Uncle Adolf’s table talk, 3



Night of 11th-12th July 1941

The natural piety of man—Russian atheists know how to die—No atheistical education.

I think the man who contemplates the universe with his eyes wide open is the man with the greatest amount of natural piety: not in the religious sense, but in the sense of an intimate harmony with things.

Man has discovered in nature the wonderful notion of that all-mighty being whose law he worships. Fundamentally in everyone there is the feeling for this all-mighty, which we call God (that is to say, the dominion of natural laws throughout the whole universe). The priests, who have always succeeded in exploiting this feeling, threaten punishments for the man who refuses to accept the creed they impose. When one provokes in a child a fear of the dark, one awakens in him a feeling of atavistic dread. Thus this child will be ruled all his life by this dread, whereas another child, who has been intelligently brought up, will be free of it.

It’s said that every man needs a refuge where he can find consolation and help in unhappiness. I don’t believe it! If humanity follows that path, it’s solely a matter of tradition and habit. That’s a lesson, by the way, that can be drawn from the Bolshevik front. The Russians have no God, and that doesn’t prevent them from being able to face death. We don’t want to educate anyone in atheism.

Published in: on November 22, 2015 at 9:18 am  Comments (2)  

Zarathustra’s prologue, 6

Revilo Oliver’s texts on Aryan ethnosuicide and the need to create a religion of hate have moved me to translate some explanatory notes of Thus Spoke Zarathustra at the bottom of this entry (see also my first post in the comments section).


Then, however, something happened that struck every mouth silent and forced all eyes to stare. For in the meantime the tightrope walker had begun his work; he had emerged from a little door and was walking across the rope stretched between two towers, such that it hung suspended over the market place and the people. Just as he was at the midpoint of his way, the little door opened once again and a colorful fellow resembling a jester leaped forth and hurried after the first man with quick steps.

“Forward, sloth, smuggler, pale face! Or I’ll tickle you with my heel! What business have you here between the towers? You belong in the tower, you should be locked away in the tower, for you block the way for one who is better than you!”

And with each word he came closer and closer to him. But when he was only one step behind him, the terrifying thing occurred that struck every mouth silent and forced all eyes to stare: – he let out a yell like a devil and leaped over the man who was in his way. This man, seeing his rival triumph in this manner, lost his head and the rope. He threw away his pole and plunged into the depths even faster than his pole, like a whirlwind of arms and legs. The market place and the people resembled the sea when a storm charges in: everyone fled apart and into one another, and especially in the spot where the body had to impact.

But Zarathustra stood still and the body landed right beside him, badly beaten and broken, but not yet dead. After a while the shattered man regained consciousness and saw Zarathustra kneeling beside him. “What are you doing here?” he said finally. “I’ve known for a long time that the devil would trip me up. Now he is going to drag me off to hell: are you going to stop him?”

“By my honor, friend!” answered Zarathustra. “All that you are talking about does not exist. There is no devil and no hell. Your soul will be dead even sooner than your body[1] – fear no more!”

The man looked up mistrustfully. “If you speak the truth,” he said, “then I lose nothing when I lose my life. I am not much more than an animal that has been taught to dance by blows and little treats.”

“Not at all,” said Zarathustra. “You made your vocation out of danger, and there is nothing contemptible about that. Now you perish of your vocation, and for that I will bury you with my own hands.”

When Zarathustra said this the dying man answered no more, but he moved his hand as if seeking Zarathustra’s hand in gratitude. –



The above German-English translation by Adrian del Caro is taken from Thus Spoke Zarathustra (Cambridge University Press, 2006). This Cambridge edition lacks the more detailed notes by Andrés Sánchez-Pascual in Así Habló Zaratustra (Madrid: Alianza Editorial, 2014), translated here.


[1] A development of this idea can be seen in this first part, “On the Despisers of the Body” and in the third part, “The Convalescent” §2: “Souls are as mortal as bodies.”

Uncle Adolf’s table talk, 114



9th April 1942, at dinner

The unhealthy character of Christianity—Superstition— Brutality of the Catholic Church.

The Christians… honour the Saints, that is to say, a man who succeeds in standing on one leg for years at a time, or one who prefers to lie on a bed of thorns rather than to respond to the smiles of inviting maidens. There is something very unhealthy about Christianity.

