Thalia Gur-Klein

Some Like Them Iconised:  Edith Stein, the Ambiguity of Jewish Female Sainthood in WWII[1]


1.1. History: The Nazi Occupation, the Jews, the Christian Jews and the Church


On July 11, 1942, a collective letter of ten Protestant and Catholic Dutch Churches was sent to the occupying German authorities. In this letter the ten most prominent Christian representatives, Protestants and Catholics, expressed their dismay at the decrees and exclusion of the Jews from normal life due to recent deportation of men, women, children and entire families. Appealing to the Christian sentiments of the occupiers, the Churches ended their pleas arguing that the Christians Jews moreover would be cut off from the Church way of life and devotion.[2]  The nazi General Schmidt offered a concession to the Dutch Churches, in which Christian Jews converted before 1 January 1941 were to be exempted from deportation. This exemption was meant to appease the protesting spirit of the Churches before a large deportation of the bulk of the Jews was to take place on 15 July 1942. Five days later, the occupying general declared that it had never been his intention to exempt the Christian Jews indefinitely. His future policy would depend on the attitude of the Churches. For this purpose, the German occupying police was given ‘Kanzeluberwachung’, a right to listen to Church sermons during the coming Sundays. The original letter to the occupying Nazi general from July 11, 1942 was first circulated on 23 July, with the intention of having it read on Sunday 26 July from the Churches’ pulpits.  As a result of a warning from Generalkommissar zur bezonderen Verwendung, Gruffke, on July 24 1942, the larger branch of the Protestant Church, the Reformed Church, withdrew its planned protest. Both the Catholic and the smaller and more orthodox branch of the Protestant Church, de Gereformeerde Kerken decided to proceed with their plan. The original 11 July letter was indeed read on Sunday 26 July 1942 from most pulpits throughout the country belonging to these two clerical organisations, with a pastoral letter attached to it.  Archbishop de Jong of Utrecht and the Bishops Breda, Roermond, Haarlem and ‘s-Hertogenbosch, all signed the sermon.

Consequentially, the Nazis rounded up Catholic Jews on one day, Sunday, 2 August 1942. The massive arrest included monks and nuns, among them Edith Stein.[3]  They were to perish in concentration camps a few weeks later.[4] Their exact number seems unclear. In ‘Memoriam to Edith Stein’, Maria Buchmuller mentions 1200 Catholic Jews. [5] In their biographical book of Sophie van Leer, Marcel Poorthuis and Theo Salemink write that the Nazis possessed a list of 722 names. 213 Jews were detained in a camp in Amersfoort, and unknown number of detainees were held in Amsterdam. For various reasons, a number of Catholic Jews from the original list were originally exempted, others were detained and then freed later. 114 Catholic Dutch Jews from the original list of 722 are known to have perished in the Camps.[6] On the one hand, the discrepancy between the two sources shows that even a reliable academic research is left with an open information like ‘unknown numbers detained in Amsterdam’, which in turn may be liable for speculation. On the other hand, the same ambiguous information may initiate legendary numbers of martyrs, which is classical of legends of saints.


1.2. The Text, its Sacred Intertext and The Church


 The sermon of July 26 1942 followed the spirit of the original letter to the nazi occupiers from 11 July 1942.  Like the original letter of protest to the Nazis, the sermon read to the Christian believers expressed dismay at the harsh decrees imposed upon the Jews. Proudly it was presented that their letter to the German occupiers resulted in the safeguard of all Christian Jews converted before January 1941. Was it not an unspoken bargain between the Churches and the Nazis to bargain lives for lives, the lives of the converts for the lives of the Jews? As for the Jews themselves, non-Christian Jews, the Church representatives wished them strength during their hour of bitter trial. The collective lot of Jerusalem was then brought up as an intertext from the New Testament. Luke 19:41-45 was woven into the contemporary text of that Sunday, as a sacred and authoritative truth. The text quoted Jesus weeping over Jerusalem, prophesying the destruction and death to befall its community. The deity claiming to have fallen short of recognition of His message of salvation by the city premeditatedly spoke out His merciless judgement over the Jewish community of Jerusalem. In this spirit, praying for a just peace, the Bishops pleaded with God to stand on the side of the Jews in their hour of bitter trial. In the same breath they added their wish that it (their deportation) may bring them to see their true redemption in Jesus Christ.[7] The message of the sermon was clear; those who were converted were to be saved. Recent converts who necessity forced to become Christian as a result of the occupation were too late. The bulk of the Jews were to be subject to a divine prophecy recounting their disbelief in Christ. In turn, their lot might bring them to find the salvation of their souls possibly in death, like their ancestors in first century Jerusalem.

            Five years later, on 11 June 1947 in memoriam of Edith Stein and the Dutch Jewish nuns deported in 1942,  Monsignor Keuyk spoke in a similar spirit. His sermon read as follows:  ’In this sermon I try to give an answer to the question why God had let Edith Stein, Maria Aloysia Lowenfels and others suffer and perish. To my mind there is a double reason; first, so as to contribute to the victory over evil, through yielding their souls to God and through the offer of their lives, and thereby to bring the redemption of fallen mankind; in the second place, to bring atonement for the sin of their people who cried: ‘His blood be on us, and on our children’ (Mat. 27:25)[8]


1.3. The Converted Jew and the Jewish People. Text and Intertext


Six other Jewish nuns were rounded up on the fatal 2 August 1942 from their convents, apart from Edith Stein. Their last remarks were recorded by their friends, detainees and witnesses. Sister Judith Mendes Da Costa left a memoir.[9] Others left letters. Here I quote from two other Jewish converts and catholic nuns who shared Edith Stein’s fate. The medical doctor Lisamaria Meirowsky, a German Jewish convert, who was novice at the time, found refuge in a Dutch monastery in Berkel-Enschot.  She writes on 6 August 1942: ‘We go like children of our Mother the Church, we wish to amalgamate our suffering with the agony of our King, Redeemer and Bridegroom; the offering for the conversion of many, for the Jews, for those who persecute us, and thereby contribute for the Peace of the Kingdom of Christ. In case, that I shall not survive…let my beloved parents and brothers know that the sacrifice of my life is meant for them. May God bestow on them the light of the true religion, eternal and temporary happiness, when it is His will’[10].  Sister Miriam was born Else Michaelis, a German Jew and a convert like Edith Stein. She was more laconic and more ambiguous on her arrest on 2 August 1942: ‘Now the Old Testament suffers for the New’[11].         

In this time of extremes, Edith Stein, at the time a Jewish convert, a philosopher, a writer and a Carmelite nun, felt a sense of sacrificial mission.  In the isolation of her convent she confessed to prepare herself for the offer of life for world peace. In 1939 she describes her life as ‘a sacrificial expiation for the sake of true peace; and that the Anti-Christ’s sway may be broken without another world war, and that the new order will be established’.[12] However in her testament the same year she alluded that her offer of life was meant as a propitiation for the ‘unbelieving Jews’[13].  In ‘The Road to Carmel’, written in 1933 she wrote:  ‘I spoke to our Saviour and told Him that I knew that it was His cross which now being laid on the Jewish people. Most of them did not know it; but those who did understand must accept it willingly in the name of all’.[14]  A stanza from her poem ‘Sentenzen im Monat Juni 1940’ conveys a similar apocalyptic message:

They have for Thy tender knocking no ears,

Thus Thou had to strike with the heavy hammer,

After a long night dawn will break into day,

In heavy labour Thy Kingdom shall be born.[15]


2.1. The Powers of a Power Text; Mimesis and Intertextuality; The Triple Mimetic Role.


In the history of the summer of 1942, three parties functioned in a triple drama amalgamating three mimetic roles: the murderer, the protector and the innocent victim. This triple drama was empowered by three parties: the Dutch Churches, the Nazi occupiers and the Christian Jews. The Nazi occupation played a clear role as the murderer and persecutor. The Dutch Churches played their role as the protector; and the Jewish Converts embodied the innocent victim. The deported Jews were disqualified for the role of the innocent victim, for the sin of disbelief tainted them in the eyes of all three parties.

The Dutch Churches seemed to stand their ground against the Nazi anti-Semitic decrees. Nonetheless, the Church’s historical politics of defamation crept through their protest and sermon. Ironically, it overlapped the Nazis’ anti-Semitic policy. Both ideologies defamed the persecuted Jews ¾ the one by secular ideology, the other by theology. The converted Jews played, on their part, an ironic and tragic role in the history of the Dutch Jews’ persecution. The Church representatives’ texts show the power of the word vending a defaming socio-cultural attitude that survived throughout history. The writings the converted Jews left behind give us a unique look into the converted minds of Jews that adopted the long history of ideology defaming Jews and Judaism.

The questions to be asked relate to these three parties. What primeval evil should we look for? What was the deep structure of the Churches’ sermons? What was the role of the converted Jews in relation to the persecuted Jews? These questions are bound together in a complex pattern of history, culture, ideology and textual dialogues.


2.2. Text and Intertext


A text can be seen as a dialogue with its collective heritage. This textual dialogue is materialised in complex interrelationships with preceding texts, which accumulate in a history of a literary corpus. This dialogic relation exposes the text as a field of tension rather than a point. This field is seen as a surface of various forces of encounter and agreement, absorption and adaptation, conflict and neutralisation, construction and reconstruction. The text becomes a surface representation of ideas, quotations and systems from preceding texts, in their permuted and transposed state. A text is thus perceived as a space into which systems and ideas from the collective corpus are processed. As systems undergo transposition of various degrees of magnitude, a process of reconstruction and redistribution of constitutes takes place. [16] These constitutes are consistent and recurrent. Their textual interplay however is creative.

External intertextuality, on the other hand, stresses the dialogue a text develops with culture, society and its collective history; and how it places or displaces culture, society and history.  All the same, external intertextuality may highlight he way culture, society and history enter into a dialogue with a text; and no less importantly, how culture, society and history place or displace history, culture and society in their courses.[17]  The meaning of a text is actualised by its dialogic relationship with society, culture and history and vice versa.


2.3. Anti-Semitism as dynamics of texts; the Power of the Text; Past and Present


Eighteen years ago as a young student, I taught English at an elementary school in Bussum in Holland. One of the teachers related to me her admiration for, according to her, the stoic spirit the Jews showed going to meet their lot in the Nazi Camps. For they knew, she said, that they rejected Jesus in biblical time. Four years ago, my daughter who was then eleven came home distraught.  Her teacher had told the pupils during history lesson that Hitler killed the Jews because he thought that they did not believe in Jesus. Three years ago I followed a day seminar on Edith Stein in Amsterdam. The course supervisor whose M.A final work was dedicated to the study of Edith Stein,  advocated that Edith Stein turned to Christianity, because Jewish life offered her at home with her family was unsatisfactory. Last year, my nephew at sixteen, received a death threat on the e-mail, calling him a Jew and a scum of the earth not deserving to live. January 2000, I followed a two-day conference on ‘Anti-Judaism in the Gospel of John’ at Leuven University in Belgium.[18] In spite of the organisers’ expectations, only a few voices faced the challenge. Most theologians resorted to defensive arguments so as to whitewash the New Testament texts as well as early Christianity of bigotry.  One participant said that if he were to admit that anti-Judaism existed in the New Testament, he would have to doubt his Christianity. Finally, a good friend of many years related to me in a gush of emotions that the most precious present she could receive would be the salvation of my soul. I have not spoken to her since.

Returning to my subject with these thoughts in mind, I face the complexity of text and intertext, history, theology, collective heritage and politics. Some fifty-eight years after the summer of 1942, I will treat the policy of the Dutch Churches and the tragedy of the converted Jews as interrelated events. I will fall back on the power of collective heritage and collective memory of groups, and in the case of the converted Jews a double heritage, Judaic and Christian respectively. My analysis will be thus based on principles of intertextuality. In this I shall rely on writers like Bakhtin, Kristeva and Bartes.[19]


2.4. The Sacred and Authoritative Text and the Church; the Myth, the Jews and the Dialogic Mechanism of Texts with Texts.


Theological arguments concerning the relationship of the Jewish people and the Western world since the Holocaust are divided between the critical rereading of the New Testament on the one hand, and diligent efforts to defend and whitewash it on the other. Defenders of the Christian Text excuse it by laying blame on the historical polemic of Early Christianity. They claim that anti-Judaism is to be found merely in later interpretations of the New Testament, for which the Evangelic message can not be taken into account.[20]  Defenders try to divert attention away from Jewish bigotry by identifying the defamed Jews of New Testament with the Jews who rejected Jesus, thus exempting the rest of the Jews of anti-Evangelism, and the Evangelists from anti-Judaism. Who really were the Jews referred to in the New Testament, they ask? If the New Testament Jews were a contemporary sect, merely the Pharisees for example, then the evangelists never meant to implicate the Jews as a whole. Still, the New Testament recurrently uses the word Jews. Like a classical example of bigotry; the subject is an open text, liable to insinuations.

            Some defenders of the New Testament try to purge the sacred text of its anti-Judaic expressions by paradoxically employing the old ‘blame it on the Jews’ anti-Semitic argument. It is said that early Christians were themselves Jews who professed lethal hostility against their Jewish brothers in the rise of Christianity. Other arguments support the idea that Jews were responsible for anti-Judaic expressions in the New Testament. One such argument proclaims that the Jews have been known for their flaw of self-hate, as they lack a sense of inner and outer boundaries.[21] Needless to say, this thesis is brought up without a shred of academic research to support it.  These arguments imply that if anti-Judaism was imbedded in the New Testament, it had been the reminiscences of filial members of violent character, that of the Jewish society.[22] In this, bigotry against the Jews is denied by wending criticism towards the loathsome character of the Jews themselves.  Defenders of the New Testament who purge it of suspicion of bigotry, defame the Jews, and elevate the Christians. Eventually, it becomes a self-evident truth that the Evangelic creed is based on love. It is therefore inconceivable that it might contain hateful attitude. Therefore, one has to look for hateful characteristics in the object not in the subject. As the Jews rejected salvation through love in rejecting Jesus who embodies love and universal salvation, they fell from Grace with God and with Christ’s redemptive love. Albeit the Evangelist message, as the Jews rejected the New Testament, they denied themselves God and humanity. Is it possible that contemporary Christian theologians still characterise Jews in New Testament texts by defamed constitution, much like their founders?

