Monday, 28 March 2011
The Bible’s Buried Secrets; or exposing Jewish cultural imperialism
Above are the first two episodes of a documentary series, The Bible’s Buried Secrets, presented by Dr Francesca Stavrakopoulou, currently being shown over here on the BBC. The first show is about the alleged united Jewish kingdom of David, while the second is about monotheism.
Not being that interested in Jewish history or the Old Testament, I was skeptical about watching the series, thinking it might just be just another guilt-ridden Western excuse to promote Jewish history and culture as universal; but in fact the programmes have so far been the opposite, implying that the Old Testament is just Jewish nationalist propaganda and challenging and exposing (as much as a TV series can challenge and expose) a whole host of Jewish myths; Jewish myths, which, unfortunately, Greeks adopted when they accepted Christianity and in the process repudiated key facets of Hellenism.
In fact, in the second show on monotheism, the hostility of Judaism to Hellenism is clearly articulated by Rabbi Ken Spiro who says of polytheism: ‘In essence, it’s a lie. Just look at the morality of the ancient world which is polytheistic and you see the radical contrast between the Jewish idea on the one hand and what came out of the pagan world on the other and it’s very, very clear.’
Indeed, rabbi, the contrast with what came out of the ‘pagan’ world and what came out of the Jewish world is radical and I know which world is more interesting, sophisticated, liberating, progressive and moral.
Another aspect of the series I liked was its effort to rehabilitate those peoples in the Old Testament, such as the Canaanites and Philistines, maligned by the Jews. The Philistines we are reminded were probably proto-Greeks, who came to the Near East via the Aegean and/or Cyprus.
* See here for third and final episode on the Garden of Eden.