Polemical topics for Polytheists (part 17): The Jews and Judaism

First view: The Jews and Judaism are not at all responsible for the later evils of monotheism which were mostly Christian and Islamic

Second view: Since the Jews invented monotheism, they are responsible for all its later legacy and evils

Balanced view: While Judaism can be partly responsible in certain ideas, the Jews are a people who (like many others) may have been misled from their original polytheism, and mainly because of foreigners 

 A friend of mine referred me once to a few videos by one Varg Vikernes, a Norwegian tribal anarchist who not only is notorious for his dislike of Jews, but who has also carried his foolish theories so far as to condemn all Southern Europeans (whom he believes to be impure racially and therefore subtly inferior) for adopting and spreading Christianity (an un-European, inferior “Jewish” religion according to him) in Europe. Being offended, I tried to counter this absurd notion by raising a simple question in the comment section “You blame the Southern Europeans for adopting Christianity from the East, but not the Northern Europeans for adopting it from the South. How is that logic fair?” As one might expect, he replied by saying that “Christianity was forced on us” and this was the perfect opportunity for me to turn his theory on its head by mentioning that it was the “racially pure” Germanic king Charlemagne who forced it on North Europe, a man who was actually strong enough to march against Rome and destroy Christianity if he had chosen to do so. I concluded also that we shouldn’t attack people but only bad ideas, because by attacking people who adopt certain wrong ideas, we make them only hold more strongly to them. Varg didn’t and couldn’t reply without making a greater fool of himself than he already was, and after some heated altercations with his minions, I was banned. I wish to transfer this aforementioned conclusion to the question of Jews and Judaism, because it is very significant and fair to do so. What I have to say here is threefold. First and foremost, it wasn’t the Jews who invented monotheism, because, if we are to believe scholarly evidence, that was the work of Akhenaten the Egyptian Pharaoh, whose imperialism gave rise to the idea! There is no historical basis for the existence of an Abraham nor even a Moses, and scholars have also pointed out that in both cases, the characters and the events surrounding them fit the Iron Age (beginning from 1000 BCE). Furthermore, there is no evidence for Jewish monotheism as we know it, till about 600 BCE in Jerusalem; this is why we see strangely unbiased references to ancient Canaanite and Semetic Gods in some parts of the Old Testament. The Jews (properly meaning the branch of Canaanites living around the region of Judea and Jerusalem) till that time were henotheists who accepted other Gods, but only worshipped Yahweh out of them. By around 600 BCE or so, a priesthood seems to have arisen from Jerusalem, under the kingship of Josiah, advocating for a reformed theology that rejected images and henotheism. This biased zeal may have been fueled by imperialism in the region, since Judea was in danger of conquest and cultural influences from their Assyrian and Babylonian neighbors, which is actually recorded to have happened in 586 BCE. The mourning priesthood, or perhaps even the captive people (who are said to have been enslaved by the Babylonian), then viewed this as a punishment from Yahweh because of their neglect towards him, and thus a sort of ideology, albeit defensive in its purpose, was born. My second point is that further imperialism in the next centuries was responsible for the exacerbation of the problem; this was carried out by the successors of Alexander’s new Hellenistic Empire. The Maccabean revolt of 167-160 BCE against the Seleucid Empire was as much a noble movement for independence as it was a zealous force that was later to grow into intolerance and systematic conversion. But who do we blame for this? I say the Greeks and their imperialism, who are the causes. We know for certain that it was the Greek sense of cultural superiority and cultural imperialism that angered the conservative Jews and made them revolt afterwards on three occasions against the Roman Empire, but this occurred only after a great deal of Jewish blood was unmercifully spilled in the streets of Alexandria and Antioch during riots there. The monster of monotheism, that was later to become Christianity, was born out of this struggle for cultural supremacy, and because it was advocated by Hellenistic Jews (that is ethnic but not religious Jews), it soon grew into a multicultural movement that by 200 CE distanced itself so far from Jews and Judaism that it professed open hatred towards them! The Jews were blamed for the death of Jesus much more than the occupying Romans or Greeks who had caused the Judean resistance of Jews against foreign imperialism in the first place—Strange irony. This leads me into my last point, which is brief. The Jews are by all accounts a noble set of tribes and peoples whose endurance through so many hardships can be a valuable lesson for us polytheists. Their resistance to Rome above all is to be remembered as entirely worthy of imitation and indeed a most beautiful thing in itself*. Surely they can make excellent polytheists and indeed their anti-monotheistic efforts have already done much to pave the path: We owe a great deal to the likes of (among others) Baruch Spinoza, Karl Marx, Franz Boas, the Kabbalists, Jacques Derrida, and indeed Margot Adler for the gradual revival of polytheism that we have today. Let us unite and join with them in rediscovering our polytheistic origins and ancestors, in order to enjoy a more harmonious existence blessed by the plurality of all our great Gods and peoples.