            Eventually, all these arguments manage to blur the fact that by the time the New Testament was written down and compiled, neither its writers nor its audience were Jews, in their convictions, their way of life, or even in their original ethnic and national identity. Since Paul’s radical changes, no Christian could be called a Jew any more. Only 20th century racial perception could define someone who negates all principles of Judaism including dietary laws, as a Jew and anything but a member of a distinct religion.


2.5. The Defenders of the New Testament and the Hebrew Bible


 Some defenders recognise the bigotry of the Evangelist texts yet claim to relativise it by a comparison with the prophetic wrath found in the Hebrew Bible.[23] To a Jewish thinker the comparison is preposterous. Here not only the Jews are defamed, but their most revered texts as well.        

            The prophetic wrath was part of the criticism exercised by an inside member of the group. The prophets spoke to the Hebrews. They embodied the living moral compass of their people. The Hebrew prophets never disassociated themselves from their people, whom they called ami, my people as in Hosea 2:20. The expression appears 1123 times in the Hebrew Bible.[24] The evangelists’ manner of reference ‘the Jews’ implies a definition of an outsider. [25] The relationship of the prophets and the Israelites was that of love, a close and intimate association, and that of shared fate and suffering. The relationship between God and the Hebrew people was described in the Hebrew Bible as that of devotion, mutual commitment and love. It was presented as troubled and turbulent, which humanised it.  Accordingly, to enliven the character of this relationship, the prophets personified it in domestic images which became their recurrent metaphors: husband and wife (Hosea Ch. 1-3); father and son (Hosea 11:1, 13:12-13; Isaiah. 30:1); mother and child (Isa. 44:24); a devoted worker and a protected land lord (Isa. 44:1).Their eschatological prophecies of future promise of peace and restoration for their people  were as equal in its compassion as their prophecies of wrath. The prophets promised that all past controversies, mistakes and sins would be erased as though they had never occurred, (Isa. 44:22); the cities of Judea will be rebuilt (Isa 44:26); the nation is destined to be saved and restored to its prime (Isa. 52:, 53, 54, 60-65 ; Jerm. 30:18-24, and Ch. 31-31 ). In such eschatological texts God’s limitless loyalty, compassion, grace, lawfulness are promised like that of a loving husband (Hosea 2:22), and like a mother remembering her labour when she delivered her child (Isa. 44:24). Analogous to human love, the relationship between God and His people is initiated in an idealistic beginning, passes through trouble and disappointment and ends in reconciliation to the reality of human limitations and in a renewed bond in spite of it. Eventually, prophetic theology explained the harsh lot of their people as a divine decree. Their people’s suffering was personified in the subjective voice of the vulnerable female victim and that of the bereaved mother: ‘a voice was heard on the heights, a lamentation and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children, refused to be comforted. (Jerm. 31:14). Their lamentation universalises the victim and the vulnerable, in giving the ruined nation the first person’s voice of an abused, desolated and bereaved woman. So strong is the prophet’s call for subjectivised empathy with the victim, that he challenges divine judgement (Lamentation 1:13; 2:20). As harsh as their criticism was, so moving were their lamentations and hopeful prophecies for a better future.

            Unlike the Hebrew prophets, the Evangelists did not speak to but against the Jews. As opposed to the prophet’s call to the Hebrews to keep and return to their original covenant, the evangelists called the Jews to abandon the old rules of their original covenant and replace them by a new theology they did not believe in. The evangelist’s call was radically different than that of the Hebrew prophets. The prophets advocated a return to their original covenant with God, and called the Hebrews to commit themselves to the rules of the Torah given to them at mount Sinai and thereby to renew the Brit, their own covenant with God. For the Jews, Christian belief was not a renewed bond but rather a Christian definition of ‘their’ own beliefs. Their texts demarcate Christianity as a separating identity emerging from its original matrix, Judaism. However, this demarcation went on to dissociate Jews from humanity, which objectified the latter. The Evangelists mythified prophecies of harsh decrees against the Jews to sanctify their separation. In the course of history these pronouncements became atrocious self-fulfilling prophecies. The Bishops’ sermon of July 1942, the convert’s texts, and the sermon in memory of the Jewish nuns of 1947 overlap the New Testament texts they quote. The Bishops evoked the spirit of bigotry behind the text describing Jesus weeping over Jewish Jerusalem while speaking out an atrocious prophecy of avenging destruction. Jesus justified the destruction and death over the city by a theology he presumes to force upon its inhabitants against their convictions.

            In their 1942 sermon, the Bishops expressed their dismay at the destruction of the Jewish community at the hand of the Nazis’ anti-Semitic creed. They proudly amalgamated the Nazis’ exemption of converted Jews into their apostolic message on their predicament to the bulk of the Jewish people. The Bishops made use of these atrocities as a triumphal message for their own apostate policy against the Jews. They objectified Jewish suffering in propagating it as a road to Christian salvation, which was alien to Jewish beliefs in the first place. In both texts, Luke and the Bishop’s sermon, the suffering of the victimised Jews was objectified and processed as part of theological imperialism and bigotry.         In Monsignor Keuyk’s 1947 sermon in Memory of Edith Stein and other Catholic Jews, he quotes Matthew 27:25. In this passage the Roman Procurator Pilatus washes his hands of Jesus’ blood, while the  Jews  admittedly said  His blood be on us, and on and on their generations to come.. It is a fact that both Jewish beliefs and the Christian redemptive road  are at the heart of  admission to those religions. The messianic road to God and the Kingdom of God  is exclusively via the messiah, whose identity is disputed among the main beliefs. This conviction makes Christian salvation and Jewish redemption conditional and mutually exclusive. However the text from Mathew 27:26 in which the Jews claim to take the blood of Jesus upon themselves makes the Christian messiah lethal for the Jews. He is paradoxically conceived as their innocent victim. If members of other religions have been considered unbelievers, Jews have been considered both unbelievers and God’s killers throughout history.[26] All this not only turns the Christian messianic redemption into an exclusive road closed to Jews, but also into an anti-salvation. Any Christian message thereby becomes an anti-message for Jews; and the Christian biblical Word is transformed into an anti-biblical word for them.


3.1. The ‘Sacred’ Bigotry; The Demonisation of the Jews.


In objectifying the Jews, they became an abstraction, an image detached from humanity. Upon Jesus’ mythification He became both a divinity and a role model of perfect humanity. Once Jesus became divine, bigotry against the Jews became sacred in itself. The Evangelic hostile prophecies of atrocity against the Jews became a ‘sacred’ bigotry empowered by divinity and humanity; because the Jews had transgressed against divinity, embodied in Jesus, the atrocious fulfilment of these prophecies became sanctified as well. This ‘sacred’ bigotry was divinely legitimised to be carried out by human beings on the Jews, who were demarcated as their antithesis. Jews became the abjection of all that Jesus Christ was made to embody for the adherents of the new religion. This bigotry was empowered on the one hand by the divinity the Jews were said to have rejected, persecuted and killed, and on the other hand by the humanity of which he became a perfect embodiment to, and to which the Jews dialectically became an inverted image of dehumanisation. In these dialectics, Jews become the sons of Satan, and offspring of demonic darkness.

            The Bible translated into Greek by seventy Jewish sages was to become a permuted text in the hands of New Testament writers some two hundred years later. In John 8:33 the Jews refer to themselves as Abraham’s seed. In  8:44 Jesus refers to them as the sons of the Devil, or Satan: ‘Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him…’ In Mathew 27:26, the Jews are given the first person voice and ‘subjectified’. Yet it is a mock first voice, which is used to de-humanise them. A voice is given to them so that the writer could present them as lethal enemies of humanity and divinity alike. Their first voice, not that of the writer, brings condemnation upon themselves. Hence the Jews, the Pharisees and Jerusalem are all described as the killers of their own prophets, (Luke 11:57; Rom. 11:3; Math. 23:27-33, 37-39). Luke, Paul and Mathew evoke the blood of all the righteous ever shed from Abel to the prophets to befall upon the Jews. The reference to the Hebrew Bible is unclear; the only possible text to support it is the one describing Queen Jezebel, a foreigner and an adversary to the Hebrew creed, massacring God's Hebrew prophets.  New Testament Texts like the ones mentioned above have created a massive intertextuality of defamation, which, with tragic consequences, associated the Jews with the Devil and Anti-Christ.[27]


3.2. Christian Defence against the Allegation.


Since the Dead Sea Scrolls, (biblical and Essene writings dating from 100-200 B.C. discovered in 1947) were translated, these texts as well have been employed to purge the allegations of Christian dualistic bigotry against the Jews. Defending theologians employ the Hebrew texts of the Qumran in ways similar to those other defenders have done with prophetic texts. The Qumran scrolls are used to prove that if defaming dualism of Jews exists in the New Testament then it was originated by the Jews themselves some 200 years earlier, namely by the Essenes. The Essenes, a secluded community from the Dead Sea Area, propagated the choice between good and evil in metaphors of the sons of light and men of God struggling against the sons of darkness and lawless men.[28] Defenders of the New Testament claim that the anti-Jewish dualism originated in these Hebrew texts. This dualism was employed as an inner polemic between different fractions of Judaism who demonised their adversary brothers, the defenders say. In claiming that historically Early Christians were a domestic fraction of Judaism, the analogy is found. In simple terms, the policy of ‘blame all on the Jews’ is re-employed, and that includes anti-Judaism.

            A misleading translation of the Qumran texts is the essence of this misinterpretation. These texts by the Essene Community known as the Qumran Scrolls, represent believers as men of God who keep to the ways of His covenant, as opposed to others who do not, the bni-blial. The biblical word bliial, recurring 27 times in the Hebrew Bible, refers to an earthly adjective describing riffraff and criminals. It is an attributive implying worthlessness, evil doing and outlawry. Its etymology points to a compound of two elements;  bli: without or the absence of, and iaal: of  worth, or al meaning rising up. The Hebrew word is dissimulated in the Syric word bliar. [29]  The latter does not appear in the Hebrew Bible, yet occurs in the New Testament, in 2Cor. 6:16. The word bnei is a standard reference to association of or of a sort; it needs not literally mean sons.

            What is the nature of this polemic? Translations of the Qumran systematically capitalise the Hebrew word blial, meaning the wicked ones. In this, an adjectival is transformed into a personal pronoun. The capitalisation of the term, instead of a literal translation, was obviously made and repeated by those who neither understood the Hebrew word nor took the trouble to investigate it. This misinterpretation is first found in the Vulgate in Deuteronomy 13:13 ‘egressi sunt fulii Belial de medio tui et averterunt habitaores urbis tuae atque dixerunt eamus et serviamus diis alienis quos ignoratis’. The construction is retained in the King James English Bible from 1611, and in Dutch Bibles until it was corrected in a new edition in 1935: ’Certain men, children of Belial are gone among you, and have withdrawn the habitation of the city, saying. Let us go and serve other gods which ye have not known’.  The Vulgate however provides the correct translation to the Hebrew word blial in Job 34:18: ‘qui dicit regi apostata qui vocat duces impios’. The King James translation follows this example: ‘Is it fit to say to a king, Thou art wicked and to princes, Ye are ungodly? The Septuagint was consistent in its exact translation of bnei blial, representing it by the Greek word andres paranamoi. In articles by defenders of the New Testament, a Hebrew concept appearing both in the Bible and in the Qumran is reconstructed in its translation as a mythical concept to fit the term devil or Satan.[30] When used as a pronoun Belial turns the translation of bnei-blial, the wicked ones, into sons of Blial, sons of a demonic figure.[31] In misrepresenting the Hebrew texts the defenders translate the term into sons of the devil. In this they divert attention away from the claim that John 8:44 contains demonising bigotry in defining the Jews as offspring of the devil and Satan worshippers. The defenders argue that bnei-blial means sons of the devil and that the Jews have already used it as their inner filial polemic. This has become a self-evident truth for the defenders of the New Testament. Henceforth texts have been quoted by texts in the contingent manner of intertextual mechanism. Voices raised to combat these falsified arguments sound like lonely cries in the desert.[32] In his Introduction to Anti-Semiticism and Early Christianity, the editor Craig A. Evans follows this policy. Presenting his point about the writing of the Essenes, misinterpreted as such, he posits the query about the Essenes’ writing: ‘their criticisms have never been thought of as anti-Semitism’. [33]

            Like the Hebrew prophets, the prophetic wrath of the Essenes was directed at law-breakers. Like the Prophets, the Essenes’ criticism was not directed at an ethnic group; perhaps it did not literally referred to living people. It spoke a metaphoric language and was referring to a moral choice; it was a metonym.  They needed a fierce God to put the fear of law into their audience.

            The conceptualisation of sin and evil in biblical Judaism and that of the Essenes expressed by words like blial, was a definite term, a social, down-to-earth and ethical term closely related to law and outlawry. It can be seen in the following:  ‘Thus speakth the Lord of hosts, saying, Execute true judgement, and show mercy and compassion every man to his brother: And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart’ (Zech. 7:8-10). The Hebrew term is reea, which closely relates to such terms as the Other or a fellow human being. This concept of sin is far from the mystical, mythical and demonised evil found in New Testament texts like John 8:44, Luke 8:26-40, or Revelation 11 and 20. There was little myth left by the monotheistic priesthood that introduced the Sinai covenant of the Torah.[34] Mere fragmentation of mythical figuration can be found in texts like Genesis 6 and Job 2:1 in the term bnei-elim, implying angels or offspring of divinities. Mythology was negated or used as a pure literary metonym as in Ezekiel 28:1-20. High mimesis was consciously attributed to Hebrew God alone, whereby all the mythological personifications lost their mimetic figuration and turned into physical nature or God’s messengers.[35] Even Satan, like sin, became equated with an inner inclination. The biblical Hebrew Satan who merely appears 27 times in the Hebrew Bible was more of a messenger of ill advice unequal to a divinity, as in Numbers 22:22, Job 1:7, or I Chronicles 21:1. The Ten Commandments are a bundle of social laws meant to safeguard the rights of the individual by other individuals; other books of the Hebrew Bible give expression to this covenant.  The prophets’ rage was directed towards a group that would today be defined as criminals and outlaws. Their crimes were well defined by the Mosaic laws. There was nothing ethnic or mythical about this class of people. Those meant to be protected by these laws were the most vulnerable members of society and frequently its victims; the orphan, the widow, the foreigner, the elderly and in general everyone who is the Other in relation to the Self. This bears witness to the highly social and moral consciousness of the Mosaic laws in their time. Even crimes of faith against the Hebrew God were connected to the abuse of the vulnerable members of society. Worship of demons or devils are abhorrent to God and to the Mosaic Law because their worshippers sacrifice their sons and daughters, shedding children’s innocent blood (Psalm 106:35-39). Like other prophets, Ezekiel directs his wrath against those who abuse the foreigner, the poor, the orphan and the widow (Ezekiel 22:7). The Hebrew word foreigner, ger, is mentioned ninety two times in the Hebrew Bible. What one misses in the New Testament can be found in these texts. The foreigner is defined as the one who lives among the members of the community with a different identity than that of the Israelites. Their attitude towards such a citizen is based on the subjective experience of the Israelites in Egypt which subjectifies the foreigner not the Israelites (Ex. 22:20, 23:9; Lev. 19:34; Deut. 1019). This bitter experience is presented as a text of collective memory; the Israelite’s experience is not used to avenge or to discriminate against such a person, but in teaching tolerance towards the foreigner. The foreigner’s emotional state of mind, nefesh, should be understood on that account (Ex. 23:9). This attitude is implemented in the law equalising the foreigner with the Israelites, and placing him under God’s guardianship.  God protects the foreigner (Psalm 141:9). The same law will be applied to both Israelite and foreigner (Num.16:15). One should never abuse the law to exploit the foreigner. Love the foreigner (Deut. 10:19). One should feed and clothe the foreigner (Duet. 10:18), and leave him not to sleep out of door ( Job 31:32). None of the ninety-two cases ever mentions that the foreigner’s legal protection, tolerance and compassionate attitude may be conditioned by admittance of the Hebrew faith. Needless to say intolerance or abuse of foreigners has been strictly outlawed and condemned.

