Campbell and Rumors of Anti-semitism

Who was Joseph Campbell? What is a myth? What does "Follow Your Bliss" mean? If you are new to the work of Joseph Campbell, this forum is a good place to start.

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Fin
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Post by Fin » Fri Jul 18, 2003 2:40 pm

Thanks all for the replies. I don't get on much so its been a while since last your posts were made so I appologize. Well, now I know more about the argument and have some background with which to challege any rumors. I agree with the sentiments that hes innocent until really proven guilty and that being unimpressed with Judaism doesn't mean being prejudiced against Jews. It is obvious that many people (Jewish and otherwise) are overly sensitive to anything that can be remorely percieved as anti-semetic. I personally don't think these apparently common rumors should be ignored by ardent Campbellians like ourselves. I think they should be confronted in both academic, religious and personal circles.
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Post by cadfael » Wed Jul 30, 2003 4:26 am

Well I think that Joseph Campbell was contending with the major religous power of the mid east and the west mainly the Judeo Christian tradition.If he had been born a Hindu then maybe he would have greatly focoused on flaws in that theology.I do not think what differences Mr.Campbell had with the Judeo-Christian tradition made him anti-semitic.I think that he was an intelligent scholar in the west who was dealing with what has dominated the west and as he said he was a maverick-not going along with the crowd does not make you anything,but an individual.


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Post by cadfael » Sun Aug 10, 2003 6:13 pm

Furthermore,the term Anti-semite is misleading because everyone uses that term to describe someone who does not like Jews,but in truth it applies to all the folks in the mideast to my knowledge.Hence,how could Mr.Campbell be an anti-semite.It is silly.

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Post by cadfael » Fri Aug 22, 2003 8:00 am

I feel I must be more clear in this issue.For a person to be an anti-semite they would have to dislike all the peeps in the mideast to be anti-semites.Because to my knowledge the peeps in that region are known collectivley as Semites.Mr.Campbell was no anti-semite.

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Post by Martin_Weyers » Tue Sep 02, 2003 9:46 pm

You're right, Cadfael, the equalization of Jews and Semits isn't historically correct, but I suppose most people are using the term anti-semitic in terms of hostile to the Jews.
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Post by SkiaOura » Sun Sep 14, 2003 11:33 am

When I was finishing either Occidental Mythology or Oriental (I think it was Occidental though) I read that Campbell thought that there were four great monotheistic religions of the world. They were:
Judaism
Christianity
Islam
Communism.

I might be mistaken now, and I don´t have the books at home to back me up... but take a look and let me know if I am wrong.
I had the feeling that Campbells criticism of these religions was that they tried to be universal, and to convert outsiders to their own "true" religion. That is, with the exception of Judaism. I felt that Campbell thought it good that Judaism was an ethnic religion, since he also (I think) felt that a mythology must stem from natural daily surroundings. Therefore it is folly to try to convert a tribe in the rainforests in Venezuela to the Christianity of the upper class in London. Judaism is self-contained, and does not force itself on other people.
I think that Campbell celebrated this point, and treasured this exception to the general rule of the great religions.
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Post by cadfael » Fri Sep 26, 2003 1:20 am

That is correct the Jewish peeps do not seek converts.I read once that all other faiths are fine and are paths to God,so the Jews are not as bad as say the Christians and Moslems for instance.

I had a lovely experience with the Jews as a boy and have a better memory of them than Christians.I do have my issues with Judaism and the other faiths,but that does not make me anti-Jewish.I imagine that peeps could take me out of context and say that I would be "Anti-Semitic",but I know that I am not.I have issues with the dogma like I do with all other faiths but that does not make me a person of hate.I love the Jewish culture.


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Post by Clemsy » Tue Oct 07, 2003 3:06 pm

Campbell appreciated that the Jewish faith claims a truth for the Jewish people. He expresses difficulty with the other faiths which claim universal truths.

A good example of this is the present issue with the fundamentalist christian right throwing money at Israel and being dead set against Bush's attempt at peace between the Plestinians and the Iraelis. Why? According to the Book of Revelations, Jerusalem must be the capitol of the Jewish state before the second coming of Christ, at which point the Jews will have to convert or be damned. Their 'truth' is so correct they feel comfy bringing about the end of the world. In the meantime, people on both sides of the Isreali/Palestinian issue are dying. Campbell would have a problem with this. I know I do.

