Pâque/3626e: Cachez cette épuration ethnique que je ne saurai voir ! (Exodus: Why can’t we recognize a real episode of ethnic cleansing when we see one ?)

https://i2.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8a/Martin%2C_John_-_The_Seventh_Plague_-_1823.jpg
https://jcdurbant.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/jewishpopulation.jpgLe Pharaon (…)  dit à son peuple: Voilà les enfants d’Israël qui forment un peuple plus nombreux et plus puissant que nous. (…) Alors Pharaon donna cet ordre à tout son peuple: Vous jetterez dans le fleuve tout garçon qui naîtra. Exode 1 : 9-22
L’Éternel dit à Moïse et à Aaron dans le pays d’Égypte: (…) C’est la Pâque de l’Éternel. Cette nuit-là, je passerai dans le pays d’Égypte, et je frapperai tous les premiers-nés du pays d’Égypte, depuis les hommes jusqu’aux animaux, et j’exercerai des jugements contre tous les dieux de l’Égypte. (…) Le sang vous servira de signe sur les maisons où vous serez; je verrai le sang, et je passerai par-dessus vous, et il n’y aura point de plaie qui vous détruise, quand je frapperai le pays d’Égypte. (…) Au milieu de la nuit, l’Éternel frappa tous les premiers-nés dans le pays d’Égypte, depuis le premier-né de Pharaon assis sur son trône, jusqu’au premier-né du captif dans sa prison, et jusqu’à tous les premiers-nés des animaux. Pharaon se leva de nuit, lui et tous ses serviteurs, et tous les Égyptiens; et il y eut de grands cris en Égypte, car il n’y avait point de maison où il n’y eût un mort. Dans la nuit même, Pharaon appela Moïse et Aaron, et leur dit: Levez-vous, sortez du milieu de mon peuple, vous et les enfants d’Israël. Allez, servez l’Éternel, comme vous l’avez dit.Prenez vos brebis et vos boeufs, comme vous l’avez dit; allez, et bénissez-moi.Les Égyptiens pressaient le peuple, et avaient hâte de le renvoyer du pays, car ils disaient: Nous périrons tous. Exode 12 : 1-14
Israël est détruit, sa semence même n’est plus. Amenhotep III (Stèle de Mérenptah, 1209 or 1208 Av. JC)
Je me suis réjoui contre lui et contre sa maison. Israël a été ruiné à jamais. Mesha (roi de Moab, Stèle de Mesha, 850 av. J.-C.)
J’ai tué Jéhoram, fils d’Achab roi d’Israël et j’ai tué Ahziahu, fils de Jéoram roi de la Maison de David. Et j’ai changé leurs villes en ruine et leur terre en désert. Hazaël (stèle de Tel Dan, c. 835 av. JC)
Qui veut noyer son chien l’accuse de la rage. Molière
Après ce, vint une merdaille Fausse, traître et renoïe : Ce fu Judée la honnie, La mauvaise, la desloyal, Qui bien het et aimme tout mal, Qui tant donna d’or et d’argent Et promist a crestienne gent, Que puis, rivieres et fonteinnes Qui estoient cleres et seinnes En plusieurs lieus empoisonnerent, Dont pluseurs leurs vies finerent ; Car trestuit cil qui en usoient Assez soudeinnement moroient. Dont, certes, par dis fois cent mille En morurent, qu’a champ, qu’a ville. Einsois que fust aperceuë Ceste mortel deconvenue. Mais cils qui haut siet et louing voit, Qui tout gouverne et tout pourvoit, Ceste traïson plus celer Ne volt, enis la fist reveler Et si generalement savoir Qu’ils perdirent corps et avoir. Car tuit Juif furent destruit, Li uns pendus, li autres cuit, L’autre noié, l’autre ot copée La teste de hache ou d’espée. Et maint crestien ensement En morurent honteusement.  Guillaume de Machaut (Jugement du Roy de Navarre, v. 1349)
Le poète et musicien Guillaume de Machaut écrivait au milieu du XIVe siècle. Son Jugement du Roy de Navarre mériterait d’être mieux connu. La partie principale de l’œuvre, certes, n’est qu’un long poème de style courtois, conventionnel de style et de sujet. Mais le début a quelque chose de saisissant. C’est une suite confuse d’événements catastrophiques auxquels Guillaume prétend avoir assisté avant de s’enfermer, finalement, de terreur dans sa maison pour y attendre la mort ou la fin de l’indicible épreuve. Certains événements sont tout à fait invraisemblables, d’autres ne le sont qu’à demi. Et pourtant de ce récit une impression se dégage : il a dû se passer quelque chose de réel. Il y a des signes dans le ciel. Les pierres pleuvent et assomment les vivants. Des villes entières sont détruites par la foudre. Dans celle où résidait Guillaume – il ne dit pas laquelle – les hommes meurent en grand nombre. Certaines de ces morts sont dues à la méchanceté des juifs et de leurs complices parmi les chrétiens. Comment ces gens-là s’y prenaient-ils pour causer de vastes pertes dans la population locale? Ils empoisonnaient les rivières, les sources d’approvisionnement en eau potable. La justice céleste a mis bon ordre à ces méfaits en révélant leurs auteurs à la population qui les a tous massacrés. Et pourtant les gens n’ont pas cessé de mourir, de plus en plus nombreux, jusqu’à un certain jour de printemps où Guillaume entendit de la musique dans la rue, des hommes et des femmes qui riaient. Tout était fini et la poésie courtoise pouvait recommencer. (…) aujourd’hui, les lecteurs repèrent des événements réels à travers les invraisemblances du récit. Ils ne croient ni aux signes dans le ciel ni aux accusations contre les juifs mais ils ne traitent pas tous les thèmes incroyables de la même façon; ils ne les mettent pas tous sur le même plan. Guillaume n’a rien inventé. C’est un homme crédule, certes, et il reflète une opinion publique hystérique. Les innombrables morts dont il fait état n’en sont pas moins réelles, causées de toute évidence par la fameuse peste noire qui ravagea la France en 1349 et 1350. Le massacre des juifs est également réel, justifié aux yeux des foules meurtrières par les rumeurs d’empoisonnement qui circulent un peu partout. C’est la terreur universelle de la maladie qui donne un poids suffisant à ces rumeurs pour déclencher lesdits massacres. (…) Mais les nombreuses morts attribuées par l’auteur au poison judaïque suggèrent une autre explication. Si ces morts sont réelles – et il n’y a pas de raison de les tenir pour imaginaires – elles pourraient bien être les premières victimes d’un seul et même fléau. Mais Guillaume ne s’en doute pas, même rétrospectivement. A ses yeux les boucs émissaires traditionnels conservent leur puissance explicatrice pour les premiers stades de l’épidémie. Pour les stades ultérieurs, seulement, l’auteur reconnaît la présence d’un phénomène proprement pathologique. L’étendue du désastre finit par décourager la seule explication par le complot des empoisonneurs, mais Guillaume ne réinterprète pas la suite entière des événements en fonction de leur raison d’être véritable. (…) Même rétrospectivement, tous les boucs émissaires collectifs réels et imaginaires, les juifs et les flagellants, les pluies de pierre et l’epydimie, continuent à jouer leur rôle si efficacement dans le récit de Guillaume que celui-ci ne voit jamais l’unité du fléau désigné par nous comme la « peste noire ». L’auteur continue à percevoir une multiplicité de désastres plus ou moins indépendants ou reliés les uns aux autres seulement par leur signification religieuse, un peu comme les dix plaies d’Egypte.
Tout ce que je viens de dire, ou presque, est évident. Nous comprenons tous le récit de Guillaume de la même façon et mes lecteurs n’ont pas besoin de moi. Il n’est pourtant pas inutile d’insister sur cette lecture dont l’audace et la puissance nous échappent, précisément parce qu’elle est admise par tous, parce qu’elle n’est pas controversée. L’unanimité s’est faite autour d’elle il y a littéralement des siècles et jamais elle ne s’est défaite. C’est d’autant plus remarquable qu’il s’agit d’une réinterprétation radicale. Nous rejetons sans hésiter le sens que l’auteur donne à son texte. Nous affirmons qu’il ne sait pas ce qu’il dit. A plusieurs siècles de distance, nous autres, modernes, le savons mieux que lui et nous sommes capables de rectifier son dire. Nous nous croyons à même de repérer une vérité que l’auteur n’a pas vue et, par une audace plus grande encore, nous n’hésitons pas à affirmer que cette vérité, c’est lui qui nous l’apporte, en dépit de son aveuglement. (…) Devant un texte du type Guillaume de Machaut, il est légitime de suspendre la règle générale selon laquelle l’ensemble d’un texte ne vaut jamais mieux, sous le rapport de l’information réelle, que la pire de ses données. Si le texte décrit des circonstances favorables à la persécution, s’il nous présente des victimes appartenant au type que les persécuteurs ont l’habitude de choisir, et si, pour plus de certitude encore, il présente ces victimes comme coupables du type de crimes que les persécuteurs attribuent, en règle générale, à leurs victimes, il y a de grandes chances pour que la persécution soit réelle. Si le texte lui-même affirme cette réalité, il y a plus de raisons de l’accepter que de la rejeter. Dès qu’on pressent la perspective des persécuteurs, l’absurdité des accusations, loin de compromettre la valeur d’information d’un texte, renforce sa crédibilité mais sous le rapport seulement des violences dont il se fait lui-même l’écho. Si Guillaume avait ajouté des histoires d’infanticide rituel à son affaire d’empoisonnement, son compte rendu serait plus invraisemblable encore mais il n’en résulterait aucune diminution de certitude quant à la réalité des massacres qu’il nous rapporte. Plus les accusations sont invraisemblables dans ce genre de textes, plus elles renforcent la vraisemblance des massacres : elles nous confirment la présence d’un contexte psychosocial au sein duquel les massacres devaient presque certainement se produire. Inversement, le thème des massacres, juxtaposé à celui de l’épidémie, fournit le contexte historique au sein duquel même un intellectuel en principe raffiné pourrait prendre au sérieux son histoire d’empoisonnement. Les représentations persécutrices nous mentent, indubitablement, mais d’une façon trop caractéristique des persécuteurs en général et des persécuteurs médiévaux en particulier pour que le texte ne dise pas vrai sur tous les points où il confirme les conjectures suggérées par la nature même de son mensonge. Quand c’est la réalité de leurs persécutions que les persécuteurs probables affirment, ils méritent qu’on leur fasse confiance. C’est la combinaison de deux types de données qui engendre la certitude. Si l’on ne rencontrait cette combinaison qu’à de rares exemples cette certitude ne serait pas complète. Mais la fréquence est trop grande pour que le doute soit possible. Seule la persécution réelle, envisagée dans l’optique des persécuteurs, peut expliquer la conjonction régulière de ces données. 
Tout document du type Guillaume de Machaut a une valeur considérable parce qu’on retrouve en lui le vraisemblable et l’invraisemblable agencés de telle façon que chacun explique et légitime la présence de l’autre. Si notre certitude a un caractère statistique, c’est parce que n’importe quel document, envisagé isolément, pourrait être l’œuvre d’un faussaire. Les chances sont faibles mais elles ne sont pas nulles au niveau du document individuel. Au niveau du grand nombre, en revanche, elles sont nulles. La solution réaliste que le monde occidental et moderne a adoptée pour démystifier les « textes de persécution » est la seule possible et elle est certaine parce qu’elle rend parfaitement compte de toutes les données qui figurent dans ce type de textes. Ce ne sont pas l’humanitarisme ou l’idéologie qui nous la dictent, ce sont des raisons intellectuelles décisives. Cette interprétation n’a pas usurpé le consensus unanime dont elle fait l’objet. L’histoire n’a pas de résultats plus solides à nous offrir. Pour l’historien « des mentalités », un témoignage en principe digne de foi, c’est-à-dire le témoignage d’un homme qui ne partage pas les illusions d’un Guillaume de Machaut, n’aura jamais autant de valeur que le témoignage indigne des persécuteurs, ou de leurs complices, plus fortement parce que inconsciemment révélateur. Le document décisif est celui de persécuteurs assez naïfs pour ne pas effacer les traces de leurs crimes, à la différence de certains persécuteurs modernes, trop avisés pour laisser derrière eux des documents qui pourraient être utilisés contre eux. J’appelle naïfs les persécuteurs encore assez persuadés de leur bon droit et pas assez méfiants pour maquiller ou censurer les données caractéristiques de leur persécution. Celles-ci apparaissent dans leurs textes tantôt sous une forme véridique et directement révélatrice, tantôt sous une forme trompeuse mais indirectement révélatrice. Toutes les données sont fortement stéréotypées et c’est la combinaison des deux types de stéréotypes, les véridiques et les trompeurs, qui nous renseigne sur la nature de ces textes. ? Nous savons tous repérer, aujourd’hui, les stéréotypes de la persécution. Il y a là un savoir qui s’est banalisé mais qui n’existait pas ou très peu au XIVe siècle. Les persécuteurs naïfs ne savent pas ce qu’ils font. Ils ont trop bonne conscience pour tromper sciemment leurs lecteurs et ils présentent les choses telles que réellement ils les voient. Ils ne se doutent pas qu’en rédigeant leurs comptes rendus ils donnent des armes contre eux-mêmes à la postérité. C’est vrai au XVIe siècle pour la tristement fameuse « chasse aux sorcières ». C’est encore vrai de nos jours pour les régions « arriérées » de notre planète.
Le passage de Guillaume, cité plus haut, constitue un bon exemple de ce que j’ai nommé dans Des choses cachées depuis la fondation du monde les « textes de persécution». J’entends par là les comptes rendus de violences réelles, souvent collectives, rédigés dans la perspective des persécuteurs, et affectés, par conséquent, de distorsions caractéristiques. Il faut repérer ces distorsions pour les rectifier et pour déterminer la réalité de toutes les violences que le texte de persécution présente comme justifiées. Il n’est pas nécessaire d’examiner longuement le compte rendu d’un procès de sorcellerie pour constater qu’on y retrouve la même combinaison de données réelles et de données imaginaires mais nullement gratuites que nous avons rencontrée dans le texte de Guillaume de Machaut. Tout est présenté comme vrai et nous n’en croyons rien mais nous n’en croyons pas pour autant que tout est faux. Nous n’avons aucune peine, pour l’essentiel, à faire le partage du vrai et du faux. Là aussi les chefs d’accusation paraissent ridicules même si la sorcière les tient pour réels, et même s’il y a lieu de penser que ses aveux n’ont pas été obtenus par la torture. L’accusée peut fort bien se prendre pour une sorcière véritable. Peut-être s’est-elle réellement efforcée de nuire à ses voisins par des procédés magiques. Nous n’en jugeons pas pour autant qu’elle mérite la mort. Il n’y a pas pour nous de procédés magiques efficaces. Nous admettons sans peine que la victime puisse partager avec ses bourreaux la même foi dérisoire en l’efficacité de la sorcellerie mais cette foi ne nous atteint pas nous-mêmes ; notre scepticisme n’en est pas ébranlé. Pendant ces procès aucune voix ne s’élève pour rétablir, ou plutôt pour établir la vérité. Personne n’est encore capable de le faire. C’est dire que nous avons contre nous, contre l’interprétation que nous donnons de leurs propres textes, non seulement les juges et les témoins mais les accusées elles-mêmes. Cette unanimité ne nous impressionne pas. Les auteurs de ces documents étaient là et nous n’y étions pas. Nous ne disposons d’aucune information qui ne vienne d’eux. Et pourtant, à plusieurs siècles de distance, un historien solitaire, ou même le premier individu venu se juge habilité à casser la sentence prononcée contre les sorcières. C’est la même réinterprétation radicale que dans l’exemple de Guillaume de Machaut, la même audace dans le bouleversement des textes, c’est la même opération intellectuelle et c’est la même certitude, fondée sur le même type de raisons. La présence de données imaginaires ne nous amène pas à considérer l’ensemble du texte comme imaginaire. Bien au contraire. Les accusations incroyables ne diminuent pas mais renforcent la crédibilité des autres données. Ici encore nous avons un rapport qui semble paradoxal mais en réalité ne l’est pas entre l’improbabilité et la probabilité des données qui entrent dans la composition des textes. C’est en fonction de ce rapport, généralement informulé mais néanmoins présent à notre esprit que nous évaluons la quantité et la qualité de l’information susceptible d’être extraite de notre texte.  (…) La mentalité persécutrice suscite un certain type d’illusion et les traces de cette illusion confirment plutôt qu’elles n’infirment la présence, derrière le texte qui en fait lui-même état, d’un certain type d’événement, la persécution elle-même, la mise à mort de la sorcière. Il n’est donc pas difficile, je le répète, de démêler le vrai du faux qui ont l’un et l’autre un caractère assez fortement stéréotypé. Pour bien comprendre le pourquoi et le comment de l’assurance extraordinaire dont nous faisons preuve devant les textes de persécution, il faut énumérer et décrire les stéréotypes. Là non plus, la tâche n’est pas difficile. Il ne s’agit jamais que d’expliciter un savoir que nous possédons déjà mais dont nous ne soupçonnons pas la portée car nous ne le dégageons jamais de façon systématique. Le savoir en question reste pris dans les exemples concrets auxquels nous l’appliquons et ceux-ci appartiennent toujours au domaine de l’histoire, surtout occidentale. Jamais encore nous n’avons essayé d’appliquer ce savoir en dehors de ce domaine, par exemple aux univers dits « ethnologiques ». René Girard
Aujourd’hui on repère les boucs émissaires dans l’Angleterre victorienne et on ne les repère plus dans les sociétés archaïques. C’est défendu. René Girard
« Ils m’ont haï sans cause »? (…) « Il faut que s’accomplisse en moi ce texte de l’Écriture : ” On l’a compté parmi les criminels [ou les transgresseurs] (…) C’est tout simplement le refus de la causalité magique, et le refus des accusations stéréotypées qui s’énonce dans ces phrases apparemment trop banales pour tirer à conséquence. C’est le refus de tout ce que les foules persécutrices acceptent les yeux fermés. C’est ainsi que les Thébains adoptent tous sans hésiter l’hypothèse d’un OEdipe responsable de la peste, parce qu’incestueux ; c’est ainsi que les Égyptiens font enfermer le malheureux Joseph, sur la foi des racontars d’une Vénus provinciale, tout entière à sa proie attachée. Les Égyptiens n’en font jamais d’autres. Nous restons très égyptiens sous le rapport mythologique, avec Freud en particulier qui demande à l’Égypte la vérité du judaïsme. Les théories à la mode restent toutes païennes dans leur attachement au parricide, à l’inceste, etc., dans leur aveuglement au caractère mensonger des accusations stéréotypées. Nous sommes très en retard sur les Évangiles et même sur la Genèse. René Girard
From the Egyptian standpoint the departure of the Hebrews from Egypt was actually a justifiable expulsion. The main sources are the writings of Manetho and Apion, which are summarized and refuted in Josephus’s work Against Apion . . . Manetho was an Egyptian priest in Heliopolis. Apion was an Egyptian who wrote in Greek and played a prominent role in Egyptian cultural and political life. His account of the Exodus was used in an attack on the claims and rights of Alexandrian Jews . . . [T]he Hellenistic-Egyptian version of the Exodus may be summarized as follows: The Egyptians faced a major crisis precipitated by a group of people suffering from various diseases. For fear the disease would spread or something worse would happen, this motley lot was assembled and expelled from the country. Under the leadership of a certain Moses, these people were dispatched; they constituted themselves then as a religious and national unity. They finally settled in Jerusalem and became the ancestors of the Jews. James G. Williams
Le saviez-vous ? 900 000 Juifs ont été exclus ou expulsés des Etats arabo-musulmans entre 1940 et 1970. L’histoire de la disparition du judaïsme en terres d’islam est la clef d’une mystification politique de grande ampleur qui a fini par gagner toutes les consciences. Elle fonde le récit qui accable la légitimité et la moralité d’Israël en l’accusant d’un pseudo « péché originel ». La fable est simpliste : le martyre des Juifs européens sous le nazisme serait la seule justification de l’État d’Israël. Sa « création » par les Nations Unies aurait été une forme de compensation au lendemain de la guerre. Cependant, elle aurait entraîné une autre tragédie, la « Nakba », en dépossédant les Palestiniens de leur propre territoire. Dans le meilleur des cas, ce récit autorise à tolérer que cet État subsiste pour des causes humanitaires, malgré sa culpabilité congénitale. Cette narration a, de fait, tout pour sembler réaliste. Elle surfe sur le sentiment de culpabilité d’une Europe doublement responsable : de la Shoah et de l’imposition coloniale d’Israël à un monde arabe innocent.  Dans le pire des cas, cette narration ne voit en Israël qu’une puissance colonialiste qui doit disparaître. Ce qui explique l’intérêt d’accuser sans cesse Israël de génocide et de nazisme : sa seule « raison d’être » (la Shoah) est ainsi sapée dans son fondement. La « Nakba » est le pendant de la Shoah. La synthèse politiquement correcte de ces deux positions extrêmes est trouvée dans la doctrine de l’État bi-national ou du « retour » des « réfugiés » qui implique que les Juifs d’Israël mettent en oeuvre leur propre destruction en disparaissant dans une masse démographique arabo-musulmane. Shmuel Trigano
L’accusation de crime rituel à l’encontre des Juifs est l’une des plus anciennes allégations antijuives et antisémites de l’Histoire. En effet, bien que l’accusation de crime de sang ait touché d’autres groupes que les Juifs, dont les premiers chrétiens, certains détails, parmi lesquels l’allégation que les Juifs utilisaient du sang humain pour certains de leurs rituels religieux, principalement la confection de pains azymes (matza) lors de la Pâque, leur furent spécifiques. (…) Le premier exemple connu d’accusation de ce type précède le christianisme, puisqu’il est fourni, selon Flavius Josèphe, par Apion, un écrivain sophiste égyptien hellénisé ayant vécu au Ier siècle. (…) Après la première affaire à Norwich (Angleterre) en 1144, les accusations se multiplient dans l’Europe catholique. De nombreuses disparitions inexpliquées d’enfants et de nombreux meurtres sont expliqués par ce biais. Wikipedia
The purpose of ethnic cleansing is to remove competitors. The party implementing this policy sees a risk (or a useful scapegoat) in a particular ethnic group, and uses propaganda about that group to stir up FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) in the general population. The targeted ethnic group is marginalized and demonized. It can also be conveniently blamed for the economic, moral and political woes of that region. Physically removing the targeted ethnic community provides a very clear, visual reminder of the power of the current government. It also provides a safety-valve for violence stirred up by the FUD. The government in power benefits significantly from seizing the assets of the dispossessed ethnic group. The reason given for ethnic cleansing is usually that the targeted community is potentially or actually hostile to the « approved » population.[weasel words] Suddenly your neighbour becomes a « danger » to you and your children. In giving in to the FUD, you become as much a victim of political manipulation as the targeted group. Although ethnic cleansing has sometimes been motivated by claims that an ethnic group is literally « unclean » (as in the case of the Jews of medieval Europe), it has generally been a deliberate (if brutal) way of ensuring the complete domination of a region. Wikipedia
Fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD, littéralement « peur, incertitude et doute », prononcé « feude ») est une technique rhétorique utilisée notamment dans la vente, le marketing, les relations publiques et le discours politique. Elle consiste à tenter d’influencer autrui en diffusant des informations négatives, souvent vagues et inspirant la peur. Terme initialement utilisé pour qualifier une tactique de désinformation d’IBM, la FUD est utilisée plus largement au XXIe siècle. Wikipedia
Les déplacements forcés de population ont été beaucoup pratiqués dans l’Antiquité. On en trouve des relations dans l’Ancien Testament. Les grands Empires, assyrien, babylonien, romain, pratiquèrent la déportation des peuples conquis. En Europe, les Juifs furent expulsés d’Angleterre (1290), de France (1306, 1322 et 1394), de Hongrie (1349–1360), d’Occitanie (1394 et 1490), d’Autriche (1421), d’Espagne après la Reconquête (1492), du Portugal (1497), de Russie en 1724, et de régions d’Allemagne à différentes périodes. L’Espagne expulsa sa communauté musulmane en 1502, puis les morisques qui étaient des musulmans convertis au catholicisme à partir de 1609. La France expulsa des protestants, on peut parler ici d’un nettoyage religieux. La colonisation eut son lot de nettoyages ethniques en Amérique (Indiens d’Amérique, Acadiens), Australie, Afrique du Sud (voir également le « grand dérangement » des Acadiens en 1755). Les années 1920 voient l’expulsion des Grecs d’Asie Mineure et, de façon symétrique, des Turcs ou musulmans des îles grecques. Le phénomène se répète à Chypre après 1974. L’époque moderne est marquée par des nettoyages ethniques tel que le génocide arménien, la Shoah, le génocide rwandais, les guerres de Yougoslavie, la guerre civile au Darfour, les massacres au Congo, les persécutions envers les Tamouls au Sri Lanka… De 1935 à 1938, Staline déporte les Polonais de Volhynie orientale. C’est la première déportation ethnique dans l’histoire de l’URSS, bien que de telles actions aient déjà été réalisées à plusieurs reprises à l’époque des tsars. D’autres peuples suivront, des Allemands de la Volga aux Tchétchènes en passant par les Tatars de Crimée et les Meskhètes, qui furent déportés vers le Kazakhstan et ne furent autorisés à revenir dans leurs régions d’origine qu’après la mort de Staline (voir en). À partir de juillet 1941, les nazis planifient la mise à disposition systématique du Lebensraum, colonisation germanique essentiellement au détriment des peuples slaves : cette organisation d’un nettoyage ethnique se nomme « Schéma directeur pour l’Est ». En 1945 les Soviétiques décidèrent de transporter massivement les populations de langue et de culture allemandes vivant en Europe centrale et orientale à l’intérieur des frontières de l’Allemagne post-hitlérienne, réduite aux quatre zones d’occupation, arguant que l’existence de ces minorités avait servi de prétexte à l’Allemagne nazie pour justifier sa politique d’expansion. Wikipedia
The earliest non-Biblical account of the Exodus is in the writings of the Greek author Hecataeus of Abdera: the Egyptians blame a plague on foreigners and expel them from the country, whereupon Moses, their leader, takes them to Canaan, where he founds the city of Jerusalem. Hecataeus wrote in the late 4th century BCE, but the passage is quite possibly an insertion made in the mid-1st century BCE. The most famous is by the Egyptian historian Manetho (3rd century BCE), known from two quotations by the 1st century CE Jewish historian Josephus. In the first, Manetho describes the Hyksos, their lowly origins in Asia, their dominion over and expulsion from Egypt, and their subsequent foundation of the city of Jerusalem and its temple. Josephus (not Manetho) identifies the Hyksos with the Jews. In the second story Manetho tells how 80,000 lepers and other « impure people, » led by a priest named Osarseph, join forces with the former Hyksos, now living in Jerusalem, to take over Egypt. They wreak havoc until eventually the pharaoh and his son chase them out to the borders of Syria, where Osarseph gives the lepers a law-code and changes his name to Moses.  Manetho differs from the other writers in describing his renegades as Egyptians rather than Jews, and in using a name other than Moses for their leader, although the identification of Osarseph with Moses may be a later addition. Wikipedia

