The following articles are taken and translated from the Hellenic magazine "ABATON" #37 (December 2003 January 2004). Everything herein is translated by me from the magazine.
HEBREWISM VS HELLENISM
A big battle for many people a clash between giants started thousand of years ago between 2 worldviews, 2 cultures, the Hebraic and the Hellenic.
A battle that continues unstoppable, as the signs show other times fiercely, other time subsequently even today. A battle that is almost behind every big or small thing. From economy, thought, politics, religion and the meaning of life, to fun, way of life, view of the world (worldview) and view of our own selves.
Hebrewism and Hellenism are not just 2 civilizations, 2 cultures that influence only the Hebrews and the Hellenes, rather they are THE 2 planetic models of translation and giving meaning to life and the world, for about 2500 years. The 2 biggest politismic archetypes of our planet, that according to our wisemen, were created, function and stay diametrically opposites.
What this means, how it influences us, what it will bring, I will analyze to the following articles.
For a good purpose or bad, today in a big part of the planet, reigns the western way of life and thinking. But what does it mean for a citizen of the modern world, any citizens, from an Eskimo to the Zulu and from the Mongols to the native Chileans, to be a bearer of the western way of life and thinking? It means that he is the spiritual descendant and bearer (usually subsequently) of the 2 ways of view to the world, the Hellenic and the Hebraic.
Any citizen of the modern world, away from the any folk traditions he may attend to, carries his memories and is filled by 2 different and foreign traditions for him, traditions that characterize his life: The Hellenic and the Hebraic. This happens because what we name "West" was forged upon the history and the civilization of both Hellenes and Hebrews.
About the Hellenic inheritance things are more clear, since the West, adopted the philosophy and the arts that first the Hellenes brought up, and it was based upon what the Hellenes managed to do and invent, but mostly about the first two elements, from which came first the "Hellenic Miracle" and later Renaissance, Enlightenment, logic and reason.
The Hebraic inheritance of the West, although it's a fact, invaded through Christianity in Europe and then to the New World. Christianity, as a pure child of Hebrewism, made the Hebraic cosmogonia and history widely known and taught the way of life and thinking of the Hebrews. A modern western citizens may not know the Hellenic history, even his own history, but there are no chances to not know something from the Hebraic: Abraham, Noah, Moses, David etc. are the same, if not more known with Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, in all of the Western world.
So, it is not stupid to say that today most people who adopt the western civilization, the values of the west, in truth are bearers of Hellenism and Hebrewism, so they are full with the spirit of both civilizations. A small paradigm: Anywhere that the medical science exists in the west, the spirit of Hippocrates exists as well and there are talks about the ethics of the doctors and the things the use, if they should be used or not, for the treatment of their patients.
Talking about the inheritance of Hellenism in the world, a myth that exists should stop, concerning the "Hellenic Miracle". It is so unique that the peoples nowadays thirst for liberty, free will and democracy so much, that theories appear, which base themselves on blurry historical facts, from many peoples, that "prove" their Hellenic heritage, or that in the past the Hellenes traveled to their place, where they left certain things and ideas, stuff that has subsequently passed in them. Maybe some of these theories have some true facts, most of the theories though are invented because many peoples want to be a part, even have a small part in the "Hellenic Miracle".
Coming back to our topic, which is the differences between the 2 different worldviews, I should remind the invasion of Hebrewism in the west through Christianity, because, just as you will understand, some parameters, especially in the Christian world are completely misunderstood.
GOD AND CHAOS
But let's take everything from the beginning and the beginning is no other but the books upon which the start of the world came for each culture. For the Hebrews, in the book of Genesis, it is clear that our world was created by god, the one and only. So, we are the creatures of a god. The Hellenic opinion is different. In the beginning, just as we learn from "Theogonia" by Hesiodos, there was only chaos and chaos created everything. The difference may not be clear, but it is HUGE.
In the first cosmotheory (Hebraic) there is the unknown and powerful force, that creates everything like it wants whereas in the second cosmotheory (Hellenic) everything starts from the beautiful and the uncreated, Chaos, and it creates the world by the power of Eros (love). According to the first opinion (Hebraic) everything is destined to happen without any chance of failure or differ from the plan, but according to the second opinion (Hellenic) the fact that we are here right now is by luck. We are just one of the many chances that could have existed or exist. Which means that the appearing of the cosmos by Chaos could be completely different as well. Modern science probably can't prove it, but it surely is closer to the Hellenic opinion.
