"The Birth of Christianity" by Joel Carmichael

I friend gave me a copy of “The Birth of Christianity” and I just got finished reading it. Though I have some interest in both ancient Roman history and early church history, I am more intrigued by ancient Jewish history. They are my people, in spirit and in blood.
The book describes how Jesus, and the early “Jesists” became divorced from their Jewish roots in the eyes of early Christianity. It explains why this was necessary and how the gospels were selected, and edited, to paint a specific (Roman-friendly) picture of the birth of Christianity. Mostly, it describes the cultural and political status of Palestinian Jewry at the time.
Carmichael portrays Jesus as just one of many militant zealots who were executed by the Romans for sedition. Jesus’ goal was the “Kingdom of God” – which was non other than a return to Jewish hegemony over Palestine under a strict theocracy. In other words, the “Kingdom of God” was a political goal, not so much a spiritual one.
Some of the ways Carmichael portrays these ancient Jews, some of them likely my own ancestors, helped solidify some notions I had about them. It makes me wonder, even if they were my people in blood, were they truly my people in spirit?

The activists’ contempt for death was famous. The Romans, indeed, thought them out of their minds. Their fanaticism, their readiness to sacrifice all in behalf of a theory, prepared them as it were automatically for martyrdom. What was extraordinary was the number of people prepared to do likewise (pg. 25).
The Romans thought the Kingdom of God activists madmen, yet were impressed by their devotion. Here is a description of the sufferings of some of the activists who, in the generation after Jesus, were caught after their retreat to Egypt when Jerusalem had fallen in A.D. 70:
“Six hundred of them were caught on the spot; and all who escaped into Egypt… were arrested and brought back. Nor was there a person who was not amazed on the endurance and – call it what you will – desperation or strength of purpose displayed by these victims. For under every torture and laceration of body, devised for the sole object of making them acknowledge  Caesar as lord, no one submitted nor was brought to the verge of utterance; but all kept their resolve, triumphant over constraint, meeting the tortures… with bodies that seemed insensible of pain and souls that well-nigh exulted in it. But most of all were the spectators struck by the children of tender age, not one of whom could be prevailed upon to call Caesar lord. So far did the strength of courage rise superior to the weakness of their frames (pg. 35).”
A new variety of Zealot agitator emerged around this time – the “Daggermen,” who specialized in assassinating pro-Roman Jews. Their technique was to mingle with the masses at religious festivals, with daggers hidden in their robes (pg.109).
Jews had some constitutional privileges. They were exempt from army service and did not have to pay tribute to local gods. Famous as mercenary soldiers, they were generally considered vigorous, manly, and stubborn. At the time they had no reputation for cleverness. The Jews seemed to be respected by the Romans even though Palestine itself was a source of constant irritation (pg. 151).

“Fanatical”, “contemptuous of death”, “terrorists”, “macho” and “stubborn”. That certainly does not describe me. Though I can admire these traits, and even recommend them under certain circumstances, I must admit that the closest thing we have to the ancient Jewish Zealots today would be certain members of al-Qa’ida or the Taliban: Swarthy people in flowing robes speaking a guttural language and ready to kill, and be killed, for their god. But this sort of mentality is ideal for the preservation of a nation against powerful odds; it emphasizes the value of the group rather than that of the individual.
Total war, existential threats and an overall miserable existence can bring out these traits in people. The ancient Palestinian Jews suffered crippling taxation, religious indignities and extreme corruption under the Romans. It is likely then, that the Romans themselves were instrumental in creating the culture described above. People don’t normally resort to extremism unless something pushes them in that direction.
As for the Taliban and al-Qa’ida, it could be argued that the relentless advances of Western civilization (an extension of past European colonialism in their eyes) puts them in a similar mindset. This is one, of several, arguments to leave them alone in their own homelands, remove the troops, withdraw all “foreign aid” and stop immigration from those places.

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13 Responses to "The Birth of Christianity" by Joel Carmichael

  1. Lise says:

    Are you familiar with the “Roman Mysteries” children’s book series? Caroline Lawrence depicts life in ancient Rome from the point of view of you teens of Jewish, Chrisitan, Pagan, free and slave backgrounds during the reign of Titus. She makes an effort to be historically accurate but does yield slighty to modern PC notions. Overall not too bad, however. She deals wioth the dagger weilding Jews in “Assasins of Rome.”

  2. SFG says:

    White nationalists take this ‘blood of my blood’ thing a little too far, IMHO. You’ve probably got lots of German and Polish and Russian ancestors too. Even if you’re relatively purebred, after tens of generations you probably don’t have one chromosome in common with most of these guys. And Askhenazim in particular have been subjected to selection that’s heavily changed population traits–of the two wellsprings of the Western tradition, the modern Greeks act more like ancient Jews (clannish and religious) and the modern Jews act more like ancient Greeks (cosmopolitan and irreligious). If you want to include the Germans, the obsessive, rule-bound Germans of today are miles away from beer-swilling, brawling Goths. Or how about the relaxed, disobedient Italians versus the orderly, dour Romans?
    You’re probably right that these distant ancestors of yours (and mine) are acting the way the Taliban and al-Qaeda today.
    Personally I think it’s more useful to focus on the problems of the day than on ancient folkish history. Jews in the USA are still obsessed with the recrudescence of right-wing white supremacism and not buying German cars and ignore the large threats to Israel and European Jewry from Muslims.

