaven to judge the living and the dead.”[1]  Augustine was clear that the Day of Judgement applied not just to the people of Israel but to “the rest of the nations as well.”[2]  Faithful Christians, those who live according to the spirit, would exchange the perishable goods of mortal existence for the “Supreme Good” of an imperishable “eternal life” in the City of God.  Other mortals, those who live according to the flesh, would suffer the “Supreme Evil” of “eternal death,” the nothingness inherent in the absolute privation of the Good.[3]  It was out of just such nothingness that the world was created on Augustine’s understanding of Genesis One.  Furthermore, Augustine’s understanding of Genesis 2–3 identifies Adam, not as proto-Israel, but as the first human being.  Accordingly, it not just Old Covenant Israel but mankind as a whole which faces judgement at the end of the world.

Augustine’s neo-Platonic cosmology presupposed the absolute dependence of both mankind and the material world itself on an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent God.  Seduced by the delights of our mortal life “we have wandered far from God,” losing sight of “the invisible things of God.”[4]  The inherent difficulty mortal beings experience in apprehending such invisible divine “objects” must make us eternally thankful for the revealed Word of God.  But a proper understanding of sacred scripture depends upon two things, according to Augustine: “the mode of ascertaining the proper meaning, and the mode of making known the meaning when it is ascertained.”  Understanding the world generally requires that we distinguish between things and signs.  “All instruction is about things or about signs; but things are learned by means of signs.”  There are spiritual as well as material things and signs.  Higher spiritual things are the true objects of enjoyment and use.  A man should view his whole life as “a journey towards the unchangeable life, and his affections [should be] entirely fixed upon that.”[5]

The Bible is both a material and a spiritual thing which can be used or enjoyed in order to understand and participate in the imperishable City of God.  Augustine reminds his readers, however, that not every spiritual or material thing can be judged by its outer form.  On the surface, biblical prophecies of the Day of the Lord may appear to be addressed only to Old Covenant Israel, warning of the impending destruction of Jerusalem.  The inner form of such scriptural signs of things to come can sometimes only be understood “by comparing all the similar passages on the subject which occur in the three evangelists Matthew, Mark, and Luke.”  Augustine points as well to John “who tells us most clearly that the judgement should take place at the resurrection of the dead.”[6]  Clearly, Augustine conceives the resurrection of the dead as a material and bodily, not a solely spiritual, phenomenon.  No such event has taken place; therefore, he expects the fulfillment of that prophecy to occur at some still future time.

Augustine knew, of course, that many “wise men of this world” scoffed at any suggestion “that the earthly bodies of men” can “be carried over into a heavenly habitation.”  To ward off such scepticism, he drew upon an idea that appeared quite suddenly in the late second century AD to defend the idea of a bodily resurrection.  Augustine deployed the doctrine of creation ex nihilo to demonstrate that “He Who in making this world…has already accomplished something far more wondrous than the transformation in which our adversaries refuse to believe.”  If God has already bound “incorporeal souls” to earthly bodies, why should we doubt “that bodies, though earthly, should be raised up to abodes which, though heavenly, are nonetheless corporeal.”[7]

During Augustine’s lifetime, such metaphysical speculation on the origins of matter had already become commonplace among neo-Platonic philosophers such as Plotinus.  Augustine followed Plotinus in contending that “creatio ex nihilo was the expression of God’s omnipotent ability to create without need of supporting causes.”  Such a doctrine was nowhere to be found in the New Testament.[8]  Neither the New Testament writers nor Plotinus were responsible for the connection made by Augustine between the creation story and the eschatological hope of a still future resurrection of the body.

