The one thing that disturbs me in the imbalance of representation in Israel. Have we not shot ourselves in the foot with an all Jewish State Department Staff. If we are going have productive talks, there seems to be no one interested in the Palestinian plight. I feel the Staff should be balanced.
When I was in Jerusalem 2 years ago, all of the staff there was Jewish. There was one loan man in the Palestinian consulate who was not Jewish, he is in a diffiuclt position.

Will we ever learn?

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thank you and what is their relationship to each other? Is there a predominant power(s)?
I agree with Neri, Paul. What you state as "facts" can best be qualified as conjectures. They are assertions that you present as established facts without backed or references.

1+2 (same assertion). Most specialists working in the field of the "History of Ideas" claim that the concept of nationalism in its present meaning goes back to the late 18th century, beginning of 19th century. You could go back to Hobsbawm or Anderson to see their arguments. Now it is true that "nation" as a word is older, but as scholars in hermeneutics have shown, one cannot just go back to the text to find the meaning. Because by doing so, you invest the word with the meaning you give it at present and hence give a reading of it that is true to your times and not its.
3 + 4 + 5 (different assertions founded on the same argument). Grossly speaking, there are two ways to approach religion: internal and external; both methods have their "in-built" limitations.

The internal approach will hear what these religions say about themselves. And if you listen to those religions, they will tell you that they are timeless. Through these approaches, you can date the times of their successive "revelations" (oral and written). But you cannot date them. Following this approach, the three religions you speak of have the same claim. The three define themselves as Abrahamic. And the three are "living" religions, with new texts and interpretations being produced regularly. And the three consider themselves as non-accomplished.

As for the "external" approach defended by historians and sociologists, they tell you that they can only trace religions from the physical "traces" they leave. This approach does not take into account the narrative that is linked to each religion. It can date this narrative (or parts of it), but cannot really take it into account. In their approach, the question of the beginning of a religions is a metaphysical one that falls outside their scope. They cannot tell you when a religion started, but they can trace back the main dates of its physical marks.

The complexity of the issue is best rendered by the discussions surrounding the Mishnah and the Gospels. Most of the older hebraic texts are considered by both Jews and Christians as being their own (under the heading of "Torah" or the "Old Testament")... After the destruction of the second Temple, "Judaism" underwent a vast movement of change that can be compared to that initiated by Paul of Tarsus (Shaul HaTarsi) a couple of years earlier. So which of the two abrahamic faiths is older?
As for their more recent texts, the Mishnah and the Gospels, one can say that the Gospels are undoubtedly older. And this can also be proved lexicographically. But the accounts they give are more recent than that of the Mishnah... But both text refer to "facts" in history that cannot be proven (lack of research, traces, proves...).

Lebanon and the region is blessed with people like you.

the integrated Internal/external perspective is one of the keys to read our reality as a complex system.

I do not find that JC insinuate new religion on the contrary; he show how different thread of religion can be recognized as continues process where most of the older hebrew texts are considered by both Jews and Christians (I think Islam too) as being their own (under the heading of "Torah" or the "Old Testament")...

What JC is insinuate that as we differentiate the religions from the external perspective (form of rituals and saint/religious leaders) it is harder to do so from the internal perspective (content) where we can recognize the Abrahamic origin.
Thanks for this Elaine. I hope that you make this into a separate discussion here and elsewhere.

Thank you also for your sober response to yet another Chosen People smear attempt, this time from an Israeli who should really (but does not seem to want to) know the facts.

The Chabad Rabbi of the local Synagogue I don't really go to treats me as a member of his Synagogue not because he is desperate for members but because like your Rabbi, he also believes that according to "Judaism all people whose behavior is righteous will go to heaven ... [and] that [even] an atheist whose behavior is righteous will go to Heaven."

You all are so passionate which is great and obviously are bright people. Think with me for a moment....What if it were just up to us on this board to figure out how to stop this conflict spiral and then move toward the first point of agreement, what would you state as the first step?- please no further this time.
it is up to us. it is about us.
Great answer. I have learned that it is critical for all parties to have self respect and if a solution is workable if will have to come from within. Outside parties may help but ultimately it is for the affected parties to decide.
My sincerest wish is that all will have had enough and begin to look for out of the box ideas. Your baby is precious in your picture. Wouldn't it be great for him to live an a world where there is room for all?
Thanks for the chats....I have so much to learn...
The first step?

Listen to, hear, and try to understand "the other".
Yes, I agree a great first step. The difficulty often is really listening to the other. In what type forum would you recommend?
That is the $64.000 question. :-)



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