View Poll Results: Is Christianity alien to Germanics?

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  • Christianity is as alien to Germanics as Judaism and Islam.

    199 37.27%
  • Christianity is alien in origin, but it is less alien than Judaism and Islam.

    146 27.34%
  • Christianity is not alien to Germanics at all.

    163 30.52%
  • Other (please explain).

    26 4.87%
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Thread: Is Christianity Alien to Germanics?

  1. #171
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    I'm have the book in question myself and gona write my own revieuw of it one of these days. However, for someone who is devoutly Christian wouldn't striving to preserve this germanised christianity lead ultimantly to a sichofrenic aditude towards religion, espaily if he knows what is stated it that book.

  2. #172
    Senior Member IlluSionSxxx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eikinskjaldi View Post
    Socialists and communists don’t always agree, however, which is why another German scholar, Karl Marx, pronounced that religion is in fact a conservatizing force, the opiate of the masses, the drug that prevents the workers of the world from rebelling against their class enemies.
    Of course I object to calling Karl Marx a German scholar, however that's of little relevant. What I do want to stress here, is how religion has been replaced by capitalist "democracy" as the new opium for the masses. To better keep the masses weak, divided and unwilling to rebel, the tyranny of religion has been replaced the illusion of freedom and choice and the untamed hedonistic materialism of capitalist "democracy".

    Ironically, to some degree, religions (including Christianity) can actually form a counterweight against the new Opium for the masses. While religion used to keep people in chains in the West, now it actually liberates them.

  3. #173
    Member Eikinskjaldi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GroeneWolf View Post
    I'm have the book in question myself and gona write my own revieuw of it one of these days. However, for someone who is devoutly Christian wouldn't striving to preserve this germanised christianity lead ultimantly to a sichofrenic aditude towards religion, espaily if he knows what is stated it that book.

    I do not own this book, nor have I read it. It's on my list of books I want to aquire and read. Christianity had its origins outside of Germanic lands, indeed outside of Europe all together, but over the last 1500 years it has been transforned into something no longer 'alien' to Germanics. I wonder if Christianity could be considered ultimately not alien to any nation, race or culture. Some may say Christianity is not alien to Semites, being a monotheistic religion and all, but Semites by and large ended up rejecting it. Europe became Christiandom, and still to this day, There are more Christians there than any other continent. (Latin America will surpass them very soon.)

  4. #174
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    You know Eikinskjaldi, I've been engaged in several discussions concerning Russell's book and its thesis, and I can certainly say there's very little in which to back it up.

    A much better source on this matter is Peter Brown's The Rise of Western Christendom : Triumph and Diversity 200-1000 AD - which I cited earlier in this thread.

    Just read Brown's description of early Medieval Christianity overall:

    "Christianity was a remarkably universal religion, endowed with common codes which could spring up in many different enviroments. But, at this particular time, it was not necessarily a unitary, still less a uniform religion...What has to be explained in the history of the Greek, the Coptic, the Syrian, and the Armenian Churches of the East (to name only a few) is the remarkable manner in which their Christianity remained both universal and, at the same time, highly local....what strikes the historian about the competing regional Churches of the east was the robust confidence of each of them that they possessed a sufficiently full measure of universal truth to allow each of them to stand on its own.

    The history of western Europe at this time was not marked by the rise of rival Churches, set against each other by differences of doctrine, as was the case of the Churches of the East. But the issue of how to reconcile a universal Christianity with the conditions of a highly regionalized world were similar."
    --pg.14-15

    So it's clear that Brown notes that the localization of Christianity occured in vastly different regions such as Ireland, Spain, Armenia, Egypt, etc. It wasn't just among the Germanics that this occured. He even uses the term "Mico-Christendom" to describe this phenomena. Within the universal Christendom, there were several "Micro-Christendoms" that corresponded to its own unique culture.