            Last but not least, Qumran was an isolated and probably a secretive and secluded community. It is unlikely that their writings were known outside the Essenes’ settlement, even at the very time they were active. Printing circulation was yet a futuristic dream. Three hundred years later, the likelihood of the Evangelists in Asia Minor employing the Qumran texts as their intertext is unbelievable, though Hebrew messianic ideas may have spread.  It is more likely that the Evangelists found their demonic imagery in the local cultures in which they grew up and within the population whose conversion was the target of their new religion.


3.3. The Satanic Verses


The Gospels of John and Mathew complement one another. In the dialectics of their texts, the Jews become enemies on all fronts – on political, theological, and mythical levels. In John 8:44 Jesus is subjectified, being given the first person voice. He initially refers to those Jews who believe in him. By calling himself the Son of God, he defines all Jews who doubt him as the offspring of their father, the devil.  In Mathew 27:25 the Jews are given a voice to promote the author’s accusation of the sin of divine blood. The Jews accumulate a bundle of metaphors, being all and at the same time the religious and mythical enemies of God, divine truth, His son, the messiah, Christianity and Christians, and finally of humanity. Their role is expanded to the mythical level of high mimesis. On this high mimetic level, the Jews embody an image that recurs as an anti-thesis of life; as the enemy of humanity and of the reigning divinity who is the creator and protector of life.


4.1. Anti-Semitism as an Intertext of a Myth


The texts related to the drama of the summer of 1942 show an ambiguous relationship to the anti-Judaic texts in the New Testament. Though defensive literature has accumulated on the subject of the anti-Judaic texts in the New Testament, the question of the power of these texts remain unanswered. I will claim further that anti-Semitism finds its power in mimetic thinking and in the structure of myth. The myth initiated by New Testament texts is thus further generated in proceeding texts by the contingent power of intertextual mechanism. In this one could find anti-Judaism evolving into anti-Semitism, a difference which seems to be a point made by Christians and not by Jews. 


4.2. The Structure of Myth


 In 1993 a science-fiction comedy called The Attack of the 50f Woman was made by Christopher Guest with the actress Hannah Daryl. In the film a woman grows out of her natural proportion, which gives her the power to literally hold her husband in her hand. The whole town watches her marching with her husband squeezed between her fingers. The National Guard is called. One soldier says to the other: ‘How are we going to shot missiles onto a woman’. The other answers: ’Don’t think of her as a woman. Think of her as a target. We always do.’  In this film one sees the dehumanised effect of a mythical perception and its purpose. This mythical principle is based on the expansion of human characteristics into high mimesis. In this mimetic presentation of a myth, the figure retains her human identity; but her proportions are vastly inflated. At that moment, the figure may function as a target.

            In Le Cru et le Cuit, Levi-Straus states: ‘we are not therefore claiming to show how men think the myths, but rather how myths think themselves out in men and without men’s knowledge’. In ‘The Effectiveness of Symbols‘ he defines the unconscious as an organ generating limited rules and functions of recurrent types.  The content of a myth may be permuted, while the form persists.[36] Following this in his next chapter on ‘The Structural Study of Myth’, the structure of myth is accounted for in relationships of clustered varients. These variants are bound by associations generated by the logic bound to the myth, logic which is paradoxically self-evidentially mythical. Mythical structures show repetition within a story and a recurrence of such variants in various myths. The mythical structure is organised according to a vertical model and a horizontal one. The horizontal model shows syntagmatic relationships of metonyms, sequences, and aspects of time. The vertical model accounts for a deep structure which manifests paradigmatic relationships between constitutes according to metaphoric units that can be clustered according to relational associations. The structure may recur and may follow a consistent pattern, while its content may be contingent. Complementary, myth shows properties accounted for above the ordinary linguistic level, a language on its own. [37]


4.3. Dialectics


Two features reinforce the mythical structure; dialectics and mimesis. Myth operates by presenting a structure of opposites that seeks an intermediary resolution. Levi-Strauss approaches myth as a structure with a system of its own. His concept of myth is closer to mythology and tales of genealogy, and is not completely compatible with myth according to the mimetic system. Myth operates by presenting a structure of opposites that seeks an intermediary resolution: ‘two opposites terms with no intermediary always tend to be replaced by two equivalent terms which admit a third one as a mediator; then one of the polar terms and the mediator become replaced by a new triad, and so on’.[38] Levi-Strauss states that: ‘two opposite terms with no intermediary always tend to be replaced by two equivalent terms which admit a third one as a mediator; then one of the polar terms and the mediator become replaced by a new triad, and so on’. This prolongs the tale until a resolution is achieved.[39] However since the final resolution is pre-conceived, the deeper message presents a self-evidential truth that might be otherwise inconceivable. The basic principle of binary opposites promotes a dualistic view of the world. This also polarises values like the corporal and the spiritual, the feminine and the masculine, the earthly and the divine.[40] Within the dualistic binary values are presented as self-evident truth. Northrop Frye in his Theory of Modes sees myth within a formal scale on the spatial classification of modes: ‘Myth, then is one extreme of literary design; naturalism is the other, and in between lies the whole area of romance’. [41]  As Levi-Strauss posits the content of a myth as contingent unlike the mythical structure, which is consistent, this leads him to the conclusion that form always takes precedence over content. [42] Both scholars, Levi-Strauss and Northrop Frye, see myth as a formula on its own right, creating a self-evidential reality systematically built by metaphorical language.[43] Metaphoric language reconstructs its recurrent archetypes and by permuting their mimetic imagery between degrees of mimesis empowers itself.


4.4. Mimetic Feature of Myth


 Aristotle’s theory of Mimesis may shed more light on the power of myth. Mimetic theory perceives reality as a given data that can be imitated by means of representation.[44] Variations in degree of elevation are thus measured against the matrix of average men and natural reality of all men. In setting out ‘Theory of Modes’, Northrop Frye draws upon Aristotle’s mimetic assumptions to show the relationship between mimetic elevation and fictional modes of expressions.[45] Mimetic elevation of a character in action and being is conceived in related works of fiction. The mimetic features of characters accommodate the roles they play in the various works of fiction.

            Both Aristotle’s original mimesis and Frye’s modes posit two mimetic types of elevation, high and low mimesis. The mimetic scheme can be comprehensively expanded to encompass intermediary categories showing five degrees of mimesis instead of two.  This can be seen in my diagram as follows:

1. High Mimesis. The concept of High mimesis will be extended to characterise divinity. Myth, the first fictional mode, presents divine characters who are classified as superior to both human beings and to their natural environment

2. Mid-high Mimesis is applicable to characters figuring in the mode of romance found in tales of royal heroes and legends of saints. These characters are only superior to other men and to their natural environment in degree.

3. Mid Mimesis is applied to the epic or tragic hero who is superior in degree to other men but not to his natural environment.                 

4. Mid-low Mimesis. Figures who are neither superior to other human beings nor to their natural environment, and are found in comedy and realism.

 5. Low Mimesis. Figures who are inferior in relation to other human beings and to their natural environment belong to the fictional form of irony and are given a low mimetic profile. These characters embody the fiction of satire and exaggeration and the pathetic and the grotesque modes.

            Relying on Aristotle’s mimetic principle, the mimetic representation of reality is measured against the matrix of average men and the natural reality of all men. Mid-low mimesis of natural humanity and its environment becomes the matrix of the mimetic scale. The two ends of the axis are myth of high mimesis and modes of low mimesis of humanity. The two poles of the mimetic scale, high mimesis and low mimesis form bi-polar, diametrical opposites. The extreme poles demarcate their dialectics on the principle of the hyperbolic expansion of human characteristics. The degrees of expansion of human characteristics create a scale of gradual elevation, starting from mimetic representation of very low humanity to the highest point of divination. Myth is conceived of as the exalting expansion of human characteristics. Low mimetic representation on the other hand is encompassed in the aspects of the low modes, seen in satire and the pathetic descriptions.[46] The ironic modes can be equated with exaggeration of human characteristics found in the mode of grotesque.[47]

            The mimetic model thus projects a hierarchical system of mimetic elevation as well as a dialectical one: the highly elevated versus the humiliated, the divine versus the earthly, the powerful versus the helpless, etc. Crossing characteristics of different categories could imbue a character with a new metaphorical aspect.[48] Transcending the limits of a category or shifting a characteristic from one category to the next will infuse a character with the effects of displacement, which charge a character with metaphoric complexity. Literary displacement can be seen in a character of low mimesis with a hidden divine quality, or a divine character with humanised characteristics belonging to a category of mid or low mimesis.


4.5.The Jews: a Consistent Mythical Form


The mythical Jews became intrinsic to the Evangelists’ desire to establish Christianity as a myth with a sacred origin. For this reason the discussion of the their historical identity is futile. Whoever the real Jews of the New Testament were, and in spite of what the historical Jews of the New Testament were, the Evangelists created a myth out of them; the ‘mythical Jews’. Here I see a ‘conspiracy’ of creating a fictional evil out of an actual living people. In the Jews, the Evangelists recruited an archetype of mythical evil recurrent and restricted to myths and legends. It is in this that the secret power of the Evangelists’ bigotry against the Jews, not in history and events but in the persistent structure of the myth. The power of this bigotry is derived from a mimetic presentation of a living subject, which is attached from verifiable reference to plausibility and to events. A stereo type is a root of evil, as such.[49] The Evangelists forged a textual representation of Jews, which is more powerful than a stereotype, as it is already a root of evil. They sailed beyond the stereo type to reach the mythical and legendary archetype. As much as the object of description was from the mid-low mimesis of reality and naturalism, the targeted subject of its bigotry was an existing group, well defined by its way of life, theology, clothing, dietary rules and ethnic and national identity. Once the gap collapses between the fictional object and the real one, this living object is destined to be dehumanised. In this mimetic space, the cruelty of man to man is realised. As an archetype, the term Jew became part of a metaphoric binary structure. The Jew was materialised as a mimetic image of a myth on its own. According to the principles Levi-Strauss proposes, the content of a myth may be contingent; its structure remained persistent. This accounts for the fact that the image of the Jews could be emptied of its contemporary content, transposed from one context to another, from period to period, from one text to another, from a religious context to a secular and social one; yet the structure survived. The image could be actualised anew over and over again by current contents in time, relocates a region, while retaining its deep power. This witnesses to the fact that the Jews found themselves a target, which was legitimised and actualised by so many different non-Jewish communities in different periods.


4.6. Why Myth?


Myth in all its properties offers a multi-dimensional structure. The multi-dimensionality of myth is rich in structure. This mythical structure assisted Christianity in its effort to create a genealogy with an infallible origin by the dialectics of negation. The dialectical dynamics of the myth provided the new religion with an infallible thesis of an absolute identity emerging from a struggle with its anti-thesis. This was materialised in a demonised myth that empowered Christianity as the absolute and only truth as the thesis of the dialectics. The mythical dialectics of opposition synthesised the in-group of all the negative characteristics that their anti-thesis was imbued with, leaving the positive pole as the sole possession of the new religion. Emerging as the utter negation of humanity, the mythical Jews provided the new religion with a perpetual external danger. The presence of the real Jews was thus necessary in order to arouse the in-group unanimity from within. The negative dialectics imposed on the Jews elevated Christians with a power equal to its dialectic negation. As with the principle of a swing, the heavier the other side is, the higher one swings oneself; the higher one throws oneself upwards, the lower the other sinks down below. For the existing group the mythical foe fortified the new religion, perpetually renewing its identity by negation, while at the same time camouflaging common characteristics that may associate the subject with its object.


4.7. Mimetic Expansion


The mythical figuration of the Jews derives its invincible power from the expansion of human characteristics that covers the extreme of dialectics of the mimetic scale and all its intermediary categories. This expansion reaches for the two most distant poles of the mimetic matrix. One pole encompasses high mimesis of myth attributed to divine forces. The other pole homes in on the lowest mimesis of satire and pathetic modes focussing on exaggeration and grotesque. All the same the image becomes a mixed metaphor by drawing on the intermediary categories of mid-high of legends and religious romance and mid mimesis of the epic. The depiction of the Jews becomes a metaphoric complexity. In this metaphoric complexity, dehumanisation is achieved by mixing the grotesque and exaggeration of low mimesis with mythically high mimesis characterising cosmic forces. This metaphoric complexity draws a scale of mimetic representations; on high mimesis of myth, mid-high mimesis of legends and religious romance, mid-mimesis of the epic, and the very low mimesis of negative satire and the pathetic modes. The only category that the Jews can never function is on the level of mid-low mimesis, that is the natural representation of homologous human beings.