This and the only difference between the two worldviews can produce people really different in everything. For the Hebrews, the one god creates the world and even though, at some point, more races and tribes of men appear, the only race their god loves is still their, the Hebraic. One god, and one chosen peoples higher, divine, unique among the others, and with every right on every creatures of this world, since the Hebraic race has the order of her Creator/Defender. Right now, reading this, don't we see the image of the modern western man? Don't we, the westerners, have the impression that we are better, higher and unique with god as our helper in every step we tread? I am not only talking about the Americans, but about the Europeans too, and of course about the Neo-Hellenes. Globalization and unification of all peoples, isn't this the result of the certain Hebraic worldview? That we, who hold the only truth, who are the favored of god, who have better technology, have a right on everything and on every peoples on this planet
On the contrary, what characterizes the spirit of Hellenism is plurality. The differences in Hellenism do not start wars. Plurality that is the stepstone to difference is a granted and an accepted fact. There is no higher force that puts the Hellenes on a higher level than the other peoples, nor a higher order, nor they follow a godly crusade. The follow the teachings of the nature of the world, who is characterized by plurality, and they end in independence, democracy and free will. It's not polytheism that separates the Hellenes form the other peoples. Polytheism was the religion of the Egyptians, Chinese, and all of the Mesopotamian peoples, but none of them lived the idea of plurality like the Hellenes. On the contrary, most of those peoples if not all turned to a fatalistic way of life between the two poles of a magnet which fought each other: Good and Wrong.
The acceptance of plurality and difference from the Hellenes, invented the philosophy of the feasts (symposia). According to the anthropologists, the sociability of man passed through the table, through the feast. Man opened wide his own beast instincts when he sat down and ate with more men! The Hellenes valued the feasts into a way of life. With a stranger they ate and became friends, and with friends they communicated and exchanged ideas about everything, finding common or different opinions. The feasts proved the sociability of a peoples and were an everyday activity, not only for a certain event like a religious holiday which happened to the rest of the races. Common eating symbolized the acceptance of the difference of someone else, as a natural thing in this world. Through feasts, politics and economy flourished and the ideas of friendship and hospitality were invented. (If you wish to find out more about the last paragraph, I recommend you read Plato's "Symposion" and Homer's "Odyssey".)
In the same vein like the feasts, the history of the Hellenes does not include one fact and one race. Up till today no one talks about Hellenic history as something certain. When we talk about the ancient Hellenes, we talk about and research the different histories of the Hellenic tribes, different histories of each city state but always within a certain geographical place, the borders of Hellas. Every tribe, every region, every city in the geographical place we call "Hellas" but even widely, to regions that were and even today are considered Hellenic had a different way of governing, different traditions and diaries, even different alphabets. But, these differences they had, never led a certain tribe to believe they are superior to any other. They were different because of the military power, or the economical power, but never by divine order. Their stance towards foreigners was not arrogant, because of a "divine" order, rather they were friendly towards foreigners. Just by reading the "History" by Herodotus is enough for one, to understand the stance of the Hellene towards the differences between all peoples.
HELLENISM, CHRISTIANITY AND HEBREWISM
Hebrewism as a worldview, before the coming of Christianity was a matter that concerned only the Hebraic race. But with the recognition of Christianity as the official religion and practiced cult within the borders of the Roman Empire from the 5th century BCE and in later times, Hebrewism became the leading opinion of all races and were converted to Christianity. Eclecticism and uniqueness became a value not only of the Greek Christians, but of the Romans, the Celts, the Germans, the Britons, the Slavs etc.
Suddenly all of the peoples that converted to Christianity were "elevated" to a higher level, where they themselves appeared as the holders of the only truth, as the pure bearers of god and the "apostles of repentance and salvation". This worldview of the Christians turned them against the Pagans and against the Hebrews themselves. But firstly, before this happened, it turned them against the acceptance of every difference between the Christian races, and then they persecuted by blood any difference inside the Christian faith.
The Byzantine Empire was characterized by the disappearance of every difference and racial characteristics, and the invention of a new "race" the Christian race! The unification of all peoples back then had become a reality in the name of a certain faith. The fact that the "divine" languages were only the Hellenic and the Latin language, and the fact that holy scriptures weren't allowed to be translated to any other of the converted peoples is a paradigm of the Hebraic eclecticism that was passed down to the Christians by the Hebrews. Also, all of the sad things that have happened in Europe and the rest of the world for the last 1500 years are a result of the logic of "one god, his favored peoples and the divine crusade".
Of course, in different periods of history, the people of the west turned their faces towards the Hellenic worldview of plurality asking for all those values and merits that the Hellenes created. However, still staying inside the Christian cage, they could never free themselves from the logic of the "one god and of his favored people" and this resulted to Hellenism still remaining only a dream, a utopian idea even today especially today I would add!
In the course of history, Europeans took certain things from Hellenism, things that helped Europeans to form a better social structure, but always inside the Christian cage and the help of uniqueness and eclecticism. Results of this eclectic revaluation detachment and adoption, is the modern day world, with everything bad that characterizes it.
