Kill Kids, Get Diadem

In 1096 the Rhineland Jews were attacked by the spontaneous and badly-led popular first wave of the Crusade. In several places Jewish men killed themselves, their wives and children to prevent forced conversion; for centuries this story has been cherished as an important part of the Ashkenazi heritage, although the gentile reader may be reminded more of Jim Jones in Guyana than of any Jews he may know in the here and now.

One Solomon bar Samson of Mainz places a speech in the mouth of a such a man that may reasonably considered to give the whole religious game away:

“Now that the enemy has attacked us today, let us arise and ascend to the house of the Lord and quickly do the will of our creator; that even on the Sabbath each man slaughter his son, daughter and brother in order to bestow a blessing upon ourselves today. Let no man have mercy on himself or on his fellow, and let the last one remaining slaughter himself with a knife to his throat or plunge his sword into his stomach. Let not the wicked hands of the impure defile us with their abominable rites, but let us offer ourselves as a sacrifice to God brought on the altar of God, total burnt offerings to the most high. And we shall live on in that world of eternal daylight, in the Garden of Eden, in the illuminating radiance of God, where we shall behold him face to face in his glory and grandeur. There shall everyone be given a golden diadem on his head, with precious stones and pearls inlaid in it.” (Jeremy Cohen, Sanctifying the Name of God; Jewish Martyrs and Jewish Memories of the First Crusade, PENN 2004, p. 74.)

Until the last two sentences, we are in the realm of pure defiance, an obstinate refusal to let the aggressor dictate who one is; but then the slaughter of a man’s family turns into technology for upward economic mobility.

Posted on July 20, 2009 at 21:34 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink
In: THE LONGEST CON, Religion As Economic Tech

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