Another peculiarity of the Christian faith, as it is taught by the Catholic Church, is that it is a school of pessimism rather than of optimism. The Japanese religion, on the contrary, rouses men to enthusiasm by the promise it holds of the rewards in the Hereafter, while the unfortunate Christian has no prospect before him but the torments of Hell. Such pessimism has a marked effect…

It is no less difficult to eradicate these childish inhibitions than it is to free the human soul of that haunting terror of Hell which the Catholic Church impresses on it with such vigour during its most tender years.

A man possessed of a minimum of intelligence who takes the trouble to ponder over these questions has no difficulty in realising how nonsensical these doctrines of the Church are. And what nonsense it is to aspire to a Heaven to which, according to the Church’s own teaching, only those have entry who have made a complete failure of life on earth! It won’t be much fun, surely, to have to meet again there all those whose stupidity, in spite of the biblical tag “blessed are the humble of heart”, has already infuriated one beyond endurance on this earth!

When one examines the Catholic religion closely, one cannot fail to realise that it is an almost incredibly cunning mixture of hypocrisy and business acumen, which trades with consummate skill on the deeply engrained affection of mankind for the beliefs and superstitions he holds…

They believe that man requires some species of brake on his activities and that, in spite of its many shortcomings, the Church represents the best deterrent that at present exists. The pity is that people who reason in this manner appear to forget that the Church does not strive to propagate its teaching by reason and gentle persuasion, but by force and threat. This is certainly not my idea of education. It is moreover obvious that, had the Church followed solely the laws of Love, and had she preached Love alone as the means of instilling her moral precepts, she would not have survived for very long.

She has therefore always remained faithful to the ancient maxim that the right hand must not know what the left hand does, and has bowed to the necessity of imposing her moral principles by means of the utmost brutality, not hesitating even to burn in their thousands men and women of merit and virtue.

New literary genre

“Know thyself” (gnōthi seafton)
Delphic maxim in the Temple of Apollo


I started Hojas Susurrantes (HS) in 1988 and added the last touchups last year. It is neither a novel nor an essay; nor memoirs in the traditional sense nor a pamphlet or poetry. It is difficult to define this non-fictional genre in few words. My first reader, Andreas Wirsén, a Swede lover of literature, wrote in an online forum that I am “a pioneer developing a new sport.”

As stated in Day of Wrath which contains a Spanish-English translation of the longest chapter of HS, Stefan Zweig wrote in Adepts in Self-Portraiture that when Western literature began with Hesiod and Heraclitus it was still poetry, and of the inevitability of a decline in the mythopoetic talent of Greece when a more Aristotelian thought evolved. As compensation for this loss, says Zweig, modern man obtained with the novel an approach to a science of the mind. But the novel genre does not represent the ultimate degree of self-knowledge:

Autobiography is the hardest of all forms of literary art. Why, then, do new aspirants, generation after generation, try to solve this almost insoluble problem?

[For a] honest autobiography […] he must have a combination of qualities which will hardly be found once in a million instances. To expect perfect sincerity on self-portraiture would be as absurd as to expect absolute justice, freedom, and perfection here on earth. No doubt the pseudo-confession, as Goethe called it, confession under the rose, in the diaphanous veil of novel or poem, is much easier, and is often far more convincing from the artistic point of view, than an account with no assumption of reserve. Autobiography, precisely because it requires, not truth alone, but naked truth, demands from the artist an act of peculiar heroism; for the autobiographer must play the traitor to himself.

Gnothi_seautonOnly a ripe artist, one thoroughly acquainted with the workings of the mind, can be successful here. This is why psychological self-portraiture has appeared so late among the arts, belonging exclusively to our own days and those yet to come. Man had to discover continents, to fathom his seas, to learn his language, before he could turn his gaze inward to explore the universe of his soul. Classical antiquity had as yet no inkling of these mysterious paths. Caesar and Plutarch, the ancients who describe themselves, are content to deal with facts, with circumstantial happenings, and never dream of showing more than the surface of their hearts.