Attention: une épuration ethnique peut en cacher une autre !

Babylone, Assyrie, Rome, Carthage, Alexandrie, Angleterre, France, Hongrie, Occitanie, Autriche, Espagne, Portugal, Russie, Allemagne, Pays arabes …

Empoisonnement des sources, rivières ou puits, sorcellerie ou magie noire, crime rituel d’enfants …

En ces jours où, quelques jours avant nous chrétiens et sous protection policière, nos amis juifs commémorent leur libération du goulag égyptien

Pendant qu’après toutes les autres et du côté cette fois de Téhéran (ou même, sans compter les sept dernières guerres, de Ramallah ou Gaza), de nouveaux « égyptiens » se préparent à la prochaine expulsion

Comment, avec René Girard et James Williams, ne pas s’étonner de cet étrange négationnisme à une époque on en voit des génocides partout tant des historiens juifs ou chrétiens que laïques …

Qui, derrière le récit manifestement retravaillé de l’exode biblique, continue à refuser l’évidence d’un épisode somme toute parfaitement classique de nettoyage ethnique

Où, selon le bon vieux principe du bouc émissaire, une société en pleine crise multiplie les accusations les plus objectives comme les plus fantaisistes contre la population à expulser (les fameuses « plaies »: fleuve changé en sang et ulcères, invasion de grenouilles, poux, mouches et sauterelles, grêle et ténèbres, mort des troupeaux et des premiers-nés) …

Mais qu’en un premier (certes partiel) mouvement démystificateur tendant à démontrer la toute-puissance de leur propre divinité, les rédacteurs bibliques auraient « retournées » en une véritable contre-histoire en attribuant l’origine à cette dernière?

Christianity and the Problem of Human Violence

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

Part 21: Exodus

At first glance, the story of the exodus from Egypt seems to demonstrate God’s violence. Many have been troubled by the suffering of the Egyptian citizens and soldiers, victims of the ten plagues, particularly the killing of the first-born son. Why should Egyptian citizens suffer so much on account of their hard-hearted Pharaoh? And, Pharaoh himself could be regarded as an victim, in that the text attributes his hardened heart to God.

James G. Williams (The Bible, Violence, and the Sacred) argues that a non-sacrificial reading of the Bible is compatible with the Exodus account. First, the account focuses on the innocent victims—in this case the Hebrews. Williams notes that this story is distinctive not because the Hebrews were once oppressed—nearly all peoples have been oppressed at some point in their history. Rather, the Hebrews’ sacred story relates their oppression and abuse in detail. Most people have origin stories in which they arise and conquer according to the wishes of their gods. The Hebrews’ acknowledgement of their disreputable origins makes God’s justice, mercy, and compassion more clear.

Second, there is a series of substitutions that reduce violence, particularly violence against the innocent. For example, the killing of the first-born is less violent than the previous Egyptian edict to kill all of the Hebrews’ male infants. Similarly, the sacrifice of lambs constitutes a substitution that promises, ultimately, to reduce sacred violence. Of course, the later prophets (who we will discuss next week) and Jesus go much farther in their opposition to sacrifice, but such ancient people could not imagine a God who does not want some kind of blood sacrifice.

A remarkable point about the Exodus story is that the Hebrews did not aim to retaliate against the Egyptians, only to leave. Traditionally, people sought revenge as much as their freedom, but the Exodus story suggests a different approach to injustice.

Interestingly, there are Greek accounts of the Exodus that derive from now-lost Egyptian sources. According to those accounts, the Egyptians faced a major crisis related to a group of people suffering from various diseases, and the Egyptians decided to expel this group from the country. One remarkable way by which the Egyptian account differs from that of the Bible is that the Egyptian story blames the Hebrews for the diseases (or whatever crises they experienced) and then, like the scapegoat sent into the wilderness, banned the accused troublemakers.

Voir aussi:

A History of the Jews, a list of expulsions for 2000 years

This historical background of centuries of anti-Semitism eventually exploded in the 20th century « Holocaust ». The hostility and hatred manifested in the holocaust was therefore not new. As we have stated ancient writings contain much anti-Semitism. In pre-Roman times most people did not read or write. At times, Rome tried to eradicate Judaism and « Jewishness ». Followers were assumed to be treasonous and subversive. This in turn led to major revolts on the part of the Jewish community.

The following is a brief summary of Incidents involving Jews in History…

135 B.C

Antiochus Epiphanes desecrates Second Jewish Temple; leading to Hasmonean Revolt against the Greeks.

70 A.D.

Titus took Jerusalem – second revolt. Over one million Jews killed.

136 A.D.

580,000 men destroyed, 985 towns destroyed – third revolt.

300 A.D.

Purim festival celebrating God’s deliverance to Mordecai and the Jews through Esther and the fasting. Lies spread that Jews kill Christians for sacrifice. Emperor Severus also said the Jews purchased 90,000 Christians to kill them.

306 A.D.

Council in Spain banned Christians & Jews meeting or marrying.

325 A.D.

Constantine changed the celebration of Easter on the calendar so that it did not coincide with the Jewish Passover.

379 A.D.

Vicious writing by St. John Chrysostom and St. Ambrose in Milan who said: « The Jews are the most worthless of all men. They are lecherous, greedy, rapacious. They are perfidious murderers of Christ. They worship the Devil. Their religion is a sickness. The Jews are the odious assassins of Christ and for killing God there is no expiation possible, no indulgence or pardon. Christians may never cease vengeance, and the Jew must live in servitude forever. God always hated the Jews. It is essential that all Christians hate them. » He was called the Bishop with the Golden Tongue. St. Ambrose, Bishop of the Church offered to burn the synagogue himself.

395 A.D.

St. Gregory of Nyssa in sermons and writings characterized Jews as assassins of the Prophets, companions of the Devil, a race of vipers, a Sanhedrin of Demons, enemies of all that is beautiful, hogs and goats in their lewd grossness.

415 A.D.

Bishop Severus BURNED THE SYNAGOGUE IN THE VILLAGE OF MAGONA. BISHOP OF

ALEXANDRIA, ST. CYRIL EXPELLED JEWS FROM ALEXANDRIA AND GAVE THE MOB JEWISH PROPERTY.

ACCUSATION of Ritual murder by the Jews during Purim. Christians confiscated synagogues in ANTIOCH.

These were not hooligans but Church Fathers!

AUGUSTINE, JEROME, AMBROSE AND LESSER SAINTS AS ST. CHRYSOSTROM AND CYRIL, added to untruths the new ones that Jews were dishonest and prone to sexual perversions.

717 A.D.

Jews had to wear special yellow garb. Originated in Islam.

1012 A.D.

Emperor Henry II of Germany expels Jews from Mainz, the beginning of persecutions against Jews in Germany.

1096 A.D.

First Crusade. Crusaders massacre the Jews of the Rhineland.

1144 A.D.

First recorded blood libel. In Norwich it was alleged that the Jews had « bought a Christian child before Easter, tortured him with all the tortures wherewith our Lord was tortured and on Friday hanged him on a rood in hatred of our Lord. » (England)

This notorious allegation that Jews murder non-Jews, especially Christians, in order to obtain blood for the Passover or other rituals is a complex of deliberate lies, trumped up accusations, and popular beliefs about the murder-lust of the Jews and their blood-thirstiness, based on the conception that Jews hate Christianity and mankind in general. It is combined with the delusion that Jews are in some way not human and must have recourse to special remedies and subterfuges in order to appear at least outwardly, like other men. The blood libel led to trials and massacres of Jews. Its origin is rooted in ancient almost primordial, concepts concerning the potency and energies of blood. It is one of the most terrible expressions of human cruelty and credulity. These blood rituals are expressly forbidden in Judaism. (See Leviticus 17;11 etc.)

1190 A.D.

Massacre of Jews in England.

1215 A.D.

The Jewish badge introduced.

1240 A.D.

Talmud burned in France.

1290 A.D.

Jews expelled from England.

1298 A.D.

Massacre of thousands in Germany, in 146 localities.

1306 A.D.

Expulsion from France.

1348 A.D.

JEWS blamed for the BLACK DEATH. Charge laid to the Jews that they POISONED the wells to kill CHRISTIANS.

1389 A.D.

MASSACRES in Bohemia, Spain.

1421 A.D.

270 JEWS BURNED AT THE STAKE. In the 14th and 15th centuries the Inquisition was more intense because the Church and State joined forces. Just being Jewish guaranteed persecution

1480 A.D.

Inquisition in Spain – Jews and Christians burned at the stake.

1483 A.D.

EXPULSIONS from Warsaw, Sicily, Lithuania, Portugal.

1492 A.D.

ALL JEWS EXPELLED FROM SPAIN.

1506 A.D.

Murders in Lisbon – 4000, « conversos », men, women, and children thrown from windows to street mobs below, due to preaching by Dominicans against the Jews.

1510 A.D.

EXPELLED from Brandenburg, Germany.

1516 A.D.

Venice initiates the ghetto, the first in Christian Europe.

1544 A.D.

The Reformation. At the end of Martin Luther’s life the German reformer vilified the Jews in violent pamphlets which could not fail to exert their influence. But because Calvinists were steeped in Old Testament theology, the Dutch people respected the Jews as « the Chosen » people; and were not anti-Semitic in their faith. The reformation was a time of turmoil as the Roman Church and feudalism lost their supremacy. There was a rising up of Nationhood and Luther was a German nationalist. The Talmud was seized and burned everywhere by Papal authority. Jews in Catholic countries and Polish Jews suffered greatly. Luther’s anti-Semitic writings were later used in anti-Semitic literature.

