Dwell in the state of not understanding.

“I believe that at decisive junctures in the research process one must allow oneself to be stupid – simply to dwell in the state of not understanding. That leaves one open to those chance occurrences from which unexpected discoveries spring.”

“It has always been my ambition that the uncertainty of the research process should come through in what I write ­- I try to portray my own hesitation, so to speak, to enable the reader to make his own judgement.”

Carlo Ginsburg

The Cheese and the Worms.

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“The book examines the beliefs and world-viewof Menocchio (1532–1599), also known as Domenico Scandella, who was an Italian miller from the village of Montereale, twenty-five kilometers north of Pordenone. His philosophical teachings earned him the title of a heresiarch during the Inquisition and he was eventually burned at the stake in 1599, at the age of 67, on orders of Pope Clement VIII.”

Liberal freedoms

“Most people in most countries most of the time do not care overmuch for liberal freedoms.”

“On the left and right, it is always worth watching how politicians excuse foreign dictators, for it tells you what they might do at home if they thought they could get away with it.”

Nick Cohen, The Spectator

https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2018/12/how-much-longer-can-orbans-apologists-ignore-what-hes-doing-to-hungary/

Gray.

BY ROD DREHER
Senior editor and blogger at The American Conservative.

ttps://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rod_Dreher

“The British political philosopher John Gray is one of my favorite writers. He is not a religious believer — he is what you might consider an atheist contemplative, or what reviewer Simon Critchley identifies as a “passive nihilist” — and Gray’s conservatism, such as it is, stands well outside the boundaries of the contemporary Right. In fact, it’s really more anti-liberal than conservative, with “liberal” meaning the entire spectrum of mainstream Western politics. He is profoundly skeptical of the idea of progress, and of the Enlightenment project. Gray is certainly bleak, and his views cannot be reconciled with Christianity, but I always, always learn from his beautiful prose and his provocative insights, even when I disagree with them (though I often do agree). Here’s an excerpt from Critchley’s review of Gray’s newest book, The Silence of Animals: On Progress And Other Modern Myths:

Where does Gray’s loathing of liberalism leave him? He identifies the poison in liberal humanism, but what’s the antidote? It is what Gray calls “political realism”: we have to accept, as many ancient societies did and many non-Western societies still do, that the world is in a state of ceaseless conflict. Periods of war are followed by periods of peace, only to be followed by war again. What goes around comes around. And around. History makes more sense as a cycle than as a line of development or even decline.

In the face of such ceaseless conflict, Gray counsels that we have to abandon the belief in utopia and accept the tragic contingencies of life: there are moral and political dilemmas for which there are simply no solutions. We have to learn to abandon pernicious daydreams such as a new cosmopolitan world order governed by universal human rights, or that history has a teleological, providential purpose that underwrites human action. We even have to renounce the Obamaesque (in essence, crypto-Comtian or crypto-Saint-Simonian) delusion that one’s life is a narrative that is an episode in some universal story of progress. It is not.

Against the grotesque distortion of conservatism into the millenarian military neoliberalism, Gray wants to defend the core belief of traditional Burkean Toryism. The latter begins in a realistic acceptance of human imperfection and frailty. As such, the best that flawed and potentially wicked human creatures can hope for is a commitment to civilized constraints that will prevent the very worst from happening: a politics of the least worst. Sadly, no one in political life seems prepared to present this argument, least of all those contemporary conservatives who have become more utopian than their cynical pragmatist left-liberal counterparts, such as the British Labor Party.

Read the whole review, to which I cannot do justice in a short excerpt. Better yet, read Gray.

There are moral and political dilemmas for which there are simply no solutions. The older I get, the more convinced I become of this. The trick is to discern when accepting this with relation to a particular dilemma shows wisdom, and when it shows foolish fatalism. It is hard for me to think of a political stance that is more alien to the American spirit than the tragic sense Gray espouses. That’s not to say that he’s wrong — far from it. But it is to say that we Americans find this very hard to swallow.”


Useful links and further reading: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/public/john-gray-hyper-liberalism-liberty/amp/

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2014/oct/21/-sp-the-truth-about-evil-john-gray

Anti-Semitism in Christendom.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisemitism_and_the_New_Testament

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_and_antisemitism#Persecutions_and_expulsions

What is it with anti-Semites now and in the past?

“Numerous factors including theological differences, competition between Church and Synagogue, the Christian drive for converts,[4]decreed by the Great Commission, misunderstanding of Jewish beliefs and practices, and a perceived Jewish hostility toward Christians. These attitudes were reinforced in Christian preaching, art and popular teaching for two millennia, containing contempt for Jews,[5] as well as statutes which were designed to humiliate and stigmatise Jews.

Modern antisemitism has been described as primarily hatred against Jews as a race with its modern expression rooted in 18th-century racial theories, while anti-Judaism is described as hostility to Jewish religion, but in Western Christianity it effectively merged into antisemitism during the 12th century.[1]:16Scholars have debated how Christian antisemitism played a role in the Nazi Third ReichWorld War II and the Holocaust. The Holocaust has driven many within Christianity to reflect on the relationship between Christian theology, practices, and that genocide.”(Wikipedia).

If anything in the Bible is to be believed we may deduce: that Jesus was a Jew. Mary the mother of Jesus, Joseph his father, and Jesus’ brothers, sisters and cousins (including John the Baptist, were Jews. The New Testament, like the Old, was written by Jews (including the Letters of Apostle Paul). The God Christians claim to serve is the God of Judaism, no matter what casuistry concerning new and old covenants is brought to bear. Was the New Testament the origin of anti-Judaism and later anti-Semitism, or is it a kind of pagan accretion, a distortion of Christianity? Given Luther’s – and before him – most of Christendom’s persecution of the Jews, I believe it is an admixture of Christian particularism, the need to define the new religion contrast to an ‘evil other’,  emergence of pre-christian gods in the West.