Zweig then devotes a long paragraph to St Augustine’s Confessions, the thinker I abhor the most of all Western tradition and whose theology about Hell caused massive psychological damage in my own life (also recounted in HS). Then Zweig wrote:

Many centuries were to pass before Rousseau (that remarkable man who was a pioneer in so many fields) was to draw a self-portrait for its own sake, and was to be amazed and startled at the novelty of his enterprise. Stendhal, Hebbel, Kierkegaard, Tolstoy, Amiel, the intrepid Hans Jaeger, have disclosed unsuspected realms of self-knowledge by self-portraiture. Their successors, provided with more delicate implements of research, will be able to penetrate stratum by stratum, room by room, farther and yet farther into our new universe, into the depths of the human mind.

This quote explains why I decided to devise a hybrid genre between the self-portraiture that betrays the author and that penetrates beyond the strata pondered by Romantic autobiographers. Over the boards anti-Nazis have been making fun about my experiences in London last year. They have no idea what I am trying to say because they completely lack context. Together with the Zweig quote my December 31 entry, “Etiology,” can provide a bit of the context of what I’m trying to say in the book I’m presently writing.

“Birth and Death”


From Faith and Action (1938) by Helmut Stellrecht for the Hitler Youth:

Birth and death are the same; they are the two sides of one door. To enter one room always means leaving another. It depends on which room or which life we are in as to whether we say “entrance” or “exit,” life or death.

§ For he who understands it, death holds no terrors. But he who did not go his proper way in life and sinned will see his guilt in death. But there is after death no place of torture, no hell. To see one’s guilt is the severest judgment and at the same time the greatest penalty. Judgment and punishment are within yourself.

§ Neglected work can only be made up by double effort. It will once more be your choice, either to work toward the world plan, or to be its enemy. That is the only death that there is, to become a force for destruction rather than for creation, and this death is not physical. It is your free choice to decide on which side you belong, on god’s or, to use an old term, “the devil’s.”

§ What we call birth and death is only the door between two worlds. There is no birth and no death, only change, and we can go confidently through the door, for all the worlds were created by one hand.

Published in: on August 4, 2013 at 10:27 am  Comments (5)  

On philosophical and religious quackery

and its dismal implications for the white race

by John Martínez

This is your best piece of writing in WDH up to now, Chechar—at least that I’m aware of. I don’t think this is the sort of article that will have much appeal to average White Nationalists, obsessed as they are with the Joooos, Niggers and other perceived threats, but until Whites grasp the deep mental roots of the their present malaise (specially as far as Christianity and its secular offshoot, Liberalism, are concerned) they will be like a man being attacked by a swarm of bees in the middle of a pitch-black night.

A couple of points.

First, you are right to be suspicious about “Philosophy”—have you ever considered how presumptuous (“love for wisdom”) the very name of this discipline is? I have my qualms about it too.

German-PhilosophyIn another post you mentioned the fact that not a single one of the supposedly greatest philosophers ever said something about the importance of race to the establishment of a great civilization like ours. That is to say, these guys have devoted millions of man-hours to discussing every single subject under the sun—except for what is perhaps the most important of them all from the point of view of our civilization: the fact that it is a White civilization and that these discussions are not taking place in Africa, Asia or what have you.

I have long thought about this glaring gap in their discussions too and it has made me conclude that by and large the field of the so called “Philosophy” is a Sahara of barren discussions—Steve Sailer apparently agrees with me—and the very fact that after thousands of years of endless discussions, unlike other hard fields like Physics of Chemistry, these guys have not reached any generally accepted conclusions at all, is a testimony to the frivolity of their activity.

It is true that fields like Literary Criticism, for example, are not “hard sciences” either, but even here, unlike the case of Philosophy, you have a number of generally accepted judgments—the centrality of Dante and Shakespeare in Western poetry and the aesthetic preeminence of Tolstoy and Proust in the Western prose fiction, for example, among many other generally accepted opinions—whereas you cannot find a single philosophic view that will be shared by all of the myriad philosophical schools and fashions that have sprouted in the past 2,500 years.

For my part, what I can say is that any occasional powerful insights I have seen coming from professional philosophers never are the results of any elaborate philosophical systems, but are instead simple products of common sense, and might very well have been uttered by any regular, intelligent people. So, why bother? You can learn much more about the human nature and the real world by reading the great classics of the Western Literature than by wading through infinitely boring volumes of pseudo “lovers of Wisdom”, as these guys pompously call themselves.