1553 A.D.

Rome seized and burned the Talmud by order of the POPE.

1559 A.D.

12,000 copies of Talmud burned in Milan.

1569 A.D.

POPE PIUS V ordered all Jews out of the Papal states.

1593 A.D.

EXPULSIONS from Italy and Bavaria.

1598 A.D.

Ritual murder charge that sent three Jews to their deaths. Execution of the supposed guilty was done by QUARTERING. (In his book the « Birth of the Prison » Michel Foucault describes at length the quartering of a condemned man in 1757. It was done eventually by six horses instead of the four original ones and other means had to come in to play due to the failure even of six horses as the prisoners limbs were tied to ropes harnessed to the horses. Each horse pulled in a different direction. One horse fell to the ground unsuccessfully. Knives had to be used for severing…)

1614 A.D.

JEWS attacked and driven out of Frankfurt, Germany.

1624 A.D.

GHETTO established in Ferrara, Italy.

1648 A.D.

Leader of the Cossacks, in the Ukraine massacres 100,000 Jews and destroyed 300 communities.

1655 A.D.

Massacres of Jews in war against Sweden & Russia by Poland.

1715 A.D.

POPE PIUS VI issues edict against Jews.

1768 A.D.

20,000 Jews in Poland killed.

1805 A.D.

MASSACRE of Jews in Algeria.

1840 A.D.

BLOOD LIBEL in DAMASCUS.

1853 A.D.

BLOOD LIBEL in RUSSIA.

1858 A.D.

THE MORTARA CASE: Catholics abduct a 7 yr. old Jewish child. A Catholic servant baptized a Jewish child when the child was seriously ill and the church of Rome seized the child. Outcry had no effect on the POPE.

1879 A.D.

Word anti-Semitism comes into existence.

1881 A.D.

POGROMS BEGAN. The word is of Russian origin. It designates attack, accompanied by destruction, looting of property, murder, rape. There were three major outbreaks in Russia. The word designates more particularly the attacks carried out by the Christian population. Each pogrom surpassed the other in savagery.

KIEV, ODESSA; Here murder of whole families was a common occurrence. Partial data are available for 530 communities in which 887 major pogroms and 349 minor pogroms occurred. There were 60,000 dead and several times that many were wounded.

1882 A.D.

FIRST ANTI-JEWISH CONGRESS HELD. In Dresden, Germany.

1894 A.D.

ALFRED DREYFUS TRIAL in France. Details follow further on in this summary.

1903 A.D.

APPEARANCE of a new issue of the PROTOCOLS OF THE ELDERS OF ZION. In Russia.

This spectre of a worldwide Jewish conspiracy aiming at reducing the Gentiles to slavery or extermination loomed up in the medieval Christian imagination and grew out of legends about well poisonings and plague spreading. It was concocted in Paris by an unknown author working for the Russian secret police. It was an alleged conference of the leaders of World Jewry. It was translated into all the world languages. In 1963 a Spanish edition was published. During World War II, the Protocols of the elders of Zion became an implicit justification for the GENOCIDE of the Jews and Nazi propaganda relied on them until the last days of the Third Reich. Smaller pamphlets of it have been distributed in B.C. 1983 published in California… Required reading in most Arab countries, in schools, to this day.

1905 A.D.

Russian pogroms continue. Also in Morocco, Ukraine, 300 dead.

1919 A.D.

3000 Jews killed in Hungarian pogroms.

1920 A.D.

Appearance of ADOLPH HITLER. Also Henry Ford the 1st believes the Protocols; and publishes anti-Jewish articles in his newspaper, the Dearborn Independent.

1925 A.D.

MEIN KAMPH appears. Hitler’s Plan published in Germany.

1933 A.D.

HITLER appointed chancellor in Germany.

1935 A.D.

Hitler writes his Nuremberg Laws which lead to his Final Solution.

1938 A.D.

Burning in AUSTRIA & GERMANY of Synagogues. Jews sent to concentration camps. Beginnings of the Holocaust.

1939 A.D.

Germany overruns Poland.

1940 A.D.

Gassing, shootings in Polish Ghettos (Jewish).

1941 A.D.

EXPULSION of Jews from the German Reich to Poland. Riots against Jews in Iraq.

1942 A.D.

Mass transports of Jews to Belgium & Holland.

1944 A.D.

EXTERMINATION OF HUNGARIAN JEWS.

1945 A.D.

HOLOCAUST Final Count: 6,000,000 Jews slaughtered.

1946 A.D.

Pogroms in Poland – 42 Jews murdered.

1948 A.D.

BIRTH OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL. Also Jewish intellectuals shot in Russia.

1952 A.D.

Jews murdered byCommunists, and others disappear. Prague trials. Murder of Yiddish intellectuals in Russia and many sent to work camps..

1956 A.D.

Jews expelled out of EGYPT.

1967 A.D.

SIX DAY WAR. Also new publication of Elders of Zion in Arabic.

1968 A.D.

Emigration of last remaining Jews in Poland.

1969 A.D.

JEWS EXECUTED IN IRAQ.

1970 A.D.

Beginning of imprisonment in Russia of PRISONERS OF CONSCIENCE. (« Refuseniks »)

1980 A.D.

Russian imprisonments carry on throughout the 70’s to the 80’s.

1982 A.D.

War in Lebanon begins after many years of terrorist attacks against the Jews in the Upper Galilee area from the vantage point of Beaufort Castle. Many Lebanese killed over long period of time, but was ignored by the News Media. War in Lebanon gets slanted coverage.

1983 A.D.

Word from Christians in Israel that the PLO planned their next battleground to be Canada via Quebec. Documented proof that Russia planned in 1982 to attack Israel.

SUMMARY:

The word « anti-Semitism » is inadequate. It is a misnomer. The word was coined in 1879 from the Greek words « anti », meaning « against » and « Semite », meaning a descendant of Shem. The word was first used by Wilhelm Marr a German agitator, who created it to explain the current anti-Jewish campaigns in Europe. Since the Arab peoples are also Semitic people it is not the best expression. Anti-Jewish, and Jew- hatred, are more descriptive. It is more than just prejudice. The word came into general use in the past hundred years and encompasses all forms of hostility manifested toward Jews throughout history.

There can be economic and social or racial anti-Semitism. It didn’t reach epidemic proportions until 175 B.C. Previous uprisings against Jews were not really anti-Semitic. It began almost exclusively in countries which later became part of the Roman Empire. Prejudice flared it seems because Jewish people in honouring their Jewish laws, appeared to be in defiance of Gentile governments. The false assumption began to emerge that Jews didn’t have any respect for whatever was held in esteem by the rest of humanity.

In the Greek Hellenistic period no other nation denied the gods of it’s neighbours; on the contrary they recognized those gods, identifying them with their own deities. These heathen « gods » created a social bond between people in their domains. None of the people refrained from dining at table with their neighbours and from partaking of the sacrifices offered to their gods except the Jews. None of the peoples refused to send gifts to its neighbours temples, except the Jews. None of the peoples was unequivocally hostile to intermarriage except the Jews.

In the eastern Mediterranean area friction arose over the difference in occupations between Jews and Gentiles. The Jewish population was engaged primarily in small scale farming; the non-Jewish population occupied itself primarily in commerce. The sea trade was almost entirely in the hands of the trans-Jordanian cities, which connected Syria, Asia Minor and the regions of the Euphrates with the Arabian countries. The inhabitants of Eretz Israel had connections abroad. Non-Jews also knew that Jews looked upon their land as their divine inheritance.

The first serious manifestation of anti-Semitism was in the days of the Syrian, Antiochus Epiphanes in 175 B.C. Hellenistic rulers saw the unfriendliness of the Jews as obstacles to the cultural scene. He undertook to destroy those laws of the Talmud that he regarded as unacceptable to humanity. To this end he desecrated their place of worship by sacrificing a pig on their altar in Jerusalem, and ordered that the residual juices be sprinkled over the Holy Books containing these Jewish laws.

Greek authors in the first century portrayed the Jewish people as descendants of a mob of lepers. They further stated that because of this uncleanness Jews shunned the flesh of pigs, since pigs were more prone to contract disease. The Gentiles knew that their own pagan religions and practices rendered them unclean in the eyes of the Jews.

The fact remains that even after four thousand years the idea of a covenant between the Jews and Jehovah is still alive; and is mentioned daily in prayers in synagogues throughout the world. The idea of a covenant with God has remained constant. Because Jehovah is immortal He never dies and because He never dies He never has to be reincarnated. Thus the Jews dispensed with the reincarnation rites of the pagans. The Jews’ God was invisible. The concept of « one God », Jehovah, being completely withdrawn from sexuality led to a curb of licentious impulses through inner discipline. By contrast ,the Greek gods themselves set the pattern for the unbridled lust and perversion which finally weakened the moral fibre of that people; whereas the Jews, even when they later came in contact with the Greeks, refused to indulge in the Grecian sexual excesses, which included even temple prostitution. The Jewish religion did away with all fertility rites.

As a consequence of the Jewish dietary laws, intermarriage was forbidden and no real social intercourse with gentiles was possible. Also, Jews refused to enter into Emperor worship. It was considered to be an expression of loyalty to the state. About their own religious practices a libel began to circulate that Jews actually sacrificed humans on their altars, allegedly using the blood for Passover rites. Further it was said that the sacrificed person must be a Christian or one of their children. This became known as the « Blood Libel » against the Jews. It mattered not that it was a total fabrication.

Another libel circulating was that unclean leprous people were expelled from Egypt, and that the Jews were these people. Therefore, being foreigners, it was stated that the Jews had no right to claim ancient Israel as their divinely given land.

The destruction of the temple by Titus in 70 AD was seen as hatred by God of the Jews, and as punishment. Jews in Rome felt the barbs of Roman writers. Nero’s teacher was anti-Semitic. Cornelius Tacitus wrote about every libellous fabrication against Jews that he could find in Greek anti-Semitic literature. Juvenal wrote a poem revealing that to him the Jews were hateful not only to man but to the gods as well.

In the fourth century AD, when Constantine became the Roman Emperor and supposedly converted to Christianity, he harnessed Political power to Religion and passed anti-Jewish laws, whereby Jews were excluded from every sphere of political influence, and denied civic rights.

The Gospel accounts began to be the source from which wrong teachings grew, until the word « Deicide » meant the Jews killed God, and were labelled « Christ-killers ». Matthew 27:25 which spoke of some Jewish leaders was used instead to apply to all Jews: « His blood be on us and on our children…Ye are of your father the devil. »

Converts to Christianity and converts to Judaism sparked a seriously divisive rivalry. Religious competition began between the Greek fathers of the Church, and Jews. Church laws were passed whereby Jewish relations with Christian women was now punishable by death. Anti-Semitism at this time was mainly limited to the clergy, who were the educated minority.

Islam arose in the seventh century AD, and also attacked the Jews because the Jews did not recognize Muhammad as a legitimate Prophet. The Koran contained their writings; and many statements in it were hostile to Jews. In the Middle Ages church councils legislated to prevent contact with the Jews because Christians were saying after visiting synagogues that the Jews were better priests.

CONCLUSION:

The above catalogue is only the tip of the iceberg! One would think that anti-Jewish atrocities would have ended with the nightmare of the Holocaust. One-third of the world’s Jews were murdered by an ungodly German conspiracy that had accused the Jews of « conspiracy ». It is not often emphasized that two-thirds of the world’s Jews survived; and that due to the faithfulness of their G-d. God has again, as in times past, protected them from total extermination, as He promised. (the Book of Esther, and Jeremiah 31:35-37)

The Holocaust was the final catalyst which led to the re-creation of the State of Israel in 1948. But we have to go back at the very least to the DREYFUS CASE to understand the long range process.

Alfred Dreyfus was the son of a wealthy Alsatian family in France. He entered the French Army in 1892 and became a Captain, and the only Jew. He was framed by a fellow officer for allegedly giving secrets to the enemy, arrested and tried for treason. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. Eventually Emile Zola took up the fight proclaiming the man’s innocence and published an open letter to the President of France titled « I ACCUSE. » Dreyfus was eventually declared unjustly convicted by the Parliament of France. The injustice was totally motivated by Jew-hatred.

During the course of the trumped-up trial a Jewish journalist became involved; and he was the man that was to lead the Jews back to their Land. His name was THEODORE HERZL (1860 – 1904 A.D.) and he called European Jewry together in Basle, Switzerland in 1897 at the now famous « First World Zionist Congress ». There in 1897 he publicly predicted to friend and foe alike that the Jews would be back in « the Land » of Palestine « within 50 years ». In 1947, exactly fifty years later the United Nations passed the « Resolution For the Partition of Palestine », which lead to the declaration of Statehood on May 14,1948.

With the shouts of « death » to the Jews still ringing in his ears from the Dreyfus Trial, Herzl became convinced that the only solution was the mass exodus of the Jews from their present places of residence to a territory of their own… So out of the suffering of the Dreyfus family came the State of Israel. Herzl became the father of Political Zionism and founder of the World Zionist organization.

Herzl was born in Budapest. He left a German students society in 1883 in protest against his first encounter with anti-Semitism. He came across this « Jewish problem » again and again in his life. Although he graduated in 1884 with a doctorate of law he left the legal profession and became a famous writer. He wrote many literary works, some of them plays.

In 1891 he became the Paris correspondent of a Vienna newspaper. He pursued politics and organized the first Zionist Congress is Basle in 1897. (In 1960, Israel issued a centenary stamp with a well known painting of Herzl on the bridge at Basle.) The World Zionist organization was formed. He was chairman and remained so for the next five congresses. He knew Great Britain would be the deciding factor in the realization of Zionist aims. In 1917 the Balfour Declaration became the launching-pad for the founding of the modern Jewish state.

Herzl did not have an easy task. Even his own people were difficult on this issue. His heart failed in 1904. He did not live to see the creation of Israel in 1948. But in 1949 he was laid to rest, reinterred in a place that was named in his honour Mount Herzl, in Jerusalem. A Herzl monument stands nearby. The anniversary of his death on the 20th of Tammuz was declared a National Memorial Day in Israel. In the April 1983 issue of the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, following a report on Jerusalem there is a picture that could be titled: « The sorrow of the Jewish People ». There are three young Israeli ladies, soldiers, who happen to be very beautiful standing or kneeling at the Herzl Tomb site where there are three new graves…the first soldiers to die in the 1982 conflict in Lebanon.

1983 was the 50th anniversary of Hitler’s rise to power; since he was made chancellor in 1933. There was an extensive report on this subject in the April 1983 issue of the Jerusalem Post. Their man in Bonn stated: « There has been no substantial break with the past. Therefore West German Democracy must continue to be subject to question by Germans more than by anyone else. » The Post also offered these words which are worth contemplating. Perhaps you never considered this. I had not…

« The destruction that Hitler brought on his own people ranks only after the mass murder he committed on the Jews and the destruction and death rained upon the Soviet Union. He left Germany not only physically ruined, but stripped of its’ self respect, ashamed of its’ place in human history, uncertain of its’ identity, seeking refuge in the compulsive reconstruction of material damage. »

They also mentioned…

« The war Hitler unleashed and the organized mass murder that was a central part of his design cost the lives of 40 million human beings in Europe alone. Among them 6,000,000 Jews – two-thirds of the Jews in Europe. More than 6,000,000 of his own people also died and others were left hungry. »

God promised Abraham: « I will bless those who bless you (and your descendants); and I will curse those who curse you » (Genesis 12:1-3) We can see that the Germans have paid an awful price for allowing this man to lead them down a path contrary to Scripture, by declaring them to be a super race. The man who wanted to obtain the whole world, gained nothing but eternal damnation. He and those who followed him lost everything.

What about Canada?

Most of us would be quick to say that our hands are clean. A truly shocking indictment of our role in the Holocaust can be found in the book « None is Too Many ». This title was taken from a statement made by an immigration official when a delegation of Jews went to Ottawa in 1939 to ask: « How many Jews will Canada take in? » The Immigration Minister answered « None is too many ».

The authors, Irving Abella and Harold Troper, published this book in 1982 and was on the Canadian Best Sellers List. They received an award early in 1983 for it. It is thoroughly researched and documented proof that our top bureaucrat in the Immigration Department, Fred Blair, a professing Christian, wanted no Jews in Canada and did everything he could in the way of roadblocks to prevent it. In studying it I find I want to scream with the agony of our shame.

MacKenzie King didn’t want them. Perhaps he was too busy talking to his dead mother and his dead dog as he gazed into his crystal ball (all told in his published diaries). The authors record that Canada’s Prime Minister thought Hitler had a good face and that he was sweet. King was deathly afraid of what Quebec would do if he gave in and allowed in refugees. The French -Canadian press was very hostile to Jews (Le Devoir). There was also a very vocal fascist Party in Quebec; headed by Adrianne Arcand.

Blair had the opportunity to rescue thousands, but wouldn’t budge on his restrictive policy. He just didn’t want any Jewish immigrants.

Lester Pearson said that we didn’t have a boat. Ottawa would not listen either to the pleas of George Vanier; even though he was Canadian Ambassador to France and was there on the scene.

Conservative Robert Manion didn’t want any either. In the midst of all of the obstruction the Toronto Globe & Mail asked at one point « Does Canada stand for anything? » Manion wanted no Jews as long as Canadians were unemployed. Ernest LaPointe of Quebec and the Le Devoir newspaper and Vincent Massey of External Affairs wanted Jews kept out of Canada. Massey was a fringe member of the Pro-German anti-Semitic Cliveden set centred around Lord and Lady Astor in London; where Vincent was Canadian High Commissioner.

We had one social worker on the scene and her name was Charlotte Whitton, outspoken Mayor of Ottawa. She fiercely fought not to have Jewish children here as she favoured British children. She led a movement to evacuate endangered British mothers and children. The Canadian Jewish Congress saw her as an enemy of Jewish immigration. Oscar Cohen said she « almost broke up the inaugural meeting of the congress on Refugees by her insistent opposition and very apparent anti-Semitism. »

The saddest story I have ever read in my life is the whole chapter from the Abella book titled « The children that never came. » It takes care of any pride we may have in being Canadians. It is documented evidence 25 pages in length of continuous pleading on behalf of officials in places like France and Poland to take children whose lives were in immediate danger. Blair’s hard hearted efforts lead to the declaration in the end of that chapter that reads: « There were no more schemes to help…save the refugee children. None were needed. » By the time of the allied invasion of France in June 1944 most of these children had been murdered. NOT ONE of them had made it to Canada! They had been talking at times about as many as 5000.

