struggles for existence

Passover

by John Hartung, Foreign Policy Journal, September 4, 2014

Download the PDF version here

THE GIST: If people have evolved by natural selection, such that gods are inventions of people instead of people being inventions of gods, it follows that gods are subject to being designed to help us achieve both our highest and our lowest aspirations ... by both our most moral and our most immoral means. At the low end, deception, usury, theft, enslavement, rape, murder and genocide are promoted by the god of The Bible as modus operandi of Zionism. The Passover story and its lopsided reception are instructive in this regard because they show how an existential foundation of moral behavior among people who worship one god can obligate immoral behavior toward people who worship a different god. That kind of in-group morality festers at the crux of the most deplorable aspects of Israeli and American foreign policy. A better existential foundation is proffered.[1]

SAMUEL CLEMENS, better known as Mark Twain, wrote Concerning the Jews during an era when almost all literate Christians and Jews read every word of their respective Bibles. So Clemens should not be held to account for his opening assertion in the passage below, that “We have all thoughtfully—or unthoughtfully—read” the Passover story. That issue notwithstanding, and understanding that Clemens used the word ‘corner’ to mean ‘corner’ a market or create a monopoly, the following introduction to his 1899 Harper’s Magazine article warrants more thoughtful consideration than a knee-jerk judgment that Clem- ens was anti-Semitic.

“We have all thoughtfully—or unthoughtfully—read the pathetic story of the years of plenty and the years of famine in Egypt, and how Joseph, with that opportunity, made a corner in broken hearts, and the crusts of the poor, and human liberty—a corner whereby he took a nation’s money all away, to the last penny; took a nation’s livestock all away, to the last hoof; took a nation’s land away, to the last acre; then took the nation itself, buying it for bread, man by man, woman by woman, child by child, till all were slaves; a corner which took everything, left nothing; a corner so stupendous that, by comparison with it, the most gigantic corners in subsequent history are but baby things, for it dealt in hundreds of millions of bushels, and its profits were reckonable by hundreds of millions of dollars, and it was a disaster so crushing that its effects have not wholly disappeared from Egypt today, more than three thousand years after the event.”[2]

A hundred years of intense archeological investigation have failed to find credible evidence that the story of Joseph enslaving Egyptians is based, even loosely, on events that actually occurred. That absence of evidence is so conspicuous that it justifies the conclusion of every dispassionate pre-historian: the story was a whole-cloth fabrication. Few 21st Century Jews and Christians object to that conclusion.

In distinction, when the Jerusalem Post or Haaretz publishes an article based on the work of Israel’s most authoritative archaeologists, from Ze’ev Herzog to Israel Finkelstein, explaining that the story of Israelite enslavement by Egyptians is equally mythological, a torrent of outrage is unleashed. Some commenters even draw analogies to Holocaust denial. Why such heartfelt anguish? Because even though both enslavement stories come from the same source and are part of the same story within that source, unlike the myth of Egyptian enslavement by Joseph, the myth of Jewish enslavement by a Pharaoh still serves cherished self-identity purposes for many Jews, and although by a smaller percentage, for a much larger number of Christians. Given the vicissitudes of credibility granted to stories based on how they make us feel about ourselves, Samuel Clemens should also be forgiven for not having known that both enslavement stories are as fictional as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.

Nevertheless, fiction can reveal truth about human nature. And no matter how fanciful, foundation myths serve a purpose. They give each believer a piece of self-image that can be recognized by compatriots. National creation myths make compatriots feel related, as though they came from the same place, even if they have never met and none of them came from that place. By making family out of strangers, national myths grease the wheels of cooperation in pursuit of national objectives and they foster in-group morality.[3] So we can gain insight into contemporary cultures by examining their retained myths, especially ancient whole-cloth myths. The purpose of this essay is to examine the original Passover story in order to understand its inventors’ and its believers’ purposes.

THE PROPHECY of financial success in Jewish Diaspora host nations began with Joseph. According to The Bible, in exchange for a climate change forecast and some important advice (Genesis 41:25-36), this son of Jacob (aka Israel) was given control of Egypt (Genesis 41:40-41):

“You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command; only as regards the throne will I be greater than you.” And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Behold, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.”4

The job came with substantial benefits and considerable status (Genesis 41:42-44):

Pharaoh took his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in garments of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; and he made him to ride in his second chariot; and they cried before him, “Bow the knee!” Thus Pharaoh set Joseph over all the land of Egypt. Moreover Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no man shall lift up hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.”