       Within the limitations of this article, Egyptian Mythology may serve as an example. The cult of Seth offers an example of an all-round figure of negation and ambiguity drawing his characteristics from high and low mimesis. He is of divine origin as the offspring of Geb and Nut. In one variant of his myths Seth mythifies fratricide and deicide. As a divine power he murders and severs the body of his brother Osiris, a divinity himself. In another version it is Horus or Re, the divinity of light and resurrection, whom Seth opposes. His victory over his enemy Osiris includes sexual mutilation, which thus endowed him with demonic sexual supremacy. Isis, Osiris’ sister and wife, restores Osiris and rebuilds his mutilated body. These myths are associated with winter rituals in which lament are pronounced over its waste, and with cults of spring involving symbols of resurrection. Ambiguously, Seth is also found in the mystery of sexual degradation in which he loses his testicles. On the lowest mimesis, Seth appears as an animal god, first as a canine and later associated with the ass, pig and hippopotamus. The demonic level, combining low mimetic exaggeration with divined power, presents another figuration of Seth. In some texts depicting the cosmic struggle of Re the god of light for supremacy, Seth ambiguously appears as the champion of the sun god in his fight with the cosmic serpent demon of darkness Apophis. In other texts he himself embodies Satanic power, a storm god or the powers of desert. He eventually evolves into the personified power of Seth-Typhon, the demonic monster that endangers cosmic order. On the mid-high mimesis of royal epics, Seth plays a mysterious role in the rite of the ‘Baptism of Pharaoh’ connected with the initiation and purification of their coronation. On the pathetic mode of low mimesis, he later embodies the sacrificial victim in the mystery of the Baptism of Pharaoh, as a surrogate victim who reconciles the parties. In these sacrificial rites Seth becomes a slain offering equated with the defeated enemy. On this low mimetic level, Seth also personifies foreign invaders such as the Assyrians and Persians.[50] 


4.8.   High Mimesis


       On the high mimesis of myth, the image of the Jews functions on the level of cosmological structure. By accusing the Jews of deicide, the killing of a divinity, the Evangelists endowed the Jews with a power equal to divinity. Only a divinity can harm another divinity. In this, the Jews are mimetically expanded to empower the ancient intertexts of archetypal killers recurrent in myths and legends of sacred genealogy. These figures are recurrent in polytheistic cults, which personify life and nature as a cycle of waste and resurrection and as a struggle between the personified forces of nature. They are natural forces of destruction, death, winter and darkness projected in images of highly mimetic figuration. Here one finds that archetypal killers receive mimetic expansion according to the mimetic elevation of their victims.  Figures like Osiris, Damuz and Adonis are divine personification of cosmic forces of regeneration, life and resurrection. Like Seth, the enemies of such positive divine figures must be elevated into high mimesis equal to that of their divine victims. This archetypal pattern thus supports the personification of the mythical Jews as a deciede, the killer of the gods.


4.9. Mid-high Mimesis


On the mid-high mimesis of legends and mid mimesis of the epic, the Jews figure as the prophets’ killers. The figure intertextually derives its properties from folk-tales and legends mixing epic elevation with the pathetic mode. The victim is holy, pure and divinely blessed. His murder is morally despicable and psychologically associated with the dark, uncontrollable psyche and madness, all that the gods abhor. Parallel to cosmic myth, the foe on the mid-mimesis of the epic represents an intrinsic threat to the order and harmony of society, which prophets and men loyal to the law and God represent. This can be recalled in permuted forms in legends about the Maenads or Bacchae, or in a biblical story of Queen Isabel persecuting God’s prophets (I Kings18:7).  Related, one finds on the low mimesis of negative satire and grotesque, figures of social evil, disloyalty, and brotherly hatred. The Jews are said to have persecuted their brothers the Christians, oppose all human beings and lethal enemies of people and of God, (1Thes. 2:14-16). Paul propagates love of all human being in 1Thes. 3:12 and, and equates love with knowledge of God 1Thes. 4:9, but manages to materialise the Jews as abjection of


4.10. The Lowest Mimesis


 The lowest mimetic category embodies dehumanisation. Grotesque and exaggeration introduce the typology of negative satire and pathetic figuration. On the lowest mimesis one finds all characteristics in an expanded object loathsome to the subject, whose resemblance the subject objects to finding in himself. By negative exaggeration the human resemblance between subject and object is excluded in the eyes of the subject and eventually in the eyes of his object as well. By mimetic dialectics, the subject thereby elevates himself above his negated object.   On the low mimetic form of satire and the pathetic form, the Jews are the persecutors of the helpless and the innocent victim. On this lowest mimetic figuration, base and grotesque human characteristics are attributed to the Jews to befit the mimetic level of their victim.  The Jews call for the execution of the innocent, cry to have the blood of the innocent on themselves and their generations to come while asking to free a murderer (Math. 27:26). Low mimesis thus becomes a double-edged sword against the Jews. Low mimesis endowed the subject with all the properties that the non-subject is deprived of. The Christians are beloved by God, and are the innocent victims who are promised salvation. The Jews are despised by God and oppose all human beings. Mythical sin is intrinsic to their dehumanisation. They wish to fulfil their sins and withhold salvation from mankind (I Thes. 2:14-17).                     


4.11.    The Jew as a Mixed Metaphor.


       As metaphoric complexity, the image of the Jews becomes the mimetic representation of the dark side and evil psyche of man closely associated with and leading to the personification of the underworld. This can be seen in the uncontrolled powers of madness and murder, as well as the personified power of destructive nature seen in death and illness. These forces embody all that is undesirable and fearful to men.

       In crossing characteristics of extreme categories of human expansion, that of high mimesis of deicides and the lowest of the grotesque and loathsome human qualities, one finds demonic imagery. Demonically high mimesis embodies apocalyptic myths and horror legends. Demonically high mimesis complements the other pole, being the lowest mimesis of the underworld reaching for satanic fantasy and the monstrous. In the demonically high mimesis, one finds the cosmic hostile forces equal in strength to the ruling divinity. The demonic and monstrous figuration is materialised in the grotesque and loathsome images of the underworld crossed with high mimesis of the supernatural in mythical thinking. It is the anti-thesis in negative mirroring of the ruling divinity being the positive thesis of life. The demonic enemy of the ruling divinity emerges through a misplacement of mythical mimesis of divinity into the underworld world of lowest mimesis of the underworld.


4.12. Mimetic Dialects


The Hebrew Bible diminished diversionary personification of nature. The angel Satan appears as an adversary of minor mimetic power who seldom appears in the Hebrew text.   Unlike their subdued figuration in the Hebrew Bible, Satan and demons receive a great mimetic empowerment in the New Testament (Luke 8:12, 27-33; Rev. 12:3). Expanded into a demonic power threatening the ruling divinity (John 8:42-45), the demonic evokes the dialectical structure of myth. The motif of the Christians’ mythical genealogy reverses itself here.  Patrilineal genealogy, so vital in antiquity, is employed to claim that Jesus’ line stems from a divine father, while that of the Jews stems from Satan (John 8:44). Judaism is therefore a satanic cult; their house of worship embodies the practices of Satan and the devil (Rev. 2:9, 3:9). By the logic of the mythical dialectics, all this alludes that Christianity is sanctified. In the demonisation of the Jews, the myth of the Jews was transformed into a mixed metaphor. In this mixed metaphor, negation both on the level of humanity and super-humanity becomes complementary and attributive on the wide scale of mimetic elevation and degradation.

       Paradoxically, the deep motivation behind myth is not as much to prove the object’s inhumanity, as to establish the subject’s mythical super-humanity. The mythical inhumanity of the object is an inverted mirror. The dialectical structure of opposition is deployed here to establish the subject, by negation of the other.  In this myth can be compared with politics, as Levi-Strauss suggests.[51] I will take this one step further to argue that myth can be compared with political propaganda, for the message of both is pre-conceived. The Christians are thus elevated into the realm of high mimesis, the holy, the innocent, the pure, those who are fathered by the divine, as the Jews negate all these. If Christianity can be summarised as x properties, Judaism must be summarised in all that is minus-x properties. The dialectical structure of a myth offers logic based on binary symmetry so as to force a resolution outside plausibility, a resolution that would have otherwise been inconceivable. The mythical binary opposition generates this final resolution in its drawing on fictional symmetry. This symmetry is archetypal and generated by mimesis. It is divorced from mid-low mimesis of the human matrix, its natural laws of physics and humanity. For this reason, mythical structure offers its power of symmetry, which irradiates logical thinking. In John 8, the Christian Messiah combats mortality. To establish the movement’s colonial ambitions, the only way to God is limited to the Christian Messiah and is rewarded by immortality. This message had a stronger appeal to a polytheistic audience, promising more than the old religion from which it had emerged. Mosaic laws promised to its obedient members long life and contentment of  living on earth (Deut. 5:17). The Hebrew Bible prescribes the dialectics of peaceful and long life as opposed to a life of trouble, and the death penalty as a part of its system of punishment and reward. Its’ laws concentrated on the recognition of familiar humanity in the other. Eventually, evolved by the dialectical structure, belief in Jesus promised the cleansing of all human sins to reach immortality.  Disbelief in Jesus materialised sins and punishment in a single breath. If belief in Jesus promised eternal life, disbelief meant blood contamination, death and eternal damnation. The dialectical structure of myth thus offers logic based on binary symmetry so as to force a resolution outside plausibility, otherwise both inconceivable and implausible.


4.13. Plausibility


 Both the highest and lowest categories of mimesis imply expansion of human characteristics. Eventually, mimetic expansion of human characteristics eradicates plausibility. Plausibility characterises mid-low mimesis of naturalism, comedy and realism. We may recall the diagram: mid-low mimesis classifies figures that are neither superior to other human beings,  nor to their natural environment. These are found in comedy and realism. Mimetic expansion reaches for the two extreme poles of the mimetic matrix. On the one end, the highest category for the sanctified and the mythical is found. On the other end, one sees the lowest mimetic category for the inferior, the loathsome and the damned.

            For Early Christians, it was inconceivable and politically unwise, to declare a strong group like the Romans their enemy. Moreover, the Romans were also their prospective believers. This explains the reason why the Romans came off so lightly. Paradoxically, the Romans were the ones who officially banned the new religion, declared it an illegal practice punishable by death, promptly executed its followers, and would as a rule crucify any subject for the slightest disturbance of the general order, let alone a leader of a popular movement. Mythical logic and surrogate violence removed from the laws of plausibility could explain the emergence of the Jews as Christianity’s archetypal enemies. Mythical logic made the Jews the original enemy of the origin of Christianity not plausible logic. Mimesis explains how the Jews became the original enemy of Christians, in spite of the fact that an oppressed party who had lost practically any political power with the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. It is tragically ironical that the Jews who never crucified anyone nor ever asked the Romans to crucify any Jew or gentile became the crucifying archetype. All the same, the historical Pilatus was notorious for his murderous policy in Judea and decorated its landscape with human crosses. He was to be removed from office by Rome for these excesses. Nevertheless, as a mimetic figure he became an archetype of the merciful Roman. The actual historical involvement of the Jews in the history of Jesus remains enigmatic. As enigmatic is of Jewish persecution of Christians under a tight Roman regime; with what power? So is the arrest of a detainee in the middle of the night instead of in daytime and without two lawful witnesses for the prosecutor, both of which are against Jewish law. Ambiguously, the Evangelist texts bear witness to the fact that synagogues were open podiums for wandering preachers, random speakers and popular healers (Mark.1:21, 39; Luke. 31-38).[52] As for the Jewish persecution or even irreconcilable hostility between Jewish fractions and Early Christians. In Palestine of 66 A.D. Christian Jews fought together against the Romans alongside Jews of all fractions for life or death and for the same ideals [53]


4.14. Mimetic Power and Expansion of Human Characteristics


 Drawing on characteristics of the binary poles of mimesis; the mythical, the demonic, the grotesque and the pathetic, the Jews were endowed with mimetic power that they could never plausibly have had in reality nor ever asked for as human beings or as a religious group. Like the woman in the film The Attack of the 50f Woman, the New Testament endowed Jews with mimetic power they never had, and had their human characteristics expanded both beyond and below the mimetic matrix of their human nature. Like the fictional woman of this film, the mimetic expansion of the image answers the needs and fears of the community and not those of the woman herself. However as the fictional expansion gains its momentum, the human woman bodies forth inhumanity. As she appears inhumanly distended in the eyes of the beholder, she becomes a doomed target of inhumanity. The executioner uses mimesis to erase his human empathy with his victim. His mythical victim endowed him with superior humanity. The execution of the victim ‘elevates’ the executioner above the sin of inhumanity towards the victim. As the victim is mythified and turns into a target, he is found unqualified for humanity. The subject is dependent on his negated object for his dialectical identity, although the object need not be dependent on his negating subject. The negated object however may become a passive or willing partner in the interdependent dialectics of binary identities. On entering the mimetic vicious circle, the victim himself may sway between the poles of expansion of human characteristics – that of the lowest and highest mimesis.  


4.15. The Surrogate Victim


The mythical Jew evokes the cultic rites revolving around the surrogate victim recurrent in primitive societies.[54]  The Jews as a mythical archetype, can be seen as a metonym of the surrogate victim. As a surrogate victim, the Jews must represent a terrifying mimetic reality and embody the entire spectrum of hostile properties, which the subject is afraid of finding in himself. All the same the victimised object shares human characteristics so as to trigger horror and pity, which is intrinsic to catharsis. This is an ambiguous catharsis – strong enough to release fears, yet so arbitrary that no compassion could disturb it.  The surrogate victim must embody the transgression of all that the community holds sacred. On the one hand, the surrogate is alienated enough from the in-group so that it can vent its aggression in a way that averts in-group violence against one another.  On the other hand, the surrogate must be part of the world of values of that group so as to validate the transgressor’s values and embody the transgressor. The surrogate inverts upon himself the in-group negative properties and faults, purifying it from its ‘sins’. As a part of society, the surrogate victim can pose for its negative pole. He can thus camouflage the violence directed towards him as a justified act of elimination. Yet at the same time, the surrogate victim must be powerless in order to eliminate the possibility of reciprocal violence, if he has the means to resist. The victim’s innocence thus aids the process of catharsis. This endowed the surrogate victim with the lowest mimesis of the pathetic mode. The surrogate victim camouflages the truth from the community about its violent tendencies. The mythical surrogate functions in a way similar to the cultic surrogate victim, which was so deeply imbedded in mythical cults. Ironically the Jews became the displaced subjects of such mythical concepts which they feared as the evil root of inhumanity. I would transpose Levi-Strauss epitomising mythical thinking in Le Cru et le Cuit, quoted above by saying that it is how Christians think out Anti-Semitism, and how mythical Jews think themselves out in Christians and without their knowledge.