Second, what’s the point of leaving one superstition just to embrace another? Unfortunately, that’s what people normally do. Atheists normally leave Christianity just to immediately convert to Liberalism and vice versa, for example. What’s the point of looking skeptically at Western spirituality and revering its Eastern counterpart at the same time? That’s a non sequitur. I don’t buy Buddhism, Hinduism or what have you for the same reasons that I don’t take the Abrahamic doctrines seriously: for all their bombastic claims, their allegations are not empirically verifiable, period. If I am to embrace their patent absurdities in particular, why not embracing any other absurdities in general?

Third, what you said concerning the intrinsic despair and pessimism of Buddhism is also true, and again I had also noticed it. The reason why the doctrine of reincarnation is so fundamental to Buddhism is because if you were to embrace the horrifying view this religion has of life without any faith in a life after death, you would logically feel the urge to commit suicide. People who convert to Buddhism have to be convinced to stay alive by means of inculcating in them a belief in reincarnation; and in the hope of not reincarnating by means of following the eightfold path in order to reach Nirvana and not to reincarnate anymore.

Well, any non mentally deranged person can see the madness of such a set of ideas. But unfortunately, all religious systems are ultimately as crazy as Buddhism. All you have to do is to boil their pompous, self-righteous talk down to its bottom lines and you’ll see what their proponents are really talking about.


Christians, for example, love to say that “God has a plan for your life”. It seems all very fine, until you realize that this plan is that you worship the Jew Jesus. By doing so, you’ll be awarded the opportunity to worship him forever in an afterlife, in a place called Heaven (apparently, a supernatural version of North Korea, with the Christian God in the place of Kim Jong Il), whereas, by refusing to do it, you’ll be tortured forever, being burned in a superheated chamber called Hell. It doesn’t matter how convoluted their talk, how straight their faces while they preach their ideas, or under how many pages of supposedly profound wisdom the Christians try to bury this horrific picture. The fact of the matter is that their core beliefs are as stupid as any savage’s from the Bronze Age—and arguably more wicked at that.

In my humble opinion, Whites should flush such nonsense down the toilet and follow the example of healthier races like the Japanese, the Chinese and the kikes—pace the wickedness of the latter. Shintoism, Confucianism and Judaism are simple pseudo-religious casuistry aiming at preserving the temporal social order of their respective civilizations. To put it bluntly, the ultimate goal of these doctrines is the physical preservation and prosperity of their respective peoples, so much so that they don’t even waste time elaborating on a supposed afterlife, preferring instead to concentrate on the cult of the ancestors and on practical rules of public morality. In other words, we’re talking about racial-preservation cults here. Christianity, Islam and Buddhism, on the other hand, are universalistic ideologies that see this world as a distraction from transcendental truths around which we should build all whole lives.

I’m not suggesting that Whites should create a new religion in which they worship themselves instead of the Christian God or any other non-White deity or spiritual leader for that matter (Ben Klassen, for one, was of this persuasion). White Nationalists are an intellectual vanguard of the White race and they are simply too smart to start following a new religion. It takes idiots to found a new religion (illiterate fishermen in the case of Christianity, illiterate caravan robbers in the case of Islam) and I honestly don’t think we have enough of them in this movement—at least not in numbers big enough to reach a critical mass.

Unlike a number of “philosophers”, I do think we don’t need a supernatural worldview in order to establish and maintain a stable, healthy social order. I can envision the Chinese, the Japanese and the Jewish races living far away into the future under the auspices of down-to-earth, metaphysically unambitious doctrines such as Shintoism, Confucianism and Judaism. But can you picture racial stability for the populations leaving under universalistic creeds like Christianity, Islam or Buddhism, which only acknowledge the physical world in order to repudiate it to a bigger or lesser degree in exchange for an alleged post-mortem reward of some kind? To ask this question is to answer it.

Just one more observation:

Greg Johnson once noted apropos of a Michael O’Meara book he reviewed: “I look at Christian art as merely the ideological channel through which white genius was forced for a long time to flow”, and Johnson is right—as usual.

Look, philosophies and religions come and go. But the great White art, for example, like Literature that I mentioned above, is here to stay. And above all, the race that made the articulation of the three phenomena possible is what really matters.

At the end of the day, it is for the White race that one should fight for instead of religions or philosophies “A” or “B” or “Z”—especially when these philosophies and religions are not only dubious (to say the least) but were inflicted (or at least heavily influenced) upon Whites by folks who hate them and want to destroy them.