So Joseph was made the executor of his own recommendation to enforce a double tithe: “take the fifth part of the produce of the land” (Genesis 41:34). Harvests were so good during the first seven years of Joseph’s rule that he was able to stockpile “grain in great abundance, like the sand of the sea, until he ceased to measure it, for it could not be measured” (Genesis 41:49). Then came seven years of drought, and (Genesis 41:55-56):

When all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread; and Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph; what he says to you, do.” So when the famine had spread over all the land, Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe in the land of Egypt.

As often happens, control of wealth led to control of more wealth (Genesis 47:14-17):

And Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt, for the grain which they bought; and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh’s house. And when the money was all spent in the land of Egypt, all the Egyptians came to Joseph, and said, “Give us food; why should we die before your eyes? For our money is gone.” And Joseph answered, “Give your cattle, and I will give you food in exchange for your cattle, if your money is gone.” So they brought their cattle to Joseph; and Joseph gave them food in exchange for the horses, the flocks, the herds, and the asses: and he supplied them with food in exchange for all their cattle that year.

Now Joseph had cornered, to borrow Clemens’ term, all of the money, all of the cattle, and all of the grain. What was left? Only the people, so Joseph “made slaves of them” (Genesis 47:18-21):

They said to him, “We will not hide from my lord that our money is all spent; and the herds of cattle are my lord’s; there is nothing left in the sight of my lord but our bodies and our lands. Why should we die before your eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land for food, and we with our land will be slaves to Pharaoh” . . . So Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh; for all the Egyptians sold their fields, because the famine was severe upon them. The land became Pharaoh’s; and as for the people, he made slaves of them from one end of Egypt to the other.

After arranging the enslavement of the Pharaoh’s subjects, Joseph invited his family to join him. The Pharaoh was most obliging (Gene- sis 45:18; 47:6):

“Take your father and your households, and come to me, and I will give you the best of the land of Egypt, and you shall eat the fat of the land ... The land of Egypt is before you; settle your father and your brothers in the best of the land.”

As discussed in the balance of Clemens’ essay, so began a sequence of events that presaged developments in the real history of several Diaspora host nations.[5] And as if foretelling two thousand years of reactive racism, the Passover story developed a new Pharaoh who realized that he was in danger of becoming the tool of his predecessor’s tool (Genesis 47:27; Exodus 1:7-10):

Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt and they gained possessions in it, and were fruitful ... and grew exceedingly strong; Now there arose a new Pharaoh over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, “Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and, if war befall us, they join our enemies and fight against us.”

Here the story becomes more familiar. The Pharaoh subjugated the Jews and oppressed them even more than his Egyptian subjects. And when the Jews’ new leader, Moses, tried to trick the Pharaoh into letting his people take a three day leave of absence with most of the nation’s wealth in tow (Exodus 3:18-22; 5:3), the Pharaoh said No! Then the god of the story, the god of Israel, sent horrible plagues to torture the Egyptians and the Pharaoh himself.

At several junctures the Pharaoh tried to make an accommodation with Moses, asking him to leave some wealth behind, but each time Moses refused (Exodus 8:25-28; 10:7-11, 24-26). And each time the god of the story “hardened” the Pharaoh’s otherwise amenable heart so that he, the god of Moses, would be able to show more of his power (Exodus 10:1-2):

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh; for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his officials, in order that I may show these signs and wonders of mine among them, and that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I have made sport of the Egyptians and what signs and wonders I have done among them—so that you may know that I am the Lord.”

Finally, we come to the coup de grace that had been devised by Moses and his god (Exodus 3:21-22 & 4:21-23) from the beginning (Exodus 12:29-33, 35, 36):

At midnight the Lord smote all the first-born in the land of Egypt, from the first-born of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the first-born of the captive who was in the dungeon . . . And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where one was not dead. And he summoned Moses and Aaron by night, and said, “Rise up, go forth from among my people, both you and the people of Israel; and go, serve the Lord, as you have said. Take your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and be gone.” ... And the Egyptians were urgent with the people, to send them out of the land in haste; for they said, “We are all dead men.” ... The people of Israel had also done as Moses told them, for they had asked of the Egyptians jewelry of silver and of gold, and clothing; and the Lord had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have what they asked. Thus they despoiled the Egyptians.