I am happy to report that good has come out of the publishing of this book. The authors report that Lloyd Axworthy, current Minister of Immigration, apologized for the behaviour of predecessors and promised that it would never happen again. But also having read some papers by these authors prior to publication, Ron Atkey, former Conservative Minister of Immigration, took the responsibility and opened the doors to the BOAT PEOPLE because he did not want to be known as another Frederick Blair.

In « Bridges for Peace », the 1983 issue from Tulsa, Oklahoma we read about the state of anti-Semitism as in this day, media coverage is slanted.

« While some would have you believe the world is becoming a better place and anti-Semitism is on the wane, I believe that careful observation will prove otherwise. In the last two years, we have seen a growing double standard used by the media in reporting events concerning Israel. And as we saw this past summer in Greece, Italy, and France, this very distorted, even false media reporting about Israel’s involvement in Lebanon resulted in attacks against local Jewish communities solely because they were Jewish; regardless of their affiliation with Israel. For example: In France a video tape of a Palestinian boy holding his bleeding, dying sister was repeatedly shown as the result of an aggressive Jewish attack on civilians in Lebanon. Local Frenchmen, incensed by this news, staged an anti-Israel, anti-Jewish march which culminated in the bombing of synagogues and Jewish owned businesses killing many. It was later proven that this video tape was six years old and showing the destruction of the Tel-Zatar refugee camp by the SYRIANS in 1976. Jews were NOT even involved but the ugly head of Anti-Semitism had already shown itself. »

AND SO IT NEVER SEEMS TO END.

But it will. One day the Bible says we shall take the hem of the Jews’ skirt and go with them to Zion because we know God is with them. Zechariah tells us that the Lord will come and place His feet on the Mount of Olives. He will fight for His people Israel against all the nations of the world. All the land of Israel will dwell in safety and peace when the Messiah comes. He will rule and reign from Jerusalem, the Son of David, sitting on David’s throne. (Read 2 Samuel 7:11-16; and Psalm 2:6-8;and 89:20-37)

Regardless of Israel’s sins of the past the Lord will forgive, cleanse, and restore (Jeremiah 31:31-34).

Christians throughout the world are awakening to a call to stand by the side of the Jewish people. Beginning in 1979 Christians in Jerusalem rallied to her side when the governments of the World began to pull their embassies out of Jerusalem in fear because of the Arab oil power. The « International Christian Embassy, Jerusalem » was established. With people like Jan Willem Van Der Hoeven and the Comfort Zion ministry of Merv and Merla Watson, Jews are beginning to be provoked to jealousy. They are watching Christian love in action; and hope is being reborn when they see 5000 Christians celebrating during the Jewish « Feast of Tabernacles », dancing with joy on Mount Zion and supporting them in their hour of need.

If Canada’s Joe Clark had kept his promise to move our embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, he would have done better. Six months after breaking his promise he ceased to be Prime Minister; and twelve months later he was removed as Leader of the Progressive-Conservative Party.

Coincidence? God hears our promises; even « election promises ». The Scripture says God will bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse her. Every nation that has persecuted the Jews has, in the long run, inherited the negative side of God’s promise to Abram: « and I will curse those who curse you (and your descendants). »

SO IN CONCLUSION:

Anti-Semitism is a venomous condition of the heart of man and not just prejudice, hatred or discrimination. Jealousy and envy of the Jew more than anything else seems to be the main root of this condition. It is a spiritual problem. But Jeremiah said it best and it is truth from God’s Word… « The heart is deceitful, and desperately wicked; who can know it? ».

Anti-Semitism engages man in a conduct that is: inconceivable, unbelievable, shocking, grotesque, incomprehensible, unthinkable, inhumane and intolerable.

This information has been gleaned from Alan Lazerte’s course on anti-Semitism given at Fraserview Assembly, January, February and March 1983 as Director of the Canadian Friends of the International Christian Embassy, Jerusalem.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Bridges for Peace-current news direct from Christians in Israel through Tulsa.

The Jerusalem Post – current news direct from Jews in Israel.

The ISRAEL POCKET LIBRARY BOOK ON ANTI-SEMITISM.

Canadian Book « None is Too Many », Irving Abella and Harold Troper.

Friends of the Christian Embassy Canada, Israel Report.

Jews’ God and History; by Max I. Dimont. A Signet Book.

The information from this course was a shock to most of us; it was an eye opener in many ways, especially regarding the Christians persecution of the Jew; which contributed to the Nazi attempt to totally exterminate them. This essay was written as a requirement of taking seriously Alan’s attempt to put the course together. He did his part as teacher excellently. God has chosen well. I was eager to learn. At Alan’ suggestion this essay is being printed to circulate to others who may not have a chance to attend the lectures. It is also printed to cement my own vow before God to bridge the gap and make amends to the Jew for the way Christians, the Canadian Government and others have failed them.

I dedicate this to the children that never came; and to my brother who died trying to stop a mad man that was on the loose in Germany.

Writers: Laureen Moe

Source: Canadian Friends, International Christian Embassy, Jerusalem

http://www.cdn-friends-icej.ca/antiholo/summanti.html

Voir également:

109 Locations whence Jews have been Expelled since AD250

YEAR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .PLACE

250 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Carthage

415 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Alexandria

554 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Diocèse of Clermont (France)

561 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Diocèse of Uzès (France)

612 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Visigoth Spain

642 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Visigoth Empire

855 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Italy

876 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Sens

1012 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Mainz

1182 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – France

1182 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Germany

1276 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Upper Bavaria

1290 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – England

1306 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – France

1322 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – France (again)

1348 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Switzerland

1349 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Hielbronn (Germany)

1349 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Saxony

1349 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Hungary

1360 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Hungary

1370 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Belgium

1380 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Slovakia

1388 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Strasbourg

1394 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Germany

1394 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – France

1420 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Lyons

1421 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Austria

1424 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Fribourg

1424 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Zurich

1424 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Cologne

1432 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Savoy

1438 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Mainz

1439 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Augsburg

1442 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Netherlands

1444 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Netherlands

1446 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Bavaria

1453 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – France

1453 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Breslau

1454 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Wurzburg

1462 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Mainz

1483 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Mainz

1484 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Warsaw

1485 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Vincenza (Italy)

1492 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Spain

1492 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Italy

1495 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Lithuania

1496 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Naples

1496 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Portugal

1498 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Nuremberg

1498 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Navarre

1510 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Brandenberg

1510 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Prussia

1514 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Strasbourg

1515 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Genoa

1519 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Regensburg

1533 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Naples

1541 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Naples

1542 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Prague & Bohemia

1550 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Genoa

1551 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Bavaria

1555 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Pesaro

1557 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Prague

1559 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Austria

1561 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Prague

1567 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Wurzburg

1569 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Papal States

1571 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Brandenburg

1582 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Netherlands

1582 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Hungary

1593 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Brandenburg, Austria

1597 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Cremona, Pavia & Lodi

1614 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Frankfort

1615 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Worms

1619 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Kiev

1648 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Ukraine

1648 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Poland

1649 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Hamburg

1654 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Little Russia (Beylorus)

1656 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Lithuania

1669 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Oran (North Africa)

1669 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Vienna

1670 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Vienna

1712 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Sandomir

1727 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Russia

1738 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Wurtemburg

1740 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Little Russia (Beylorus)

1744 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Prague, Bohemia

1744 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Slovakia

1744 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Livonia

1745 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Moravia

1753 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Kovad (Lithuania)

1761 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Bordeaux

1772 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Deported to the Pale of Settlement (Poland/Russia)

1775 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Warsaw

1789 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Alsace

1804 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Villages in Russia

1808 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Villages & Countrysides (Russia)

1815 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Lbeck & Bremen

1815 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Franconia, Swabia & Bavaria

1820 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Bremen

1843 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Russian Border Austria & Prussia

1862 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Areas in the U.S. under General Grant’s Jurisdiction[1]

1866 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Galatz, Romania

1880s – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Russia

1891 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Moscow

1919 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Bavaria (foreign born Jews)

1938-45 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Nazi Controlled Areas

1948 — – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Arab Countries

Reference sources for the above.

[1] On December 17, 1862, General Ulysses Grant wrote to the Assistant Adjutant General of the US Army:

« I have long since believed that in spite of all the vigilance that can be infused into post commanders, the specie regulations of the Treasury Department have been violated, and that mostly by the Jews and other unprincipled traders. So well satisfied have I been of this that I instructed the commanding officer at Columbus to refuse all permits to Jews to come South, and I have frequently had them expelled from the department. But they come in with their carpet-sacks in spite of all that can be done to prevent it. The Jews seem to be a privileged class that can travel anywhere. They will land at any woodyard on the river and make their way through the country. If not permitted to buy cotton themselves, they will act as agents for someone else, who will be at a military post with a Treasury permit to receive cotton and pay for it in Treasury notes which the Jew will buy at an agreed rate, paying gold. »

Also, on December 17, 1862, General Ulysses S. Grant issued General Orders No. 11. This order banished all Jews from Tennessee’s western military.

General Orders No. 11 declared: « 1. The Jews, as a class, violating every regulation of trade established by the Treasury Department, are hereby expelled from the Department.

« 2. Within 24 hours from the receipt of this order by Post Commanders, they will see that all of this class of people are furnished with passes required to leave, and anyone returning after such notification, will be arrested and held in confinement until an opportunity occurs of sending them out as prisoners, unless furnished with permits from these headquarters.

« 3. No permits will be given these people to visit headquarters for the purpose of making personal application for trade permits.

« By order of Major Gen. Grant.

« Jno. A. Rawlings,

Assistant Adjutant General »

Voir encore:

The Bible, Violence and the Sacred: Liberation from the Myth of Sanctioned Violence. By James G. Williams.

Foreword by Rene Girard. San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1991. x + 288 pages. U.S. $27.00.

In his Foreword to this book, Rene Girard repeats the thesis that has put his work at the center of controversy in religious and biblical studies (as witness the new affiliate society of the AAR, the Colloquium On Violence and Religion, or COVQR): that religion and culture derive from mimetic conflict and scapegoating violence. Since religion and culture also conceal this originary violence, our own scapegoats would be « completely invisible as scapegoats » were it not for a « revelation » that Girard finds in the Bible. In contrast to « the ‘natural religions’ of humankind, the ones rooted in arbitrary victimage, » it is in the Bible « and there only that a genuine theme or motif of the scapegoat can make its appearance. » As a consequence, « we » the inheritors of the biblical legacy share a « loudly advertised repugnance for victimage, which has no equivalent in any other society. Even if our deeds so not match our principles. . .our awareness of scapegoating is unique. . . » (pp. vii-viii). Hailing Girard’s work as « the basis for a new Christian humanism » (p. 6), Williams sets out to document the biblical  » ‘unveiling’ of the victimage mechanism in which the narrative and the God of the narrative side with the innocent victim » (p. 25), thereby revealing « God’s will for nonviolent human community » (p. 30). Noting that in Genesis Cain’s murder of Abel does not serve the mythic function for Israel that Romulus’ murder of Remus does for Rome, Williams concludes that « Israel. . .is created through a process of becoming exceptional vis-a-vis the violent structures in the midst of which it came to be » (p. 30). The pattern of « enemy brothers » in the Genesis narratives, ideal for an analysis of mimetic conflict, shows Israel’s ancestors repeatedly transcending the logic of sacrificial exchange (chapter 2). Similarly, the chaos and mimetic conflicts that saturate the Exodus account show the Book Reviews real experience of a people emerging from the victimage dynamics of Egyptian sacral kingship (although Williams contrasts the Exodus account not with ancient Egyptian mythology, but with much later Helle- nistic Egyptian myths of the Exodus as an expulsion of a diseased popula- tion). The increasing significance of Moses in subsequent Pentateuchal traditions reflects the gradual externalization of Israel’s own mimetic con- flict (chapter 3), a conflict that is channeled and controlled by the system of prohibitions that makes up the covenant (chapter 4). That this cove- nant includes a sacrificial system, requires the ritual surrender of the firstborn (echoing God’s destruction of the Egyptian firstborn), and retains narratives of the tremendous violence of the Levites (Exodus 32), shows that « Israel. . .has not extricated itself completely from the mythi- cal camouflage of the victimization mechanism » (p. 120). The revelation that Williams finds « struggling to make itself known in the covenant. . .reaches a new stage of clarity with the great prophets » (p. 127). Williams sees the prophets as doubles of the kings, alike « called » by God, i.e., excluded from the community, « to assume a special responsi- bilityfor those who are likewise expelled, excluded, or marginal » (p. 131). If this calling was « given only ideological lip service » by kings « once power was centralized, » so that the king’s power « resided in his ability to control the mechanism » of sacrificial exchange, the figure of the prophet repre- sented by the canon represents a « radical ‘throwback,’  » standing out from the community structures of violence « in order to stand for both the community and its victims » (p. 143); in this development Williams sees « the chief dynamic of revelation and Scripture » (p. 147). What emerges is a comprehensive proposal for a biblical theology of the nonviolent God. The obvious methodological question, how this theology can be derived from texts saturated with violence, is answered when Williams turns (in chapter 6) to the story of Job, who refuses to cooperate in his own scapegoating by his neighbors. Aware of the complexities of competing voices and messages in the canonical form of the book, Williams declares that « the first obligation of the interpreter who stands in service to the biblical tradition of the disclosure of the innocent victim and the God of victims is not to the text as such but to the victim and to the God of love and justice » (p. 172). Despite Williams’ obvious acumen as a literary critic, he repeatedly distinguishes his reading of the Bible from post-modern methodologies, and even laments the « antirevelation and antitheology values » dominant in « the current intellectual situa- tion » (p. 186). We as human beings are always « involved in the mimetic predicament, » from which we must be extricated by a revelation « from outside ourselves. » « The revelation of God is the disclosure of (1) the standpoint of the victim. . .and (2) the divine-human community of nonviolence » (p. 187). This is a coherent theological position, but a fragile one: for Williams echoes Girard’s polemic against postmodern method, which undermines 187 188 and subverts biblical authority and « elevates the critic to the status of high priest controlling the knowledge of text and tradition » (p. 210). This is disingenuous. A glance at history shows that the Christian gospel has usually not been identified with the revelation of nonviolence, and Wil- liams makes no claim to speak from a community historically committed to nonviolence (as theologians from the « peace churches » frequently do). The result is that he must himself write as a virtuoso critic (despite demurrals like that on p. 213), asking us to share his vision of a nonvio- lent God partially revealed, yet partially concealed by the biblical text, a position analogous to that of Marcion in the second century. – This dilemma is nowhere more evident than in Williams’ discussion of the Gospels (chapters 7 and 8), which he declares to be « the culmina- tion of the Israelite-Jewish tradition of revelation, » for even here Williams must admit that « sacrificial language still has a strong hold. » He thus departs from Girard, more dramatically than he allows (p. 188), for Girard has repeatedly insisted that « the sacrificial reading of Christianity » is a perverse misconstrual of the Gospels (especially perverse, one presumes, when those who perceive and criticize sacrificial aspects of the Gospels are themselves Christian theologians). Such criticism, Girard has declared, is « a waste of time »: « Among the foolish undertakings of mankind, there is none more ridiculous than this » (The Scapegoat, trans. Yvonne Frecerro [Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 19861, p. 109). Williams echoes Girard’s protest, portraying Gospel critics within the academy as overwhelmed by mimetic rivalry-« everyone tries to outdo everyone else in being against victimization and oppression of every sort, against ethnocentrism, and finally, basically, against Christianity » (p. 186)-but one feels his heart is not really in that fight: he is too aware of the critical problems the Gospels present to Girard’s program; and, after all, he himself takes « the standpoint of the victim » as his hermeneutical principle (p. 239). At times, Williams’ recognition of critical problems in the Gospels tends to undermine the Giraridan reading (a problem Girard avoids in his writings through the ritual expulsion of the critic). Williams labors over the difficulty of sacrificial language in the Gospels, chiefly Jesus’ declaration that the Son of Man « gives his life as a ransom [lytron] for many » (Mark 10:45). He admits that lytron is « an unmistakably sacrificial word that would be readily understood as such, » but offers in place of this « readily understood » meaning a Girardian gloss: « The human condition is such that only the price of the Son of Man’s suffering and death will have the effect of loosening the bonds of the sacred social structure, enabling human beings to see what their predicament is and the kind of faith and action that will bring liberation » (pp. 224, 202). That what the text means is so different from what it says reflects the tragic bondage of human language: « sacrificial language is used, necessarily, in order to break out of a sacrificial view of the world » (p. 224). Journal of the American Academy of Religion Book Reviews Again, Williams gives tremendous weight to Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple (Mark 11:15-19 and parallels), arguing that since « the Temple was the center of the sacred in Judaism, » Jesus’ action represented « an attack on the entire sacrijcial system » (p. 193). He recognizes, however, that Pharisees, Essenes, and various other apocalyptic communal movements were not centered on the Temple (pp. 193, 228). This suggests that Mark’s attempt to link the response of the « crowd » to Jesus with the over- throw of the Temple is artificial. Williams is aware that Mark writes in a specific historical context after the destruction of the Temple (p. 226), but (in defiance of a century of Gospel scholarship) refuses on principle to separate Mark’s theological agenda from the historical context of Jesus’ action: this, the « supreme act of critical differentiating, » would serve only to « deny the authority of the Gospels and to elevate the critic to the status of high priest » (p. 210). At length, however, Williams declares that the biblical critic who wants to find in the Gospels the revelation of the nonviolent God is thrown back upon « faithu-« faith that what is revealed there through human language and culture comes from beyond this setting, where dif- ferences rage in combat with confusion » (p. 231). But this standpoint implicitly challenges the sovereign « authority of the Gospels, » a posture with which other biblical scholars and theologians are increasingly comfortable. In a final chapter Williams offers a sampling of his personal views on current issues from the perspective of Girard’s theory, from abortion (« the perfect example of the innocent victim. . .is the child, particularly the infant and the fetus in the womb, » p. 253), to the addictive nature of American capitalism, to the Persian Gulf War. Guided by a belief that « the destiny of the United States is part of a Spirit-guided historical pro- cess that is decisively centered in the disclosure of the Innocent Victim and is moving toward God’s good end of judgment and restoration of all things » (p. 241), he sees the United States as « the most mythical of nations and the supreme scapegoat nation, » by which he means that « the ills of the world are transferred to our doing, to our reality, whether or not we have any connection with them or not » (p. 243). This is particularly disingenuous in the immediate context, where Williams speaks of the Ira- nian revolution: he notes « the Iranian tendency, even after Khomeini, to impute every misfortune to the ‘Great Satan’ America, » but says nothing, for example, of Norman Schwarzkopf’s contributions in organizing the murderous Savak. Williams rehearses the conventional U.S. legitimations of the Gulf War, considering the rightness of the U.S. « requirement for oil » as self-evident as Hussein’s « quest for power and acclaim in the Arab world » (p. 244). Given the immensity of the Gulf War horror, these pages read as a confirmation of Girard’s words in the Preface: « the only scape- goats easy to detect as such are those of our enemies; the scapegoats of 189 190 our friends are harder to seed, and, if they happen to be ours as well, they are completely invisible as scapegoats » (p. viii). The great value of the book is Williams’ critical erudition, which offers substantiation and, in places, qualifications to Girard’s reading of the Bible. Alongside works like Walter Wink’s Engaging the Powers: Dis- cernment and Resistance in a World of Domination (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1992) and Jim Douglass’ The Nonviolent Coming of God (Maryknoll: Orbis, 1991), this book represents an emerging biblical theol- ogy of nonviolence. Girard’s theory continues to be an integral, if contro- versial, element in the development of that theology in the 1990s. The book includes a general index. Journal of the American Academy of Religion Neil Elliott College of St. Catherine St. Paul, MN 55105The Bible, Violence and the Sacred: Liberation from the Myth of Sanctioned Violence. B y James G. Williams. Foreword by Rene Girard.