    What Brown had to say about Armenia really got me laughing. According to Brown's account, the Armenians were a proud warrior people who also had a strong sense of tribal kinship. When Christianity arrived, the Armenians largely interpreted Christianity to fit this mold. For example the stories of the Bible were seen in a fashion similar to typical Persian heroic epics. When the Persians invaded, the Armenians rallied themselves to the cause of defending their Christian nation and protrayed themselves as like the Israelite Maccabees fighting off foreign invadors. Sound familiar? Well that's because Brown notes this is exactly the same as what happened in Western Europe.

    So Russell's thesis that "Germanization" was somehow special and totally changed the nature of Christianity is complete nonsense; as Brown notes the same basic story HAPPENED EVERYWHERE CHRISTIANITY AROSED!

    And the fact that Christianity adopts itself to local cultures and often serves to help build a greater sense of social and national loyalty and cohesion is not some unintended side-effect of the faith, but as Adrian Hastings explained it goes right to the heart of the nature of Christianity itself.

    Along with Brown's book, I would also suggest The Barbarian Conversion: From Paganism to Christianity by the late Richard Fletcher

    It should also be noted that many scholarly reviewers have not been kind to Russell's thesis.

    According to this one reviewer, Russell is not writing history so much as putting forth a sociological theory about the differences between "universal"/"world-rejecting" faiths(Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, etc.) and "world-accepting"/"folk religiosities" and in order for the "universal" faiths to convert the "folk religions" they have to reinterpret their faith to fit that mold. And then Russell projects this thesis onto the past with the pacifist Christians vs. the martial Germanic pagans. Yet as the reviewer notes, plenty of historians disagree with many aspects of this viewpoint:

    http://serials.infomotions.com/bmcr/...manization.txt

    "Medieval historians are likely to have some reservations about the degree to which [Russell's] model captures the essence of the conversion years. Not all would agree, for example, with his picture of the Germans of the migration period as a homogeneous, stable and socially cohesive group. Kingship itself was undergoing considerable change in this period (*reges*, *duces*, and the like), and recent work has stressed the extent to which the social and political identities of these peoples as a whole were also "under construction". Indeed, one could use Russell's model to argue that social instability of this sort might actually predispose the Germanic peoples to conversion, rather than the other way around. In this case, the encounter between Roman Christianity and Germanic paganism might appear less a sociohistorically mandated clash of world-views in which certain elements triumphed over others than a long-term forging of a common religiocultural identity by two traditions equally in crisis."
    And what is the overall conclusion this reviewer makes towards the book?
    "This is not a work of history. Its intent is not to examine the actual development of Christianity in the early middle ages but rather to construct a model by which to understand how such development might have occurred. As such, the book does not draw to any significant extent on primary sources; it is instead a pastiche of secondary works drawn together into a sociohistorical model of religious change. And while the range and quality of the author's reading is impressive, it is not coincidental that many of the passages he cites are from older works that lend themselves better to such sociological generalizing. To say this is not to disparage the interest of Russell's model or the intelligence of his work. It is, however, to warn historians that they might find less in this book than its title would lead them to expect--and to alert those interested in the sociology of religion, or in contemporary religious change, that they might find a good deal more."
    You can read more at the link I provided above.

    Here's another critical review of Russell's book from the Journal of Social History:
    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/m...29/ai_17841815

    Here's one excerpt that hits the nail on the head:
    "Much less convincing is Russell's argument for the germanization of Christianity, at least for a reviewer who would expect such an argument to have some empirical demonstration instead of being a conclusion reached from a survey of secondary readings. Russell's construct of late Roman Christianity is something of a strawman given first that he provides a sociological definition for a phenomenon he wants to be understood in a cultural sense, second that he avoids discussion of Greek and Egyptian Christianity and the question of whether during the period under discussion Rome was an originator or a transmitter of Christian culture. Perhaps Rome was so accommodating to German sensibilities out of a need to create a constituency which recognized its authority versus that of Constantinople or Alexandria. Russell commits himself to validating the theories of Georges Dumezil on the nature of Indo-European consciousness. This commitment only confuses his case. Germanic tribal elites may have rejected cultural assimilation into a Latin world view, but he never demonstrates that there was something uniquely Indo-European about this rejection. Tribal elites in Asia, Africa and South America have found Christianity equally unsuited to their needs. Having insisted that there was something in Germans being Indo-Europeans which explains why they did not respond to the Christian message, Russell needed to indicate what this uniqueness was by reference to the reactions of other non-Indo-European warrior elites to Christianity."
    I think it's safe to conclude that Russell's work is not something to take too seriously. There's simply too much other scholarship on the issue that refutes him.

