Daily Archives: 2010-09-20 12:56:39 GMT+0000

The Refreshing Honesty of Jim West

Well this is bizarre. I find myself in agreement with a very substantial bulk of a recent article by Jim West in “The Bible and Interpretation”, A (Very, Very) Short History of Minimalism: From The Chronicler to the Present. Jim West argues that biblical studies of the history of early Christianity are largely circular, following the same flawed methodology that lay at the heart of the Albrightian approach to the history of Israel.

Jim West sums up so much of what I have been attempting to argue for some time now:

Most “histories” of Ancient Israel and Earliest Christianity are simply examples of circular reasoning. Many historians use the Bible as a historical source; they reconstruct a history which is often nothing more than a recapitulation of the biblical telling; and the Bible is affirmed as historical because of the history so constructed. Similarly, the life of Jesus, for instance, is gleaned from a reading of the Gospels. Said reconstruction is named a ‘history of Jesus’ life.” That “history of Jesus’ life” is then utilized to prove historically the life of Jesus as described in the Gospels. One need only pick up John Bright’s “History of Israel” or Joseph Ratzinger’s “Jesus” to see circularity in action. True, ancillary materials are added to these histories (on the very rare occasions that they are available)- but these only reinforce the circularly circumscribed reconstruction.

What can I say? Will Crossley, McGrath and others tell Jim this is “bloody weird” stuff and arguing “like a creationist”? It’s what Thomas L. Thompson has said, and Robert M. Price, and I have quoted the same understanding in publications dating back a century to E. Schwartz and Albert Schweitzer. It is where biblical historians differ from nonbiblical historians.

So what’s the catch? read more »

The Weizmann Plan to “Transfer” the Palestinians

This is the history and experience of Palestinians from a Palestinian view. This is, for many Westerners, the side of the story they have never heard. It is heartening to read the latest poll figures showing that most Americans do not agree that Israel should be building settlements in the West Bank and that the American government is out of step with its own people every time it reaffirms a “special relationship” with Israel. See John Mearsheimer’s article, American Public Opinion and the Special Relationship with Israel.

This post is another in my series highlighting key points in Nur Masalha’s historical research into the evidence for the Zionist plans to expel Palestinian Arabs from their lands that has been at the heart of the respective Israeli governments’ policies towards the Palestinians up to today (Expulsion of the Palestinians: The Concept of “Transfer” in Zionist Political Thought, 1882-1948).

The previous two posts in this series are:

  1. Zionist Founding Fathers’ Plans for Transfer of the Palestinian Arabs
  2. Redemption or Conquest: Zionist Yishuv Plans for Transfer of Palestinian Arabs in British Mandate Period

Chaim Weizemann, who was to become the first president of the state of Israel, but at this time was president of both the Zionist Organization and the newly established Jewish Agency Executive, actively began promoting the idea of ethnic cleansing (or more politically correctly, ‘Arab transfer’) in private meetings with British government officials and ministers against the background of the violence of the August 1929 violence between Jews and Arabs.

The Arab-Jewish clashes of August 1929

The British Government commissioned a report into the causes of the uprising and its findings are significant for what they indicate about the struggle between Zionist Jews and Palestinian Arabs ever since.

The uprising followed a political demonstration by militant Revisionist Jews at the Wailing Wall next to the Haram al-Shaif, Islam’s third holiest site.

133 Jews, including women and children, were killed.
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