The two worldviews became enemies, as it was to be expected, with Hebrewism altering the opinion of Europeans in every matter. Even the political systems that were created had this optical idea as a granted, with the result being the bloody wars that happened to the world. "We hold the only truth, we are divine and superior, we are the loved ones of God!" This impression stays even today Read for example the latest comments of George Bush about the war in Iraq and of many more politicians of the US or the UK and you will understand what I mean
As a side note, I would like to talk about another topic that is interesting and is a part of the whole matter, especially for the Hellenes. I am talking about the term "Helleno-Christianity". The Hellenic Pagans of today don't accept this term, but the Greek Christians love it and think it is accurate! The truth is that Christianity adopted many things from the Hellenic spirit and the Hellenic traditions, so many that it ended up adopting the philosophy of the Hellenes about the Pagan celebrations (Mysteria) and the cult traditions, as for example painting pictures of Gods, thus inheriting the anthropomorphism of the Hellenic Gods!!!!! It would not be arrogant to say that today, Christianity, with the worshipping of the saints, the apostles, the angels and the cults of Madonna is probably more a "polymorphic" (I would say it's even more pagan and polytheistic than the pure polytheistic religions!) religion than a monotheistic.
Just as it is understood, the term "Helleno-Christianity" contains a HUGE oxymore, a really big contradiction. Because, how is it possible for the Hellenic and Christian spirit to coexist when they both are the ambassadors of two completely different worldviews? A result of this oxymore is something unique: The Pagans see Hellenism through the Hebraic view of uniqueness and eclecticism, and as a result they value fanatically everything Hellenic, considering the Hellenes a divine race and superior to any other and their achievements as help from their Gods! They are doing exactly the same just as the Christians did and just as the father of Christianity, Hebrewism did before it, considering themselves unique and bearers of the only truth, and the loved race of the Gods! (Anyone who knows me will probably understand that I am doing the same thing sometimes Personally I consider the Hellenes to be a really unique people, considering the fact that only 3 or 4 cultures managed to survive time. Culturally, as we can see from this article, the Hellenes were probably one step ahead the others in my opinion.)
Meanwhile, from what we have all seen for the last years and the steadily expansion of globalization, Hellenism is rising once more as the reigning start, the greatest ideal towards which all peoples turn their faces to, understanding it or not, in order to maintain their differences and their values. Unfortunately, for once more, Hellenism shall be seen from within the Christian cage and the Hebraic worldview of things and the results will probably be one of the same. And maybe, in our modern age, where everything doesn't just walk but strides, this glimpse of Hellenism may probably be our last
THE TWO MODELS OF THINKING AND GOVERNING THE WORLD
By Alexandros Ch. Mitsiou
For the past 2000 years there has been much talk about the connection between Hellenism and Hebrewism. Today, the registration of this matter is found everywhere, in every level of journalistic, political, scientific, politismic, public and private conversations and information in a global level. Many are those who consider this clash is between 2 reigning worldwide worldviews.
Personally, I think that the connection between 2 worldviews that are diametrically opposite, is of course characterized by the differences of context and the differences of opinions which hold the element of fight, but this does not mean that always a fight endures without stop. And how much does it matter when beings of Hebraic heritage understand the Hellenic worldview and when others of Hellenic heritage accept the stereotypes of Hebrewism? But, what interests us as writers and readers to understand is the identity of this fierce fight between both worldviews and this I am studying for many years through a research that comes from the politismic research of both the Hellenic and the Hebraic creation, just as they are given to us by historical reports, philosophical analysis, religious views and their political executions.
From this point of view I will first refer to a man that has interested me for a very long time and who always researched the connections between Hellenism and Hebrewism in a philosophical/ideological and a practical/administrational level. I am talking about the philosopher and Emperor Flavius Claudius Julianus (better known as "Julian the Apostate", 331 363 ACC), defender of Hellenism during the tremendously fierce fight spiritual and biological between the Hellenes and the Galileans ( = Christians, back then a heresy of Judaism).
