Friday, March 19, 2010

In Recognition of Passover

The Jewish holiday of Passover is less than two weeks away and in recognition of this I provide below two excerpts from Dr. John Hartung's illuminating 2005 article "Passover: Caveat Emptor". Hartung is the Associate Editor of the Journal of Neurosurgical Anesthesiology and an Associate Professor of Anesthesiology at the State University of New York. He holds a PhD in Anthropology from Harvard University.
The story of Jewish slavery in ancient Egypt has probably served more purposes more effectively than any other partially believed foundation myth in history. Every time the Jerusalem Post or Haaretz publishes a weekend magazine piece written by one of Israel's most prominent archaeologists, explaining that the story of Israelite enslavement in Egypt was a whole-cloth fabrication, a flood of outrage pours over the editor's desk. Some letter-to-the-editor writers even draw analogies to Holocaust denial. Why such a powerful response? Primarily because the myth still serves a variety of purposes.

The fact that the Passover myth, or any accepted myth, has no historical validity makes it all the more revealing. It means that the myth is unencumbered by facts that do not [suit] its purpose. It also means that the extent to which the myth has been effective is the extent to which it has been retrospectively considered prophetic, and thereby validated — a self-fulfilling prophecy perceived as a prophecy fulfilled. ...

According to the [Passover] myth, Jacob's family left Canaan to escape a famine. They arrived in Egypt as impoverished and bedraggled guests of the Pharaoh (Genesis 47:26-27). Several generations later they left Egypt with a standing army of "six hundred and three thousand five hundred and fifty . . . . every man able to go forth to war" (Numbers 1:45-46). Logistical support included "very many cattle, both flocks and herds" (Exodus 12:38), and having gained the trust of their Egyptian neighbours, financing included several thousand kilograms of "borrowed" gold and silver (Exodus 38:24-25).

The Israelites were able to leave Egypt with so much wealth and power because their god "passed over" his people's houses when he killed all Egyptian firstborn children (Exodus 12:27). To this day, as instructed (Exodus 12:11-14), Judaism celebrates these fabled events as Passover.

Can you imagine the outrage that would be rightfully felt today — rightfully felt but eventually elicited, solicited, embellished, organized, manipulated, and incessantly propagandized to promote Zionist objectives through books, newspapers, magazines, radio, television, film, show trial litigation and tax-payer supported museums — if some group of eighteen to twenty million people annually celebrated a tale of the killing of all firstborn Jewish children as a "sport" of their god? [notes omitted]

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