5.1. The Summer of 1942;The Converted Jews


The third party in the history of was the group of converted Jews. All three parties were in need of a surrogate. The Nazis 2 August 1942 deployed the converted Jews as their surrogate victims to divert the attention of the Churches away from Jews who had been deported. They thereby shifted the focus away from the atrocity of Jewish deportation and laid the responsibility on the Churches who, the Nazis claimed, had not kept their end of the bargain. Meanwhile this served to camouflage the dubious morality of the bargain between the Churches and the Nazis. The Churches were ambiguously satisfied with saving their converted Jews and equipped the mass of the deported Jews with an apostate message of Christian supremacy. The policy of the Dutch Churches was thus as discriminatory and defaming as that of the Nazis. The Dutch Churches seemed to save their good face in expressing their dismay at the hostile acts against the Jews. They were in fact using it to enhance their policy of conversion and replacement in leaving it to providence and to the Nazis to send out their Christian historical message to the victimised Jews: ‘Christianity or death’. They merely verbalised more subtly. .

 Eventually, the Converted Jews placed themselves as the Jewish people’s surrogate and sacrificial victim, believing in the atonement present in conversion into Christianity.  In a self-alienated psychology, they may perhaps have believed that in denying their faith and eliminating those differences which separated the community, hey were inspiring tolerance for the Jews. The converted Jews were made to appear as the antithesis of the Jewish people to themselves as well as to the Churches. In adopting Christianity, they too seemed to have absorbed the policy of replacement and defamation of the Jews. The converted Jews thus adapted Church policy as an integral part of their own Jewish identity. In their conversion they saw themselves as the forerunners of the only true redemption for the Jews. Their calls to their families and people to see the true light in Christianity, proved that they had fully accepted this Church policy.

The conflict between the Church and the Nazis cost the converted Jews their lives. Hence not the Jews were the ones to paint the innocent victim; for they were the transgressors. Converted Jews became the innocent sacrifice instead. The Christian Jews became the repented element of the defamed group, the non-Christian Jews. The converts therefore, were to be elevated to the position of the murdered innocent. However the converted Jews agreed to play the role of the sacrificial victim as an after-thought and a lip service. None of the converted Jews deported ever willingly intended to join their families and people in the deportations which were planned and which by then was known to the entire Dutch society, both religious and secular. Edith Stein personally received a letter from the Bishop of Roermond dr. J.H. G. Lemmens reassuring her of her safety and that of her sister concerning the coming of the great deportation of the Jews.[55] For the Church, the Jewish converts were messianic victims, expiating the sins of the disbelieving Jewish people, as the sermon of 1947 in their memory witness. Were these Jewish nuns and Edith Stein among them, conscientious martyrs or tragically split souls who sought sanctity in the Church away from the lot of the Jewish people? They were indeed sacrificed for their people as a result of the Church’s sympathy for the Jews.  Did this however sanctify them as holy martyrs, or were they accidental heroes and arbitrary victims? Were those Jewish nuns innocent victims?  Did they not, in their preaching of an exclusive Utopia, and by qualifying their victimisation as atonement for the sins of the unbelieving Jews, incite intolerance towards the Jews? Did they not deny the right of the Jewish people to their own beliefs, did they not project defamatory policy against the persecuted?


5.2. Text and Personality


In the following, I will show insights into Edith Stein’s texts by posing the question: what the power of historical anti-Jewish discrimination and its hostile texts would be when inverted within the individual soul of a persecuted, defamed and threatened group.

When dealing with a person, who is no longer alive, we are left with texts they have written as well as texts that have been written about them. Therefore in this analysis, the personality in question will be dealt with as a text. This means applying the same method of intertextuality for a text and for the individual behind it. I do not imply that people are texts, but rather that texts are people. Thus both a text and a personality can be perceived as a field of tension. Both personality and text  relativise meanings through interplay of systems. Both text and personality form a dialogue with the literary corpus of preceding texts. Like a text, a personality relativises its meaning by external intertextuality as well as by internal interrelationships. These relationships show the manner a personality posits history, culture and society in its tissues on the one hand, and how a personality itself may be placed in culture, history and society. Like a text, personality is perceived as a field of tension in which systems and bits of other people’s individuality enter into a dialogue of transposition, imitation, contestation and neutralisation. Thus a personality is conceived as a production of inter-individual dialogue continuously recreating its field in its relation to other personalities on the one hand, and to society, culture, history and inter-individual entities like family and community, Church and Synagogue, on the other hand.  A personality in analysis can be thus seen as an inter-individual field. A personality as an inter-individual field enters into relationships of dialogic imagination with other personalities who themselves embody similar inter-individual fields. As an inter-individual field of tension, a personality enters into relationships of contestation, imitation, neutralisation transposition, and reconstruction of systems lent from other fields, in the form of live personalities or texts. Such experiences can be divided accordingly into experiences with one’s collective heritage such as culture, society, collective memory, religion, and literary heritage, and on the other, experiences of inter-individual and close environment character. The collective factor can be seen in the family unit, circle of friends, school and community. The exposure to collective heritage forges a personality, with no less force than inter-individual experiences.

            Eventually, collective and inter-individual experiences transect one another. Experiences of collective character like religion, collective memory, culture, social politics are therefore transmitted through the family unit and inter-personal relationships. All the same these factors may form and change family units and inter-individual experiences. A personality like a text hereby becomes an intersection, a field of tension in which systems clash and cross one another, the collective and the individual meet, while being a surface of transposed elements. Similar to external intertextuality, a personality as an inter-individual field enters into a reciprocal relationship with history, culture, and society. Vice versa, these factors also enter into relationships with a personality. This explains the assumption that relationships can be seen in the way that a personality places itself in society, culture and history and vice versa by the way a personality places society, culture and society in his/her life. In this analysis, inter-individual relationships and collective factors thus cross one another. One can claim with this approach that a religion conversion is an inter-individual matter. A conversion thus interrelates a biography and a family story with a community history, collective heritage, culture, socio-history, as well as the history of the interrelationship of two religions caught between the contemporary politics and their past history.


5.3. Edith Stein; Biographical details


Born on 12 October 1891 in Breslau to a Jewish middle-class orthodox family, Edith Stein adapted the German Jewish liberal way of life. 1913 she entered the University of Gottingen and became a Doctor of Philosophy in 1916 with a dissertation on empathy. In WW.I she enlisted as a volunteer nurse. Unsatisfied with her university post she left it in 1918. Another post for a woman and a Jew was probably hard to find. She chose to convert to Catholicism in 1921 and baptised in January 1, 1922. Hereafter, Edith Stein gave lectures throughout Europe advocating the participation of women in society meriting their power of empathy and ‘spiritual maternity’.  Her main works include On Empathy, The Woman, Act and Potency, Finite and Eternal Being, an autobiography; The Jewish Family; a translation of St. Thomas Aquinas’ De Vertitate; the Philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas; Husserl’s Phenomenology; and her last work on the 16th century Carmelite Spanish mystic John of the Cross, The Science of the Cross. In her autobiographical work The Jewish Family, Edith Stein aimed at educating the masses brain-washed with hatred of Jews. By describing her family life she hoped to bring about a more human image of Jews, and thereby promote tolerance towards them. In relation to her time, her work was progressive and feminist. From 1928-1932 her lectures throughout Europe gave her the title ‘the voice of Catholic Feminism’.

          Twenty-five days after Hitler came to power on 30 January 1933; Edith Stein gave her final lecture on 25 February 1933. The German Institute for Scientific Pedagogy that had invited her the year before found her ‘Jewish’ presence an embarrassment. In the course of one month in 1933 Edith Stein’s life style changed from one extreme to the other. In April 1933, she prophetically tried to persuade Pope Pious XI to issue an encyclical condemnation of Nazi-Anti-Semitism, but was denied admission. However her letter to the Pope was delivered and he responded by sending her his blessings for herself and her family.  At the end of this month, April 1933, in the face of rising fascism and obstinate silence on the part of the Church she believed in and had worked so hard for, Edith Stein sought sanctuary in contemplative mysticism; she chose religious seclusion and became a Carmelite novice. This was preceded by thirteen straight hours of prayer and soul searching. With the exception of her sister who followed her example and converted in 1936, she paid for this step with alienation from her immediate family and relatives. [56]

          After the Kristallnacht, 9 November 1938, resulting in the deportation of some forty thousand German Jews, Edith Stein fled to a Carmelite convent in Echt, Holland. She was to live there from 31 December 1938 to 2 August 1942, the day of her arrest. The Germans invaded Holland on 10 May 1940. Edith’s sister joined her in the convent at Echt. By 1941 both of them had to wear the ‘Yellow Star of David’ badge like the rest of the Jews in Holland. They applied for admission to a convent in Switzerland, which remained neutral throughout the War.  Appeals to the Swiss consulate at The Hague bore no fruit.

          On 2 August 1942, Edith Stein and her sister were arrested at the convent in Echt.  On her arrest, it was said that Edith Stein was overheard saying to her sister, ‘Now let us go, we go for our people’[57]. The source however has never been identified. At Westerbork, the Dutch concentration camp where Jewish detainees were first brought, her attitude towards the other prisoners was said to have been angelic. Edith Stein and her sister Rosa were transported to Auschwitz a few days later. During the train voyage, she sent messages on pieces of paper asking people to contact her Carmelite Order in Echt to have her sister and herself removed from the transport and across the border. Upon arrival in Auschwitz on 9 August 1942 she was probably led directly to the gas chambers. Edith Stein was beatified in May 1987 by Pope John Paul II as a Christian martyr and a Jewish victim of the Holocaust. On 12 October 1998, Pope John Paul II elevated Edith Stein to sainthood.   


5.4. The Jewish Woman: Socio-cultural background


Edith Stein belonged to a generation of women at the beginning of this century, who aspired to open up the exclusiveness of their Jewish family and community. These women tried to reach for a more open world for themselves, the Jewish people, Jewish women and perhaps for women in general. Their ideals were motivated by visions of a better future.  Their ideas, visions and ways were different; making choices among learning, social reformism, revolutionary communism, idealist Anarchism, Zionism, liberal Judaism, and secular Judaism. Many chose assimilation and conversion for reasons which were socio-cultural and very often economic. Examples of such Jewish activists are women like Emma Goldman, Bertha Pappenheim, Rosa Luxemburg, Golda Meir, and Henrrieta Szold. These women changed the face of the Jewish womanhood of the twentieth century. Emma Goldman, 1869-1940, a writer and a publicist, chose revolutionary anarchism and communism. She lashed out at the immorality, corruption and hypocrisy of capitalist American society in her series of lectures ‘Mother Earth’ given between 1906-1918. She became an outspoken advocate of birth control before WWI, which caused a stir at the time, and openly opposed the War. All this eventually which led to her imprisonment and deportation to Communist Russia in 1919. Her criticism of communist Russia found expression in her books My disillusions in Russia,1923-1924. She fled the Russia in 1921.[58] Berta Pappenheim, during her youth, became the famous mental patient epitomised by Freud as Anna O, which made her a classical case of female hysteria. On her recovery she became a writer on the issue of the Jewish Woman, and translated such Yiddish literature for the German public as the diary of Gluckl of Hameln, a 17th century Jewish woman; the Mayse Bukh, a compilation of medieval folk tales and the ZennahRenna, a compilation of rabbinical commentary and folk tales around the Bible written for women, simple folk and children.  Berta Pappenheim founded Care by Women in 1902 and the Jewish German Feminist organisation the Judischer Frauenbund in 1904, which had 50,000 members in 1929. The German Jewish Bond with Pappenheim as its chair-person fought women’s poverty, white slave trafficking and Jewish prostitution. To promote these goals she founded women’s shelters and centres of education, training and work. She consciously aspired to meet conversion by spreading Jewish knowledge. The Jewish German Bond worked hand in hand with the German feminist movement on parallel goals like equal rights and opportunities for women, until the rise of the Nazi movement from which the German feminists refused to dissociate.[59]  Henrietta Szold, 1860-1945, a Hungarian immigrant to the USA, chose scholarship and Zionism as her road to emancipation and reform. She became the first female student of a Jewish Theological Seminary in 1903 in New York. Although she was not ordained as a rabbi like her male peers, she assisted her professor Louis Ginzberg in his famous compilation and translation of a six volume study of The Legends of the Jewish People. Eventually she became a scholar and an editor in the field of Judaica. On the political level she founded the Zionist Women’s organisation Haddassa which is still active today. In 1919, she was in charge of the Zionist Educational branch and propaganda. Since 1920 she was active in Israel as the head of the Hadassa medical organisation and was later to hold the World Zionist welfare portfolio. With the rise of the Nazi regime and during WWII, Henrietta Szold became the mother of thousands of displaced European youth.[60] This short list could also include Golda Meirson, a Russian immigrant who came to America as a young girl, a feminist and Zionist who later as Golda Meir became Ben-Gorion’s second hand. She was a prominent figure in establishing a homeland for the Jewish people and dealt with the problems associated with it including successive wars, holding such prominent posts as foreign minister and prime minister.

          Since the 19th century, Haskala (Jewish enlightenment) and the reform movement gradually opened the doors for women’s participation in editing, learning, teaching, theatre, writing, and participation in communal and religious life. In 1846 the conference of German reform rabbis officially decided on the implementation of equal religious rights and participation for women. Half a century later women like Aleta Jacobs, one of the first Jewish women doctors in Europe and the first one in Holland, and Latha Cullen chose to realise the changes in the Jewish community by working within the system.

          Conversion, Edith Stein’s choice in 1922, was an alternative taken by other Jewish women especially among West European Jews since the enlightenment. It was partly the result of inter-marriage, job opportunities otherwise barred by anti-Semitism, and partly was accounted for by socio-psychological, socio-cultural and political factors. In this my analysis moves from the motivation for conversion to the reality of conversion as an inter-individual phenomenon.