Either you accept a nigger Pope…

or burn in Hell eternally!

At Gates of Vienna, a fanatic commenter said:

As a Deacon, my number one duty and concern is for the human soul, to which I will post one last question to you: Cardinal Arinze (may God bless him and grant him 100 years) is from Nigeria and was very close to being Pope, were in not for the election of our blessed Pope Benedict. If he were elected would you have let him “govern” you in all spiritual matters?

If you would reject a Cardinal, Pope, Priest or ANY cleric who is orthodox in teaching and in a position of authority simply because you don’t like the color of his skin, then you are an anathema to toe One True and Holy church and may be condemning your immortal soul to the fires of hell.

Once again, I ask if this means anything to you.

Source: here

The historical Jesus

and the Platonic Fallacy

When back in 1985-1988 I was struggling to give up Christianity, with the fear of eternal damnation driving me mad, an article by Cullen Murphy summarized handsomely the extensive reading on the subject about the search for the historical Jesus I had been undertaking by myself.

As I recount elsewhere, I lived in San Rafael, California when struggling against my parental, religious demons. Presently, unlike the Murphy article I would only recommend a thoroughly secular approach of this fascinating field of research to those who are still suffering the agonies of apostasy.

I have already quoted Joseph Hoffmann (pic below) at length in my entry about my favorite philosopher, Porphyry: whose works were destroyed by the Christians in the centuries when the Romans committed cultural suicide. Tonight I would like to reproduce a piece Hoffmann wrote as a response to the Jesus Seminar, “The Historical Jesus and the Platonic Fallacy”:

Crouching somewhere between esthetic sound byte and historical detail is Michelangelo’s famous statement about sculpture. “The job of the sculptor,” Vasari attributes to il Divino,” is to set free the forms that are within the stone.” It’s a lovely thought—poetic, in fact. If you accept the theory of Renaissance Platonism, as Michelangelo embodies it, you also have to believe that “Moses” and “David” were encased in stone, yearning to be released—as the soul yearns to be set free from the flesh in the theology of salvation. You will however be left wondering why such a theory required human models with strong arms and firm thighs, and why the finished product bears no more resemblance to real or imagined historical figures than a drawing that any one of us could produce. We may lack Michelangelo’s skill and his deft way with a rasp and chisel, but we can easily imagine more probable first millennium BC heroes—in form, stature, skin-tone, and body type—than the Italian beauties he released from their marble prisons. In fact, the more we know about the second millennia BC, the more likely we are to be right. And alas, Michelangelo didn’t know very much about history at all. And what’s more, it made no difference to his art, his success, or to his reputation. That is why idealism and imagination are sometimes at odds with history, or put bluntly, why history acts as a control on our ability to imagine or idealize anything, often profoundly wrong things.

If we apply the same logic to the New Testament, we stumble over what I have (once or twice) called the Platonic Fallacy in Jesus research. Like it or not, the New Testament is still the primary artifact of the literature that permits us to understand the origins of Christianity. It’s the stone, if not the only stone. If we possessed only gnostic and apocryphal sources as documentary curiosities and no movement that preserved them, we would be hard-pressed to say anything other than that at some time in the first and second century a short-lived and highly incoherent religious movement fluoresced and faded (many did) in the night sky of Hellenistic antiquity. The Jesus we would know from these sources would be an odd co-mixture of insufferable infant a la the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, a hell-robber, like the liberator of the Gospel of Nicodemus, a mysterious cipher, like the unnamed hero of the Hymn of the Pearl, or an impenetrable guru, like the Jesus of the gnostic Gospel of Thomas. Despite the now-yellowed axiom we all learned as first year divinity students of a certain generation and later in graduate school (the one where we are taught that “no picture of early Christianity is complete without availing ourselves of all the sources”), I will climb out on a limb to say that these sources are not so much integral to a coherent picture of early Christianity as they are pebbles in orbit around the gravitational center we call the canon. They are interesting—fascinating even—in showing us how uniformity of opinion and belief can wriggle out of a chaos of alterative visions (maybe the closest analogues are in constitutional history), but they are not the stone that the most familiar form of Christianity was made from. That recognition is as important as it is increasingly irrelevant to modern New Testament discussion.