  5. #175
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    Quote Originally Posted by Taras View Post
    Just read Brown's description of early Medieval Christianity overall:

    "Christianity was a remarkably universal religion, endowed with common codes which could spring up in many different enviroments. But, at this particular time, it was not necessarily a unitary, still less a uniform religion...What has to be explained in the history of the Greek, the Coptic, the Syrian, and the Armenian Churches of the East (to name only a few) is the remarkable manner in which their Christianity remained both universal and, at the same time, highly local.
    Christianity is flexible.
    It has a big fat book allied with it, from which anyone can take anything they please, that might fully contradict any alternative excerpt. You can dilute it and adulterate it as much as you please, according to taste or circumstance. That's why it did so well as it did.
    However, Muhammad saw that this was a weakness in so far as it led to fragmentation, and kept his own 'canon' short and concise. Fragmentation may well be seen as a virtue by ourselves, especially through the prism of a nationalistic desire to uphold local uniqueness, but not by a megalomaniac like him.
    The history of western Europe at this time was not marked by the rise of rival Churches, set against each other by differences of doctrine, as was the case of the Churches of the East.
    Interesting. But what about the Cathars, Albigenses, Pelagians, Arians, Celtic Christians and so on? A bit simplistic. We could even shove the Protestants, Hussites, Lollards, Lutherans and Calvinists in here even. We were Catholics for around half a millenium before we thought these things up, and that's not much longer than the Easterners had to come up with their versions, after all! THere's a false difference here. Armenians were exposed to Christianity in the third century, when the English didn't even live in England!
    Perhaps Rome was so accommodating to German sensibilities out of a need to create a constituency which recognized its authority versus that of Constantinople or Alexandria. .
    The Roman oligarchs probably were shitting their pants, yes, although this might also be taken to show that German and Roman had become two sides of the same ethnic system in this period.
    In the west, we live at the end of the day on a Periphery of the Old World, the Oikumene, and didn't have Arabs, Parthians or Turks breathing down our necks, and the greater cohesion in simple matters like transport routes and lack of internal boundaries helped to produce one whole system with us.

  6. #176
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oswiu View Post
    Christianity is flexible.
    Yeah so?

    It has a big fat book allied with it, from which anyone can take anything they please, that might fully contradict any alternative excerpt.
    If you choose to look at bits and pieces here and there without taking in the whole truth. As Chesterton put it, a heresy is not an untruth but an exaggerated truth blown out of proportion.

    However, Muhammad saw that this was a weakness in so far as it led to fragmentation, and kept his own 'canon' short and concise.
    The Koran is not short and concise by any standards.

    Interesting. But what about the Cathars, Albigenses, Pelagians, Arians, Celtic Christians and so on? A bit simplistic. We could even shove the Protestants, Hussites, Lollards, Lutherans and Calvinists in here even.
    Perhaps you need to improve your reading skills, since he clearly states "at this time", ie early Medieval period. :eyes

    Thank you for once again engaging in the fine art of missing the point!

  7. #177
    Member Eikinskjaldi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Taras View Post

    So it's clear that Brown notes that the localization of Christianity occured in vastly different regions such as Ireland, Spain, Armenia, Egypt, etc. It wasn't just among the Germanics that this occured. He even uses the term "Mico-Christendom" to describe this phenomena. Within the universal Christendom, there were several "Micro-Christendoms" that corresponded to its own unique culture.
    This is my understanding, more or less, of how different nations embraced Christianity. The fact that less division occurred in the West may be in part to a Germanic cultural view that became dominate in much of Europe following the fall of the Roman empire and beginning of the middle ages. However I would reject any assertion that "Germanization" totally changed the nature of Christianity. I am a Christian (conservative Lutheran, Wisconsin Synod USA), but I am quite ignorant of Church history. I've read that many of the practices in certain churches were rooted in the pre-Christian culture of that particular people- for example music, art, even liturgical methods. These things not affecting the foundational principals of the Faith as much as "flavoring" it so to speak. I've noted your book recommendations and thank you for them. Getting back to the original thread topic, I believe Christianity could be viewed as "alien" to all nations and races. At the same time I think Christianity can be embraced and followed by any ethnic group without actually compromising the fundamental basis of their culture. (unless you count sin as a tenant of any given culture)

  8. #178
    Senior Member SwordOfTheVistula's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Taras View Post
    Yeah so?