According to the myth, just as his forefather Abraham left Babylon-cum-Iraq to find greener pastures in Canaan-cum-Palestine, Jacob-cum-Israel’s family left Canaan to escape a famine and join their estranged son and brother, Joseph. They arrived in Egypt as impoverished and bedraggled guests of a Pharaoh (Genesis 47:26-27). Several generations later they left Egypt with a standing army of 603,550 men, “every man able to go forth to war” (Numbers 1:45-46).[6] Logistical support included “very many cattle, both flocks and herds” (Exodus 12:38), and having gained the trust and respect of their Egyptian neighbors, financing included several thousand kilograms of “borrowed” gold and silver (Exodus 38:24-25).[7] The Israelites were able to leave Egypt with so much wealth and power because their god “passed over” his people’s houses when he killed all firstborn Egyptian children (Exodus 12:27). To this day, as instructed (Exodus 12:11-14), Judaism celebrates these fabled events as Passover, and Christianity tips its hat in respect and recognition.

It is easy to imagine the outrage that would be rightfully felt today by people who revere the god that Jesus prayed to,[8] by Christians and Jews, if some other group of people celebrated a story that entailed the killing of all firstborn Jewish or Christian children as a “sport” of their god.

JUST AS TODAY’S PALESTINIANS ARE FORCED TO PAY for what yesterday’s Germans did to yesterday’s Jews, the express purpose of the exodus was to take “great and goodly cities, which you did not build, and houses full of all good things, which you did not fill, and cisterns hewn out, which you did not hew, and vineyards and olive trees, which you did not plant” (Deuteronomy 6:10-11)—not from people who were portrayed as the Israelites’ victims-turned-oppressors, not from a Pharaoh and his legions, but from entirely separate people who had been living in Canaan long before Abraham left Iraq.

Above all else, to insure that the god who was the source of Israel’s solidarity would not face competition from the gods of the people that they were instructed to conquer ... to guarantee that Israel would be The Jewish State of Israel[9] ... the original Zionists scripted their god to command his followers to commit clean-sweep genocide:

In the cities of these peoples that the Lord your God gives you for an inheritance you shall save alive nothing that breathes, but you shall utterly destroy them, the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites [the people of Jerusalem], as the Lord your God has commanded; that they may not teach you to do according to all their abominable practices which they have done in the service of their Gods, and so to sin against the LORD your God (Deuteronomy 20:16-18).

They should be utterly destroyed and should receive no mercy but be exterminated, as the Lord commanded Moses ... Utterly destroy all that they have; do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, infant and suckling (Joshua 11:20 ... First Samuel 15:3).

You will make them as a blazing oven when you appear. The Lord will swallow them up in his wrath; and fire will consume them. You will destroy their offspring from the earth, and their children from among the sons of men (Psalms 21:9-10).[10]

Although commandments to commit absolute genocide were limited to the ancient analogue of today’s Palestinians and Bedouins, pending acquiescence to slavery, the balance of the world’s out-groups were under threat of partial genocide (Deuteronomy 20:10-15):

When you draw near to a city to fight against it, offer terms of peace to it. And if its answer to you is peace and it opens to you, then all the people who are found in it shall do forced labor for you and shall serve you. But if it makes no peace with you, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it; and when the LORD your God gives it into your hand you shall put all its males to the sword, but the women and the little ones, the cattle, and everything else in the city, all its spoil, you shall take as booty for yourselves; and you shall enjoy the spoil of your enemies,[11] which the LORD your God has given you. Thus you shall do to all the cities which are very far from you, which are not cities of the nations here.

Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel (Psalms 2:8-9). And the peoples will take them and bring them to their place, and the house of Israel will possess them in the LORD’s land as male and female slaves (Isaiah 14:2). Thus says the LORD: “The wealth of Egypt and the merchandise of Ethiopia, and the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over to you and be yours, they shall follow you; they shall come over in chains and bow down to you. They will make supplication to you, saying: ‘God is with you only, and there is no other, no god besides him (Isaiah 45:14). And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising ... Foreigners shall build up your walls, and their kings shall minister to you ... your gates shall be open continually; day and night they shall not be shut; that men may bring to you the wealth of the nations, with their kings led in procession. For the nation and kingdom that will not serve you shall perish; those nations shall be utterly laid waste (Isaiah 60:1-12).