San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1991. x + 288 pages. U.S.

$27.00.

 Voir aussi:

LE BOUC EMISSAIRE

René Girard (chapitre I)

Le poète et musicien Guillaume de Machaut écrivait au milieu du XIVe siècle. Son Jugement du Roy de Navarre mériterait d’être mieux connu. La partie principale de l’œuvre, certes, n’est qu’un long poème de style courtois, conventionnel de style et de sujet. Mais le début a quelque chose de saisissant. C’est une suite confuse d’événements catastrophiques auxquels Guillaume prétend avoir assisté avant de s’enfermer, finalement, de terreur dans sa maison pour y attendre la mort ou la fin de l’indicible épreuve. Certains événements sont tout à fait invraisemblables, d’autres ne le sont qu’à demi. Et pourtant de ce récit une impression se dégage : il a dû se passer quelque chose de réel. Il y a des signes dans le ciel. Les pierres pleuvent et assomment les vivants. Des villes entières sont détruites par la foudre. Dans celle où résidait Guillaume – il ne dit pas laquelle – les hommes meurent en grand nombre. Certaines de ces morts sont dues à la méchanceté des juifs et de leurs complices parmi les chrétiens. Comment ces gens-là s’y prenaient-ils pour causer de vastes pertes dans la population locale? Ils empoisonnaient les rivières, les sources d’approvisionnement en eau potable. La justice céleste a mis bon ordre à ces méfaits en révélant leurs auteurs à la population qui les a tous massacrés. Et pourtant les gens n’ont pas cessé de mourir, de plus en plus nombreux, jusqu’à un certain jour de printemps où Guillaume entendit de la musique dans la rue, des hommes et des femmes qui riaient. Tout était fini et la poésie courtoise pouvait recommencer. Depuis ses origines aux XVIe et XVIIe siècles, la critique moderne consiste à ne pas faire aux textes une confiance aveugle. Beaucoup de bons esprits, à notre époque, croient faire progresser encore la perspicacité critique en exigeant une méfiance toujours accrue. A force d’être interprétés et réinterprétés par les générations successives d’historiens, des textes qui paraissaient naguère porteurs d’information réelle sont aujourd’hui soupçonnés. Les épistémologues et les philosophes, d’autre part, traversent une crise radicale qui contribue à l’ébranlement de ce qu’on appelait jadis la science historique. Tous les intellectuels habitués à se nourrir de textes se réfugient dans des considérations désabusées sur l’impossibilité de toute interprétation certaine. Au premier abord, le texte de Guillaume de Machaut peut passer pour vulnérable au climat actuel de scepticisme en matière de certitude historique. Après quelques instants de réflexion, pourtant, même aujourd’hui, les lecteurs repèrent des événements réels à travers les invraisemblances du récit. Ils ne croient ni aux signes dans le ciel ni aux accusations contre les juifs mais ils ne traitent pas tous les thèmes incroyables de la même façon; ils ne les mettent pas tous sur le même plan. Guillaume n’a rien inventé. C’est un homme crédule, certes, et il reflète une opinion publique hystérique. Les innombrables morts dont il fait état n’en sont pas moins réelles, causées de toute évidence par la fameuse peste noire qui ravagea la France en 1349 et 1350. Le massacre des juifs est également réel, justifié aux yeux des foules meurtrières par les rumeurs d’empoisonnement qui circulent un peu partout. C’est la terreur universelle de la maladie qui donne un poids suffisant à ces rumeurs pour déclencher lesdits massacres. Voici le passage du Jugement du Roy de Navarre qui traite des juifs : Après ce, vint une merdaille Fausse, traître et renoïe : Ce fu Judée la honnie, La mauvaise, la desloyal, Qui bien het et aimme tout mal, Qui tant donna d’or et d’argent Et promist a crestienne gent, Que puis, rivieres et fonteinnes Qui estoient cleres et seinnes En plusieurs lieus empoisonnerent, Dont pluseurs leurs vies finerent ; Car trestuit cil qui en usoient Assez soudeinnement moroient. Dont, certes, par dis fois cent mille En morurent, qu’a champ, qu’a ville. Einsois que fust aperceuë Ceste mortel deconvenue. Mais cils qui haut siet et louing voit, Qui tout gouverne et tout pourvoit, Ceste traïson plus celer Ne volt, enis la fist reveler Et si generalement savoir Qu’ils perdirent corps et avoir. Car tuit Juif furent destruit, Li uns pendus, li autres cuit, L’autre noié, l’autre ot copée La teste de hache ou d’espée. Et maint crestien ensement En morurent honteusement1.

Les communautés médiévales redoutaient tellement la peste que son nom même les effrayait; elles évitaient aussi longtemps que possible de le prononcer et même de prendre les mesures qui s’imposaient, au risque d’aggraver les conséquences des épidémies. Leur impuissance était telle qu’avouer la vérité, ce n’était pas faire face à la situation mais plutôt s’abandonner à ses effets désagrégateurs, renoncer à tout semblant de vie normale. La population tout entière s’associait volontiers à ce type d’aveuglement. Cette volonté désespérée de nier l’évidence favorisait la chasse aux « boucs émissaires 2 ». Dans les Animaux malades de la peste, La Fontaine suggère admirablement cette répugnance quasi religieuse à énoncer le terme terrifiant, à déchaîner en quelque sorte sa puissance maléfique dans la communauté : La peste (puisqu’il faut l’appeler par son nom)…