5.5. Self Alienation and self-devaluation of Minority Groups

  In his book The Jewish Mind on the history of Jewish spirituality, Raphael Patai treats Jewish conversion, which was common among Western Jews since the enlightenment, as part of a socio-historical and socio-cultural phenomenon. [61]  Paradoxically, earlier periods, with minor exceptions had seen Jews holding to their identity in the face of oppression and persecution, except for forced conversion. The enlightenment and emancipation of Western Jewry exposed the Jewish community to an open society the culture of which some perceived as higher and superior than their own.  A phenomenon characteristic of Western-European Jews, self-alienation, affected the Jew of the new and open society who sought integration. This was not common among either the oppressed Jews of Eastern Europe, the Middle East or all the same the West European Jews of earlier periods. To some enlightened Jews of the open society, their Jewish heritage was perceived as inferior in the face of the Gentile culture. Others have transposed contemporary ideas into a Jewish context and aspired to bring changes from within their Jewish structure. Raphael Patai sees in self-alienation a characteristic of minority members who feel overwhelmed by a majority group, basing this on the Kurt Lewin’s research on low-status minority groups[62]. According to the Lewinian rule, conversion alludes that as members of a minority adapt the values of a high-status majority, in their over-eagerness to be accepted, they may inherit the negative stereotype that the high-status majority projected on their own minority group. As acceptance is barred to the newly assimilated, frustration turns into self-hatred, while aversion and contempt are directed at their own group. This hostility can not be aimed at the dominating majority, which has become the desired target and had been idealised. Anti-Semitism and social disillusion estranged converts and assimilated Jews from the new circles to which they try to attain, while bridges to the old world had been burnt behind them. Self-alienation made them look for the negative in their own collective heritage in the form of self-contempt and self-hate. Jewish negative stereotypes tragically turned into a negative self-image. Here one meets anti-Semitism in an inverted form. Raphael Patai mentions the German Jewish philosopher Otto Weininger as an example of Jewish self-hate. In his book Geschlecht und Character from 1902, Weininger advocates misogyny and anti-Semitism in the same breath. In his book Weininger claims that femininity was embodied in the Jew. Both the woman and the Jew materialise as the non-being. Non-being and femininity is a projection of man’s lower self and his negative shadow. Maleness on the other hand materialises the optimistic and active aspiration to strive and embodies the noble, moral and eternal being. All this is perceivable in the Aryan man, neither in women nor in Jews. Baptised in 1902, Otto Weininger committed suicide a few months later in 1903.[63]


5.6. Edith Stein; an Inter-individual Field of Tension


In Edith Stein’s initial collective heritage and inter-individual environment one can see the traditional Jewish home in which she grew up. As a young woman, the German society and the intellectual society of the German University became her next homes, first as a nurse then as a student. The gentile society thus formed her new field of inter-individual relationships. As in a home environment, here too she entered into reciprocal relationships of contestation, imitation and neutralisation. Equal to her former home environment, this one was therefore inter-individual as well as collective. Here she found the spiritual father and perhaps the father she had lost at the age of two in Professor Husserl. He was a Jewish convert as were other colleagues and followers of Husserl’s, including Professor Scheler and Professor Reinach, who died in WWI. His wife, a Jewish convert like her husband, was admired by Edith Stein’s for being able to find strength in Jesus at the loss of her husband.[64] Like other Jews of her circle and her ideal, Prof. Husserl Edith Stein converted to Christianity, as she became part of that society.

            A covert can be seen as a hybrid case, combining knowledge of both communities. Jewish converts like Edith Stein inherited from both cultures the heritage and collective memories of both communities. She thereby also probably inherited most of the intolerance, prejudice and sense of guilt and accusations that both faiths had accumulated throughout history, whether false or true. In the convert, one may detect the intersection and transposition of the legacy of messianic redemption, utopian dreams and hope. The same legacy also harboured its negative inversion of apocalyptic judgement, bigotry and exclusive worldview, which converts projected on their old group

            What transposed forms do we find in Edith Stein’s texts, both her own and those written about her? In these forms, what recurrent elements can we find of the religious disputation, adaptation and similarities between the two cultures? What relationships do these texts form with contemporary society, history, socio-culture and the Jewish and Christian religions? How universal is Edith Stein’s worldview and how exclusive is her messianism ? 


5.7. Converts and Jews; Inverted Anti-Semitism?


Throughout their history, Jews imposed upon themselves a collective guilt of imperfection, not as an original sin but as a primordial responsibility. They viewed the collective imperfection of their community and that of the world as the cause of the suffering in the world and theirs in particular. They strove by good deeds and through their loyalty to their Judaism to correct imperfect state and bring about its divinely designed perfection, which will signal the coming of the messianic age. The accomplishment of this utopian perfection, the Tikkun Olam, became their messianic and utopian hope.[65] This theosophical perception allowed the Jews to perceive their harsh ordeal throughout history as the redemptive suffering of messianic expectations. Their successive persecution at the hand of other nations was explained as messianic pangs like the labour of women’s pregnancy. Jewish suffering was thus seen by them as deferred gratification before the promised bliss. This allowed the Jews to accept their God with love and devotion and believe in His love and devotion to them.[66] Jewish collective oppression and persecution were thereby subjectivised. This subjectivisation was based upon a belief in a sympathetic relationship between their divinity of a high mimetic realm and their harsh reality of very low mimesis.

            Christian texts objectified Jewish persecution. In a vicious circle, persecution was carried out against the Jews and perceived as retaliation for their sins of disbelief in the Messiah and deicide.  Accusations must however be validated by a body of laws and concepts of outlawry commonly and mutually agreed to by the parties concerned as being such, so as to be accepted as guilt. Converts like Edith Stein saw their conversion as atonement for Jewish disbelief in and sin against the Christian Messiah. Here the converts ambiguously forge a hybrid mind. The collective guilt that Christian Jews imposed upon themselves and on their former group was borrowed from the creeds of guilt and sin of an alienated group. The convert’s adaptation of this collective guilt was reinforced by the negative image that the bigotry of the other group entailed, now inverted as they agreed to atone for it as Jewish converts.

            In her texts, Edith Stein enlivens Jewish texts with a Christian interpretation attached. As the world escalated into mass destruction and genocide, Edith Stein was roused to feel a sense of a metaphysical mission to promote World Peace by preparing herself for the offer of life. I quote from her writing left in her cell. Here she described life as a ‘sacrificial expiation for the sake of true peace: and that the Anti-Christ’s sway may be broken without another world war and that the new order will be established’.[67]  The coming of the messiah during a time of peace is based on Jewish heritage.[68] In these texts, she compares herself to Queen Esther and God to the Persian King to with whom she should plead for the salvation of her people.[69]

            Edith Stein’s texts bear witness to the fact that she balanced on the ambiguous borderline between being one with the prosecuted Jews, identifying with their suffering, and denouncing them, thereby indirectly justifying Jewish victimisation. She seemed to sway between the safe majority of the gentile community, which she categorically joined for whatever reasons, and the exposed Jewish minority. In her prayers to Christ for the salvation of European Jews, Edith Stein draws on biblical texts to picture herself as a transformation of Queen Esther.  Empowered with the strength of the biblical figure, she felt she could plead for the rescue of her people who were faced with the prospect of persecution and extermination like the Persian Jews. These texts show a split personality torn between contradictions: ’I spoke to our Saviour and told Him that I knew that it was His cross which now being laid on the Jewish people. Most of them did not understand it; but those who did understand must accept it willingly in the name of all’.[70] Here I detect the self-alienated psychology of an assimilated member of a low-status minority adapting the negative concepts of the predominant majority. Interrelation between the fascist persecution and Christ’s passion may be metaphysically acceptable within Christian concepts. It is however alien and radically hostile to the worldview of Jews. The Jewish belief deals with concepts, which do not include Christ the Messiah nor Christ’s sacrifice of life. Christian accusations of disbelief in Christ as the Messiah and that of His crucifixion and deicide, killing of a divinity, were never validated by the Jews. Moreover, historically Jews have seen these Christian creeds as the evil root of Anti-Semitism and Jewish persecution throughout their common history.  Asking Jews to willingly accept their suffering and persecution as an embodiment of Christ’s passion would be perceived by Jews as the hypocritical sarcasm of converts condoling and even justifying Jewish oppression and mass murder for these very non-Jewish creeds. A later period of the Nazi era still speaks for the ambiguous state of Edith Stein’s mind. These notes and writings found in her cell after her deportation indeed recall her agony witnessing the suffering of her people. She transcends her sympathy for their suffering into a readiness to offer herself for the sake of a utopian peace. In these writings, Edith Stein felt she was offering herself: ‘as a sacrificial expiation for the sake of true peace: that the Antichrist’s sway may be broken, if possible without another world war, and that a new order may be established’.[71] While foregoing the actual opportunity to join the Jews out of her free will when deported, her sacrificial spirit was not only hypothetical but also conditional and discriminatory. Stein’s messianism was exclusive, supposedly to counter-balance ‘the sins of the unbelieving Jewish people’[72]. Her text evokes Christian polemic in its search for ontological identity by negation and devaluation of the mimetic Other, namely the mythical Jews. In this the evocation of the historically defaming Christian heritage, one detects the schizophrenic psyche of the convert. Her self-sacrificial consciousness in imitation of her Saviour was an expiatory atonement for Jews ‘at fault’, who were thus qualified as both lethal and doomed transgressors, the way Christian texts had defined them since the New Testament. Her missionary readiness for self-sacrifice embodies ambiguously a Jewish mind and a Christian one, and neither at the same time.  Hers is a Jewish mind ready to atone for the ‘sins of the unbelieving Jewish people’, for a Christian soul need not atone for Jewish sins. All this makes her, paradoxically but categorically from a Jewish viewpoint, these texts give vent to nothing but anti-Jewish Christianity proper. [73] Therefore for whom can she be considered Jewish but for Christians; and what kind of a Jew?

      Like the Churches, Edith Stein professes Christian empathy for the Jewish victimisation while qualifying the Jewish victims as transgressors and their lot as an Evangelically predetermined ordeal. Her empathy is camouflaged by the self-sacrificial mind of an apostate. Edith Stein does not only distance herself from her ethnic group, but also points a denouncing finger at her own people when victimised, deported and murdered. In this, converts and Churches that professed support for the Jews converts, while denying them the right to their Jewish identity. In asking the persecuted party to accept and understand their prosecution at the hand of the Nazis as an expiating predicament, converts and Churches turned the tables, turning the victim into an active party.  The persecuted party was however the one acted out upon by the persecutor under arbitrary circumstances, which were determined by the latter not by the former. Denouncing a victim is an indirect way of shifting the blame from the victimiser onto the victim. In this one searches for an answer to an infliction within the weak party who had no choice in the matter.

            In this light Edith Stein’s writings seem to have a sinister and threatening tone. What is the deep structure of her message in her poem ‘Sentenzen im Monat Juni 1940’: ‘They have for Thy tender knocking no ears, / Thus Thou had to strike with the heavy hammer, /After a long night dawn will break into day,/  In heavy labour Thy Kingdom shall be born’[74]These writings qualify the Christian world view as an exclusive projection on ‘non-Christians’, her former ethnic group. In Edith Stein’s messianic texts, the professed Christian Utopia can thus be perceived as an anti-utopia. These utopian ideas become exclusive and discriminatory, harbouring intolerance for diversity as well as an ambition for power and supremacy.[75]

            Jewish collective memory would be bitterly aroused by texts like those of Edith Stein, the Bishop’s sermon of 26 July 1942 and that of 1947 in the memory of the Dutch converts. Throughout Jewish history, anti-Jewish Christian believers and converts who collaborated with them forged anti-Jewish mock trials, ritual-murder accusations, charges of sorcery, host-desecration libels, Talmud burning and ‘religious disputations’. In the latter, Jews were condemned to death if their arguments proved them right and endangered their communities with the threat of forced baptism if they proved wrong.[76]

            Besides her sister Rosa, seven Jewish nuns were rounded up from monasteries with Edith Stein. None of these religious women went willingly to join their Jewish families and people during this period of arbitrary deportation and persecution. While sheltering in convents, none tried to hide, assist or save even one Jewish child. Other Christians and atheists in monasteries and private homes did help the Jews. In their accusative expiation, did they not become part of the general conspiracy against the Jews in the Holocaust? For its realisation was made possible by those who carried it out, as well as by others who supported, rationalised, condoled, denied, and justified it on any ground, political or religious.


6.1.  Ego Ideals and the Psyche


The ego ideals internalised by Edith Stein bear witness to a divided self as a human being, as a member of an ethnic group who stepped over into another religion and perhaps as a woman as well.  On the one hand, her ego ideals are divided between divine images and homologous ones; and between feminine divine imagery and masculine imagery on the other.

            On the level of transcending images of high mimesis, the masculine figure of the divine Son becomes Edith Stein’s idea of human co-redemption with divinity.[77] Christ emerges as her ego ideal of the mystical union between man’s soul and the divine the way Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross, her ideal role models, posit Him. In this mystical union, human subjective limits are transgressed by the divine.[78] The divine ego is a centralising power that transcends her sense of ontological self, and at the same time she feels she decentralises herself before the divine. In Edith Stein unio-mysticism is embodied in her belief in a total offer of personal life as part of universal redemption being a mimetic imitation of the divine offer of life, like that of Christ. Her imitatio dei devaluates her being to the point of self-destruction. She felt she was offering herself: ‘as a sacrificial expiation’.[79] Her self-sacrifice for universal peace is mimetically equated with Christ’s sacrifice for the sins of mankind, thereby making her offer of life transcend to the level of an expiatory act for the sake of a new world-order. In the texts quoted above, Christ appears as a heavenly confessor to whom Edith Stein confines her fears and confesses her soul’s secrets. Christ becomes an ego ideal, overseer of the self and a superior inner voice. As an ego ideal of the self, when elevated to high-mimesis, His suffering diminishes hers. Her pain and fear of death become a sanctified offer to enhance His salvation of the world. In this, Christ embodies the divine husband and father who owns both her sexuality and living body and soul. This ego ideal connects Christ to archaic divine images, who claim human sacrifice in self-inflicted pain, death and sexuality. God the Father too becomes the phantasmic archaic paternal divinity who is satisfied only with the blood of a living sacrifice. The victim must be found at fault or one has to find fault in divinity. For this reason, the fall of humans complements God’s infallibility. Could that Divinity create an imperfect world in which unjust pain is inflicted on the innocent, and could that Divinity inflicts unjust pain on the innocent? This thought is unbearable for some believers. God is grasped here as ‘Deus ex machina’ -- a divine image that engineers changes in reality and performs actual miracles to save victims. ‘I am poor helpless little Esther, but the King I was chosen by, he is infinitely great and merciful’. In her personal prayers she professes ‘a confidence in the fact that the Lord has taken my life in exchange for all (the Jews)’ [80]. With that frame of mind, what happened in Edith Stein’s soul as she saw that her divine ego ideal failed to save victims? The image of divinity seems to take the form of an archetypal oedipal Father. She cannot withdraw her belief in His infallibility or in His almighty power to engineer events of reality. Fear of criticising Him is deeply rooted. Therefore as the believer cannot find fault in God. Events are in His hand and not in that of human beings. Therefore a believer must find fault in the victim, and the righteous must atone for both persecutor and his victim in predicament.  God the Son ambiguously embodies a masculine judge rather than an entity generating universal compassion, or even understanding.  Paradoxically, this universal love must be attained by means of the destruction of the atoning victim. On the level of divine-metaphors, the suffering of the Other, the Jews in this case, allegedly becomes the imitation of His redemptive sacrifice on the cross. His suffering is a sacrifice to be fulfilled and a mystical passion to be understood by the Jews as an example to be followed. Whether the Jews understand it as such is beside the point for Edith Stein. When it concerns the Jews, her former and yet her contemporary ethnic identity, Edith Stein shows a Self divided between alienation on the one hand and amatory identification with the Other on the other hand.  She relates to the suffering of the Jews, and at the same time the Jews become a metaphor of abjection. The abject Jew symbolises the frightening borderline of enunciation between the Self of the convert and the Self of the apostate committed to Christianity. One Self is the ‘I’ persona whose Jewish identity is archaic, ethnic and biographical. The other has accumulated a Christian identity built upon Christian polemics of the negation of Jews and Judaism. The Jews thus symbolise a borderline between on the one hand the mimetic power of mythical evil that victimises both divinity and humanity, and on the other, the surrogate victim who must atone for a mythical fault. Fear of criticising a divine oedipal image of high mimesis and fear of separation from His blessed community and from His grace therefore overrules sympathy for the Jews. Denunciation of the ‘Other’ serves as a surrogate for fear. Finding fault in the victim gets God off the hook and keeps the convert within the Christian flank.  