*I say in itself, to distinguish the heroic acts from the later erratic & pathological product that grew out of their miserable defeat in Jerusalem, i.e. Christianity. 

6 thoughts on “Polemical topics for Polytheists (part 17): The Jews and Judaism

  1. maartenmijmert

    Varg Vikernes is a shitstain upon the Heathen reputation. The fact that his nonsense still gets shared in meme’s amongst many low-threshold groups is a huge example of why my religion currently deserves the bad reputation it has. More on-point I think it it is a false asssertion to link monotheism to the opressive natures of many civilisations, like the Hellenist empire you mentioned. Buddhists and Hindu’s are commiting horrific acts of terrorism and theocraticsm now and in the recent past as well, Rome was imperialist and rather genocidal independently of their faith, furthermore I think it is a bad road to threath to assign blame for anything to such large, ancient and broad groupings. As for Judeaism itself, I recently aquired a great little book full off wisdoms presented in anaqdote’s from rabbi’s that include a council of Rabbi’s declaring a rule, and telling God in his face that he has no authority to change that rule. I think we as Polytheists can learn a lot from Jewish traditions on how to survive and prosper as a minority grouping while maintaining (or in our case creating) a social-cultural idenity that will both survive and be something to take pride in.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Melas the Hellene Post author

      You are right about Varg and the minions (as I call them, or perhaps a better Germanic term would be “trolls”) who support him. I have rarely seen so much willful stupidity like theirs. The Heathens need to counter him (in a balanced way rather than from an extreme position) in order to set their movement right, otherwise problems will continue. I share your spirit also regarding the Jews and their various accomplishments, which surely we not only can, but also must, learn from and emulate.

      As for your point about monotheism and oppressive natures of many civilizations, my unbiased view (based on research) is this: the imperialism of large & ambitious states led to the decay of polytheism and gradually the appearance of monotheism–I have been quite fair in mentioning the imperialism of Rome and the Hellenistic Kingdoms as a cause of later Christian imperialism. And yes, while this did happen “independently of their faith” (as you say), it still caused a decay of their faith. This has also happened to Buddhists and Hindus, if you look at history; the fanaticism we see today is the result of an imperfect system and bad ideas that spread far and wide, and what makes it worse is the competition between both the decaying polytheistic systems and ideas, as well as emerging monotheistic systems and ideas.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Paul

    Ah, Varg Vikernes. I laughed out loud at calling his followers minions and trolls 😂 He has even said my own Breton ancestors are partly descended from Mongols. It’s a fact that during and after the Migration Period that we intermarried fairly heavily with the Alan people from Central Asia who, depending on which source you read, were an Iranian or a Turkic people, but we have zero Mongolian influence. He is really only concerned with blonde-haired, blue-eyed northern Europeans (except the Sámi. “Mongols”, again!).

    But speaking of Central Asia, monotheisms have existed without Judaic origin or influence, for example Zoroastrianism and Tengrism.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Melas the Hellene Post author

      Slantia, my good friend! I had thought you wouldn’t return. I am glad I had another article about the Celts ready to welcome you back.