Le fabuliste nous fait assister au processus de la mauvaise foi collective qui consiste à identifier dans l’épidémie un châtiment divin. Le dieu de colère est irrité par une culpabilité qui n’est pas également partagée par tous. Pour écarter le fléau, il faut découvrir le coupable et le traiter en conséquence ou plutôt, comme écrit La Fontaine, le « dévouer » à la divinité. Les premiers interrogés, dans la fable, sont des bêtes de proie qui décrivent benoîtement leur comportement de bête de proie, lequel est tout de suite excusé. L’âne vient en dernier et c’est lui, pas du tout sanguinaire et, de ce fait, le plus faible et le moins protégé, qui se voit, en fin de compte, désigné. Dans certaines villes, pensent les historiens, les juifs se firent massacrer avant l’arrivée de la peste, au seul bruit de sa présence dans le voisinage. Le récit de Guillaume pourrait correspondre à un phénomène de ce genre car le massacre se produisit bien avant le paroxysme de l’épidémie. Mais les nombreuses morts attribuées par l’auteur au poison judaïque suggèrent une autre explication. Si ces morts sont réelles – et il n’y a pas de raison de les tenir pour imaginaires – elles pourraient bien être les premières victimes d’un seul et même fléau. Mais Guillaume ne s’en doute pas, même rétrospectivement. A ses yeux les boucs émissaires traditionnels conservent leur puissance explicatrice pour les premiers stades de l’épidémie. Pour les stades ultérieurs, seulement, l’auteur reconnaît la présence d’un phénomène proprement pathologique. L’étendue du désastre finit par décourager la seule explication par le complot des empoisonneurs, mais Guillaume ne réinterprète pas la suite entière des événements en fonction de leur raison d’être véritable. On peut d’ailleurs se demander jusqu’à quel point le poète reconnaît la présence de la peste car il évite jusqu’au bout d’écrire noir sur blanc le mot fatal. Au moment décisif, il introduit avec solennité le terme grec et encore rare, semble-t-il, d’epydimie. Ce mot ne fonctionne pas, visiblement, dans son texte comme il ferait dans le nôtre; ce n’est pas un véritable équivalent du terme redouté, c’est plutôt une espèce de substitut, un nouveau procédé pour ne pas appeler la peste par son nom, un nouveau bouc émissaire en somme mais purement linguistique cette fois. Il n’a jamais été possible, nous dit Guillaume, de déterminer la nature et la cause de la maladie dont tant de gens moururent en si peu de temps : Ne fusicien n’estoit, ne mire Qui bien sceüst la cause dire Dont ce venoit, ne que c’estoit (Ne nuls remede n’y metoit), Fors tant que c’estoit maladie Qu’on appelloit epydimie. Sur ce point encore, Guillaume préfère s’en remettre à l’opinion publique plutôt que de penser par lui-même. Du mot savant d’epydimie se dégage, semble-t-il, un parfum de « scientificité » qui contribue à refouler l’angoisse, un peu comme ces fumigations odoriférantes qu’on pratiquait longtemps au coin des rues pour tempérer les effluves pestilentiels. Une maladie bien nommée paraît à demi guérie et pour se donner une fausse impression de maîtrise on rebaptise fréquemment les phénomènes immaîtrisables. Ces exorcismes verbaux n’ont pas cessé de nous séduire dans tous les domaines où notre science demeure illusoire ou inefficace. En se refusant à la nommer c’est la peste elle-même, en somme, qu’on « dévoue » à la divinité. Il y a là comme un sacrifice langagier assez innocent, certes, comparé aux sacrifices humains qui l’accompagnent ou le précèdent, mais analogue dans sa structure essentielle. Même rétrospectivement, tous les boucs émissaires collectifs réels et imaginaires, les juifs et les flagellants, les pluies de pierre et l’epydimie, continuent à jouer leur rôle si efficacement dans le récit de Guillaume que celui-ci ne voit jamais l’unité du fléau désigné par nous comme la « peste noire ». L’auteur continue à percevoir une multiplicité de désastres plus ou moins indépendants ou reliés les uns aux autres seulement par leur signification religieuse, un peu comme les dix plaies d’Egypte. Tout ce que je viens de dire, ou presque, est évident. Nous comprenons tous le récit de Guillaume de la même façon et mes lecteurs n’ont pas besoin de moi. Il n’est pourtant pas inutile d’insister sur cette lecture dont l’audace et la puissance nous échappent, précisément parce qu’elle est admise par tous, parce qu’elle n’est pas controversée. L’unanimité s’est faite autour d’elle il y a littéralement des siècles et jamais elle ne s’est défaite. C’est d’autant plus remarquable qu’il s’agit d’une réinterprétation radicale. Nous rejetons sans hésiter le sens que l’auteur donne à son texte. Nous affirmons qu’il ne sait pas ce qu’il dit. A plusieurs siècles de distance, nous autres, modernes, le savons mieux que lui et nous sommes capables de rectifier son dire. Nous nous croyons à même de repérer une vérité que l’auteur n’a pas vue et, par une audace plus grande encore, nous n’hésitons pas à affirmer que cette vérité, c’est lui qui nous l’apporte, en dépit de son aveuglement. Est-ce à dire que cette interprétation ne mérite pas l’adhésion massive dont elle fait l’objet; nous montrons-nous à son égard d’une indulgence excessive? Pour discréditer un témoignage judiciaire, il suffit de prouver que, même sur un seul point, le témoin manque d’impartialité. En règle générale nous traitons les documents historiques comme des témoignages judiciaires. Or, nous transgressons cette règle en faveur d’un Guillaume de Machaut qui ne mérite peut-être pas ce traitement privilégié. Nous affirmons la réalité des persécutions mentionnées dans Le Jugement du Roy de Navarre. Nous prétendons tirer du vrai, en somme, d’un texte qui se trompe grossièrement sur des points essentiels. Si nous avons des raisons de nous méfier de ce texte, nous devrions peut-être le tenir pour entièrement suspect et renoncer à fonder sur lui la moindre certitude, sans excepter le fait brut de la persécution. D’où vient donc l’assurance étonnante de notre affirmation : des juifs ont été réellement massacrés. Une première réponse se présente à l’esprit. Nous ne lisons pas ce texte isolément. Il existe d’autres textes de la même époque; ils traitent des mêmes sujets; certains d’entre eux valent mieux que celui de Guillaume. Leurs auteurs s’y montrent moins crédules. A eux tous, ils forment un réseau serré de connaissances historiques au sein duquel nous replaçons le texte de Guillaume. C’est grâce à ce contexte, surtout, que nous réussissons à partager le vrai du faux dans le passage que j’ai cité. Il est vrai que les persécutions antisémites de la peste noire constituent un ensemble de faits relativement bien connu. Il y a là tout un savoir déjà constitué et il suscite en nous une certaine attente. Le texte de Guillaume répond à cette attente. Cette perspective n’est pas fausse sur le plan de notre expérience individuelle et du contact immédiat avec le texte, mais du point de vue théorique elle n’est pas satisfaisante. Le réseau de connaissances historiques existe, certes, mais les documents qui le composent ne sont jamais beaucoup plus sûrs que le texte de Guillaume, soit pour des raisons analogues, soit pour des raisons différentes. Et nous ne pouvons pas situer Guillaume parfaitement dans ce contexte puisque nous ne savons pas, je l’ai déjà dit, où se déroulent les événements qu’il nous rapporte. C’est peut-être à Paris, c’est peut-être à Reims, c’est peut-être dans une troisième ville. De toute façon le contexte ne joue pas un rôle décisif; même s’il n’en était pas informé, le lecteur moderne aboutirait à la lecture que j’ai donnée. Il conclurait à la probabilité de victimes injustement massacrées. Il penserait donc que le texte dit faux, puisque ces victimes sont innocentes, mais il penserait simultanément que le texte dit vrai, puisque les victimes sont réelles. Il finirait toujours par distinguer le vrai du faux exactement comme nous le distinguons nous-mêmes. Qu’est-ce qui nous donne ce pouvoir? Ne convient-il pas de se guider systématiquement sur le principe du panier de pommes tout entier bon à jeter pour peu qu’il en contienne une seule de gâtée ? Ne doit-on pas soupçonner ici une défaillance du soupçon, un reste de naïveté dont l’hypercritique contemporaine aurait déjà fait place nette si on lui laissait le champ libre ? Ne faut-il pas avouer que toute connaissance historique est incertaine et qu’on ne peut rien tirer d’un texte tel que le nôtre, pas même la réalité d’une persécution ? A toutes ces questions il faut répondre par un non catégorique. Le scepticisme sans nuances ne tient pas compte de la nature propre du texte. Entre les données vraisemblables de ce texte et les données invraisemblables il existe un rapport très particulier. Au départ, certes, le lecteur ne peut pas dire : ceci est faux, ceci est vrai. Il ne voit que des thèmes plus ou moins incroyables et croyables. Les morts qui se multiplient sont croyables ; il pourrait s’agir d’une épidémie. Mais les empoisonnements ne le sont guère, surtout à l’échelle massive décrite par Guillaume. Le XIVe siècle ne possède pas de substances capables de produire des effets aussi nocifs. La haine de l’auteur pour les prétendus coupables est explicite ; elle rend sa thèse extrêmement suspecte. On ne peut pas reconnaître ces deux types de données sans constater, au moins implicitement, qu’ils réagissent l’un sur l’autre. S’il y a vraiment une épidémie, elle pourrait bien enflammer les préjugés qui sommeillent. L’appétit persécuteur se polarise volontiers sur les minorités religieuses, surtout en temps de crise. Réciproquement, une persécution réelle pourrait bien se justifier par le type d’accusation dont Guillaume se fait crédulement l’écho. Un poète tel que lui ne devrait pas être particulièrement sanguinaire. S’il ajoute foi aux histoires qu’il raconte c’est sans doute qu’on y ajoute foi autour de lui. Le texte suggère donc une opinion publique surexcitée, prête à accueillir les rumeurs les plus absurdes. Il suggère, en somme, un état de choses propice aux massacres dont l’auteur nous affirme qu’ils se sont réellement produits. Dans le contexte des représentations invraisemblables, la vraisemblance des autres se confirme et se transforme en probabilité. La réciproque est vraie. Dans le contexte des représentations vraisemblables, l’invraisemblance des autres ne peut guère relever d’une « fonction fabulatrice » qui s’exercerait gratuitement, pour le plaisir d’inventer de la fiction. Nous reconnaissons l’imaginaire, certes, mais pas n’importe quel imaginaire, c’est l’imaginaire spécifique des hommes en appétit de violence. Entre toutes les représentations du texte, par conséquent, il existe une convenance réciproque, une correspondance dont on ne peut rendre compte que par une seule hypothèse. Le texte que nous lisons doit s’enraciner dans une persécution réelle, rapportée dans la perspective des persécuteurs. Cette perspective est forcément trompeuse en ceci que les persécuteurs sont convaincus du bien-fondé de leur violence ; ils se prennent pour des justiciers, il leur faut donc des victimes coupables, mais cette perspective est partiellement véridique car la certitude d’avoir raison encourage ces mêmes persécuteurs à ne rien dissimuler de leurs massacres. Devant un texte du type Guillaume de Machaut, il est légitime de suspendre la règle générale selon laquelle l’ensemble d’un texte ne vaut jamais mieux, sous le rapport de l’information réelle, que la pire de ses données. Si le texte décrit des circonstances favorables à la persécution, s’il nous présente des victimes appartenant au type que les persécuteurs ont l’habitude de choisir, et si, pour plus de certitude encore, il présente ces victimes comme coupables du type de crimes que les persécuteurs attribuent, en règle générale, à leurs victimes, il y a de grandes chances pour que la persécution soit réelle. Si le texte lui-même affirme cette réalité, il y a plus de raisons de l’accepter que de la rejeter. Dès qu’on pressent la perspective des persécuteurs, l’absurdité des accusations, loin de compromettre la valeur d’information d’un texte, renforce sa crédibilité mais sous le rapport seulement des violences dont il se fait lui-même l’écho. Si Guillaume avait ajouté des histoires d’infanticide rituel à son affaire d’empoisonnement, son compte rendu serait plus invraisemblable encore mais il n’en résulterait aucune diminution de certitude quant à la réalité des massacres qu’il nous rapporte. Plus les accusations sont invraisemblables dans ce genre de textes, plus elles renforcent la vraisemblance des massacres : elles nous confirment la présence d’un contexte psychosocial au sein duquel les massacres devaient presque certainement se produire. Inversement, le thème des massacres, juxtaposé à celui de l’épidémie, fournit le contexte historique au sein duquel même un intellectuel en principe raffiné pourrait prendre au sérieux son histoire d’empoisonnement. Les représentations persécutrices nous mentent, indubitablement, mais d’une façon trop caractéristique des persécuteurs en général et des persécuteurs médiévaux en particulier pour que le texte ne dise pas vrai sur tous les points où il confirme les conjectures suggérées par la nature même de son mensonge. Quand c’est la réalité de leurs persécutions que les persécuteurs probables affirment, ils méritent qu’on leur fasse confiance. C’est la combinaison de deux types de données qui engendre la certitude. Si l’on ne rencontrait cette combinaison qu’à de rares exemples cette certitude ne serait pas complète. Mais la fréquence est trop grande pour que le doute soit possible. Seule la persécution réelle, envisagée dans l’optique des persécuteurs, peut expliquer la conjonction régulière de ces données. Notre interprétation de tous les textes est statistiquement certaine. Ce caractère statistique ne signifie pas que la certitude repose sur la pure et simple accumulation de documents tous également incertains. Cette certitude est de plus haute qualité. Tout document du type Guillaume de Machaut a une valeur considérable parce qu’on retrouve en lui le vraisemblable et l’invraisemblable agencés de telle façon que chacun explique et légitime la présence de l’autre. Si notre certitude a un caractère statistique, c’est parce que n’importe quel document, envisagé isolément, pourrait être l’œuvre d’un faussaire. Les chances sont faibles mais elles ne sont pas nulles au niveau du document individuel. Au niveau du grand nombre, en revanche, elles sont nulles. La solution réaliste que le monde occidental et moderne a adoptée pour démystifier les « textes de persécution » est la seule possible et elle est certaine parce qu’elle rend parfaitement compte de toutes les données qui figurent dans ce type de textes. Ce ne sont pas l’humanitarisme ou l’idéologie qui nous la dictent, ce sont des raisons intellectuelles décisives. Cette interprétation n’a pas usurpé le consensus unanime dont elle fait l’objet. L’histoire n’a pas de résultats plus solides à nous offrir. Pour l’historien « des mentalités », un témoignage en principe digne de foi, c’est-à-dire le témoignage d’un homme qui ne partage pas les illusions d’un Guillaume de Machaut, n’aura jamais autant de valeur que le témoignage indigne des persécuteurs, ou de leurs complices, plus fortement parce que inconsciemment révélateur. Le document décisif est celui de persécuteurs assez naïfs pour ne pas effacer les traces de leurs crimes, à la différence de certains persécuteurs modernes, trop avisés pour laisser derrière eux des documents qui pourraient être utilisés contre eux. J’appelle naïfs les persécuteurs encore assez persuadés de leur bon droit et pas assez méfiants pour maquiller ou censurer les données caractéristiques de leur persécution. Celles-ci apparaissent dans leurs textes tantôt sous une forme véridique et directement révélatrice, tantôt sous une forme trompeuse mais indirectement révélatrice. Toutes les données sont fortement stéréotypées et c’est la combinaison des deux types de stéréotypes, les véridiques et les trompeurs, qui nous renseigne sur la nature de ces textes. ? Nous savons tous repérer, aujourd’hui, les stéréotypes de la persécution. Il y a là un savoir qui s’est banalisé mais qui n’existait pas ou très peu au XIVe siècle. Les persécuteurs naïfs ne savent pas ce qu’ils font. Ils ont trop bonne conscience pour tromper sciemment leurs lecteurs et ils présentent les choses telles que réellement ils les voient. Ils ne se doutent pas qu’en rédigeant leurs comptes rendus ils donnent des armes contre eux-mêmes à la postérité. C’est vrai au XVIe siècle pour la tristement fameuse « chasse aux sorcières ». C’est encore vrai de nos jours pour les régions « arriérées » de notre planète. Nous nageons donc en pleine banalité et le lecteur trouve ennuyeuses, peut-être, les évidences premières que je lui assène. Qu’il m’en excuse, mais on verra bientôt que ce n’est pas inutile; il suffit, parfois, d’un déplacement minuscule pour rendre insolite, inconcevable même, ce qui va sans dire dans le cas de Guillaume de Machaut. En parlant comme je le fais, le lecteur peut déjà le constater, je contredis certains principes que de nombreux critiques tiennent pour sacro-saints. Jamais, me dit-on toujours, il ne faut faire violence au texte. Face à Guillaume de Machaut, le choix est clair : ou bien on fait violence au texte ou bien on laisse se perpétuer la violence du texte contre des victimes innocentes. Certains principes qui paraissent universellement valables de nos jours parce qu’ils fournissent, semble-t-il, d’excellents garde-fous contre les excès de certains interprètes peuvent entraîner des conséquences néfastes auxquelles n’ont pas songé ceux qui croient avoir tout prévu en les tenant pour inviolables. On va partout répétant que le premier devoir du critique est de respecter la signification des textes. Peut-on soutenir ce principe jusqu’au bout devant la « littérature » d’un Guillaume de Machaut? Une autre lubie contemporaine fait piètre figure à la lumière de Guillaume de Machaut, ou plutôt de la lecture que nous en donnons tous, sans hésiter, et c’est la façon désinvolte dont nos critiques littéraires congédient désormais ce qu’ils appellent le « référent ». Dans le jargon linguistique de notre époque, le référent c’est la chose même dont un texte entend parler, à savoir ici le massacre des juifs perçus comme responsables de l’empoisonnement des chrétiens. Depuis une vingtaine d’années on nous répète que le référent est à peu près inaccessible. Peu importe d’ailleurs que nous soyons ou ne soyons pas capables d’y accéder; le souci naïf du référent ne peut qu’entraver, paraît-il, l’étude moderne de la textualité. Seuls comptent désormais les rapports toujours équivoques et glissants du langage avec lui-même. Tout n’est pas toujours à rejeter dans cette perspective mais à l’appliquer de façon scolaire on risque de voir en Ernest Hoeppfner, l’éditeur de Guillaume dans la vénérable Société des anciens textes, le seul critique vraiment idéal de cet écrivain. Son introduction parle de poésie courtoise en effet, mais il n’y est jamais question du massacre des juifs pendant la peste noire. Le passage de Guillaume, cité plus haut, constitue un bon exemple de ce que j’ai nommé dans Des choses cachées depuis la fondation du monde les « textes de persécution 3 ». J’entends par là les comptes rendus de violences réelles, souvent collectives, rédigés dans la perspective des persécuteurs, et affectés, par conséquent, de distorsions caractéristiques. Il faut repérer ces distorsions pour les rectifier et pour déterminer la réalité de toutes les violences que le texte de persécution présente comme justifiées. Il n’est pas nécessaire d’examiner longuement le compte rendu d’un procès de sorcellerie pour constater qu’on y retrouve la même combinaison de données réelles et de données imaginaires mais nullement gratuites que nous avons rencontrée dans le texte de Guillaume de Machaut. Tout est présenté comme vrai et nous n’en croyons rien mais nous n’en croyons pas pour autant que tout est faux. Nous n’avons aucune peine, pour l’essentiel, à faire le partage du vrai et du faux. Là aussi les chefs d’accusation paraissent ridicules même si la sorcière les tient pour réels, et même s’il y a lieu de penser que ses aveux n’ont pas été obtenus par la torture. L’accusée peut fort bien se prendre pour une sorcière véritable. Peut-être s’est-elle réellement efforcée de nuire à ses voisins par des procédés magiques. Nous n’en jugeons pas pour autant qu’elle mérite la mort. Il n’y a pas pour nous de procédés magiques efficaces. Nous admettons sans peine que la victime puisse partager avec ses bourreaux la même foi dérisoire en l’efficacité de la sorcellerie mais cette foi ne nous atteint pas nous-mêmes ; notre scepticisme n’en est pas ébranlé. Pendant ces procès aucune voix ne s’élève pour rétablir, ou plutôt pour établir la vérité. Personne n’est encore capable de le faire. C’est dire que nous avons contre nous, contre l’interprétation que nous donnons de leurs propres textes, non seulement les juges et les témoins mais les accusées elles-mêmes. Cette unanimité ne nous impressionne pas. Les auteurs de ces documents étaient là et nous n’y étions pas. Nous ne disposons d’aucune information qui ne vienne d’eux. Et pourtant, à plusieurs siècles de distance, un historien solitaire, ou même le premier individu venu se juge habilité à casser la sentence prononcée contre les sorcières4. C’est la même réinterprétation radicale que dans l’exemple de Guillaume de Machaut, la même audace dans le bouleversement des textes, c’est la même opération intellectuelle et c’est la même certitude, fondée sur le même type de raisons. La présence de données imaginaires ne nous amène pas à considérer l’ensemble du texte comme imaginaire. Bien au contraire. Les accusations incroyables ne diminuent pas mais renforcent la crédibilité des autres données. Ici encore nous avons un rapport qui semble paradoxal mais en réalité ne l’est pas entre l’improbabilité et la probabilité des données qui entrent dans la composition des textes. C’est en fonction de ce rapport, généralement informulé mais néanmoins présent à notre esprit que nous évaluons la quantité et la qualité de l’information susceptible d’être extraite de notre texte. Si le document est de nature légale, les résultats sont d’habitude aussi positifs ou même plus positifs encore que dans le cas de Guillaume de Machaut. Il est dommage que la plupart des comptes rendus aient été brûlés en même temps que les sorcières elles-mêmes. Les accusations sont absurdes et la sentence injuste mais les textes sont rédigés avec le souci d’exactitude et de clarté qui caractérise, en règle générale, les documents légaux. Notre confiance est donc bien placée. Elle ne permet pas de soupçonner que nous sympathisons secrètement avec les chasseurs de sorcières. L’historien qui regarderait toutes les données d’un procès comme également fantaisistes sous prétexte que certaines d’entre elles sont entachées de distorsions persécutrices ne connaîtrait rien à son affaire et ses collègues ne le prendraient pas au sérieux. La critique la plus efficace ne consiste pas à assimiler toutes les données du texte à la plus invraisemblable sous prétexte qu’on péchera toujours par défaut et jamais par excès de méfiance. Une fois de plus le principe de la méfiance sans limites doit s’effacer devant la règle d’or des textes de persécution. La mentalité persécutrice suscite un certain type d’illusion et les traces de cette illusion confirment plutôt qu’elles n’infirment la présence, derrière le texte qui en fait lui-même état, d’un certain type d’événement, la persécution elle-même, la mise à mort de la sorcière. Il n’est donc pas difficile, je le répète, de démêler le vrai du faux qui ont l’un et l’autre un caractère assez fortement stéréotypé. Pour bien comprendre le pourquoi et le comment de l’assurance extraordinaire dont nous faisons preuve devant les textes de persécution, il faut énumérer et décrire les stéréotypes. Là non plus, la tâche n’est pas difficile. Il ne s’agit jamais que d’expliciter un savoir que nous possédons déjà mais dont nous ne soupçonnons pas la portée car nous ne le dégageons jamais de façon systématique. Le savoir en question reste pris dans les exemples concrets auxquels nous l’appliquons et ceux-ci appartiennent toujours au domaine de l’histoire, surtout occidentale. Jamais encore nous n’avons essayé d’appliquer ce savoir en dehors de ce domaine, par exemple aux univers dits « ethnologiques ». C’est pour rendre cette tentative possible que je vais maintenant ébaucher, de façon sommaire d’ailleurs, une typologie des stéréotypes de la persécution. 1 Œuvres de Guillaume de Machaut, publiées par Ernest Hoeppfner, I, Le Jugement du Roy de Navarre , Société des anciens textes français, 1908, pp. 144-145.

RÉSUMÉ DU LIVRE – MOT DE L’AUTEUR – MOT DE L’ÉDITEUR

Oedipe est chassé de Thèbes comme responsable du fléau qui s’abat sur la ville. La victime est d’accord avec ses bourreaux. Le malheur est apparu parce qu’il a tué son père et épousé sa mère. Le bouc émissaire suppose toujours l’illusion persécutrice. Les bourreaux croient à la culpabilité des victimes ; ils sont convaincus, au moment de l’apparition de la peste noire au XIVe siècle, que les juifs ont empoisonné les rivières. La chasse aux sorcières implique que juges et accusées croient en l’efficace de la sorcellerie. Les Evangiles gravitent autour de la passion comme toutes les mythologies du monde mais la victime rejette toutes les illusions persécutrices, refuse le cycle de la violence et du sacré. Le bouc émissaire devient l’agneau de Dieu. Ainsi est détruite à jamais la crédibilité de la représentation mythologique. Nous restons des persécuteurs mais des persécuteurs honteux. « Toute violence désormais révèle ce que révèle la passion du Christ, la genèse imbécile des idoles sanglantes, de tous les faux dieux des religions, des politiques, des idéologies. »

Voir enfin:

Sacrifice, Mimesis, and the Genesis of Violence: A Response to Bruce Chilton

JAMES G. WILLIAMS (SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY)