6.2. Female Metaphors.


As a messianic victim who believed that her sacrifice might move the world closer towards a utopian order, Edith Stein’s feminine ego ideals evoke a spectrum feminine images: a messianic Saviour, a prophetess, an accuser and a judge. Here too, Edith Stein’s mind fashions a hybrid of two cultures.

            On the mythical level of high mimesis, one finds divine motherly protection appearing as a revelation of personal light. This allusion intertextually evokes the Jewish Shekhina, the empowerment of the feminine aspect of God recurring in the form of light scattered into each soul.[81] In her poem ‘White Sunday’ from 1942 she identifies the divine light with a motherly hand which leads a beloved child:

                                                            Where are you, sweet light that fulfilled me

                                                            And my heart’s darkness lightened up?

                                                            You led me like a mother’s hand

                                                            And let go of me,

                                                            that I knew not how to set a step further[82]

The motherly hand bestows empowering light but proves to be impotent. God, appearing as a masculine father was identified with an almighty and royal figure. These contradictory figurations disregard the fact that both the feminine and masculine aspects of God had, for practical reasons, proven equally helpless in the face of WWII.

            Both female figures of mid-low mimesis of humanity and that of the mid-high mimesis of royal image are embodied in the biblical Queen Esther. Like the Shekhina, Queen Esther brings to the fore a traditionally intertext of a female messianic figure. [83] The analogy is seen in Esther, the biblical Jewish girl who saved her people from mass massacre, risking her own life in hostile ethnic surroundings and a totalitarian regime, in the form of the Persian monarchy with an anti-Jewish enemy in the form of the prime minister, Haman. Edith Stein professes ‘a confidence in the fact that the Lord has taken my life in exchange for all (the Jews). [84]  The royal female image of a Saviour mingles with the image of the willing female victim. This self-appointed messianic victim erases her ontological self before the ultimate sacrifice demanded in the interests of the collective and by its paternal divine protector. In this, Edith Stein transcends her Self, through her female image of ego ideal.

            The analogy between the biblical story is marred halfway to its resolution. Haman clearly played the mimetic role of the villain like the Nazis, as both wished to eradicate the Jews. However, the Persian Sultan was not a protective and compassionate regent like a heavenly father. Initially he was persuaded to massacre the Jews, in exchange for a good payment. Haman’s accusations fell on a fertile ground as the sultan like Haman believed that the Jews were a hostile abject in his community. This equates his protection with the Bishops’ ambiguous protest on behalf of the deported Jews in 1942.

            In her analogy with Queen Esther, Edith Stein is selective. Perceiving herself as an expiating victim, Edith Stein internalises a Jewish feminine saviour as the Evangelists saw her, not as the Hebrew Bible presents her. Unlike the biblical Esther who was ready to sacrifice her life to save Jewish lives, Stein had rather saved Jewish souls. The messianic victim that she has become is a redemptive convert atoning for the allegedly sins of her allegedly unbelieving people, the Jews. The analogy between Edith Stein and the biblical Esther is as ambiguous as the Evangelist’s historical adaptation of the Hebrew Bible. Esther shelters in the sanctuary of the royal palace but breaks its rules and exposes herself as a woman and a Jew. Edith Stein agonises over her people’s lot, but followed the creeds of their hostile community. Stein did indeed expose herself by refusing to ever hide her Jewish identity. Like the Jewish Esther safely sheltered in the royal palace, Edith Stein took shelter in convents in Germany and Holland. Like Esther, she was divided between her fear for her personal well being, which made her human and her agony for her people, which transcended her. I do believe that in praying to God, even according to her apostate convictions, Edith believed that she was working towards the salvation of her people. Yet in refusing to recognise that the Jews might believe in another valid form of divinity, she turns a choice of religion into the fault found within the persecuted group. She thus perceived Jewish persecution itself as the atonement for their identity and belief. At this point, Edith Stein betrayed her motivation as her people’s female messianic saviour. Esther fasts but does not feel she atones for her ‘people’s sins’ alleged by the anti-Semitic Haman. She never accepted them in the first place which made her loyalty to her people unambiguous, unlike Edith Stein. Edith Stein may have followed her biblical ego ideal Esther as she pointed at the evil ones; and yet her finger also pointed at the persecuted Jews as she sheltered in the sanctuary of Christianity in the convent of Echt in Holland. In categorising the Jews as a fallen group, qualified by the words ‘sins of the unbelieving Jews’, she excluded herself from them and objectified their plea for justice and for empathy with their suffering.  In doing so, Edith Stein followed in the footsteps of the Evangelists, and like the Dutch Churches, sounding as ambiguous and unacceptable to any committed Jew. In Edith Stein’s Esther, one meets a transformation of the biblical female metaphor, as an Evangelic popular heroine. In adapting the Evangelic creed of the Jewish mythical sin, she became the Jews’ accuser and judge; and amalgamated her sympathy for their plight with a classical anti-Judaism.           

            This leads to the evocation of other biblical ego female ideals, to be found in the female leader, judge and prophetess like Miriam and Deborah. These ego ideals are embedded in the religion of their people. Edith Stein transposes these ego ideals to befit the spirit of a Christian apostate. The religious female accuser is a Catholic convert who calls her former ethnic group ‘unbelievers’ in hope of salvation through a creed which is not their own. She does not call upon them to keep their own laws and religion as the Hebrew prophets did. She suggests that they should have abandoned them for the sake of a religion that negates their Jewish identity, and as this has brought them their predicament in the first place, this may save their souls if not their lives. The relationship between this Evangelist Jewish prophetess and her people becomes mutually exclusive ¾ either the Jews are right and the convert is wrong or vice versa. Apostate atonement and anti-Jewish denunciation overlap. Mutual exclusiveness compensates for the space demarcating the limits between the Self of the convert and the ‘Other’, being the unbelieving Jews. As self-definition depends on the mutual exclusiveness of the ‘Other’, co-existence threatens the exclusive Self with annihilation. Coexistence is therefore excluded between the convert and the Jews.

            On facing the arbitrariness of mass persecution, only holy martyrdom can elevate the low-mimetic reality of anonymous victimisation to high mimesis. The expiatory grace of metaphysical victimisation thus elevates the actual Nazi persecution to a sacred predestined ordeal. Thus the Nazi persecution turns into an atoning predicament for the Jews. As Edith Stein saw herself as a messianic victim surrogating for the mythical Jews, metaphysical victimisation of high mimesis transcended her victimisation. Nonetheless, Edith Stein’s flight to the Dutch convent in Echt and her consistent attempts to save herself and her sister from their fate as Jews, proves that her amatory identification with Jewish victimisation did not literally mean accepting it willingly as she asked them to do. Nor did she mean to voluntarily join them as one of the persecuted Jews. Her attempts to find new sanctuary in a Swiss convent from occupied Holland and even from the train en route to the concentration camps all speak for this, as much as it may be humanly understandable.

            In order to follow in the footstep of a holy martyr, a messianic victim must be innocent.  The Jews were the victims for whose sins she atoned; they were thus disqualified as innocent victims en masse. Here lies the mutually exclusive paradox. The relationship between a convert and a community for whom she atones became ambivalent. By joining them she would be qualified as the fallen victim atoning for sins against the Christian Messiah they did not accept.  However, she is elevated to the high mimesis of holy martyrdom, for unlike the rest of the Jews marked by this mythical sin, she was purified of it by her conversion. She did carry the mark of mythical evil because of her Jewish birth, but was exempted from it by having accepted the Evangelic message of divine salvation (that imposed mythical evil upon the Jews). This in turn posits her as the real sanctified victim, being a surrogate for the tainted Jewish victims. On becoming one with the collective victimisation of the Jews, Edith Stein evokes the messianic meaning of universal redemption by a personal atonement, validated by both faiths. However, she empowers her Christian redemption through the anti-thesis of the ‘Other’ who is mythically abjected by sins.[85] As the abject Other, the Jews seem to be rejected both by humanity and by God’s grace. Eventually they become separated from the rest of humanity by persecution, deportation and death at the hand of ‘humanity’. Here the cycle closed on Edith Stein. As she was forced to share her people’s collective ordeal as a persecuted group ¾ her lot became that of a border case. She was perceived as one with and the one alienated from her ethnic group, who in turn embodied the abject Other for her and for the alienating group she converted to.       

            Edith Stein had to join the Jews as one of the victims in order to attain the transcending state of messianic victimisation, as they were the prosecuted group.  By joining her persecuted people when the Gestapo came to arrest her, during her moment of exposure, Edith Stein met her ego ideal Esther. Her vulnerability brought forth her integrity. The biblical figure Esther became an ego ideal of ‘amatory identification’ with the general suffering of her people at the very moments of exposure. In both the biblical and contemporary cases of amatory identification with the other’s suffering, human fear for one’s own safety was not denied. This can be summarised in Mordecai’s choice of words to Esther: ‘Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews’ (Esther 4:13).  In her words to her sister Rosa when the persecutor came to fetch her from her sanctuary Edith Stein made her last journey of soul: ‘Let us go for our people’. Whether she actually spoke these words or not, her spiritual journey has been rounded there. In these words, the character of her victimisation was determined. By becoming a human agent generating empathy for her people and fellow-victims, this time without exclusive reservations and judgement, she evoked her former essays on  ‘Empathy’; her work as a nurse of the wounded in W.W.I and understanding of the poetry of John of the Cross. In this she followed her female Ego Ideals as well as the message of love in Christ as an ideal transposition of universal humanity. She found her human continuity in her belief in empathy as an interpersonal factor, all the more so when it was missing towards herself and her ethnic group by their persecutors, or even in her own mind.


6.3. Christian Beatification and Jewish Sanctification.


Jewish culture has embraced the idea of religious martyrdom. The Jewish term for this is Kiddush Hashem, a religious martyrdom granted to Jews who died for their beliefs and ethnic association. In 1952 the State of Israel granted all Jewish Holocaust victims posthumous citizenship in this world and a place in heaven as Kedoshim,  who are revered by all Jewish communities ever since as a model of a Kiddush Hashem.[86] The Jewish answer to the arbitrary mass victimisation of WWII was that of veneration en masse. In this all victims were declared holy victims; innocent babies and grown-ups; rabbis and thieves; mothers, virgins or prostitutes were all sanctified. In this, Jews rejected singularity as a requirement for the sanctification of a victim; for the singling out of one individual would imply the insignificance of the other. The mass victimisation was brought close to the prophetic text in Isaiah 53 in which the most insignificant victim of humanity’s cruelty and indifference becomes closest to God’s grace. Jewish victims of the Holocaust have thus been collectively venerated regardless of the fact that many were only half Jewish or converts. Conversion ¾ a contradiction of the essential concept of Kiddush Hashem reserved for Jews who died for their beliefs ¾ failed to save such Jews in W.W.II. Ironically, in this Kuddush Hashem has been granted to them. Converted Jews died for a religion they had renounced whereby they were paradoxically beatified as Jewish martyrs, Edith Stein may be considered a Holocaust martyr by the Jewish community alongside other Jewish victims in spite of her life style, not because of it. In this the Jewish beatification and the Catholic one differ.


6.4 Conclusion: The Anatomy of Power in Ego Ideals


The collective unconsciousness is conceived as the collective soul shared by individuals. Messianic figures as ego ideals are equally inter-individual and collective, both inherent in the field of tension which is the personality. From this perspective, messianic images are personality models with great psychological and transformational power. Here one understands why inter-individual attitudes, social behaviour and religious mentality may be greatly shaped by the character of messianic images. Perceived as ego ideals, the character and ideas that messianic protagonists stand for, as well as their gender and ethnic identity, shape personality models. These conceived the ideal self. It is thus crucial whether a Messianic figure serving as an ego ideal, stands for an exclusive society and exclusive values or co-existence. No less crucial is the origin of the messianic figure. It is proven essential whether this a personality ideal follows a model of low or high mimesis, forgiving and compassionate or punitive, feminine or masculine, paternal or maternal. These characteristics determine whether a messianic figure as a model of ego ideal promotes love and tolerance or separation, intolerance, violence and self-destruction.        

Julia Kristeva defines the ‘assimilation of other people’s feelings into the ego’ as amatory identification, Einfullung, after Freud, which is meant as a pathological definition. In Kristeva’s terms, amatory identification is a ‘non-objectal identification’[87] I wish however to adapt the term in theology, and identify it as the capacity to nurture emphatic love for human beings as a whole.  In theological terms, amatory identification follows a state of universal love. The non-objectal identification allows homologous metaphors.  The Self shows a capacity to find similarities in its object, which subjectivises the object. Homologous images are as archetypal as the divine ones and are as inherent in the collective soul as divine ideals are. Amatory images are analogous to the subject; those that generate the ‘assimilation of other people’s feelings into the Self’ by recognition of analogy and similarity. From a theological viewpoint, homologous images rely on the Judeo-Christian creed of ‘Love thy neighbour as yourself’, Lev. 19:18, meaning love the other as you love yourself, and love the other because the other is like yourself.