    • The Empty One says:

      It is only by understanding the past, that we may understand the present and not repeat mistakes of the past. This is a facsimile of a few quotes on the value of history. Another that occurs to me in exact words, “Those who do not learn from the mistakes of the past, are doomed to repeat it.
      The insertion of the word, “folkish” is not only inaccurate, but seems at attempt to discredit a well researched work.

  3. SFG says:

    In particular, I think the German and Polish influence on Ashkenazi culture will be better appreciated in a few hundred years. The wounds of the past are still too raw.

    • The Empty One says:

      Since Yiddish is almost a dead language, what I wonder, will be remembered in a couple hundred years? You seem to be consistent in the “ostrich option.”

  4. Anon says:

    “If you want to include the Germans, the obsessive, rule-bound Germans of today are miles away from beer-swilling, brawling Goths. Or how about the relaxed, disobedient Italians versus the orderly, dour Romans?”
    hbdchick has a lot of posts about the mayoral system and the selective effects it has had on the various Germanic tribes(mainly to select for conformity/industriousness and so on). Likewise on Christianity banning cousin marriage out to a specific range(in a move to specificially destroy the clans that were giving the early church leaders so much trouble). so not all of that change is due to fundamentally different groups moving in. Quite a bit has been done to temper us as a people since then.
    The romans though, yea they were overrun by barbarian group after barbarian group(including the aforementioned germanic tribes), before the church got started with them.
    “As for the Taliban and al-Qa’ida, it could be argued that the relentless advances of Western civilization (an extension of past European colonialism in their eyes) puts them in a similar mindset. This is one, of several, arguments to leave them alone in their own homelands, remove the troops, withdraw all “foreign aid” and stop immigration from those places.”
    Back to the marriage thing the Arab world has a penchance for fathers brothers daughter marriage, which in addition to polygamy produces basically extreme violence(either inward or outward). Compound that with the fact that there is no way that Europe or Asia can really afford to cut the middle east off and there is little way out of our current predicament.

    • SFG says:

      Sure–it’s not all about incoming gene mixture. Indeed, I don’t think the Scandinavians have had all that much, and they’ve changed from Vikings to socialists over that time period.
      I had the impression, however, that the modern image of the duty-bound German began with Bismarck, and before that Germans were seen as homey, food-loving, and (relatively) lazy–much the way Bavarians are seen by other Germans, from what I understand.

    • The Empty One says:

      Oh, the Romans are famous for their revelries. They even had a wine god, Bachus, from which the term “bachalnalia” or a bachelor’s party, is derived from. Vomitoriums, the prevalence of prostitution, the Circus, just as German’s today like their beer as they did in their more fundamental times, their fierceness and intelligence, regardless of the politics or situation involved, remains fairly constant. People ought to actually study history more.

  5. THRIPSHAW says:

    The book sounds pretty interesting. Would you recommend it? I’m not Jewish but I have to admit the ancient Hebrews sound pretty heroic. They do remind me of Moslem terrorists, though.
    I don’t have much in common with my warlike ancestors from the border clans of Scotland, either, although sometimes it’s fun to think about them when I’m sipping whisky and listening to bagpipe music.
    It seems that white Americans regardless of ancestry are too modern to love death more than life. So, it is in our best interest to prevent fanatics with such a pre-modern mindset from immigrating – unless we want to get killed.

  6. A major difference between Jewish rebels who were rebelling against Roman rule and Muslim terrorists is that islamism is internationalist in nature and those Jewish rebels were nationalistic. However the willingness for martyrdom by these Jews in this account does remind me of the willingness for martyrdom that many Muslims have demonsrtated.

  7. The Empty One says:

    The propensity for Jews to die for their cause echoed into the future centuries and certainly into Christianity and Islam. The classical historian Edward Gibbon noted it in his tome, “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” where he cites historical records of how early Christians charged Roman military units in suicidal frenzies. Many Christians, like the Jews of the time felt the world was coming to an end and that the Kingdom of God was at hand. A quick way to enter paradise was through “cop kill.” The problem was so widespread and great that a letter exists from the period by a church leader, calling for the cessation of the practice. “Better to go into the wilderness and throw themselves from cliffs, than to increase the avarice and persecutions against us.” The New Testament folklore and films from the 50s and 60s often portrays the stoic Christian martyrs facing the lions or worse, in the Roman arena. Perhaps the Romans felt they were at least getting some entertainment value out of something that was inevitable anyway? But it is clear to me at least, why suicide became such a deadly sin. Much later on, in Southern France during the Albigensian Crusade in the 13th century at the climax of that Church sanctioned extermination at Montsegur, 244 Cathars jumped into a huge fire pit rather than deny their faith.
    We are not all that far away from examples of people willing to die for their religious beliefs including Christians. A remnant of the Thirty Years War still smolders between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland. We only stopped killing over religion a short time ago in this country, but certainly the 19th century has numerous examples; the persecution of the early Mormons and the infamous “Mountain Meadows Massacre” of Christians.
    The Roman philosopher Lucretius observed in his time 99-55 BCE that – “All religions are sublime to the ignorant, useful to the politician, and ridiculous to the philosopher.”
    It is with knowledge and reason that we will best find the path to preserving our people, not through endless repetitions of rhetoric and clinging to thousands of years old myths and claims. That takes courage. Are whites up to the intellectual challenge?

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