Bulletin for Biblical Research 3 (1993) 31-47

Institute for Biblical Research

I would like to thank Bruce Chilton for the informed and collegial way that he has responded to The Bible, Violence, and the Sacred: Lib- eration from the Myth of Sanctioned Violence . He quite rightly places it in the context of René Girard’s mi metic theory and then focuses on the issue of sacrifice in the ensuing critique of my book. There is much at stake here for all of us wh o seek to preserve and clarify the distinctive testimony of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures. We are in an age when « pos tmodern » critics, whether literary, philosoph cal, or theological, tend (if not intend) to undermine the Jewish and Christian heritage of Western cultu re. We should be well aware of this tendency, whose inspiration comes primarily from Nietzsche and whose thrust has been transm itted into the contemporary period primarily through Heidegger and Derrida. However, a blind reaction to it will simply make of us « doubles » of postmodern inter- preters, that is, rivals so preoccupi ed with the enemy other that our thinking is determined by them. In this context there is no problem more urgent than the ancient phenom enon of sacrifice and all that attends it. Certain aspects of Chilton’s review of Girard’s theory are quite perceptive. He says, « In his treatmen t of the Gospels, Girard’s analy- sis becomes openly ethical and programmatic (one might even say, evangelical) » (p. 20). That is certainl y true. Girard’s research has led him to an « evangelical » orientation not simply in the sense of the good news of the Gospel witness to the Christ, but in arguing that both scientific and religious truth co nverge and have their origin in the biblical testimony to the innocen t victim and the God who is the advocate of victims. A typica l statement is this one from The Scape- goat : « The invention of science is not the reason that there are no 32 Bulletin for Biblical Research 3 longer witches, but the fact that there are no longer witch-hunts is the reason that science has been invented. » 1 This opening up of the world to investigation is part of a long history, which does not run in a straight line or smoothly but which nonetheless moves inevita- bly toward disclosure of the collec tive violence and its ritual forms that undergird human culture. The unveiling of collective violence and victimization camouflaged in religion and culture comes pri- marily through certain distinctive bib lical witnesses. Above all, in its clearest and most sustained form, it is disclosed through Jesus as the Christ in the New Testament Gospels. With respect to colle ctive violence and victimization, Chilton as- tutely notes that for Girard « tex ts of persecution and myths are comparable: a real victim lies at the origin of both » (p. 19). Both an- cient and modern cultures share this concealment of violence. This is a crucial issue with many facets. On the one hand, bib lical interpret- ers on a wide spectrum of denominati onal affiliations tend either to disregard large portions of the Bibl e because of the patent exclusiv- ism, aggression, or violence that is narrated (e.g., the conquest of Canaan in the early part of Joshua) or to justify such behavior and attitudes on the basis of the Bible. But from the standpoint of the hermeneutics of the mime tic theory, the Bible— especially the Jew- ish Scriptures or Old Testament but also to some degree the New Testament—is a « mixed » text in wh ich the witnesses of the tradition are struggling to articulate the reve lation of the God who liberates victims as over against the myths of sacred violence dominating in the cultural milieu out of which Israel was called to become God’s exception in the world. Girard’s mimetic theory directs the inter- preter to focus on what is distinctive of Israel vis-à-vis the other na- tions of the world, where one enco unters founding events that are based on regenerative violence. Rome , for example, was founded by means of Romulus’s slaying of Remus. This is simply reported in a neutral fashion by Livy in his histor y as something that occurred, and of course from a mythical view point one would expect it to oc- cur. Civilization begins according to Ge nesis 4 as the result of Cain’s murder of Abel—but th e innocence of Abel is affirmed and Cain must hear the divine voice that asks , « Where is Abel your brother? » The mark placed upon Cain is both a sign to protect him against the very violence he himself has co mmitted and a reminder of God’s question. Behind the question lies the victim. On the other hand, a significant stream of modern and postmod- ern thought has ignored or denied that violence is at the root of our 1. The Scapegoat (trans. Yvonne Freccero; Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986) 204. WILLIAMS: A Response to Bruce Chilton 33 cultural origins. A philosopher like Martin Heidegger, for example, spoke of violence, particularly in An Introduction to Metaphysics , as the work of logos as polemos , namely the creative violence, the sorting out and building in which the poets, thinkers, and leaders must en- gage as they fulfill the destiny of Be ing. But this, he maintains, is not the ordinary violence of human war or battle. This from a philoso- pher who presented a philosophical defense of National Socialism! One of his philosophical heirs, Jac ques Derrida, has actually recog- nized the structure of violence and sacrifice in writing and texts but has so far been unwilling to move beyond the signifiers of texts to the signifier who, from Girard’s sta ndpoint, is the original sign, both signifier and signified: the innocen t or arbitrarily chosen victim. 2 I am also grateful for the ques tion about covenant and sacrifice that Chilton raises. The question is wh ether I offer in fact « a major re- vision of Girard’s theory » in viewi ng the covenant and its sacrificial instruments quite positively (p. 24) . If indeed I do this it would not negate the entirety of Girard’s mi metic theory, but it would certainly undercut Girard’s hypothesis concer ning the role of sacrifice as the primary ritual manifestation of the sacred, that is, projected violence. This is a crucial question, one that is sufficiently complex that I con- sider it better to deal with it late r under the rubric of differentiation and sacrifice. Now I will turn to the major issu es raised in Bruce Chilton’s re- sponse in which I think he has misu nderstood Girard or me, or both. There are three subjects on which I will focus: mimesis, differentia- tion and sacrifice in Girard’s work and in my book, and Chilton’s model for understanding sacrifice. MIMESIS OR MIMETIC DESIRE Mimesis, or mimetic desire, is the foundation of Girard’s theory. As Chilton indicates, Girard, in the tradition of Hegel and Kojève, views human beings as desiring being. But Girard departs from the Hegelian tradition in understandin g desire as an empirical and finally anthropological reality, not as a metaphysical reality. He does not identify desire with human cons ciousness, as Hegel does, and he emphasizes the object of desire , which is what rivals contest and which mediates the « being » or « rea lity » of the model of mediator to the subject. Human beings have very limited in stincts, the genetic directives that serve as guiding and braking f unctions to other animals. Human 2. See Andrew J. McKenna, Violence and Difference: Girard, Derrida, and Decon- struction (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1992). 34 Bulletin for Biblical Research 3 needs and drives (neither of which could be called « desires ») become actual and take certain pathways through mimesis or imitation of others. The result is desire that is mimetic. The dynamic of the hu- man system is desire, the structure is mimetic. One could call this « imitational » desire. However, becaus e imitation is a word that has become watered down and convey s no connotation of acquisitive- ness, Girard prefers the classical word. The acquisitive character of human desire lays the groundwork for human conflict. The subject not only seeks to be like the other; he or she wants to have what the other has and even to be what the other is. The object of desire is what the model or mediator desires, but what the desiring subject really wants is to be desired by the model, whereas the actual object of the model’s desire is to be de- sired. The result of this relationship of subject to model can turn to conflict or violence. The message gi ven off by the model may be « im- itate me »—except in this one respect, « don’t imitate me. » A classical instance of this is Freud’s so-called Oedipus complex. However, from the standpoint of the mimetic theory it is the desire to imitate the model/mediator (more or less th e same as Freud’s « identifica- tion »), not sexual attachment to the pa rent of the opposite sex, that may (but does not always or necessarily) issue in rivalry. Of course, in human relations hips conflict do esn’t always emerge, and in most cultural contexts conflict and violence do not reign most of the time. Why not? Because cultural forms, which can- not be separated from wh at we now call the religious or the sacred, establish differences . These differences function to keep people from destructive rivalries yet enable them to enter into cooperative rela- tions. I will discuss this further wh en I take up differentiation and sacrifice. Chilton says, “The seed of destruc tion within desire is that it is ‘mimetic’” (p. 17). He a sserts similarly, toward the end of his essay, that mimesis « is, by practical definition, covetous rivalry » (p. 27). This is a crucial issue because if mimesis (or mimetic desire) is inher- ently a rivalry based on desire of what the other has, then any teach- ing or proclamation of « good mi mesis » would be logically and theologically impossible. From the standpoint of Christian theology this would be a denial of creati on (everything created good, Genesis 1) and so would amount to a denial of « original sin, » which is pred- icated upon a good creation and the possibility of restoration, of new creation. Chilton therefore welcomes my explication of the covenant model of existence, which I “might have called covenantal mimesis, ‘the powerful generative vision from which the Bible as a whole stems’” (p. 27). Chilton’s insight in to what I attempted to communi- cate is striking: I would accept « cove nantal mimesis » as an excellent WILLIAMS: A Response to Bruce Chilton 35 term for what I have described as the Bible’s generative vision. I did not intend to state or imply that it includes or could incorporate sac- rifice as part of the covenantal mimesis in its ideal form . I will take up that issue in discussing differentiation and sacrifice. At this point I am concerned rather to comment on Chilton’s point that I have de- parted from Girard in pointing toward this covenantal mimesis, and that I « correct » him in my claim that « in and of itself [mimesis] is a neutral capability of the brain and of every aspect of systems that can be considered ‘human.' » 3 In fact, Girard has not made himself completely clear on mime- sis and the human condition. This lack of clarity may reflect the fact that his thinking was very much in process from the 1960s into the 1980s. Moreover, as an interdiscip linary thinker who has confronted the tradition of thought, stemming from Nietzsche, which funda- mentally understands life or reality as differential or conflictual, originating in violence and returning to violence, 4 he has perhaps occasionally played too much in his opponents’ field and by their rules. But that is often a risk that a thinker has to take—and I think Girard is a great thinker. So it is that if one begins reading Girard’s Violence and the Sacred or Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World , mimetic desire comes across as inevitably leading hu mans into rivalry and violence. However, if one reads on to the chapter on Freud in Violence or to Book III of Things Hidden , one finds that Girard does not construe human relations, whether parent-child or any other, as necessarily rivalrous, neurotic, or pathological. Some forms of behavior are good to imitate; it is just that children, disciples, and admirers do not know which these are to the extent that the model fascinates or dominates them. 5 An individual finds it difficult, if not often impos- sible, to stop the imitation process a nd say, « To do this or to hold this attitude is good, to do that or to hold that attitude is bad. » The only reality that helps us in this s ituation, from Girard’s standpoint, is good mimesis. « Good mimesis » ha s two related but distinct mean- ings, as I indicate in my book. 6 The first presupposes an underlying scapegoat mechanism that stems fro m collective violence and whose object, in an indirect and mostly ca mouflaged way, is to control vio- lence. It could be called the « effec tive mimesis » of cu lture to the ex- tent that it works in assigning a nd maintaining differentiations—the 3. The Bible, Violence, and the Sacred (San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1991) 239. 4. See John Milbank, Theology and Social Theory: Beyond Secular Reason (Oxford and Cambridge: Basil Blackwell, 1990, 1991) chap. 10. 5. See Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World (trans. S. Bann and M. Met- teer; Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1987) 290. 6. The Bible, Violence, and the Sacred , 261 n. 17. 36 Bulletin for Biblical Research 3 differences necessary for language, roles, institutions, and every form of cooperative activ ity. However, if Girard held only to that sense of mimesis, his position would be little different from that of Thomas Hobbes or Joseph de Maistre, whose thinking was profound but thoroughly sacrificial. What really opens up our human poten- tial, what makes of us potential contributors to a divine-human community, is a good mimesis that cannot originate in human de- sires and projection. This good mimesis is revelation . Girard has, to be sure, never employed the term « good mimesis, » but this is the mi- mesis he has in mind in referring to those who aid Jesus in his mis- sion of « starting the good contagio n belonging to good reciprocity. » 7 Apart from revelation, or the sustai ned witness to revelation, human beings are given situations and mome nts in which they are able to realize good mimesis, but these oc casions have been fragmentary outside of the sustained scriptural witness to the disclosure of the God of victims. 8 In The Scapegoat this good mimesis, this divinely given model, is the burden of the chapters on « The Key Words of the Gospel Pas- sion » and « History and the Paraclet e. » The reason for us to forgive one another is that we all fall short of th e model/mediator who for- gives, for we all, in some way, have worshiped or sustained blood- stained idols; but by the same token, we have all been forgiven if we are willing to accept this forgiveness and forgive one another. Good mimesis, divine in origin, is dynami c, not simply a pattern to copy. It takes form in comm unity and forgiveness. Mimetic desire is potentially de structive; it is also potentially creative. The point is not to remove oneself from desire but to create a better desire. Since we are blind to our own mimesis, to our self- representations and representations of others—as Paul states in his own language in Romans 7—we cann ot create our own better desire and live out of it on a sustained basis apart from revelation and grace. Only through incarnation, th rough the Logos, the creator God who enters into our condition and ex poses the mechanisms of desire and scapegoating, can we be liberat ed for a new desire, a new being. So if Girard does not adequa tely clarify his understanding of mimesis in some parts of his work, I think what I have just sketched 7. The French text: « amorcer la bonne contagion de la bonne reciprocité » ( Things Hidden , 297; English trans. 203). 8. I confirmed this point in a telephone conversation with Girard on November 2, 1992. At the level of the classical literary traditions he obviously appreciates the in- sights of the great Greek tragedians. He al so acknowledges the insights of the Buddhist tradition concerning desire and determination by the world of suffering. However, for Buddhism the religious and ethical center of the disclosure of truth is not the innocent victim. WILLIAMS: A Response to Bruce Chilton 37 is true to his concept and intention. He has more and more come to appreciate how culture works and so he has become more positive about its sacrificial mech anism. That is, how woul d any of us in any social order survive without differe ntiating and surrogate functions that enable the totality of the system to surviv e and to transmit itself (perhaps often greatly modified)? « Differentiating and surrogate functions » are the practices whereby we establish differences and sacrificial substitutes that keep us from getting so close to one another that we compete in vio- lent ways but yet keep us close e nough to each other personally and socially that we are able to work and exist together. On the other hand, the capacity of cu lture to survive and oper ate falls short of the gospel and the di vine-human community of the kingdom of God. My understanding of Girard is that he has become more and more pessimistic about culture in the context of history as experienced and interpreted in the last two centuries. In this paper I have used the ad verb « inevitably » twice so far. I said that, according to Girard, the gospel’s work of « opening up of the world to investigation is part of a long history, which does not run in a straight line or smoothly but which nonetheless moves inev- itably toward disclosure of the co llective violence and its ritual forms that undergird huma n culture. » I also said that in a good por- tion of Girard’s work, for example, the earlier parts of Violence and Things Hidden , « mimetic desire comes acro ss as inevitably leading humans into rivalry and violence. » Both are true. To coin a variation on Reinhold Niebuhr’s famous dictum , « Sin is not necessary but inevitable, » I would say: Rivalry and violence are not necessary but inevitable. The problem is not desire; the problem lies in the kind of mimesis. The good mimesis of the God of victims, to which the Law and the Prophets bear witn ess and which the Gospels attest as embodied in Jesus, has disclose d and will disclose the character of our mimetic predicament and poin t us toward a new age, a world to come. DIFFERENTIATION AND SACRIFICE According to the mimetic theory the slaying of th e victim is the first act of differentiation. In the mimetic crisis everyone imitates every- one else in violent reciprocity and so all differences collapse. This is the epitome of chaos, and violence is probably the actual model of chaos for religious and cu ltural traditions. In orde r for the « other » to be really other, the other must be different from me/us, yet close enough to me/us or enough like me/u s that a relationship of some sort can be established. But this is a delicate balance in which one is 38 Bulletin for Biblical Research 3 often tempted to seek the being of the other by desiring what the other desires. When this balance is destroyed in violent reciprocity the latter is remedied by the discov ery, not consciously or deliber- ately made but « happened upon, » that the conflict and violence stops when everyone gangs up on a victim. The victim is the emerg- ing difference . As I noted in my book, Gira rd’s model is not based on dipolar structure, as in structuralism, but on exception : his is a model of the « exception in the process of emerging. » 9 This victim is the one who polarizes (or on whom is polarize d) the desire of all the others that had got mimetically out of hand. So the victim is the first differ- ence. And the relief from mi metic conflict or violence is so great that just as the victim was blamed for the group’s ills during the mimetic rage, so now the victim is apotheos ized, divinized. As a result, the victim as god or sacraliz ed hero or ancestor is now the « Difference » by which the others become a co mmunity and define themselves. I will not go into the particular implications that one could de- velop out of this. Suffice it to say th at the three pillars of culture emerge from the divinized victim: pr ohibition, ritual, and myth. The community, as distinct from the vi ctim/god, did not do and does not do (or ought not do) such and such an act that brought about the crisis in the first place (murder and incest are the two most common crimes, and of course both are di ssolvers of differences). The com- munity repeats the act th at founded it by representing the crisis that threatened it and the slaying that (re)established it. The repetition of the slaying is enacted in sacrifice. And myth tells the story of the founding and the differentiations es tablished. With myth comes the greatest possibility of displace ment and deferral of meaning through shifts and transformations in the story and symbols. What Girard’s theory about the pillars of religion and culture entails, in other words, is that the primitive sa cred is violence: the collective violence of the community that is transmitted, transformed, and routinized in such a way that its ob ject is to protect the community from violence. 10 Now Chilton argues that Girard is wrong about the origin and function of sacrifice. I will take up his argument that the communal meal is the appropriate model for sacr ifice in the third part of my re- sponse. Here I wish to respond to his appreciation of my so-called 9. Williams, The Bible, Violence, and the Sacred , 20; see Girard, Things Hidden , 100-101. 10. This is the function of the mark on Cain in Genesis 4: to protect the founder of civilization (« he built a city, » 4:17) from the very violence that he himself had com- mitted in murdering his brother. However, unlike the typical founding myth, the mark is also a reminder of what he had d one—a reminder, indeed, of the divine ques- tion, « Where is Abel your brother? » WILLIAMS: A Response to Bruce Chilton 39 departure from Girard. He suggests that this putative departure is partly deliberate and partly inadvert ent. The conscious aspect of the departure he ascribes to me is my insistence « that any language im- plying the inherent superiority of Christianity or the ‘Christian’ Gospels should be avoided. » 11 He quite rightly identifies my argu- ment as « exceptionalist » as over against a « supersessionist » argu- ment. From the exceptionalist position one sees Israel as an enduring remnant bearing the divine word in history, and one continuation of this remnant is the ear ly Jesus movement. The supersessionist posi- tion is that Israel as an empirical people and tradition is the « oppres- sive husk » that perpetuates ancien t myth and the sacred, and its true vocation is realized only through Jesus and the church. Chilton holds that the inadverten t way in which I depart from Girard lies in my positiv e view of the covenant and its sacrificial ex- pressions, particularly in the discus sion of covenant and sacrifice in chapter 4 of The Bible, Violence, and the Sacred . He avers this to be « a major revision of Girard’s theory, in that the sacred is no longer merely projected violence » (p. 24). I am indebted to Chilton for his critique and partial appreciation of my understanding of the sacred and sacrifice, for his comments have forced me to review and thin k through once agai n what it is I want to say vis-à-vis Girard’s thought. I would say first of all that there is a difference in nuance between my understanding of the Testaments and Girard’s, and perhaps a clear difference between my perspective and Hamerton- Kelly’s. What I have done is put Jesus, the early Jesus movement, and the New Testament Gospels square ly in the Jewish tradition. I think, as indicated in my book, that there is adequate historical and literary evidence for ho lding this position. The tradition of the unique witness to the God of victim s comes to fulfillm ent in Jesus and the Gospel witness to the di sclosure of divine–human commu- nity. This is not un-Jew ish, not anti-Jewish—it is Jewish in the sense that the basis of Christianity is Jewishly formed. What we call « Christianity » did not be gin as Christianity but as a movement rooted in its Jewish matrix. Nor does this perspective deny the in- sights of rabbinic Judaism, particularly in its antisacrificial aspects. The problems emerge in the theological and political developments of ongoing church history in which the foundations of Christianity were more or less severed from Judaism and the Jewish Scriptures were coopted as the revelation of Ch ristian truth. But there is one truth that is revealed, and a long historical struggle has been re- quired to bring it more fully to light. From my standpoint, and I 11. The Bible, Violence, and the Sacred , 175, quoted on p. 23. 40 Bulletin for Biblical Research 3 think a confessing Christian would have to affirm something like this, the Gospel witness to Jesus as the Christ is the clearest and most sustained representation of th e message of the God of libera- tion and the exposure of violence that has been given to us. All the other foci of revelation are ones I ha ve to see through the lens pro- vided by the Gospels. My point is not to deny what I do not see or cannot see; it is rather to affirm what I have been given to see. So I wish to avoid supersessi onism. I don’t think, however, that the problem too is, as Chilton states, that to « the concept of the victim itself might be too relative by definition to serve as the foundation of a systematic reading of the Bible » (p. 23). There is no way, of course, of absolutely establishing through criticism and theo ry any standpoint. One cannot, obviously, read everythi ng as the same, or in terms of discrete passages (segments, historical periods, etc.), for with either of those alternatives there is the da nger of falling back into myth or anti-myth, into the sacr ed as the sacred soci al order or the anti- sacred that seeks to destroy the sacr ed social order (e.g., Nietzsche). That is, those who adhere to a myth ical interpretation, which always justifies the sacred as violence, an d those who vehemently oppose it are in both instances determined by myth, for its upholders are in- formed and upheld by it and its oppo nents are obsessed with it. The two sides are caught up in the ex treme mimetic rivalry of doubles. No, one needs a center, a « canon within the can on, » in order to read the Bible. What better center (door, key, or whatever the meta- phor) than the innocent victim? Should not the center of Christian reading be the innocent victim who discloses « the blood of innocent Abel to the blood of Zechariah » th rough a violent death in which he was numbered among the transgresso rs? Should not the Christian reading be undergirded by the in nocent victim’s resurrection from the fatal expulsion and execution to which he was consigned? And I do not mean to imply that the innoc ent blood is upon the heads of the Jews to the exclusion of othe rs (although both Je ws and Romans were clearly involved in Jesus’ death). We are all implicated, just as the disciples who deserted him, on e of whom betrayed him and one of whom denied him. That is, only the victim, the one who becomes the sacrificial offering, can reveal the human pr edicament and its healing. But most victims do not have a voice. If they are human beings, they are not allowed to speak or they are ac cused of crimes that enable the community to discount their words. Animal victims cannot commu- nicate in our world—beyond signaling to us the anguish of pain and suffering. Girard has acknowledged th at there is no absolutely privi- leged place in language from whic h the truth may be known. « That is why the Word that states itself to be absolutely true never speaks WILLIAMS: A Response to Bruce Chilton 41 except from the position of a victim in the process of being expelled. Its presence among us is not humanly explicable. » 12 The logic of this perspective on revelation through the victim, which I think I share with Girard, is similar to one aspect of what I said earlier about two kinds of good mi mesis. It is possible to identify both good mimesis in the sense of « effective mimesis, » the mimesis that is properly differentiated so that culture can wo rk, and good mi- mesis in the sense of the model of divine–human community in the Christ. Just as there is an effective, if not ideal mimesis, so also there is « good » sacrifice in the sense of e ffective sacrifice. That is, even though sacrifice in the sense of o ffering to God a human or animal victim is the ritual repetition of or iginal violence, it does provide for a channeling of violence or the threat of violence into a communal act that reduces this threat to manageab le proportions. It would, ideally, be better if we could cooperate and establish both functional and personal relationships without this ou tlet, in which we are trying to maneuver around violence, to « deceive » it. 13 In other words, sac- rifice, along with its substitutions in a contemporary Western world without the institution of sacrifice as such, is a much more desir- able practice than the violence that can result from mimetic crisis. Caiaphas in the Gospel of John enunc iates the principle that is the ba- sis of all Realpolitik : « it is better for you to have one man die for the people than to have the whol e nation destroyed » (John 11:50). However, if there is a kind of analogue between effective mime- sis and effective sacrifice, both good in the sense that they may enable human groups to survive and coop erate both within the group and between groups, the analogy breaks down in comparing the good or ideal mimesis of the kingdom of Go d and sacrifice. The ideal, the es- chatological vision from a Christian viewpoint, is the overcoming of sacrifice; the need to establish or reestablish differences through the sacred, the trompe-violence of a ritual performance of violence in order to control violence, will no longer prev ail. In historical existence as we know it, sacrifice in some form or substitutionary mode may be necessary—and indeed, one could argue that our national crises, as I describe in the last chapter of my book, stem from the breakdown of modes of sacrifice. The point is not to make sacrifice « the scapegoat of the genocidal outbreaks of violence which have become routine since the Enlightenment » (p. 29). Sacrifi ce and substitutions for sacrifice formerly protected us—up to a po int. Because sacrifice, from the 12. Girard, Things Hidden, 435 (my translation). 13. See Girard’s comment on Abel’s anim al sacrifice as a « trompe-violence » in La violence et le sacré (Paris: Grasset, 1972) 14. The English translation (p. 4) renders « violence-outlet. » 42 Bulletin for Biblical Research 3 Latin sacrificare (French sacrifier ), is etymologically « to make sacred, » the foundation and differentiations of culture have often purchased protection of human life at the price of human life, or at least at the price of a deep structure that va lidated both regeneration and the maintenance of equilibrium through violence. Christianity itself, as the primary bearer of scriptural revelation and desacralization in Western culture, has contributed to the demise of these older sacrifi- cial modes; but new ones have not ta ken their place, and the practice of the mimesis of the kingdom of God is very difficult for large num- bers of people over a long period of time in the world as we know it. So it is that sacrifice, as essentia l to the structures of this world, has a provisional status, a status which is necessary « between the times » but which is pre-kingdom of God, pre-gospel. However, in the Christian vision of the restored creation there is no temple in the City of God, an absence which is announced in the Apocalypse. And of course in the Gospels the Chri st, the meeting point of God and humans, replaces the temple. It is in the light of the forego ing understanding, the provisional human need for « deceiving violence  » and establishing differenti- ations, that I made positive connec tions between the covenant and sacrifice. It is better to institute the Levites as priests standing in the place of the firstborn and offering sacr ifices on behalf of Israel than to experience the violence involved when the Levites slay 3,000 per- sons, killing brothers, sons , neighbors. This violence is the basis of their ordination (Exod 32:25-29). Admittedly I ma y not have made my meaning clear enough. I was tryi ng to deal critically and sympa- thetically with very important and complex texts in Exodus and Numbers, so Chilton is not misquoting me but missing the context in which I intended to place my discussion of sacrific e in chapter 4, on covenant and sacrifice, as well as in chapter 3, on Moses and the Exodus. There are two main elements of that context: Israel’s histori- cal struggle to understand and to r ealize the revelation it had been given, and the limitations that were not to be exce eded until the prophets and the Jesus of the Gospel s. Let me offer the following quotations to support these points and end this part of the paper: These boundaries [of the Ten Commandments] are marked out in terms of allegiance to the God of the Covenant, allegiance to the cove- nant order, and control of mimetic desire and rivalry. In the binding of people to God, the altar [i.e., sacr ifice] and the words of God in Moses’ book are formally equivalent [i n Exodus 24], but obedience to the divine word here begins the process of displacing sacrifice. WILLIAMS: A Response to Bruce Chilton 43 The biblical narratives themse lves document human failures and resist all attempts to camouflage and my thologize these failures. . . . The fail- ures are in part due to the weight of archaic cultural traditions in which mimetic desire, rivalry, and conflict are managed through vic- timization, scapegoating, and sacrifice. The revelation struggling to ma ke itself known in the covenant, com- mandment, and cultic texts reaches a new stage of clarity with the great prophets. 14 THE MEAL AS MODEL FOR SACRIFICE As he argues also in his recent book, 15 Chilton proposes communal consumption as the best means of understanding sacrifice, « a feast with the gods, in which life as it should be—chosen and prepared correctly—is taken to produce life as it should be » (p. 26). I propose in turn that the mime tic theory provides a better hypothesis of sac- rifice and enables us to uncover the very representational traps into which I see Chilton falling. The mimetic theory has great explanator y power. Chilton sug- gests at one point that it explains too much. That is a common objec- tion in our time. In objecting to an y kind of universalizing hypothesis Chilton may have been affected by historicism, whose rival twin children are positivism and postmodern ism. In the modern intellec- tual tradition leading to deconstructi on, every text, every principle, every claim is set against its « other. » Indeed, it is not too much to say that every explanation is sacrificed to its other, to the opposition that undercuts it. Now a theory and its attendant hypotheses may turn out to be wrong, but we should be free to pursue them. That is one of the fruits of the biblical revelation: the disenchantment of the world, opening it up to a search to underst and how it works. Universal or maximalizing theories should be welc omed and, of course, subjected to rigorous criticism. But not to th e criticism that they should not exist in the first place. Now concerning the communal meal with the gods as a model for sacrifice, I agree that the meal is closely asso ciated with sacrifice, as we have known since the pioneer ing research of W. Robertson Smith. However, the meal is better explained by sacrifice than sac- rifice by the meal. The meal, specif ically the communal consumption of the sacrificial victim, presupposes very definite rules, differences, 14. Williams, The Bible, Violence, and the Sacred , 117, 126, 127. 15. Chilton, The Temple of Jesus: His Sacrificial Pr ogram Within a Cultural History of Sacrifice (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1992). 44 Bulletin for Biblical Research 3 practices that must be done just right. Where do they come from? What is their origin? The meal mode l simply presupposes some prior system that must be posited or sp eculated. In the emergence of hu- man culture the meal becomes the model of community par excellence , and this is appropriate as a metaphor of God’ s reign and rule. How- ever, it seems clear that when we lo ok at instances of sacrifice asso- ciated with eating, « community » or the oneness of those partaking together is won through a differe ntiation process—the establish- ment of rules and roles—that stems from disorder or violence. In the process of preparation, slaughtering, and eating, attention is focused on the victim, as though the fate of the victim is something mon- strous and wonderful. It is m onstrous and wonderful from the standpoint of the sacrificing co mmunity. Jean-Pierre Vernant and Marcel Detienne have provided inte resting descriptions of Greek culinary practices, but they tend to obscure the element of disorder because of their structural premis es. I think Walter Burkert’s com- mentary on Greek sacrificial practices in Homo Necans is more to the point. 16 All the elements, from the in itial washing of hands and sprinkling of the animal victim th rough the death-dealing blow and the great outcry of the women presen t to the eating of the entrails, bespeak the routini zed repetition of an event of collective violence in which the victim is killed and eate n. Could the meal have laid the groundwork of the sacrifice? Unlikely. More likely it was vice versa, as indicated in the ritual order de scribed by Burkert. As Raymund Schwager points out, « The moment of slaughter forms the emotional highpoint of the ritual , which is accompanied by the loud outcry of all those standing in attendance. Th e meal only occurs at the end, when the previous shuddering and fright changes to relief. This relief allows us still to trace the originary tilting of violence into peace. » 17 This process of transition from fe ar to relief and concord is still in display, though somewhat filtered, in Exodus 19 and 24. There are some problems concerning the composite character of the narrative in Exodus 24; however, if we put th ese two chapters together it ap- pears that the people are in a state of trepidation at the foot of the mountain, whose boundaries may not be passed or even touched lest the LORD « break out » ag ainst the people (19:24 ). Moses conducts the covenant ritual, which includes dash ing half the blood of the sac- rificed oxen on the altar and half on the people. Then Moses, Aaron, 16. Homo Necans: The Anthropology of Ancien t Greek Sacrificial Ritual and Myth (trans. Peter Bing; Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983). 17. Schwager, « Rückblick auf das Symposion, » Dramatische Erlösungslehre: Ein Symposion (eds. J. Niewiadomski and W. Palaver; Innsbruck-Wien: Tyrolia, 1992) 368- 69 (my translation). WILLIAMS: A Response to Bruce Chilton 45 Nadab, and Abihu, along with seve nty of the elders, go up and see God and eat and drink. Chilton’s model of the meal or communal consumption as the origin of sacrifice leaves his herm eneutics, in my view, still bound to the mythical understanding of the sa cred social order. When he says, for instance, that « in sacrifice, consumption is probably a better metaphor to describe what is happ ening than death; the passing of the victim rarely arouses interest  » (p. 26), I think he is defending that sacrificial perspect ive and not attending to the unique biblical demythologizing of the sacred, a demy thologizing that invites us to see ourselves and read our texts in light of the victim. In the primi- tive context the death of the victim, the sacrificial offering (note the French victime and the German Opfer ) occasions an emotional reac- tion of anguished lament, as Burker t notes. The act of killing and the act of eating are two sides of the sa me coin, so to speak, and both are accompanied by intense emotion. 18 Moreover, Chilton’s approach to sa crifice does not take into ac- count the practice of offering human victims. We know it was prac- all over the world. 19 The practice of child sacrifice was known to the Israelites and condemned in the tradition. However, that it was an earlier practice of many Isr aelites there can be no doubt. The divine command in Exod 22:29 (Heb. 22 :28) affirms that the firstborn belong, in principle at least, to th e God of Israel, and it is doubtful that the Binding of Isaac (Genesis 22) negates the principle. More- over, in times of crisis there were some who reverted to this prac- tice, as attested in 2 Kgs 16:3 a nd several passages in Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Now of course, if the mimetic th eory is basically correct, then the ritual of sacrifice functions to repeat both the crisis, the slaying of a victim, and the subsequent re lief to the commun ity; it does this moreover in a fashion that makes ev erything seem to be in order to the participants in the sacrificial event. Real death and violence are not associated with sacrifice from th e mythic standpoint. It is a rit- ual, a practice that is simply « done, » and has been done from time 18. See Euripides’ depiction of the Dionysian cult in The Bacchae . In my judgment there is a strong trace of this kind of emo tional reaction in Lev 9:22-24, where the people shout and fall on their faces when the fire consumes the holocaust and the fat. 19. The mimetic theory proposes that defin ite traces of this continue into the con- temporary world and that in fact when old sacrificial forms break down there is a typical reversion to collective violence. On e notable current example is the « ethnic cleansing » that is taking place in the form er Yugoslavia. For a carefully researched study of one part of the world where the more primitive form of offering a human vic- tim (the king) was practiced into the 1980s, see Simon Simonse, Kings of Disaster: Cen- tralism and the Scapegoat King in Southeastern Sudan (Leiden: Brill, 1992). 46 Bulletin for Biblical Research 3 immemorial. Indeed, ther e is evidence that in many rituals the vic- tim, whether human or animal, comm unicates in some fashion that it is willing to be sacrificed on the community’s behalf. Unanimity is crucially important in sacrifice and scapegoating. 20 To say that the death of the victim arouses no intere st is to speak fro m within that mythical unanimity. This matter of the attitude toward the victim is also related to Chilton’s criticism of an aspect of my treatment of Saul in 1 Samuel. I observed that a close read ing of the text does not indicate that Saul was a great offender against the social order. 21 Saul, like other tragic heroes, was both the savior of his pe ople and in some respects their scapegoat. He is condemned in 1 Samuel 13 for not waiting until Samuel arrives at Gilgal to offer burnt sacrifices. But I understand this passage essentially as I do 1 Sa muel 15: Saul is the leader, the mediator contested by another mediator, Samuel; there is a crisis, with the Philistines pressi ng upon the Israelites and the troops, not a highly organized and disciplined lot, making demands upon him from their side. In addition, accord ing to 1 Sam 13:8, he had waited the appointed seven days for Samuel . To assert that Saul was an offender against the social order is to chime in with the mythical voice speaking in much of 1 Samuel. This voice represents a sacrifi- cial perspective and Saul is the sacr ifice. In the book I stopped just short of describing Saul as a scape goat after the model of Oedipus. I think the history of Saul and David cannot finally make of Saul an utter scapegoat, and there are even more evident sign s in the story of David that the text reflects an attempt to critique the traditional understanding of sacral kingship. 22 In sum, the mimetic theory does not hold th at sacrifice is de- monic, but neither does it accept the representation of sacrifice according to the understa nding of its practitioners who exist in the environment of myth. Sacrifice is the representation and manage- ment of violence. The meal model only perpetuates this representa- tion and management by not ques tioning it from the standpoint of the distinctive biblical testimonies whose perspective is more favor- able to the victim than to the persecuting community. * * * 20. The modern totalitarian trial is an ex tension of this practice based on the need for unanimity, i.e., complete accord in th e community. The accused is led out, con- fesses his or her crimes, and is then executed or imprisoned. 21. A point made some years ago by David Gunn, The Fate of King Saul (Sheffield: JSOT, 1980). 22. See Hans J. L. Jensen, « Desire, Rivalr y, and Collective Violence in the ‘Succes- sion Narrative’, » JSOT 55 (1992) 39-59. WILLIAMS: A Response to Bruce Chilton 47 In conclusion, I would like to re iterate my gratitude to Bruce Chilton for the time and energy he ha s devoted to coming to terms with Girard’s work and mine. I ag ree with him that we should not assign fault to ancient antecedents as a way of avoiding the challenge to understand our own mimetic situ ations. We cannot, however, un- derstand ourselves and one another without seeking to understand our forebears. Above all, we must come to grips with the distinctive- ness of the biblical witness to the God of victims.