According to aggrandized accounts, this foreign policy enabled King Solomon to inherit “all the kingdoms from the Euphrates to the land of the Philistines and to the border of Egypt” (I Kings 4:21) and spend much of his time enjoying the spoil of his enemies, including purloined women among his “seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines” (I Kings 11:3) ... and massive protection payments (I Kings 10:14-15):

Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold, besides that which came from the traders and from the traffic of the merchants, and from all the kings of Arabia and from the governors of the land.

In addition to being the “number of the beast” (Revelation 13:15–18), 666 talents is about 60,000 pounds of gold[7]—approximately three times the amount of real gold that Attila the Hun was able to extort from Rome per annum prior to sacking it for late payment.

WHAT ABOUT “THOU SHALT NOT KILL”? An original Torah scroll required about seventy goatskins and a great deal of manual labor. Because durable, portable writing space was so expensive, the only punctuation allowed by phonetic languages of that time was small, sub-script tick marks to designate where one word ended and the next word began. Otherwise, ancient Hebrew writing was a continuous stream of block letters (all caps) read right-to-left. There were no periods, no commas, no first-word capitalization and no paragraph breaks. In modern translations, decisions about where sentences and paragraphs begin and end are courtesy of the translator. So instead of being spaced as five separate paragraphs of one sentence each (the only place in the Bible where short-sentence-paragraphing occurs), highlighting what has come to be interpreted as five of the Big Ten out of 613 commandments, as follows [Exodus 20:13-17 and Deuteronomy 5:17-21 (identical passages)]:

Thou shalt not kill.

Neither shalt thou commit adultery.

Neither shalt thou steal.

Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbor.

Neither shall you covet your neighbor’s wife and you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor’s.

Without changing any of the words, common sense favors translating these passages as two sentences in one paragraph—as a continuous admonition against behaving badly toward one’s neighbors, as follows:

Thou shalt not kill, neither shalt thou commit adultery, neither shalt thou steal, neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbor. Neither shall you covet your neighbor’s wife, and you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor’s.

In this translation, the question, ‘Thou shalt not kill whom?’ is answered by the ‘Love Commandment.’ Here are four translations of Leviticus 19:18:

“Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” — First Jewish Publication Society translation (JPS ‘17[12]) and the King James Version (KJV[13]).

“You shall not take vengeance or bear any grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” — Revised Standard Version (RSV[4]).

“You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against your countrymen. Love your fellow as yourself.” — TANAKH (JPS ‘85[14]).

In context, the word translated as neighbor meant “the children of thy people,” “the sons of your own people,” “your countrymen”—in other words, fellow Israelites—and “Thou shalt not kill” meant ‘Thou shalt not kill thy neighbor—the children of thy people, your countrymen’ ... your fellow Israelites. So there was no conflict between the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” in reference to in-group members and the commandments to commit genocide against out-groups. On the contrary, the former facilitated the latter because just as modern Zionists need to cooperate in order to accomplish Greater Israel, ancient Zionists needed to cooperate in order to fulfill the genocide commandments (for details and corroborative interpretations in the balance of the Bible, the Talmud and from Maimonides, see reference [3]).

THE STORY OF JEWISH SLAVERY IN ANCIENT EGYPT has served more purposes more effectively than any other foundation myth. The fact that it lacks historical validity makes it all the more revealing. It means that the Passover myth is unencumbered by facts that do not suite its creators’ purposes. It also means that the extent to which the myth has been effective in accomplishing its purpose is the extent to which it has been retrospectively considered prophetic, and thereby validated—a self-fulfilling prophecy perceived as a prophecy fulfilled. The same ex post facto logic works for establishing ‘facts on the ground’ by expanding Jewish settlements in occupied Palestinian territory to accommodate the ‘natural growth’ of one god’s people at the expense of space for natural growth of another god’s people.

