Seems the Jewish (once Yiddish) publication, THE FORWARD, has an administrator who opposes scholarly comments on articles – thus, proudly deletes them.
The most recent action was my comments on their review of a new book -- “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth” By Reza Aslan, a Religious Scholar, Phd, author, who happens to be Muslim … and seem to have written a book for Random House which discusses the same material which opens my own 2012 book, “Saint Paul’s Joke”. Specifically, Asian focuses on the history and events associated with the beginnings of the Jesus story.
The reviewer claims: “For the Jesus he finds when the accreted layers of centuries of worship are scraped off is rather different from the one we might be used to, and all the more interesting, human and relevant for that.”
As covered in “Saint Paul’s Joke”, Jesus appears to have been real, human, and a scholar in a line of scholars. As acknowledged by the reviewer: “Aslan, an Iranian born scholar, surveys the literature around Jesus — what we might know of a man of his time, what the Gospels tell us of his life, what we can discover from contemporary writings and archaeology — and weaves together this material into a highly convincing account of Jesus the man.” But, in reality, had he read it, the reviewer would have realized that Asian has done little more than what was done in the opening chapters of “Saint Paul’s Joke”.
Is it “preposterous” that Jesus was born in Bethlehem? On page 39 of “Saint Paul’s Joke”, I pointed out that, “On horse or camel, Bethlehem is a day’s journey from Jerusalem.” Associating a trip to Jerusalem with the 6bce census was LUKE … who made it a universal requirement that all Jews go to their birth city (as opposed to Tribal area, or identify themselves with their Tribe) … since there would be a record of such a highly disruptive requirement, it is “preposterous” that they were their as Luke describes. But Mary was a Kohanim – or so we can assume from her relationship to the parents of John the Baptist … described with the words “thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren.” [cited on page 35 of “Saint Paul’s Joke” as part of Chapter “Birth of a Nazirite”]
Aslan points out, that Jesus would have been able to read or write – an idea which denies the fact he was doubtless a Kohanim who was certainly (via his mother) a cousin to the wife of a Temple Priest who routinely entered the exclusive inner sanctum. His knowledge of scripture, and explicit quoting of Hillel, indicate he had a better than average education. Added to which, he was raised in the territory set aside for scholars (we have no real knowledge of Joseph, other than the fact he made a living as a carpenter, but then, the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, Hillel, was a woodcutter). So we can say Asian screwed up of the education bit.
It is pointed out that Jesus “calls himself instead the “son of man”” – that he is mortal, we know the deity element comes in 100 years later … so Asian is OK here. We are told by the reviewer that “Aslan asks, was Jesus crucified? “If one knew nothing else about Jesus of Nazareth save that he was crucified by Rome, one would know practically all that was needed to uncover who he was and why he ended up nailed to a cross…. His offence… was etched upon a plaque and placed above his head for all to see: Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. His crime was daring to assume kingly ambitions.”” And here is where “Saint Paul’s Joke” mentions something that Asian avoids concluding – Jesus was KING, or he had the right to assert a lineage that placed him in line for the throne held by the Roman Edomite puppets… Mary ha gotten pregnant while in Jerusalem; Joseph is specific is saying it isn’t his kid, but for reasons of propriety -- “political reasons” he would accept her and the child. Mary might have been raped by Herod – so Jesus was Herod’s son and only Jewish Heir …
Why is this significant? A) Jesus would be “King of the Jews”, as far as the Jews were concerned; B) it explains the killing of children myth. NO! No all males were killed (in the Moses mold) by only the Jewish Heirs to the Thrown – we know that Herod killed his sons by the Jewish Queen Miriam … so why not a bastard son by Mary, who was in the line of David and related to an important Temple Priest?
Look at the quote asserted to have hung over the head of Jesus on the cross: “’Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.’ His crime was daring to assume kingly ambitions.” Now, if we realize that the city of Nazareth does not appear to have existed in the era when Jesus was born (neither archaeological nor official textual evidence exists to show Nazareth existed before 100AD, even a city list by Josephus omits it). So let’s say the quote refers to something written later from oral history … “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” might have read “Jesus THE NAZERITE, King of the Jews.” Now it makes sense… John and Jesus were NAZERITE … that is, they were chosen by birth to speak/teach the Words of the Lord… they had a religious calling which was accompanied by intelligence and learning. … if you read, you will discover Sampson was another Nazerite … symbolized by the long hair and sexual abstinence during a specified period of purification/commitment.
The reviewer concludes: “Aslan’s triumph is not in original research or speculation. This is a deft, concise, respectful and accessible summary of — dare I say it? — the truth. It’s a summer afternoon’s read that explains, essentially, how Western civilization came to take the pattern we see today. And it’s hard to think of anyone, really, who wouldn’t benefit from reading it, if willing to accept its message. What’s most surprising is that a story so well accepted by scholars should still come as such a shock to us.”
But, with the exception of Herod (or one of his sons) being the father of Jesus, the same can be said for “Saint Paul’s Joke” …
SO why would The Forward selectively delete comments which agree with, and augment, those of it’s reviewer?