Daily Archives: 2007-01-26 14:20:06 GMT+0000

Part 1 of “Al-Qaeda: Casting a Shadow of Terror”

Not having time to do all the reviews I would like I have decided to do chapter reviews from selected books instead. Opting to start on Jason Burke’s Al-Qaeda chapter 1 because I was not happy with my superficial review of the whole book earlier. There is simply too much information of value in this that people ought to know and then challenge their political leaders over for the sake of some hope for sanity in the future….

Chapter 1 is titled, surprise surprise: What is Al-Qaeda?

Al-Qaeda comes from the Arabic root qaf-ayn-dal meaning a base (as in a camp or home), or a foundation (as in what is under a house), a pedestal supporting a column, a precept, a rule, a principle, a formula, a method, a pattern, a method. (p.7)

Islamic, British and American Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan
The word was used by the mid 1980’s by Islamic radicals who flocked from all over the Muslim world to Afghanistan to help the local resistance fight the Soviets. It was a common Arabic word that was used to refer simply to the respective bases from which the military units operated.

In 2002 Arabic language newspapers referred to the British and American base at Bagram (from which they were hunting the Taliban) as “al-Qaeda Bagram”.

The radical association
Abdullah Azzam, mentor of bin Laden, wrote in 1987 of the need for a radical Islamic vanguard (similar to Lenin’s revolutionary vanguard concept) to carry the heavy work and sacrifices required for ultimate victory of achieving a new society:

This vanguard constitutes the strong foundation (al qaeda al-sulbah) for the expected society. (p.8 )

Azzam’s words were similar to many other references to vanguards in other radical Islamic literature and they are all clearly talking about a tactic, a way of operating, not an organization.

Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Chapter 3/WIFTA

8 pm 27th Jan 07

Forgot to add another theological (not eyewitness verification) reason for the naming of Mary mother of James and Joses at the end of Mark’s gospel. Early in the gospel the author has Jesus ask who is his true mother. He employs a scene of his physical mother not being able to reach her son for the crowd (again– as in similar stories in this gospel — foreshadowing the time Jesus will be unreachable behind the door of the tomb) to draw the distinction between his spiritual family and his physical family. At the end of the gospel the author pointedly refers to Jesus’ mother as the mother of James and Joses, — Jesus is omitted (unlike earlier and 6.3). Following Weeden, Tolbert, et al, …. The author is telling the reader that his earthly mother, like the twelve, have no part in him. (Other gospel authors would later correct Mark.) His readers, rather, are his true spiritual family. So his mother is looking in the wrong place for him. (The Christ is not here — as was already alluded to in Mark 13. But there is so much more to this that it is really another topic.) The point is, this is enough to suggest that the mention of the Mary mother of James and Joses here is for theological reasons first and last.

10 pm. 26th Jan 07

Forgot to add that Schmidt does not himself single out the country origin of the bearer of the weapon of execution in the Roman triumphal procession. read more »

Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Chapter 3

3. Names in the Gospel Traditions

In this chapter Bauckham discusses the names in the Gospels apart from those of the Twelve and of the public figures, proposing that they were eyewitnesses of the “traditions” to which their names are attached and that they continued to live as authoritative living witnesses to guarantee the veracity of their experiences. read more »

Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Chapter 2/WIFTA

Chapter 2 WIFTA (What I Forgot To Add — to be regularly updated I am sure) read more »