Augustine taught “that because every created intelligence had its origin ex nihilo, it also had to look beyond itself for its end.  Every creature lacked God’s perfection and was therefore mutable.  Because it was mutable it could fall away from that end and become evil.”[9]  At the same time “the resurrection of our Lord from the dead” added “a great buttress of hope” to our faith.  Our bodies, too, after the death we suffer because of sin “shall at the resurrection be changed into a better form…this corruptible shall put on incorruption, and this mortal shall put on immortality.”  He urged the faithful to believe “that neither the human soul nor the human body suffers complete extinction but that the wicked rise again to endure inconceivable punishment, and the good to receive eternal life.”[10] Read more

Metanarrative Collapse: Has the Christian Cosmology Invented by St. Augustine of Hippo Stood the Test of Time? Part One

Introduction

From its beginnings in the first century A.D. Christianity anchored its cosmology in the Bible.  But what is the Bible?  As a book in hand, of course, it is a collection of ancient texts, the product of the religious history of a remarkably durable and professedly holy ethno-nation in the ancient Near East.  One might well ask, therefore, just what spiritual truths or religious guidance could, or should such a book convey to people like me, specifically, White Anglo-Saxon Protestants living in the twenty-first century?  Is the Holy Bible just another “social construct,” a mere cultural artefact, or is it instead the literal Word of God?

Intellectual heavyweights among mainline Anglo-European Protestants such as Karl Barth concede that the Bible is indeed a “humanly composed and selected” collection of “human words” while professing a neo-orthodox faith that scripture remains “the witness of divine revelation”.[1]  But how should faithful Christians interpret the testimony of that witness?  Or, should we say “witnesses”?  After all, Protestants differ with Catholics as to whether this or that ancient Hebrew or Jewish text should be included in the biblical canon.  At the end of the day, however, even if all churches somehow settle upon on a single, canonical corpus of antique texts, the theological significance of the biblical metanarrative, from Genesis to Revelation, will remain open to competing interpretations—as it always has been.

The difficulty of distinguishing heresy from orthodoxy forced the early church to master the art of theological hermeneutics.  The church fathers expounded the Word of God using a bewildering variety of literal, allegorical, moral, and anagogical (mystical) methods of biblical interpretation.  In quick succession, rival camps staked out their respective claims to the true or most useful understanding of the Bible story.  First in were the mostly Hebrew and Jewish authors and participant observers responsible for the original texts of both the Old and New Testaments.  Marinated in Scripture, the Mosaic law, and the prophetic tradition, they read and told their stories of the creation, fall, and redemption of Old Covenant Israel through an ethnocentrically thickened, Hebraic hermeneutic lens.  Their insider’s view of the Hebrew religious culture revolving around the Jerusalem Temple was far removed from the cosmopolitan, Hellenic, or Greco-Roman presuppositions underlying the Christian tale of two cities told several centuries later by Augustine (354–430 AD), the bishop of Hippo in North Africa. Read more

Global Jesus versus National Jesus, Part Two: The Political Hermeneutics of Resurrection Part Two

N.T. Wright on Paul’s Resurrection Theology: Global or National?

N.T. Wright, the former Anglican bishop of Durham, is an influential scholar-theologian-priest and the author of many gargantuan studies of the historical Jesus and the apostle Paul.  He, too, maintains that the meaning of the cross and resurrection is not to be found in theological abstractions but in “certain very specific and concrete aspects of the history of Israel”.  Such a forthright challenge to the conventional wisdom has provoked much interest and some consternation.  In Alister McGrath’s summary of Wright’s argument, the “pattern of cross and resurrection, reflecting that of exile and restoration, has determinative significance for Israel rather than a universal significance for all humanity”.[1]

Professor N.T. Wright

In other words, Wright agrees that, linked as it was with the idea of the covenant, the death of Jesus had a “corporate significance” for Israel, rather than an “individual significance” for either sinners or victims in other times and places.  The crucified-and-resurrected Jesus should be understood, therefore, “as a redemptive representative of Israel, bearing her specific curse and making it possible for her as a people to achieve her intended national destiny”.[2]  In Jesus and the Victory of God, Wright thus aligns himself with historical critics who have found a “national Jesus” hidden beneath deeply-encrusted ecclesiastical creeds and Tradition.[3]  In his more recent, studies on Paul, however, the “global Jesus” literally rises from the grave of “national Jesus”.