That slight-of-mind notwithstanding, a claim to land believed to have been bequeathed by a god who delighted in killing out-group peoples’ children, and commanded his followers to commit genocide in order to make that claim exclusive, should not be honored. Everybody has a right to believe anything that they want to believe, but on the logic of United States Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes’ principle that a man’s right to swing his fists wildly about in the air stops at the tip of another person’s nose, people who worship the god that Jesus worshipped,[8] whether Christians or Jews, do not have a right to promote the displacement of irredentist Palestinians—not by war nor by slow-but-steady ethnic cleansing.[10]

Unlike children who believe in Santa Claus, adults are responsible for the myths that they live by and perpetuate. Indeed, because we should have more control over what we believe than we have over future events, adults bear more responsibility for behavior that is inspired by myths than we bear for behavior in response to actual history. Most of all, adults are responsible for the myths that they use to indoctrinate their children’s existential foundations, and compared to a god of usury, enslavement and genocide…

A BETTER EXISTENTIAL FOUNDATION IS AVAILABLE. Prior to 1997, the prospect of gravity overcoming the momentum of the Big Bang was alive and well. Under that cosmological scenario, our universe was slated to stop expanding and then collapse into a giant black hole. That ‘Big Crunch’ hypothesis has since been discounted be- cause observations from deep space indicate that the universe is still expanding at an accelerating rate, such that its momentum will clearly overcome gravity and, left to its own inanimate devices, the universe will slowly dissipate into nothing.[15]

An eternally expanding universe does not have a happier ending than a collapsing universe, but it does provide vastly more time for the evolution of living matter—matter that has purpose. Substantive conjectures have been devised for controlling the universe and making life a permanent component of a permanently extant universe.[16] That outcome is not known to be impossible. If it happens, and the organisms who control the universe are our descendants, our lives will go from having had only terminal, self-attributed meaning, to having critically important eternal consequence, and so infinite real mean- ing.[17]

Unfortunately, the people who invented the god of The Bible wanted fealty. They wanted believers to be afraid. They wanted in-group members to believe that they were created from dust by a god who would give them a good life, at the expense of out-groups, before returning them to dust (Genesis 3:19). But that god would only provide a good life between the dust eternities if in-group members were sufficiently humble to not aspire to become “as gods” (Genesis 3:4-5, KJV)[13] and so gain sufficient hubris to keep “the spoil of their enemies” for individual consumption, instead of handing it over to their god-inventing priests to support a trickle-down economy (e.g., Joshua 6:19-7:26). The threat of humans becoming gods was made out to be so great that the top god (“the LORD God”) found it necessary to warn his fellow gods[18] and take preventive measures (Genesis 3:22-24):

Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever”—therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.

But the flaming sword was not sufficient deterrence, so seeing the Tower of Babel heading towards him, the god of gods implored his sometimes-rival gods[18] to lend a hand (Genesis 11:6-7):

The LORD said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; and nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down, and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.”

Charles Darwin was not ready to knuckle under:

Believing as I do that man in the distant future will be a far more perfect creature than he now is, it is an intolerable thought that he and all other sentient beings are doomed to complete annihilation after such long continued slow progress.[19]

And his grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, had the right question in 1794:

Would it be too bold to imagine that, in the great length of time since the world began to exist, perhaps millions of ages before the commencement of the history of mankind—would it be too bold to imagine that all warm-blooded animals have arisen from one living filament, which the great First Cause endued with animality, with the power of acquiring new parts, attended with new propensities, directed by irritations, sensations, volitions, and associations, and thus possessing the faculty of continuing to improve by its own inherent activity and of delivering down these improvements by generation to its posterity, world without end?[20]

WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO BECOME “ALL ONE PEOPLE” because the internet has facilities like “Translate this page” to help us “understand one another’s speech” until we “have all one language”—such that nothing that we “propose to do” will “be impossible.” And “knowing good and evil” in a non-collapsing universe, we should have plenty of time to convert in-group morality into universal morality and thereby avoid self-annihilation. Given the enormity of Judeo-Christianity (about twice the size of Islam), step number one in that regard would be to reveal the god of The Bible for the fraud that he is, just as Dorothy pulled back the curtain on the Wizard of Oz.