      A friend of mine shared that video you mention about the Bretons and Alans. Varg has (or had, I hope) a ridiculous, unfounded notion that all dark-haired people are in European are non-European…I think the Alans were mainly Iranic and actually came into Europe to escape from the Turkic expansion. There would otherwise have been genetic evidence in Bretons that showed Central Asian admixture.

      As for monotheism, it is important to note that it’s origin was Egyptian and the Jews only developed it 800-1000 years later. But what’s even more important is, what caused monotheism to rise! I believe the causes were imperialism and syncretism. I am considering to write a new series about the decline of polytheism wherein I could explain this rise in detail.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. K

    There has been a change lately where many are turning on Varg over his insistence that everything in myths is about childbirth and placentas. This after angering some when he referred to much of Southern Europe as “basically Arabs.”

    People often say that Tengri worship and Zoroastrianism are monotheistic. I have not seen that this is true. If a Zoroastrian, for example, is observing their traditional calendar where they offer to and worship various Yazatas(from the same root as Vedic yajna, meaning to sacrifice) like Mithra, Fravashis(the genii of people living and deceased), Atar(fire, like Agni), the Sun, the Moon, Tir, Anahita, and Verethragna(Vritra-striker, like Indra’s title), I am not seeing monotheism. These deities are also called ahuras, from Vedic asura, also a generic term for a deity. That they have one, Mazda, that is the greatest of ahuras does not make it monotheism. Both Christianity and Islam have denounced the Zoroastrians as polytheistic in the past.

    In Altaic worship of Tengri, the basic system has the sky father(the highest Tengri) and earth mother. There are many other tengris(in the general sense of deities) of various things like childbirth(Umay), death(Erlek), mountains, the Sun Goddess, the Moon God, storms, the hunt, as well as local spirits. Ancestors and especially dead shamans are also worshiped. Not a lot of monotheism there either. Buddhist and Iranian influence added Vedic deities, Bodhisattvas and Buddhas, and other Indo-European deities to the mix.

    In my estimation, monotheism is not the thing that sets Judaism apart. Some cultures have had the concept independent of them. There is no great surprise in that. Judaism combines monotheism with their cultural and racial particularism. The Torah says they have been chosen for Yahweh to set them above all other nations. This means that non-Jews are without a god or any real historical purpose. Judaism also teaches that non-Jews must serve Jews. Their prophetic books like Isaiah say this. The bloody diatribes against the Moabites and Edomites in the Old Testament are there because those peoples got out from under Jewish control, which is spelled out clearly in the books of Kings.

    There is a lot of evidence of Jewish polytheism at least up to the Maccabean period. Even Josephus mentions some kind of house gods that Jews had within recent memory. Keep in mind that the Maccabees spent a lot of time spreading Judaism in the region by the sword, forcing Levantine peoples like the remnants of Moab, Ammon, and Canaan, Syrians, the Samaritans(northern Israelite remnants) and the Edomites(which the Jews attacked) to convert to Jerusalem temple Judaism. The Maccabean period saw much infighting between early Jewish sects, which is why we hear of John Hyrcanus killing and enslaving Samaritans, and Alexander Jannaeus crucifying Pharisees. There was a concerted effort by the Jerusalem priests to monopolize all religious functions. The old kings and the tribal patriarchs made altars beneath old trees(often oak) and set up stone pillars for worship. The Jerusalem priests forbade both of these things, even as they kept texts that have Abraham and Jacob doing these things. The trees were associated with Asherah worship, which archaeology and the texts support. Non-Levites were priests before, as the accounts in Judges and of David show. The Jerusalem priests did not want this either. People sacrificed at local holy sites and did not need a Levite to do so, as accounts in the Old Testament also show local festivals and offerings outside of those in the authorized Levitical holidays, with no negative connotation. There is also something telling from Leviticus(the P source).