So, how do we approach the New Testament? What kind of rock is it? We know (to stay with the metaphor) that it’s “metamorphic”—made of bits and pieces formed under pressure—in the case of the New Testament, doctrinal and political pressure to define the difference between majority and minority views and impressions, once but now unfashionably called “orthodoxy” and “heresy.”

Whatever the root-causes of canon-formation, canon we have. The Platonic Fallacy comes into play when New Testament scholarship labors under assumptions that emanated from the literary praxis of Renaissance humanists and then (in methodized form) fueled the theological faculties of Germany well into the twentieth century (before a staggering retreat from “higher criticism” by neo-orthodox, and then existentialist, postmodern, and correctness theologians).

The sequence of Jesus-quests that began before Schweitzer (who thought he was writing a retrospective!)—and the succession of theories they produced were honest in their understanding of the metamorphic nature of the canon and the textual complexity of the individual books that composed it. The legacy, at least a legacy of method, of the early quests was a healthy skepticism that sometimes spilled over into Hegelianism, as with F. C. Baur, or mischievous ingenuity, as with Bruno Bauer. But what Left and Right Hegelians and their successors—from Harnack to Bultmann to the most radical of their pupils—had in common was a strong disposition to approach the canon with a chisel, assuming that if the historical accretions, misrepresentations, and conscious embellishment could be stripped away, beneath it all lay the figure of a comprehensible Galilean prophet whose life and message could be used to understand the “essence” (the nineteenth-century buzzword) of Christianity.

Whether the program was demythologizing or structuralist exegesis, the methods seemed to chase forgone conclusions about what the Gospels were and what the protagonist must “really” have been like. Judged by the standards of the chisel-bearers of the Tübingen school, Schweitzer’s caution that the Jesus of history would remain a mystery (“He comes to us as one unknown…”) was both prophetic and merely an interlude in the effort to excavate the historical Jesus. If it was meant to be dissuasive, it was instead a battle cry for better chisels and more theorists. In the latter part of the twentieth century, it has involved a demand for more sources as well—not to mention cycles of translations, each purporting to be “definitive” and thus able to shed light on a historical puzzle that the previous translation did not touch or failed to express. Judas, Philip, and Mary Magdalene have achieved a star-status far out of proportion to anything they can tell us about the historical Jesus, let alone consideration of literary merit or influence on tradition. When I say this, I am not asking modern scholarship to embrace the opinions of “dead orthodox bishops” or “winners,” but to get behind the choices the church’s first intellectuals made and their reasons for making them. The politicization of sources, the uninformative vivisection of historically important theological disputes into a discussion of outcomes (winners, losers) may make great stuff for the Discovery channel or the Easter edition of Time, but it is shamelessly Hollywood and depends on a culture of like-minded footnotes and a troubling disingenuousness with regard to what scholars know to be true and what they claim to be true.

Moreover, it is one of the reasons (I’m loathe to say) why a hundred years after the heyday of the “Radical School” of New Testament scholarship—which certainly had its warts—the questions of “total spuriousness” (as of Paul’s letters) and the “non-historicity of Jesus” are still considered risible or taboo. They are taboo because of the working postulate that has dominated New Testament scholarship for two centuries and more: that conclusions depend on the uncovering of a kernel of truth at the center of a religious movement, a historical center, and, desirably, a historical person resembling, if not in every detail, the protagonist described in the Gospels. This working postulate is formed by scholars perfectly aware that no similar imperative exists to corroborate the existence (or sayings) of the “historical” Adam, the historical Abraham, or Moses, or David—or indeed the prophets—or any equivalent effort to explain the evolution of Judaism on the basis of such inquiry.

The Platonic Fallacy depends on the “true story” being revealed through the disaggregation of traditions: dismantle the canon, factor and multiply the sources of the Gospels, marginalize the orthodox settlement as one among dozens of possible outcomes affecting the growth of the church, incorporate all the materials the church fathers sent to the bin or caused to be hidden away. Now we’re getting somewhere. It shuns the possibility that the aggregation of traditions begins with something historical, but not with a historical individual—which even if it turns out to be false, is a real possibility. Even the most ardent historicists of the twentieth century anticipated a “revelation” available through historical research; thus Harnack could dismiss most of the miracles of the Gospels, argue for absolute freedom of inquiry in gospels-research (a theme Bultmann would take up), insist that “historical knowledge is necessary for every Christian and not just for the historian,” all however in order to winnow “the timeless nucleus of Christianity from its various time bound trappings.”