If we embarrass the god of in-group morality, the god of Zionism, the god who commands many of us to be terrorists and offers even more of us go-to-heaven points for supporting Zionism, we could stop subliminally excusing our most barbaric behavior, and so stop generating terrorism against us. That combination of moral obligations and cosmic possibilities might enable us to metaphorically “take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever” because it may be the case that real gods will be born—and that all of us could become their ancestors, if we make that our objective. Because we can, we should aspire to evolve into celestial beings instead of devolving into celestial dust.

Notes & References

  1. I thank Noam Chomsky, Jens Alber, John Hellegers and Jeremy Hammond for encouragement and advice. [back]
  2. Twain, M. (1899) “Concerning the Jews.” Harper’s Magazine, September 1899. Facsimile available at: http://www.s4ulanguages.com/twain1.html. [back]
  3. Hartung, J. (1995) “Love Thy Neighbor: The Evolution of In-Group Morality.” Skeptic 3(4):86-98. http://strugglesforexistence.com/?p=article_p&id=13. [back]
  4. With three exceptions (see notes 12-14 below) all biblical quotes are from the 1965 Oxford Press Revised Standard Version. Holy Bible, The (1965): Revised Standard Version. The Oxford Annotated Bible With The Apocrypha, H.G. May and B.M. Metzger (eds.). Oxford: Ox- ford University Press. [back]
  5. Perhaps best documented by Bernard Weinryb for 12th to 19th Century Poland [Weinryb, B.D. (1972) The Jews of Poland: A Social and Economic History of the Jewish Community in Poland from 1100 to 1800. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America] and by Yitzhak Baer for 11th to 15th Century Spain [Baer, Y. (1961) A History of the Jews in Christian Spain, vols. I & II, trans. L. Schoffman. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America] as detailed by Kevin McDonald [MacDonald, K. (2002) A People That Shall Dwell Alone: Judaism as a Group Evolutionary Strategy, with Diaspora Peoples. Lincoln, NE, Writer’s Club Press]. For the United States’ entanglement with Zionism since 1947, see Mearsheimer and Walt [Mearsheimer, J. J. & Walt, S. (2007). The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (see also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Israel_Lobby_and_U.S._Foreign_P olicy)]. [back]
  6. Approximately the size of today’s Israeli Defense Force, including re- servists (http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/israel/army.htm), which receives a 30 billion dollar gift certificate from the United States each decade to spend on U.S. military equipment (http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.583812). [back]
  7. There were two sets of sacred weights. A sacred talent equalled either 48 or 33 kilograms and a shekel equalled either 16 or 10.8 grams. [back]
  8. The concoction of the Nicene Creed in 325 A.D. notwithstanding, when Jesus prayed “Our Father who art in heaven ...” he was not talking to himself. If one of Jesus’ disciples had asked him “Are you the god that you pray to?” ... Jesus would have thought the question to be blasphemous. Western civilization is dominated by Christians and Christianity is theologically a form of Judaism. The central theological difference is that Christian Judaism holds that the messiah prophesied in The Bible (to Christians, The ‘Old’ Testament) came and left and is coming back, while traditional Judaism perceives that messiah as yet to come. Many of the approximately 30,000 followers of Menachem Schneerson in Brooklyn, New York, also believe, like Christians in reference to Jesus, that Schneerson (1902-1994) was the messiah and will be coming back [http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world- features/.premium-1.602359]. Each of these groups, ranging in size from about 2.2 billion to 16 million to 10 thousand, is waiting for the biblical messiah ... two of them for his return and one for his debut. All of that is too fantastic to warrant further comment, but the fact that Christians worship the same god that traditional Jews worship (Our Father who art in heaven)—and the fact that two thirds of the Christian Bible is the Jewish Bible in its entirety—has serious consequences. It means that reverence for some form of Zionism is inherent to Christianity—right wing, left wing, and every Christian persuasion in between. [back]