    Leviticus 17
    “2 Speak to Aaron and his sons and to all the people of Israel and say to them: This is what the Lord has commanded. 3 If anyone of the house of Israel slaughters an ox or a lamb or a goat in the camp, or slaughters it outside the camp, 4 and does not bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting, to present it as an offering to the Lord before the tabernacle of the Lord, he shall be held guilty of bloodshed; he has shed blood, and he shall be cut off from the people. 5 This is in order that the people of Israel may bring their sacrifices that they offer in the open field, that they may bring them to the Lord, to the priest at the entrance of the tent of meeting, and offer them as sacrifices of well-being to the Lord. 6 The priest shall dash the blood against the altar of the Lord at the entrance of the tent of meeting, and turn the fat into smoke as a pleasing odor to the Lord, 7 so that they may no longer offer their sacrifices for goat-demons, to whom they prostitute themselves. This shall be a statute forever to them throughout their generations.”

    “Goat-demons” can also mean goat gods or spirits, the Hebrew word there seirim means the “shaggy haired ones.” Much like Azazel likely was a goat figure of some kind. Sometimes the seirim are translated as satyrs. Clearly this was not from any purported time of Moses. This was an issue to reformers wanting to do away with all local worship. Deuternomy, a centralizing document, spends a lot of time emphasizing Jerusalem, paying tithes, and priestly authority. Even the king was supposed to study the books of the priests and obey them. This is in stark contrast to the kings depicted in Samuel and Kings. David and Solomon appointed priests and received honors from them. Solomon dismissed one of the high priests(that there were two is already telling) for political purposes. The royal cult was based around the king, and priests were secondary in it. Neither David or Solomon suppressed local worship either, they took part in it. Their lauded first temple was built for them in part by Phoenician pagans, and from the outset it was dedicated to multiple gods. Solomon is blamed for this in later sources, but this was just narrative manipulation by the priests. Solomon’s temple was also packed with images of bulls, lions, horses, cherubs(sphinx like winged figures of the ancient Near East, term derived from Assyrian language), vines, flowers, gourds, and so on. The bronze serpent(later said to be the one Moses made) had a corner of the temple and was also worshiped. Hardly iconoclastic, and anything else full of common pagan symbols of strength and fertility would be termed idolatrous by the Jews and Christians today. The Jews at Elephantine in the Persian period were worshiping Anat as a consort or part of Yahweh(as she was to Hadad in other Canaanite cultures) and were freely mingling with the Egyptians and their local temple. This was more like older Hebrew religion than the Jewish sects and the rabbis that arose about two centuries later.

    Judaism is a highly negative development, and I care for it no more than I do the other two. The archaic Hebrews however, were just another people in the Levant, and not particularly special or nefarious. They just lost out to bigger powers in the region, and failed in their own empire building ambitions. After the Babylonian exile, some Jews blamed the disaster on Josiah and the later kings removing Asherah from the temple in Jerusalem. This probably had more truth to that than what the so called reformers came up with. The Jews have suffered repeatedly because of the false expectations and hubris fed to them by those political prophets and the Levite centralizers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Melas the Hellene Post author

      The latest I’ve heard about Varg is that his views are becoming more moderate after a period of racism towards Southern Europeans. He does actually have a few very interesting ideas that could make him a very positive force (especially with the numbers he has), if only he would abandon some of his unfounded ideologies about Jews and Southern Europeans alike.

      You offer an excellent account of the Jews and Judaism here. Many thanks for it. It makes me comfortable to know about the earlier (or rather much later than I had guessed) henotheistic side because I have lately discovered (though not yet confirmed by second DNA test) that I’m partly Separdic on my Greco-Egyptian dad’s side. I like to think of it as Phoenician or Canaanite ancestry, which is very similar if not the same. And as you point out, there were henotheistic and monotheistic factions always in conflict. It also helps to know that I can challenge Paul of Tarsus directly now, which I aspire to do one day…

      I do however have 3 questions for you : a) what do you think of the influence of Akhenaten on the invention of monotheism (a term I always use in contrast to henotheism)? b) Although the Jerusalem priesthood & Josiah is to blame for monotheistic Judaism, do you also blame the neighborly imperialism for producing such a pathological and hostile mode of belief? c) Is it possible that the Jerusalem priesthood derived some of its ideas from remnants of Akhenaten’s ideas, if we can judge from the story of Moses?



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