The Jesus Seminar was perhaps the last gasp of the Platonic Fallacy in action. Formed to “get at” the authentic sayings of Jesus, it suffered from the conventional hammer and chisel approach to the sources that has characterized every similar venture since the nineteenth century, missing only the idealistic and theological motives for sweeping up afterward. It will remain famous primarily for its eccentricity, its claim to be a kind of Jesus-vetting jury and to establish through a consensus (never reached) what has evaded lonelier scholarship for centuries.

The Seminar was happy with a miracle-free Jesus, a fictional resurrection, a Jesus whose sayings were as remarkable as “And how are you today, Mrs. Jones?” It used and disused standard forms of biblical criticism selectively and often inexplicably to offer readers a “Jesus they never knew,” a Galilean peasant, a cynic, a de-eschatologized prophet, a craftsman whose dad was a day-laborer in nearby Sepphoris (never mind the Nazareth issue, or the Joseph issue). These purportedly “historical” Jesuses were meant to be more plausible than the Jesus whose DNA lived on in the fantasies of Dan Brown and Nikos Kazantzakis. But, in fact, they began to blur. It betimes took sources too literally and not literally enough, and when it became clear that the star system it evoked was resulting in something like a Catherine Wheel rather than a conclusion, it changed the subject. As long ago as 1993, it became clear that the Jesus Seminar was yet another attempt to break open the tomb where once Jesus lay—I’m reminded of a student’s gospel paraphrase of Luke 24.5, with 24.42 [“They gave him a piece of cooked fish…”] in view—to find a note that read “Gone Fishing,” in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. It was then that I commented in a popular journal that “The Jesus of the Westar Project is a talking doll with a questionable repertoire of thirty-one sayings. Pull a string and he blesses the poor.” I was anticipated in this by none other than John Dominic Crossan (a Seminar founder) who wrote in 1991, having produced his own minority opinion concerning Jesus, “It seems we can have as many Jesuses as there are exegetes… exhibiting a stunning diversity that is an academic embarrassment.” And Crossan’s caveat had been expressed more trenchantly a hundred years before by the German scholar Martin Kaehler: “The entire life of the Jesus movement,” he argued, was based on misperceptions “and is bound to end in a blind alley… Christian faith and the history of Jesus repel each other like oil and water.”

If we add these to the work of the Jesus Seminar, the “extra-Seminar Jesuses,” magicians, insurgents, bandits [the author is probably referring to the work of Morton Smith and Hyam Maccoby], we end up with a multiplicity that “makes the prospect that Jesus never existed a welcome relief.”

Bruce Chilton is one of a number of scholars who comes away from the Jesus Seminar sadder but wiser and hopes that the Jesus Project will not be another stuttering attempt to break rocks and piece them back together to create plausible Jesuses, as Michelangelo created a plausible Moses for the Italians of the sixteenth century. His challenge to the Project is fair enough. In fact, one of the benefits we inherit from the Seminar is a record of success and failure. It raised the question of methodology in a way that can no longer be ignored, without however providing a map for further study. Its legacy is primarily a cautionary tale concerning the limits of “doing” history collectively, and sometimes theologically, and the Jesus Project must take this seriously.

Let me add to this commentary a special concern as I watch the Project unfold. Jesus-research—biblical research in general—through the end of the twentieth century was exciting stuff. The death of one of the great Albright students last year, and a former boss of mine at the University of Michigan, David Noel Freedman, reminds us that we may be at the end of the road. Albright’s careful scholarship and research, and his general refusal to shy away from the “results” of archaeology, were accompanied by a certain optimism in terms of how archaeology could be used to “prove” the Bible. In its general outline, the Bible was true; there was no reason (for example) to doubt the essential biographical details of the story of Abraham in Genesis. Albright’s pupils were less confident of the biblical record and as William Dever observed in a classic 1995 article in The Biblical Archaeologist. His central theses have all been overturned, partly by further advances in Biblical criticism, but mostly by the continuing archaeological research of younger Americans and Israelis to whom he himself gave encouragement and momentum. The irony is that, in the long run, it will have been the newer “secular” archaeology that contributed the most to Biblical studies, not “Biblical archaeology.” New Testament archaeology is a different house, built with different stones. To be perfectly fair, the biblical appendix lacks the geographical markers and vivid information that suffuse the Hebrew Bible. If the Old Testament landscape is real geography populated by mythical heroes, the New Testament trends in the opposite direction. For that reason, New Testament scholars in my opinion have tried to develop an ersatz-“archaeology of sources” to match the more impressive gains in Old Testament studies.