  9. Zeev Sternhell has accurately perceived the Israeli demand for recognition of Israel as ‘The Jewish State of Israel’ as a demand for “Unconditional Palestinian Surrender.” Sternhell, Z. (2014) “Unconditional Palestinian surrender.” Haaretz, April 18, 2014. http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.586127. [back]
  10. For additional examples of the commandment to commit genocide against out-groups and boasts of having done so, see: Numbers 21:2-3; 21:34-35; 24:8; 24:19-20; Deuteronomy 2:34; 3:2-6; 3:21; 7:1-2; 7:16; 7:23-24; 9:3; 11:24-25; 31:3-5; 33:27; Joshua 2:10; 6:21; 8:2; 8:24-26; 10:1; 10:28; 10:35; 10:37; 10:39-40; 11:11-14; 11:21; Judges 1:17; 3:29; First Samuel 15:8; 15:15; 15:18; 15:20; First Chronicles 4:41; Ester 9:5- 9; 15-16). See also: Rabbi Dove Lior on Israel’s right to totally destroy Gaza at http://www.jpost.com/Operation-Protective-Edge/Rabbi-Lior-Jewish-law-permits-destruction-of-Gaza-to-bring-safety-to-Israel-368605 ... and “When Genocide is Permissible” by Yochanan Gordon at: http://mondoweiss.net/2014/08/yochanan-genocide-permissible.html. See also Michael Prior, “Confronting the Bible’s Ethnic Cleansing in Palestine.” The Link, December 2000. [back]
  11. For additional accounts of enjoying the rape of female spoil of an enemy after partial genocide [sparing girls (“the little ones”) and virgin women], see Hartung, J. (2012) “Chastity, Fidelity and Conquest: Biblical Rules for Women and War.” In: Shackelford, T., Weekes-Shackelford, V. (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Evolutionary Perspectives on Violence, Homicide, and War (pp. 77-90). Oxford University Press. [back]
  12. The Holy Scriptures: According to the Masoretic Text [circa 600-1000] (1917). The Jewish Publication Society of America, Philadelphia. [back]
  13. The Holy Bible: Old and New Testaments in the King James Version (1976). Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Inc. [back]
  14. TANAKH, A New Translation of The Holy Scriptures according to the Traditional Hebrew Text (1985). The Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia.[back]
  15. “Nothing” in the sense that every particle and ray will eventually be beyond the light horizon of every other particle and ray such that there will be no interactions that could mark time. For a unique and perhaps notable contrarian perspective, consider Wetterich’s “variable gravity universe” at http://www .sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212686413000332.[back]
  16. For example: Dyson, F. (1979) “Time without end: physics and biology in an open universe.” Reviews of Modern Physics, 51:447-460; Dyson, F. (1979). Disturbing The Universe. Harper & Row, New York; Frautschi, S. (1982). “Entropy in an expanding universe.” Science 217:593-599. Page, D.N. & McKee, M.R. (1983). “The future of the universe.” Scientific American, January- February. Frautschi, S. (1988). “Entropy in an expanding universe.” In Weber, Depew & Smith (eds.), Entropy, Information and Evolution, MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Linde, A.D. (1988). “Life after inflation.” Physics Letters B 211:1, 2:29-31. Davies, P. (1994). The Last Three Minutes. Basic Books, New York. Linde, A. (1994). “The self-reproducing inflationary universe.” Scientific American, November, 48-55. Guth, A. (1997). The Inflationary Universe. Addison-Wesley, Reading. Kaku, M. (2005). Parallel Worlds: A Journey Through Creation, Higher Dimensions, and the Future of the Cosmos. Doubleday, New York. [back]
  17. Hartung, J. (1996). “Prospects for Existence: Morality and Genetic Engineering.” Skeptic 4(2):62-71. [back]
  18. For an examination of ancient Israelite polytheism, henotheism and monolatry, see note 17 above. [back]
  19. Darwin, C. (1876). Charles Darwin’s Autobiography. (ed., N. Barlow, 1969), Norton, New York. [back]
  20. Darwin, E. (1794). Zoonomia, vols. 1&2. J. Johnson Company, London. See also King-Hele, D. The essential Writings of Erasmus Darwin, p 87. Trinity Press, London. [back]

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John

John Hartung is the Associate Editor of the Journal of Neurosurgical Anesthesiology and Professor of Anesthesiology at the State University of New York.

His Ph.D. is in anthropology from Harvard. About half of Dr. Hartung's publications are in social science, with the rest in medicine (Curriculum Vitae).

Snail Mail:
SUNY Brooklyn - box 6
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VIDEO: 'Reading and Doing Medical Research: An Insight From Augustina Otero' by John Hartung