Julian had researched the connection between Hellenism and Hebrewism a lot, and had written down his findings in many of his scriptures. Because of this decision of his, he has stayed in the epicenter of attention for the last 17 centuries, for the people who research this subject. Because I have researched in great depth his political and philosophical work, I find good to give you the basics of the work of this "banished" political genius, since I want to since I want to give you a better understanding between the two worldviews that interest us. I say again that his text that we are talking about right now is the "Against Galileans". (Kata Galilewn)
Basic difference between Hellenes and Hebrews according to Julian's opinion is their religious tradition. These two traditions he puts in the center of myths. Main heralder of the Hellenic side he considers Plato, which from the Hebraic side the main heralder is Moses. By the Hebraic myths, the favored people of the God/Creator are the Hebrews. God is in constant communication with Israel by prophets, teachers, heralders, and other people he likes using. On the contrary, by the Hellenic myths, the God/Creator is a common father, king of everything, and has given his aptness to other lower Gods. Each of them rule the region which was granted to him by the dice (a sign of democracy among Hellenes, even at the age of myth) based on his own character. While for the God/Father (Zeus) everything is perfect, from the rest of the Gods, each of them is ruler of things and of different peoples for example, Ares guides the warlusting tribes, Athena the wise and warlusting, and Hermes the adventurous tribes. The tribes love specifically a certain God, depending on their own character.
We are led to believe that the Hebraic view gives god tribal and racial definitions, while the Hellenic view takes worldwide size. This different theological view moves in different roads the history, the laws, the ethics and the values of the two cultures, so the archetypes of these two cultures are led in different roads as well. The Hebraic archetype imposes the submission of human passions through the subdue of each individual to god's reign. The Hellenic archetype wants to rid itself from human weaknesses through reason, who leads to the understanding of the divine element which is in everything.
Historically, the Hebrews created a typical of unification and submission, since they were always under foreign yoke and slaves to everybody. The Hellenes created a system of politics, governmental and law constitution, in order to defend their freedom of their existence, and the freedom of reason that's why they moved far away from the borders of the mystical cult and created science and arts.
Julian agrees that there are common cultural elements between Hellenes and Hebrews, but also between all of the peoples inhabiting the Mediterranean. He does not alienate Hellenism from any cultural morph and manages, by comparing it with the tribal and racial limited Hebrewism, to show the humanoid and freedom loving character of the worldwide unending traditions of Hellenism.
By commencing my research, I find out hastily that Hebrewism is characterized by the term of "heterothesmisis" ( = others decide for ourselves), which means that all of the laws, which are used to govern the people, are decided by a strict political and religious clergy which decides how the laws should be, without asking the society for anything that may interest them. This starts from the age of the first Hebraic patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Moses etc.) since when Hebrewism is formed, where reigns the "submission of slave in the name of a god, of an idea or a person" religious complex. That's how the monotheistic religious idea starts one god, absolute monarch and monarchy as the only political regime and a heralder of this god as a known sovereign upon which is built the beast of slaved totalitarianism.
During the course of history the Hebraic totalitarianism view is found easily in theocratic empires and in countries that have only one political team. It's a fact that the Hebraic heterothesmisis was the root of totalitarianism, religious and political systems. (For example: Christianity, Islam, Soviet Union, Nazism, Fascism, Sionism etc.)
In a diametrically difference with the Hebraic heterothesmisis, stands the Hellenic "autothesmisis" ( = we decide for ourselves) which means that society itself decides what is will create, accept and erase. Humans themselves, through their interference with social and political things, show to their masters which laws and rules they need.
What Hellenism promotes is the continuous defiance and criticism, which leads to research and knowledge with utter goal freedom and the better life. The communal system of social autothesmisis finds it's better appliance in a democratic regime. Of course, by democracy, we mean the immense taking-part of humans in democracy, which mostly was the common place in ancient Hellas with the pinnacle of (democracy) in the era of classical Athens. The society that decides for herself (autothesmisis) created the parameters so the Hellenic Miracle could take place. A miracle which is totally miraculous and human, which didn't need any Yahweh to take part in the plan, BUT WAS THE PRODUCT OF FREE MEN, WHO AS THEIR ASSETS CARRIED ONLY THEIR OPINION, LOGIC, REASON AND THEIR FANTASY.
In Hellenic political-religious practice, rules polyarchy (government by many) which lets, strengthens and betters everyone's part in social things. It's a really old custom which still lasts since the age of the Hellenic forefathers (Zeus, Dionysus, Athena, Apollo, Herakles, Odysseus, Achilles etc.) when their decisions were taken in common meatings and after everyone had told their opinions.
This is only an article and does not leave us much space to talk about even more things so we are close to the end. From everything that is mentioned here, it's shown that Hebrewism is a dogma with certain characteristics of totalitarianism and is to be feared, because, in a case of an extreme sionistic totalitarianism unified regime, still keeps promoting as an archetype disdained for man and his freedom ways of governing, thus threatening to to transform our Earth into an endless prison.
On the other hand, the other pole of influence on worldwide evolution is by no means a dogma, but a human, living way of thinking and acting on the eternal fight for freedom, justice, and democracy, in order to form, in the better way, a society of people, in which we love just the beauty and we fall in love with wisdom without any fear (Thucydides, B.40). Of course, the last paragraph was talking about Hellenism.
HEBREWISM VS HELLENISM
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