The reasons for the “new sources” trend in New Testament research are multiple, but the one I fear the most is Jesus-fatigue. There is a sense that prior to 1980 New Testament scholarship was stuck in the mire of post-Bultmannian ennui. Jesus Seminars and Jesus Projects have been in part a response to a particular historical situation. Five gospels are better than four. The more sources we have the more we know about Jesus. Q (a) did exist, (b) did not exist, or (c) is far more layered and interesting than used to be thought. Judas was actually the primary apostle. No, it was Mary Magdalene.

When we considered developing the Jesus Project, it was not out of any malignant attempt to “prove” that Jesus did not exist. (The press releases have done an immeasurable disservice by harping on this as the agenda). As a Christian origins scholar by training, I am not even sure how one would go about such a task, or be taken seriously if it were undertaken. Yet the possibility that Christianity arose from causes that have little to do with a historical founder is one among many other questions the Project should take seriously. Inevitably, scholars and critics (if not always the same people) will ask, And just how do you go about doing that?, and neither the answer “Differently” or “Better” will suffice. The demon crouching at the door, however, is not criticism of its intent nor skepticism about its outcome, but the sense that biblical scholarship in the twentieth century will not be greeted with the same excitement as it was in Albright’s day. Outside America, where the landscape is also changing, fewer people have any interest in the outcomes of biblical research, whether it involves Jericho or Jesus. The secularization of world culture, which will eventually reach even into the Muslim heartlands, encourages us to value what matters here and now. As one of our members, Arthur Droge (Toronto) mentioned at the recent meeting of the Project in Amherst, NY, most of us were trained in a generation “that believed certain questions were inherently interesting.” But fewer and fewer people do. Jesus-fatigue—the sort of despair that can only be compared to a police investigation gone cold—is the result of a certain resignation to the unimportance of historical conclusions.

Reaching for the stars and reaching back into history have in common the fact that their objects are distant and sometimes unimaginably hard to see. What I personally hope the Project will achieve is to eschew breaking rocks, and instead learning to train our lens in the right direction. Part of that process is to respond to Droge’s challenge: Why is this important? And I have the sense that in trying to answer that question, we will be answering bigger questions as well.


(Original article: here)

On Kenneth Clark’s “Civilisation”

Kenneth Clark may have been clueless about the fact that race matters. Yet, that our rot goes much deeper than what white nationalists realize is all too obvious once we leave, for a while, the ghetto of nationalism and take a look at the classics, just as Clark showed us through his 1969 TV series Civilisation.

Compared to the other famous series, Clark’s was unsurpassed in the sense that, as I have implied elsewhere, only genuine art—not science—has a chance to fulfill David Lane’s fourteen words.

By “art” I mean an evolved sense of beauty which is almost completely absent in today’s nationalists. Most of them are quite a product of Jewish modernity whether with their music, lifestyles or Hollywood tastes, to a much greater degree than what they think. For nationalism to succeed an evolved sense of female beauty has to be the starting point to see the divine nature of the white race. In Clark’s own words, “For all these reasons I think it is permissible to associate the cult of ideal love with the ravishing beauty and delicacy that one finds in the madonnas of the thirteenth century. Were there ever more delicate creatures than the ladies on Gothic ivories? How gross, compared to them, are the great beauties of other woman-worshiping epochs.”

Below, links to excerpts of most of the chapters of the 1969 series, where Clark followed the ups and downs of our civilisation historically:

“The Skin of our Teeth”

“The Great Thaw”

“Romance and Reality”

“Man—the Measure of all Things”

“The Hero as Artist”

“Protest and Communication”

“Grandeur and Obedience”

“The Light of Experience”

“Heroic Materialism”

On Erasmus


This piece has been chosen for my collection Day of Wrath. It has been slightly modified and presently can only be read as a PDF within the book, ready for printing in your home for a comfortable reading.


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