Wright presents the apostle Paul as a proto-Augustinian, Judaeo-Christian “theologian”.  On Wright’s reading, Paul’s “freshly-inaugurated eschatology,” projects the second, general resurrection of the dead far beyond the fall of Jerusalem and into our own twenty-first century future.[4]  In doing so, Wright credits Paul with the invention of a Christian theology in which “global Jesus” reigns over the whole of humanity.  According to Wright, “Paul’s expectation of ‘the day of the Lord’ included the expectation that on the last day, that which was already true would at last be revealed: Jesus is lord, and Caesar is not”.  On Wright’s interpretation of Paul’s vision of final eschatology, then, “the creator and covenant God will, at the last, put the whole world to rights”.[5]

Wright presents Paul’s allegedly rock-solid faith in the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ as the foundation for his eschatological vision of the resurrected bodies of all those who have fallen asleep in Christ.  Wright’s emphasis upon the physical resurrection of Jesus presupposes that “national Jesus” was a genuinely historical, human person, deeply rooted in the covenantal history of national Israel according to the flesh.  The death of “national Jesus,” the man, entailed his descent into nothingness.  Jesus’ resurrection, thanks to his reading of Paul, brings Bishop Wright back within the bounds of credal orthodoxy.  As Robinette puts it, the post-Easter narrative shows the creativity of God “in a significantly new light.  Creation from nothing is logically coherent with (and in Christian theology historically dependent upon) a view of God who raises to life what has succumbed to the nihil of death”.[6]  Wright and Robinette continue to espouse the Augustinian doctrine that creatio ex nihilo underwrites the credal promise of the physical resurrection of the body.  Just as the earthly city was created out of nothing, so, too, Augustine expected that at the end of the world Christian believers would rise from the dead, in a newly embodied form, to enter the heavenly city of God.

The resurrection was an unprecedented physical event that set aside the laws of nature.  Wright’s historical investigation of the crucifixion-and-resurrection aims to explain how Christians came to believe in the reality of such an event.  He concludes that early Christians themselves offer the most convincing historical explanation for an empty tomb “previously housing a thoroughly dead Jesus” and subsequent reports “that his followers saw and met someone they were convinced was this same Jesus, bodily alive though in a new transformed fashion”.  He says simply “that something happened, two or three days after Jesus’ death, for which the accounts in the four gospels are the least inadequate expression we have”.  Beyond that point, “the historian alone cannot help”.[7]

It was the apostle Paul who went beyond history to provide a theological account of a resurrection-event so unexpected that not even the teachings of “national Jesus” had prepared his followers to understand, the world-historical, indeed cosmic, significance of the empty tomb.  Wright finds in 1 Corinthians 15 one compelling example of just how Paul transfigures “national Jesus” into “global Jesus”.  For Wright, “there can be no doubt that Paul intends this entire chapter to be an exposition of the renewal of creation, and the renewal of humankind as its focal point”.  Paul’s resurrection theology presupposes both a God not only capable of creating the world out of nothing, but a just God determined to defeat the power of death.  But if death is to be defeated, then “[a]nything other than some kind of bodily resurrection, therefore, is simply unthinkable”.[8]

Wright flatly rejects the suggestion that Paul was concerned with any sort of “non-bodily survival of death”.  Paul had no need, Wright argues, to argue for the immortality of the soul: many people in Corinth “believed in that anyway”.  After all, even two thousand years later, no such resurrection has occurred; history has not witnessed millions of Christian believers rising from their graves.  Naturally enough, therefore, many in Corinth found it hard to swallow the idea of a physical resurrection of the dead: “everybody knew dead people didn’t and couldn’t come back to bodily life”.  Chapter 15, Wright argues, was intended to answer that challenge.  According to Wright, Paul’s argument ran “as follows: what the creator god did for Jesus is both the model and the means of what he will do for all Jesus’ people”.  Throughout the chapter, Jesus’ resurrection serves as “the prototype and model for the future resurrection”.[9]  When Paul describes the body into which Christians hope to be resurrected, “the unique, prototypical image-bearing body of Jesus” is identified as “the model for the new bodies that Jesus’ people will have”.[10]  Even those presently alive on the last day, when the kingdom finally arrives, Paul promised, “will not lose their bodies, but have them changed from their present state to the one required for God’s future”.[11]