    If you choose to look at bits and pieces here and there without taking in the whole truth. As Chesterton put it, a heresy is not an untruth but an exaggerated truth blown out of proportion.



    The Koran is not short and concise by any standards.



    Perhaps you need to improve your reading skills, since he clearly states "at this time", ie early Medieval period. :eyes

    Thank you for once again engaging in the fine art of missing the point!
    It is however written by one person, as opposed to the bible being written by multiple people and having tons of contradictory statements in it, making the bible much more open to interpretation than the Koran
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  9. #179
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    I hope this opens your eyes to Jesus's racial and linguistic origins:

    NON-GERMANIC

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/12/071217-aramaic-video-ap.html

    Would you think of these people as foreign to germany or any other germanic country?

    Yet another issue concerning the non-germanic origins of christianity, the old testament and the bible:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22380819/?GT1=10645

    "Scientists inscribe entire Bible on head of a pin
    Israelis use particle beam to make what could be smallest Old Testament"

    Now insects can read the bible and go to church eyes:

  10. #180
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oski Von Skadi View Post
    Yet another issue concerning the non-germanic origins of christianity, the old testament and the bible
    Historically that never seem to have been a problem with Germanics, as I posted before in this thread:


    "What is remarkable about the Christian kingdoms which emerged along the periphery of the former Roman empire is that, despite extensive borrowings from local Roman pratice and occasional diplomatic relations with the court of Constantinople, they did not wish to see themselves exclusively as minature Romes. Because they were Christian, they could also claim to belong to a history without Rome. They could look past the Roman Empire to the Old Testament....We know of the rise of Clovis principally from the account of Gregory, the Catholic bishop of Tours...For Gregory, the Catholic bishop, the career of Clovis was a career worthy of an Old Testament hero. For Clovis resembled, not a Roman emperor, but, rather, the morally flawed but energetic and warlike king David. It was better to be remembered as resembling a king of the long-past ancient Israel than as having once been courted as an ally by the existing East Roman empire...Rome and its history were no longer central to the imagination of the inhabitants of the former periphery of the empire. A sense of the Roman past was replaced by a different past - the past of the Old Testament. This past was brought close through the Holy Scriptures. It described, vividly and appositely, the turbulent warrior kingdom of ancient Israel. It was a past better suited to the stormy present than were memories of imperial Rome."
    --Peter Brown The Rise of Western Christendom: Triumph and Diversity 200-1000 AD pp. 139-140

    So the Germanics identified themselves closely to the Israelites of the Old Testament upon conversion, and this trend was further developed when the Protestant Reformation occured - and of course it's main premise is the primacy of Scriptures.

    The strong identification with the Israelites is actually a common theme found within the histories of many Germanic peoples; and actually is a major source of Volkish thought.

    This was especially true among the Boers:

    "Just as the Penetateuch and the Book of Joshua had commanded the Israelites to drive out and extirpate the idolatrous peoples of Canaan..., so they should not be contaiminated with the beliefs and practices of false gods; so too the Afrikaner voortrekkers and their descendents believed they were destined to take the lands of the 'heathen' natives, and to expel or rule over them...This kind of Mosaic 'ethnic theology', so widespread in Europe since the sixteenth century, was later used to buttress the exclusive racial belief that coloureds and Black Africans who were not of the faith were necessarily inferior and destined to serve the white Christian elect."
    --Anthony D. Smith Chosen Peoples: Sacred Sources of National Identity, pg.81-82

    A similar belief was at the heart of racial thinking within America as well.

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