Excerpt from James G. Williams, The Bible, Violence & the Sacred: Liberation from the Myth of Sacred Violence, San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1991, pp. 81-84.

9. Girard, The Scapegoat, chap. 2. I cannot resist quoting a sports columnist who wrote about Pete Rose, the baseball « star » who was accused of gambling on baseball games and betting on his own team, « If there’s one thing the American public likes better than an idol, it’s a fallen idol. » Unfortunately, I no longer have the source for this quote.

7 commentaires pour Pâque/3626e: Cachez cette épuration ethnique que je ne saurai voir ! (Exodus: Why can’t we recognize a real episode of ethnic cleansing when we see one ?)

  1. duamanes dit :

    En ces jours des Paques, Ho combien méconnu vous êtes
    jcdurbant ! Pourtant, bien présent sur cette toile de fond à nous
    détricoter l’horreur humaine bien animale qui nous habite.
    Non pas devenus, mais bien le résultat de ce mystère dont nous
    sommes les seuls conscients et restant profondément
    ignorants.

    J'aime

  2. jcdurbant dit :

    Merci de vos gentils encouragements – grâce à vous, j’ai explosé mon nombre de lecteurs …. de 4 à 9 !!!!

    J'aime

  3. […] en ces jours où nos amis juifs commémorent leur expulsion des goulags égyptiens, sur l’homme qui, inventant au passage le tir à trois points, lança […]

    J'aime

  4. […] ces jours où nos amis juifs commémorent le premier épisode d’épuration ethnique dont ils furent victimes présenté dans leurs textes sacrés comme la délivrance non seulement du […]

    J'aime

  5. […] ces jours où nos amis juifs commémorent le premier épisode d’épuration ethnique dont ils furent victimes présenté dans leurs textes sacrés comme la délivrance non seulement du […]

    J'aime

  6. jcdurbant dit :

    A writer in Egypt is demanding that his nation sue Israel over the 10 biblical plagues.

    “We want compensation for the plagues that were inflicted upon [us] as a result of the curses that the Jews’ ancient forefathers [cast] upon our ancient forefathers, who did not deserve to pay for the mistake that Egypt’s ruler at the time, Pharaoh, committed,” said columnist Ahmad al-Gamal, in a column in the Egyptian daily Al-Yawm Al-Sabi.

    The commentator also advocated suing Israel for the “precious materials” used by the Israelites to build their desert tabernacle …

    http://mobile.wnd.com/2014/03/egyptian-wants-to-sue-israel-over-biblical-plagues/#DqxrUVbq0XRyVDyc.99

    « According to Rabbi Berel Wein, the Talmud in tractate Sanhedrin notes that the Egyptian nation appeared before Alexander the Great and demanded that the Jews return all of the wealth they had taken from Egypt a millennia earlier. Alexander the Great then called for a Jewish representative to appear before him. A man by the name of Gadha appeared before Alexander the Great and stressed that the Egyptians still owed the Jews enormous sums of money as payment for the centuries where the Jews served the Egyptians as slaves. The Jews were slaves in Egypt for 210 years, where they worked long hours and suffered unspeakable brutality.

    Whenever the Jews could not complete their workload, Jewish sources stress that one of the Hebrew babies would be placed in the spot where the missing block was supposed to be and the baby was crushed to death. This does not even include the death sentence imposed upon the male babies of the Hebrew slaves. Except for a brief period during which Moses convinced Pharoah let the Jews rest on Shabbat, the Jews did not even have a day of rest. Jewish women were also forced to work as slaves and they didn’t get maternity leave. It can be alleged that if calculations were made for all of the hours that the Hebrew slaves put into working for the Egyptians over the course of 210 years, the jewels that the Israelis took with them from Egypt do not sufficiently compensate the Jewish people for all of the free hard labor they performed in Egypt. As a result of Gadha’s eloquent defense, Alexander the Great ruled that the matter should be dropped. »

    http://www.jerusalemonline.com/news/middle-east/israel-and-the-middle-east/analysis-the-egyptians-have-no-ground-to-sue-israel-over-the-ten-plagues-4562

    J'aime

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