Paul, according to Wright, portrays the parousia of “global Jesus” as the moment when “all those who belong to him are themselves raised bodily from the dead”.  Wright describes the result as “the establishment of a final, stable ‘order’ in which the creator and covenant God is over the Messiah, and the Messiah is over the world”.  In the new creation, humans are destined to play “an intermediate role between creator and creation”.  The “human task and the messianic task thus dovetail together: the Messiah, the true Human One, will rule the world in obedience to God”.[12]

The following questions suggest themselves: If Paul’s resurrection theology did indeed take this universalist form, could he have expected the parousia to arrive anytime soon?  Would he have been likely to identify it with the fall of Jerusalem in the lifetime of his followers?  Wright’s response is clear.  He long ago dismissed the idea of an imment parousia as an “old scholarly warhorse” that “can be put out to grass once and for all”.[13]  So too, Wright rejects “the suggestion that Paul was hoping to bring about…some kind of large-scale last-minute conversion of Jews, and perhaps even the parousia itself…Paul did not think the parousia would necessarily happen at once, and he certainly was not trying to provoke or hasten it by his missionary work”.[14]  In Wright’s interpretation, Paul’s cosmopolitan theology and over-the-horizon perspective were firmly fixed on the transfiguration of the entire cosmos; Paul was definitely not a present-minded apostle of “national Jesus” warning of the apocalyptic judgement soon to fall upon Old Covenant Israel according to the flesh.

Nonetheless,  the vision of “global Jesus” attributed to Paul by Wright is a far cry from the mindset of “national Jesus” as he hung upon the cross in Jesus and the Victory of God.  Jesus and Paul do not seem to be on the same page.   Wright is annoyed by those for whom such divergence is cause for concern.  He regards it “as illegitimate in principle, and very difficult in practice, to conduct historical Jesus research” as if Paul and Jesus both saw the world in the same light.  He asserts that “[p]recisely because the resurrection made such a huge difference to everything” Paul simply must have viewed the world differently from the way that “national Jesus” had viewed it prior to the Easter event.[15]  This is a plausible position: but is Wright’s interpretation of 1 Corinthian 15 really about history at all?

Arguably, Wright’s forty-page exegesis of chapter 15 is more a defence of credal orthodoxy than an analysis of the historical context of a biblical text written in first-century Corinth (about which we learn next to nothing).  In Wright’s interpretation, Paul is portrayed as a Hellenized, Judaeo-Christian preacher-theologian laying the doctrinal foundations for medieval high Christology.  Wright describes Paul’s message as simplicity itself: Jesus is lord.  The point of Paul’s theology, therefore, “was to name the Messiah, to announce him as lord, in the culture-forming places, the cities to and from which all local or international roads ran”.[16] 

Anyone looking more deeply into the situation facing Paul in Corinth as he wrote chapter 15 may well doubt whether Paul had enlisted in the service of Wright’s “Human One”.  Just as plausibly, Paul was working to vindicate the Old Testament saints of national Israel.  It is just possible that the resurrected Messiah, “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Cor. 15:20), remained a “national Jesus,” still determined to rescue his people from the death-like grip of sin.  Perhaps, a more truthful and useful understanding of Paul’s account of the resurrection of the dead can be achieved by treating him as a deeply patriotic historical actor actively engaged in the political art of scriptural hermeneutics.

The Resurrection of the Dead in Covenantal Eschatology

The covenantal eschatology of national Israel offers a much more persuasive hermeneutical framework within which to interpret Paul’s understanding of the resurrection body.  Samuel G. Dawson, an American preterist scholar, has written at even greater length than Bishop Wright (no mean feat!) on 1 Corinthians 15.  In doing so, he portrays a “national Paul” very different from the “global Paul” one meets in Wright’s work (or in mainstream theology generally).  This should not come as a surprise.  Paul publicly declared that he “was saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come” (Acts 26:22).  Dawson points out that “Paul’s concept of the resurrection wasn’t that fleshly (or even transfigured) bodies would come out of holes in the ground at all, because that’s not what Moses and the prophets taught”.  He taught, instead, “the resurrection of Old Covenant Israel from the death of its fellowship with God”.[17]