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PS: Hey Cadfael! Nice to see you posting again!
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Post by Martin_Weyers » Sun Oct 19, 2003 4:53 am

Didn't Campbell say (in his rakish American style :grin:), that in Jerusalem three parties were killing each other, just because they have different names for the same god?

I think Campbell's point was, that a tribal religion is not appropriate for today's "global village". He was also criticizing, that the Jews (not everyone of course, but traditionally) were thinking of themselves to be elected people.

Maybe one can criticize, that he gave not enough attention to kabbalist mysticism.

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Post by Clemsy » Thu Oct 30, 2003 6:40 pm

Martin,
It seems to me that Campbell had a high regard for the mystical traditions of every sect... in that they tend to be inclusive, rather than exclusive.

The mystical traditions also tend to boil down to the same thought: thou art that.

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Post by cadfael » Tue Nov 11, 2003 8:26 am

Thank you Clemsy for the welcome back!I do think that the Jewish religous postition(conversion etc.) on one hand is more enlightened than that of the other big faiths of Jerusalem,but the others are more inclusive if you follow their game plan.

Jesus in his thinking saw the limitations of the Jewish faith conerning the law and the gentiles and mercy ect.He made that faith more inclusive.He opened up and did not judge and allowed the gentiles in.I know that Jewish people have argued in the past that because of the oppression that they were not able to perform the mission that the Christians have been capable of.I agree with that,but I do not think that they would have been as successful as the Christians.I say that because their beliefs limit them.Take into consideration the dietary laws of conservative Jews.It would not appeal to a lot of people.I remember Christ jumped over that obstacle by saying,"It is not what goes into a person that defiles a person it is what comes out of the heart which defiles a person.I totally agree with that.

In a book called I think Witches,wars,pigs and whatever I do not remember exactly that it said in truth swine are clean animals.For instance the reason why they roll about in their own filth is because pigs do not sweat.Furthermore,they cannot tolerate heat.Originally the swine was a forest creature and was not suited to a desert existence.Furthermore,they were not good herding animals.Economically they were not good for the herding Hebrews.This type of thinking that the moslems inherited is sheer nonsense.It is unscientific and is steeped in tradition and ignorance.This type of absurdity is alienating and has no place in an enlightend society.

I know that Albert Einstein a Jew did not believe in the Biblical god.He said once that if the Judeo-Chrisian tradition was purged(the useless aspects)we would have the answer to the worlds ills.Well we can take that a step further if we throw in Islam as well and purge it then the recipe would be even greater.

Clemsy you said something interesting that I did not know.You said that the Christian right was feeding money to the Israeli peoples causing division bettween the Israelis and Palestinians.I did not know that,so they are helping to prevent peace in the Middle East.They are all at fault I think,but agree with you that what the Christians are doing is wrong.Funny trying to bring about the end of the world.Thank you for telling me that.It is good information.

Oh I think I am rambling now.

Cadfael
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Post by SkiaOura » Sat Nov 22, 2003 10:13 pm

Martin,

I am also missing Campbells view on the kabbala, and wonder why he does not mention it much. It is because it is so reserved to only some highly educated and devoted rabbis?
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Post by Mark O. » Thu Dec 04, 2003 12:00 pm

Wow. I am working for a Summer Camp owned by a large Jewish Community Center. A professor from Cornell (who is also a storyteller) came to the camp to tell stories to the kids. Afterward, she and I were discussing myth and oral tradition. I mentioned Joseph Campbell's name in passing - and she immediately voiced her displeasure. "Do you know that he was anti-Semitic?" she said. Having heard this before, I asked her to explain - just to see what she might have to offer to the debate. She said that he didn't allow Jews into his lectures. I let the discussion move onto other areas without asking for documentation... anybody heard of this before? How would he have been able to enforce this? Hmmm.

Mark
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Post by David_Kudler » Tue Dec 16, 2003 1:46 am

Well, this isn't strictly a refutation, but I do wish to point out that Jews (specifically, young Jewish women) made up something better than half of the student body of Sarah Lawrence during Mr. Campbell's tenure there. So if it was his habit to exclude Jews, I would be shocked.

My sense--and it is a guess--is that this is an urban legend that has grown out of Campbell's self-publicized bicker with Martin Buber. Thence came rumors that Joe was an anti-Semite, which assertion lead to the creation of back-story along the lines of this tale. Ask your young friend what her source for this story was--does she know someone whom Campbell kicked out of a lecture?
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Post by SkiaOura » Sat Dec 27, 2003 3:33 pm


David, where can I read the self-publicized things about Martin Buber?
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