History: 99 Cent The New Jerusalem ( Art, Theology, Ethics, Thought, Theory, Self Help, Mystery, romance, action, adventure, sci fi, science fiction, drama, horror, thriller, classic, novel, literature, suspense)by G. K. Chesterton, Jerusalem Theory, Art Mystery, Theology adventure, Ethics classic
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G.K. Chesteron's book titled THE NEW JERUSALEM is the only "angry" book this reviewer has ever read of Chesterton's vast literary work. This book is not for the timid or the dull. Those who are serious Catholics, religious Jews, or devout Muslims will learn from this book. Those who religious views are fashionable and politically correct will be shocked by honest language and thoughtful insight.
Chesteton reminds readers that Palestine and Judea (modern Israel)was at one time under Ancient Roman control and during the late 11th. and 12th. centuries under European control. The complex history of the Middle East includes peoples of different cultures, languages, and political views. The fact is that Europeans as well as Western Asians. The Middle East was "the cradle" of early Catholocism, the flowering of Judaism, and the original area of Islam.
Those who are aware of the Byzantine rule know that the Byzantines used the Greek language. Yet, they ruled using Roman Law, and the Greek Orthodox Church was very similiar to the Catholic Church. As an aside, the Greek Orthodox ligurgy and sacramental system are similiar to those of Catholicism. This reviewer is very aware that there are differences which have caused bitterness and schism.
Chesterton chides the British for not knowing little or nothing of the Middle East, and the same could be said of American "experts" whose knowledge of the history and georgraphy of this area is either nil or fabricated nonsense. Chesterton contrasts the vague, undignified language of modern policy "experts" with the clear yet poetic bluntness of the Old Hebrew Prophets whose denounciations was quite understandable by those whom they condemned.
Contrary to modern fads and notions, Jerusalem was and is a place of vivid religious and cultural differences which has exploded at times in violence and bitter clashes. As Chesterton makes clear, modern fashionable Protestantism would never have survived in Jerusalem. Islam, Judaism and Catholcism did.
Chesterton saw the post World War I situation with prophetic vision. He argued that while there was no war, there was no actual peace, and the Middle East was an armned camp. This was a problem for the British who were under the illusion that their inherent superiority and arrogant ignorance would protect them from the realities that Chesterton clearly understood.
Chesterton reserves his most serious writing for Zionism. He presents those of the Jewish faith that they were Europeans or Zionists. Chesterton DOES NOT condemn Judaism. He was critical of what some may consider Jewish Nationalism as compared to Judaism as a religion. By avoiding these issues British, and later American, policy makers tried to exert their influence with little knowledge much to their chagrin. Chesterton argued that Europeans regardless of their religion benefitted from Catholic Canon Law, a gradual respect for legal rights, and the rediscovery of reason via Aristotle and Catholic Scholasticism. The Zionists were forced to ask themselves whether or not they were Westerners. This is still a current debate. Chesterton commented that he had more respect for Jewish radicals who championed the rights of the poor than he had for the wealthy plutocrats, Jewish or not.
G.K. Chesterton knew that after World War I, the Middle East was a political powder keg. One weakness of this book is that Chesterton could have critisized the Balfour Declaration (1917) which was so poorly written and vague that both Arabs and Jewish Zionists could use it to justify their political aspirations. An Ancient Hebrew Prophet would have been much clearer and succinct.
G.K. Chesterton defends his views from a Catholic point of view. THE NEW JERUSALEM is a well written and blunt assessment of the Middle East that thoughtful men (there are so few of such men) will have a better understanding of the historical drama (a tragic historical drama)that is evolving. What is more tragic is that sensible men were avoided or ignored when something could have been done during and just after World War I. But men in power were and are seldom sensible.
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