The problem Paul faced with his “brethren” in Corinth was not that some doubted the resurrection of Christ or that others denied the resurrection of anyone.  Rather, some doubted the resurrection of the Old Covenant saints.  Paul’s concept of the resurrection “depicted the ongoing translation of the body of death headed by Adam (which would, of course, contain Old Covenant Israel) to the body of life headed by Christ”.  It follows that “[i]f Israel, the rest of the firstfruits, was not being raised when Paul wrote these words, then Christ wasn’t raised, for his own resurrection was the first of the firstfruits”.  As Paul was writing to the Corinthians, those who denied that the Old Testament saints were being raised were, in effect, denying the resurrection of Christ.  In other words, Paul taught that “the faithful Old Covenant Jews were going to be the rest of the firstfruits, and the dead in Christ were going to be the rest of the fruit at the harvest”.  Gentile Christians in Corinth were generating dissension by saying that “Israel’s last days had come and gone, because God was through with them since the cross”.  Paul replied, according to Dawson, that “God’s promises to Israel were irrevocable, so that the salvation of Gentile Christians was linked to theirs at the coming of the Lord (which the Corinthians were eagerly awaiting, 1:7)”.[18]

Dawson contends that when Paul turns to the nature of the resurrection body, he raises the question as to how the dead ones are being raised (n.b., not how are the dead raised) and with what manner of body are they coming (n.b., not do they come).  Now, if some Corinthian Christians expected “a resurrection of biological bodies to certain dead persons,” such questions would not arise.  Dawson attributes a spiritual concept of the resurrection to Paul breaking sharply with Wright’s insistence on the transfigured but still bodily nature of the resurrection.  Dawson breaks even more dramatically with Wright when he points out that Paul never speaks of resurrected “bodies”.  Instead, Paul refers only to “the resurrection of one body, the Old Covenant faithful who were being transformed into the body of Christ”.  Dawson observes that the “prophets [e.g. Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, and Isaiah] from which Paul preached had foretold the resurrection of a single body”.  The hermeneutic problem here, Dawson concludes, “comes down to whether the resurrection Paul spoke of was of one body in his present time or of billions of bodies more than two thousand years in the future.[19]

A fair-minded person who compares Wright’s exegesis of 1 Corinthians 15 with that offered by Dawson could conclude, at the very least, that the strength of the case for “global Paul” has been seriously compromised.  Dawson reinforces the strength of that proposition by his discussion of how the politics of hermeneutics manifests itself in the translation of 1 Corinthians 15.  His seemingly arcane argument as to the importance of the present passive verb tense in chapter 15 gives rise to the suspicion that translators committed to “global Paul” have (perhaps unconsciously) put a thumb on the hermeneutic scale.[20]  It is beyond my linguistic competence to adjudicate on this matter but, if Dawson is correct, generations of English-speaking bible readers have been nudged ever so subtly to believe in a “global Jesus” as well as a “global Paul” presiding benignly over the church universal until the time of the end.  Translation bias is a form of hermeneutical—and thus political and cultural—warfare.

Dawson points out that:

The present active tense shows how the subject of the sentence is acting.  An entirely different concept, the present passive tense shows how the subject of the sentence is being acted upon.  Yet [in most translations of 1 Corinthians 15] this present passive tense is often ignored, or completely changed to a future![21]

Although the present passive is used “relatively rarely, it’s a precise verb form.  Paul meant to use it instead of a future, yet in many cases, Paul’s intention has not been honoured.  He spoke of the subject (the dead ones) receiving the action (rising) at his present time, not at some future time at least two thousand years later”.  For example, the New King James Version of the bible renders 1 Corinthians 15:16 as” “For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen”.  Dawson would translate this passage as: “For if the dead are not [lit., being] raised, neither hath Christ been raised”.[22]

Translation bias is but one hurdle that a hermeneutic grounded in covenantal eschatology faces.  A stubborn adherence to the ecclesiastical traditions that underwrite the futurist eschatology to which mainstream Christianity adheres is another.  Such powerful commitments to tradition pose a threat to ecclesiastical integrity in many other ways as well.  Preterist scholars have been driven to the fringes of the ecclesiastical and academic world.  Don K. Preston, to name but one prominent preterist, has been attacked as a heretic and shunned by the mainline Protestant churches in his home town.[23]  Theological colleges and seminaries simply ignore covenant eschatology in their bible studies classes despite the obvious sincerity and skill with which the massive contributions made by preterist scholars to biblical exegesis have been undertaken.

