Guardian

Replacement Theology or Historical Illiteracy?


Veteran Guardian reporter Giles Tremlett’s historical faux pas in his article  about a planned Christian theme park in Mallorca raises some interesting points. Describing a similar venue in Buenos Aires built by the same developer, Tremlett writes:

“With a cast of extras in the costumes of Romans and early Palestinians, the park advertises itself as “a place where everyone can learn about the origins of spirituality.”

Sharp-eyed bloggers Daled Amos and Melanie Phillips have both picked Tremlett up on the historical inaccuracy of the use of the phrase ‘early Palestinians’, as well as describing some of the ongoing attempts by some Palestinians and pro-Palestinian organizations (for example War on Want) to influence public opinion by engaging in a form of historical and theological supersessionism which has the political aim of delegitimizing Israel by denying historical Jewish links to the land of Israel.

No less interesting than the ‘early Palestinians’ gaffe was Tremlett’s rather strange choice of the term ‘Wall of Lamentations’ which of course could well be a translation from the Spanish ‘Muro de las Lamentaciones’, but surely Oxford educated Tremlett would remember that he is writing for an English-speaking audience and that the accepted term is ‘Western Wall’? Or is the connection between that and the Jewish Temple just a little too obvious when one is apparently attempting to write about biblical era issues whilst sanitizing the word ‘Jews’?

Of course we cannot hold Tremlett alone to account for these aberrations; an editor was presumably involved at some stage before the article was published. Whilst the sorry state of the teaching of history in British schools is not news – certainly to those of us who frequent the blogosphere – one would at least expect that – in the name of not being perceived as an organ of overt  propaganda – a newspaper’s editors would take the trouble to avoid historical inaccuracies, even if they do conveniently dove-tail with deeply held prejudices.

The good thing about Tremlett’s article is that it is unintentionally informative. His Harry Potter-style ‘he who must not be named’ approach to Christianity’s Jewish roots, together with the editor’s failure to correct his mistakes, provides us with a glimpse of the bigotry which litters the Guardian group-think to such a degree that no-one raised the alert on such an obvious gaffe.

On the other hand – and trying to look on the bright side – if the Guardian can persuade its readers that Jesus’ contemporaries were ‘early Palestinians’, then in theory we should finally have heard the last of the old anti-Semitic trope of Jews as Christ killers.

No; for some reason I don’t really believe it will work out that way either.

H/T Omri Ceren

17 replies »

  1. Brava IsraeliNurse!
    “if the Guardian can persuade its readers that Jesus’ contemporaries were ‘early Palestinians’, then in theory we should finally have heard the last of the old anti-Semitic trope of Jews as Christ killers.

    No; for some reason I don’t really believe it will work out that way either.”

  2. Even then those “early Palestinians” were troublemakers …

    If any proof of anti-Semitism rampant at the Guardian were needed, i think that attempt to remove Jews from the history of Israel in the article about this theme park really provides it.

  3. Me neither, Israelinurse.

    And although revisionist theology began with the dumb-as-a-spoon dhimmi Naim Ateek of Sabeel (who actually got a paper published in which he referred to the Old Testament Samson as the world’s first suicide terrorist !!???) Sabeel can be sure that the Groan will mindlessly but boldly go where every other Jew-hater has been before.

  4. It’s probably because most of the possible punters would prefer, inaccurately ‘Palestinian’ to ‘Judean’, most inhabitants of ‘Palestine’ at that time calling themselves ‘Jews’ or ‘Samaritans’. The Greek and Latin term for ‘Jew’ is the same as for ‘Judean’.

    The objection to ‘Jew’ or ‘Judean’ shows how much the Christian narrative has become a Palestinian nationalist one, and how Jews/Judeans are being erased from history to that end.

  5. Bishop Tutu has fuelled this by speaking of Judaism as the main religion of ‘Palestine’, from which Jesus liberated the ‘Palestinians’.

  6. Likewise Ateek’s collaborator (deceased) Michael Prior, a mentor of Nur Masalha, at St Mary’s University College, Twickenham.

  7. The Romans did not rename Iudaea Provincia to Syria Palestina until the 2nd Century C.E. Before that, the term only referred to the coastal areas inhabited by the Philistines, who are generally believed to have been Mycenaean Greeks.

  8. Richard: Based on what little I have been able to read on the subject “ancient Palestinians” would really only mean Philistines, except that the Philistines are believed to have ceased to exist as a distinct group in the 5th century B.C.E. since most of them had converted to Judaism by that time.

    So I’m a bit confused as to whom we could call “Palestinian” by the 1st century C.E.– In the second century, sure, but not in the first.

    Pretzelberg: You must excuse me, I am a vulgarian by vocation.

  9. According to Yasser A. there never was a Jewish temple in Jerusalem so I infer that when Jesus was on the cross he was looking straight at the el-Aksa Mosque, built by those “early Palestinians”.

  10. … should we also infer that the “early Palestinians” killed Jesus ? (someone should give the Pope a copy of the Guardian)