The Prophets: Who They Were, What They Are
by Norman Podheretz


I was just looking at N. Podheretz The Prophets.  An exceptionally tashy book, one can only wonder why he wrote it. At least most theological texts in this field are merely Sunday school wishfulfilment, half-conscious. But this book is so brazen it discredits the whole subject.  If that is still possible.

  Nothing new there. Spinoza patiently pointed out the problems in the seventeenth century, and, as one of the first Zionists, made clear from the beginning the basic elements for the Jewish predicament. He was quite prophetic in his own way, and saw what was coming, and tried to lay the foundations for something appropriate for the modern world.

Podheretz cites Albright's History of Israel, and takes potshots at Wellhausen. That's about it. Amazing.
For what it is worth, research in this area has pretty well demolished this genre. Time to start from scratch. Was there a Moses? Take it from there, and stop lying. To pretend any longer is sheer dishonesty. Check out something like The Bible Unearthed, by Finkelsten and Silberman. It's over when it's over. It is not true, false, that Jehovah manifested in history, etc.. blah blah....

Nonetheless secular accounts often fumble also, and that is also a part of the problem of this endlessly persisting deception. The correct way to take monotheistic history is hard to come by.
I recommend my 'eonic model' of the remarkable Judaic sequence in its context, http://eonix.8m.com
It was part of the whole so-called 'Axial Age' enigma, and was both special and unspecially the same as the entire spectrum of that nexus. It has nothing whatsover to do with God or Jehovah.
The eonic model would make a good standard here for all parties (and you are free to critique that also, but it can help to see why the subject is so confused), because it is neither mythology nor secular trashing of the data. Jews and Christians have no connection with those events, which are now so antiquated as to be a dangerous quagmire.  Reasonable men have to wait patiently while madmen play out this insanity, and not ever get rehoodwinked at the point where clarity is needed to move on.

Time to face reality, the Judaic tradition based on the Old Testament is dying, along with the Christian and Islamic. I don't like that, but I can't change it. The whole thing looks sacred from one perspective, but from another the whole thing is a huge swindle. We need to pull each other out of the wreckage and move on.

Actually, minus the neo-conservative boilerplate inserted in ludicrous fashion at strategic points in the book, it is no worse than most in this genre, but when someone like Podheretz dips into this field, it becomes tastelessly obvious, if not dangerous to critics,  that the Old Testament is, was, and remains mostly propaganda. 
  Let me guess, this is a rightwing shot-in-the-arm for the Jewish Lobby and the Bible Belt, and much needed religious justification, mystique pandering, for the Israel's permanently ambiguous 'right to exist'. The latter is a lost cause, although I, for one, would not challenge a de facto existence on the spot, but would put the American right to exist a la the destruction of the American Indian, and the Islamic right to its Koranic imperialism over a multitude of subject peopls, etc... in the same category of strong man tactics dressed up in variants of mythology. So we have three sets of thugs here, and it might help to dispense with religious baloney.
Zionism has/had a narrow launch window based on a secular vision of some homeland for the Jews. It was not a religious proposition based on the Old Testament Jehovah concoctions.  The destruction of that vision of the Zionists, whatever we think of that and it could have been a viable project, has been almost systematic since 1968, and it is based on this regurgitation syndrame of Judae-Christian history.
As we watch the slow destruction of the Two State option in some horror, it is essential to try and talk madmen out of this endless horror. What the answer is I don't know. But we had best be wary critique of Old Testament deceptions, and it is a long tradition, doesn't turn into a runaway freight train.
This man Podheretz is dangerous, and the cynicism at the point of the most sacred isn't religion, but viciousness.
Wake up and face reality. In one generation we have seen the poisoning of the great Jewish tradition, the discredit of the American government, and the charge of antisemitism against anyone who tries to stand up to this and propose some rational exit strategy. Jews are supposed to be smart people, but this last generation has been a form of stupidity that is mind-numbing.
We will all end up dead from these lunatics.
It is sad to see how everyone here in the States has been silenced, muzzled.
We need the courage, Jewish lobby or not, to stand up to this mess, in a context where charges of antisemitism are now part of the cynical game. And it is alarming to watch the rise of still another new form of antisemitism, sometimes so-called, sometimes not.
Americans are going to wake up one day and see the results of their timidity in the wreckage of their political tradition. The world will not forgive it.
Granted it is dangerous to speak out. Time for some no-nonsense courage to face the facts and move on bypassing the anti-semitic dragons, and the truly nefarious Machiavellianism of the Podheretz types who will stoop to anything, including the cynical abuse of the sacred.







The Prophets: Who They Were, What They Are
by Norman Podheretz

From Publishers Weekly

In what initially appears to be a radical departure from his previous eight books, some of which were autobiographical accounts of Podhoretz's move from left to right, this effort deals with the Hebrew prophets, a new subject for the former editor of Commentary magazine. To his credit, he does indeed present a scholarly analysis of the prophets, but it is interwoven with too many references to himself. Moreover, the lessons that Podhoretz derives from his study of the prophets, as detailed in the last chapter, "The Prophets and Us," are a rehash of the neo-conservative views expressed in his other books. He condemns relativism, the counterculture, political correctness, the women's movement, deconstructionism, multiculturalism and environmentalism. He likens his own views to those of the biblical prophets as they fought for monotheism and opposed paganism. Podhoretz gives consideration to all 21 prophetic books in the Bible, as well as to Abraham and Moses. However, he focuses mostly on Amos, Hosea, Micah, Isaiah ("First" and "Second"), Jeremiah and Ezekiel. He examines their writings, drawing extensively on the work of biblical scholars. Although he describes himself as an "amateur" and a "non-specialist," he doesn't hesitate to give his opinions on disputes among the various schools of biblical interpreters. Podhoretz deserves to be applauded for venturing beyond himself (at least in part) as the subject of his books, but readers interested in the prophets may wish to consult scholarly sources directly rather than rely on Podhoretz's rendering of their ideas.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.




John Landon
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