Dr. Don K. Preston

Indeed, the poisoned relationship between preterism and mainstream theological scholarship represents a case study in the erosion of theological integrity plaguing contemporary Christianity.  Even Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury (as he then was), acknowledges that when theology “resists debate and transmutation, claiming that it may prescribe exactly what the learning of its skills lead to, it is open to the suspicion that its workings are no longer answerable to what they what they claim to answer to…and thus integrity disappears”.[24]  This is a political problem eating away at the heart of theological hermeneutics.  Unfortunately, those who have done so much to re-discover “national Jesus” and “national Paul” have failed to mount an effective political challenge to the institutional defenders of “global Jesus” and “global Paul”.

Such a challenge would have to consider the possibility that the incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus Christ were inextricably bound up with the national history of Old Covenant Israel.  Israel became a holy nation precisely because it served as the corporate womb giving birth in history to a divinely inspired Messiah.  If Jesus really died as the representative of national Israel, it perhaps follows that some nations are more open than others to what Orthodox Christians call the process of theosis or deification.[25]  According to Athanasius (296-373 A.D.), global Jesus became Man so that we might be made God.[26]  Or, in light of covenant eschatology, Jesus Christ became incarnate in-and-through the nation of Israel, so that at least some other nation(s) might be made in the image of God.  And so, our salvation, too, could become corporate, national and spiritual rather than personal, individual, and biological—much like the resurrection of “the whole house of Israel” envisioned for the valley of the dry bones in Ezekiel 37:1-14.

Conclusion

One might imagine that, having restored “national Jesus” to historical memory, scholars such as Scot McKnight could help contemporary Christians reconceive the political hermeneutics of resurrection.  As it happens, however, few historical revisionists display much faith in the spiritual vitality of mainstream Christianity.  McKnight, for example, denies that his own findings are of any use to the church—even if they are true.[27]  The traditional ecclesiology of global Christianity rests upon the eschatological hopes and ecumenical dreams of a long-dead civilization.  Awaiting their long-delayed Day of the Lord, Christian churches have no interest in a philosophy of religious history grounded in the rise and fall of nations in a world without end.  This observation holds true even among Christian biblical scholars who reject futurist eschatology.  Samuel Dawson, for example, rests content in the hope that when he dies his reward “will be blessedness or happiness, and rest, in the presence of Christ!” Even preterists, it seems, cannot do without the vision of a “global Jesus” as our universal, heavenly overlord.[28]  Sadly, those whose only hope lies in death rather than in the historical opportunity to prepare the way for our own “national Jesus” have resigned themselves to national suicide.

Perhaps it is time to take the advice of the nineteenth century English historian, J.R. Seeley, who urged the Church of England to give its parishioners a break from endless sermons on the remote and obscure history of ancient Israel.  Suggesting “that every nation’s true Bible is its history,” Seeley urged the church to draw moral lessons and spiritual insight from England’s own storied past.[29]  Already, one hundred and fifty years ago, he recognized that the imperial Augustinian vision of the church universal had reached its use-by date.  Nowadays, the notion that Christendom ever did or could in times yet to come unite the whole of humanity under the reign of “global Jesus” has lost all credibility.  Another great reformation may be necessary if the post-Christian West is to reverse the nation-destroying forces of secular, increasingly satanic, globalism.  Traditionalist Catholic E. Michael Jones justly observes that “ethnos needs logos”.[30]  But it is no less true that “logos needs ethnos”.

Is it already too late to reconstitute churches throughout the Anglosphere and the wider Western world as the religious foundation for a federation of autonomous, European-descended ethno-nations?  This need not mean a complete break with the “global Jesus” historically associated with the rise of European Christendom.  Building upon their Christian past, the peoples of the Anglosphere should continue to venerate the Bible and national Israel’s historical Messiah.  Both can serve as sources of spiritual and political wisdom, providing a warrant for the distinct, ethno-religious identity of every European people, as well as a warning of the dreadful fate awaiting nations that stray from the path of righteousness.  Should the Anglican church, at home and in the old white dominions, ever heed Seeley’s call “to draw largely upon English [and Australian, Canadian, and New Zealand] history and biography for illustrations of their moral teaching,” God might well be prepared to gift us our own Patriot King![31]  Under such a dispensation, a restored Angelcynn church could begin to hope and pray for the resurrection of our own


[1] Alister E. McGrath, “Reality, Symbol, and History: Theological Reflections on N.T. Wright’s Portrayal of Jesus,” in Carey C. Newman, ed., Jesus and the Restoration of Israel: A Critical Assessment of N.T. Wright’s Jesus and the Victory of God (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999), 176.

[2] Ibid., 176-177.

[3] N.T.Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God: Christian Origins and the Question of God, vol. 2 (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1996).

[4] N.T. Wright, Paul and the Faithfulness of God (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2013), 408.

[5] Ibid., xvi, 26-31, 1085.

[6] Brian D. Robinette, “The Difference Nothing Makes: Creatio Ex Nihilo, Resurrection, and Divine Gratuity,” (2011) 72 Theological Studies 525, at 527.

[7] N.T. Wright, “Jesus’ Resurrection & Christian Origins,” (2008) 16(1) Stimulus 41, at 49.

[8] N.T.Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God: Christian Origins and the Question of God vol. 3 (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003), 313-314.

[9] Ibid., 316.

[10] Ibid., 54 (emphasis added), 348.

[11] Ibid., 357.

[12] Ibid., 336.

[13] N.T. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God: Christian Origins and the Question of God (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1992), 462.

[14] Wright, Paul, 1497.

[15] N.T. Wright, “In Grateful Dialogue: A Response,” in Newman, Jesus & the Restoration of Israel, 267.

[16] Wright, Paul, 1503.

[17] Samuel G. Dawson, Essays on Eschatology: An Introductory Overview of the Study of Last Things (Amarillo, TX: SGD Press, 2009), 105, 109.

[18] Ibid., 144-146.

[19] Ibid., 177-178, 184.

[20] Ibid., 136.

[21] Ibid., 135.

[22] Ibid., 136, 145.

[23] See, e.g., Sam Frost, “Taking on Don K. Preston’s Jesus,”: https://vigil.blog/2017/02/22/taking-on-don-k-prestons-jesus/

[24] Rowan Williams, On Christian Theology (Oxford: Blackwell, 2000), 5.

[25] See, e.g., Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, One with God: Salvation as Deification and Justification (Collegeville, MI: Liturgical Press, 2004).

[26] Saint Athanasius, On the Incarnation (Yonkers, N.Y.: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2011), 167.

[27] Scot McKnight, “Why the Authentic Jesus is of No Use for the Church,” in Chris Keith, et. al., Jesus, Criteria, and the Demise of Authenticity (London: T&T Clark, 2012), 173-185.

[28] Dawson, Essays, 455.

[29] J.R. Seeley, “The Church as a Teacher of Morality,” in Rev. W.L. Clay, ed. Essays in Church Policy (London: Macmillan, 1868), 278, 267. Available online at: https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=hvd.ah4gyv&view=1up&seq=263

[30] E. Michael Jones, “Ethnos Needs Logos,” (2015) 34(7) Culture Wars 12.

[31] Seeley, “Church,” 278. See, Henry St. John, Viscount Bolingbroke (1678-1751), “The Idea of a Patriot King,” in David Armitage (ed.) Bolingbroke: Political Writings (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997). For my own take on the contemporary significance of Bolingbroke’s “Idea of a Patriot King,” see my own piece: “Monarchs and Miracles: Australia’s Need for a Patriot King,” (2005) 5(1) The Occidental Quarterly 35. Available online here: https://www.toqonline.com/archives/v5n1/TOQv5n1Fraser.pdf