Relying on the mimetic theory, homologous metaphors connect the subject to the Other by ‘being-like the other’ through characteristics which are homologous rather than singular. Amatory imagery thus evokes homologous metaphors belonging to mid-low mimesis. In this analysis homologous metaphors form a dialectic opposition to divine and royal metaphors. If divine images are drawn from the realm of high-mimesis, homologous metaphors of mid-low mimesis are found in affable and equalising images emphasising similarity. Non-divine images are located in homologous imagery, connecting the self to amatory identification. Homologous images convey a movement away from the exclusive and toward an affinity which reduces differences and levels down personality barriers.            

Divine ego ideals on the other hand posit as parental and maternal archetypes. These divinised ego ideals are archetypal. In them, one sees transferred images of parental figures. These images are imbedded in the personality, which at the same time are inherent in the collective unconsciousness of all men.[88] Total assimilation into the Self of a mimetically divine image would take the form of self-inflation in relation to a non-equalising image. A divine image always takes a higher mimetic position than the Self. It image may however also transcend the Self.

Both divine and homologous images are archetypal. Archetypal images are transferred from the impersonal and collective unconsciousness, the content of which, is personal and universal at the same time. The question is what the relationship would be between the personal ideal ego and its archetypal ego ideals. How would the ideal ego posit the ‘Other’ in the mind between the two mimetic axes of high and low mimeses? What would be the position of the Self in relation to its projected Other when its ego ideal is a divine image, and what would be the position of the other when its ego ideal is a non-divine and homologous one? On what mimetic level would that non-divine ego ideal function on the mid-mimetic level which is the realistic and the homologous, or on the degraded and mimetically lower level than humanity? Here one may locate role-patterns, which are interdependently projected ¾ a saviour or an accuser, the victim or the victimiser, a sacrificing agent or a holy martyr. It is clear to me that the Self can not relate to the ‘Other’ as an equally human entity unless the extreme mimetic axes are compromised and balanced. The image of amatory identification connects the divine image of the divine to low mimetic humanity through universal love. Low mimetic images connect the Self to homologous humanity, interlining the Self with the Other. The exclusiveness of divine and royal metaphors must meet humanly common metaphors or lose itself in a sterile centrifugal movement that erases humanness in man. World peace thus starts with the understanding of the anatomy of power. This is born out by the choice of personality models positing as ego ideal being messianic figures, leaders, prophets, or saints.  I end this article with a poem I wrote for Edith Stein.


Edith Stein

Teresia Benedicta of the Cross, I am

Betrothed  to Jesus

To atone for humanity’s Evil

And for the sins of the unbelieving Jews,

Who was taken away like the rest.

One for all; all for One.


Edith Stein, I am

The Jewish nun.

Mile after mile on the rails,

My soul stretches its folds

Becoming simple.

One is many, many are one.


Jewish nun I am.

After these infants,

No God may ever sacrifice His only son

Or repeat it each sunset.

One for all?

All for One ?


Jewish, I am Jesus,

here humanity is sacrificed

for Your sins

against the believing Jews.

One for many.

Many for One. 


I am that I am.

All is One. One is all.

Hear Israel.

[1] I am indebted to my tutor Dr. Robert Druce who read the first part of the article, and to Brenda Kaldenbach who proof read the paper. I am grateful to Reverend Frans Wiersma who helped me to find my way in the New Testament, the Septuagint and the Vulgate.

[2] Als een brandende toorts,   Echt 1967, p. 49 (all translations from Dutch out of this particular book are mine)

[3] Ibid p. 49-56.

[4] As a general rule, European Jews underwent a similar decree between 1939-1945, regardless of their religion.

[5] Maria Buchmuler, In 25 memorium day, Nurenberg, in  Als een brandende toorts,   Echt 1967, p. 123.

[6] Marcel Poorthuis/Theo Salemink, Op Zoek naar de Blauw Ruiter: Sophie van Leer, een leven tussen avant-garde, Jodendom en christendom (1892-1953), Valkhof, Nijmegen 2000, pp . 341-346.  Sophie van Leer was a Catholic Jew. Converted in 1919, she was arrested on the same fatal 2 August 1942,  but released, being married to a non-Jew.

[7] Als een brandende toorts,   Echt 1967, p. 50-51

[8] Als een brandende toorts,   Echt 1967, p. 188

[9]Ibid p. .193.

[10] Ibid p. 208,

[11] ibid p. 190.

[12] Cargas, H. .J., ed.  The Unnecessary Problem of Edith Stein, 1994, p. 7.

[13] Als een brandende toorts,   Echt 1967, p. 102.

[14] Przywara, Erich, In und Gegen, 1955, p. 117-118.

[15] Als een brandende toorts,  Echt 1967,  p. 96 (my translation from German).

[16] Aichele George & Philips G.A 'Exegesis, Eisegesis, Intergesis. What is Intertextuality?', in  Semeia 79/80, 1996, pp. 1-11.

[17] Aichele George & Philips G.A 'Exegesis, Eisegesis, Intergesis. What is Intertextuality?', in  Semeia 79/80, 1996, pp. 1-11.

[18] Anti-Judaism in the Fourth Gospel and Jewish-Chritian Dialogue, 17-18, 2000, organisers, Prof.  Reimund Bieringer, Prof. Didier Plollefeyt, assistant Prof. Frederique Vanneuville

[19] Bakhtin, M., The Dialogic Imagination, 1987; Bartes, Roland, ‘The Death of the Author’ in Image-Music-Text, 1968, pp 208-209; Julia Kristeva  ‘The Bounded Text’; Words, Dialogue and Novel’ Desire in language, 1981, pp 23-92.

[20] Graig A. Evans, Introduction: Faith and Polemic, The New Testament and First-century Judaism, in  Anti-Semitism and Early Christianity, ed. Craig A. Evans, and Donald A. Hagner, Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 1993, pp 1-20

[21] Jan Willem van Henten, ‘Anti-Judaism in John and Revelation’, in papers from Anti Judaism in the Fourth Gospel and Jewish-Christian Dialogue, conference in Leuven Belgium, January 17-18, 2000, p 346

[22] David L. Tiede ‘“Fighting against God”: Luke’s Interpretation of Jewish Rejection of the Messiah Jesus’, in Anti-Semitism and Early Christianity, ed. Craig A. Evans and Donald A. Hagner, Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 1993 p. 112.

[23] Graig A. Evans,’ Introduction: Faith and Polemic, The New Testament and First-century Judaism’, in  Anti-Semitism and Early Christianity, ed.  A. Evans Graig, and Donald A. Hagner, Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 1993, p 7-8

[24] New Concordance of the Bible, ed. Abraham Even-Shoshan, Kiryat Sefer Publishing House, Jerusalem, 1993

[25]Peter J. Tomson, ‘The “Jews” in the Gospel of John as Compared with the Palestinian Talmud and the Synoptic Gospels’ in papers from Anti Judaism in the Fourth Gospel and Jewish-Christian Dialogue, conference in Leuven Belgium, January 17-18, 2000, pp 290-321.

[26]  Second Vatican Oecumenisch Consilie 1967 exempted from  deicide only those Jews who did not live during the period itself.

[27] Joshua Trachtenberg, The Devil and the Jews. The Medieval Conception of the Jew and Its relation to Modern anti-Semitism,, New Haven, Yale University Press, London: Humphrey Milford: Oxford Unviversity Press 1943.

[28] I. Max Dimont, God and history, A Signet Book, New American Library, 1962,p. 99

[29] A Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the Hebrew Language, Ernest Klein, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Macmillan Publishers, London, 1987.

[30] U.C. von Wahlde, “You Are of Your Father the Devil” in Its Context: Stereo-Typed Apocalyptic Polemic in John 8:38-47: in Papers from Anti Judaism in the Fourth Gospel and Jewish-Christian Dialogue, conference in Leuven Belgium, January 17-18, 2000, pp 364-365;  Peter Borgen  pp 204-205 in Anti-Semitism and Early Christianity, ed. Craig A. Evans  and Donald A, Hagner, Fortress Press, Minneapolis,  1989; Craig A. Evans, in Anti-Semitism and Early Christianity, ed. Craig A. Evans  and Donald A, Hagner, Fortress Press, Minneapolis,  1989,

[31] Dead Sea Scrolls, English translation by ed. J. Charlesworth, Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1994, 1995.

[32] Grasser, “Die Juden als Teufelssone in Johannes 8:37-42” ,  in Antijudaism in Neuen Testament, W.P. Eckert , N.P Levinson and M. Stor, Munich : Kaiser 1967 pp.164-165, the writer warns against the direct association of Belial with the people worshipping the Satan as their father.

[33] Anti-Semitism and Early Christianity, ed. Craig A. Evans  and Donald A, Hagner, Fortress Press, Minneapolis,  1989 p. 17

[34] U.Cassuto,From Adam to Noah, Jerusalem University Press, 1944, p. 1-2. 

[35] Ibid  15-16. 

[36] Claude Levi-Strass, Structural Anthropology, Basic Books, New York London, 1963, pp 186-205 

[37] Claude Levie-Strauss ‘Overture to Le Cru et le Cuit’ in 131 Art Berman, From the New Criticism to Deconstruction, Univerisity of Illinois Press, Urbana and Chicago, 1988, p. 131

[38] Ibid. p.224

[39]Claude Levi-Strass, Structural Anthropology, Basic Books, New York London, 1963, p.224.

[40] Edmund Leach, Genesis as a Myth, Jonathan Cape, London, 191, p. 8

[41] Northrop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism, Princeton, 1973. P. 138

[42] Levi-Stauss ‘The Structural Study of Myth’ in Structural Anthropology, 1963, Basic Books New York, 1963, p. 208.

[43]  N. Frey, 1973, p.  136 ;  and  Levi-Stauss ‘The Structural Study of Myth’ in Structural Anthropology, 1963, Basic Books, New York, 1963, pp 210-215

[44] Arne Melbreg, ‘Aristotelian Order’, Theories of Mimesis (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press 1995),pp 1-50.

[45] Northrop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1973. pp 33-34.

[46] Northrop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism, Princeton University Press, Princton, 1973. pp 33-34.

[47] M. Bakhtin, Rabelais and his World, Indiana University Press, 1984, on grotesque and exaggeration

[48] Shimon Bar-Efrat, The Art of Narration in the Bible, Hapoalim, Tel Aviv, Israel, 1979

[49] Adele Reinhartz, “Jews and Jews in the Fourth Gospel’ in  : in Papers from Anti Judaism in the Fourth Gospel and Jewish-Christian Dialogue, conference in Leuven Belgium, January 17-18, 2000, pp 263-278, 

[50] Encyclopedia of World Mythology, ed. Rex Warner, Book Club Associates

[51] Claude Levi-Strauss, ‘the Sturctural Study of Myth’, Structural Anthropology,  trans. Claire Jacobson and Broke Grundfest Schoepf, Basic Books, New York London, p. 209

[52] Max I. Dimaont, Jews, God and History, Signet Book, The New American Library, New York.  1962, pp 130-144.

[53] Ibid  p.  101

[54] Rene Girard, Violence and the Sacred, trans. Patrick Gregory, the John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore and London,  1977, pp 1-118

[55]Als een brandende toorts,   Echt 1967,  p. 81

[56] Freda Mary Oben, ‘Holiness in the 20th Century’, in The Unnecessary Problem of Edith Stein, ed.  Harry James Cargas, University Press of America, Boston, 1994, pp 1-12.

[57] NC News Service, May 4, 1987, p.23

[58] Judaica, pp 720-721.

[59] Marion, A. Kaplan, M.A., ‘Bertha Pappenheim: Founder of German-Jewish Feminism’, in  Elisabeth Koltun, ed, The Jewish Woman: New Perspective, New York: 1976 pp 149-163

10 Judaica pp 665-668; Heschel, S., ‘Introduction’, in On Being a Jewish Feminist. A Reader, 1983, pp xiii-xxxvi.

[61]  Patai, Raphael, ‘Jewish Self-Hate’, The Jewish Mind, 1977, pp 456-479.

[62] Lewin, Kurt, Resolving Social conflicts, 1948 pp 193, 169-200.

[63] Patai, Raphael, Journey into the Jewish Mind 1977, p. 463

[64] Als een brandende Toorts, p. 89

[65] Gershom Scholem, 1974,  Tikkun  pp  108-112, 349-350, 355-357; the breaking of the vessels,  pp. 94, 107-108, 110, 341, 349,351; Raphael Patai., The Messiah Texts,  ‘Introduction’ , Detroit 1979).

[66] Raphael Patai,  the Messiah Texts, Wayne State University Press, Detroit, 1979, pp  95-104.

[67] Freda Mary Oben, , ‘Holiness in the 20th Century’, in The Unnecessary Problem of Edith Stein, 1994, p. 6.

[68] One finds prophecies of messianic peace and apocalyptic wars side by side already in the Bible. Early texts like Testament  of   Juhda (1 st - 2nd) relying on the Bible prophesies  the coming of the Messiah in peace: ’And a star shall rise for you from Jacob in peace’[68]. Arguments by R. Yose the Galilean promotes the following: ‘The name of the Messiah is Peace for it is said ‘Everlasting Father, Prince Peace (Isa. 9:5); Great is peace for in the hour in which king Messiah is revealed to Israel, he begins with peace, for it is said:’ How beautiful upon the mountain are the feet of the messenger of good tiding who announceth peace (Isa. 52:7)’[68].

[69] The Unnecessary Problem of Edith Stein, 1994,  p. 9 .

[70] Przywara, Erich, In und Gegen, Nuremberg 1955, p. 118.

[71] Przywara Erich, In und Gegen 1955, p.212.

[72] Cargas, J. H. The Unnecessary Problem of Edith Stein, Studies in Shoah , University of California, 1994, p. 72.

[73] Cargas, J. H. The Unnecessary Problem of Edith Stein, 1994, .p. 72,

[74] Als een brandende toorts,   Echt 1967 p. 96.

[75] Anti-Utopia. Marius de Geus, a Dutch philoso\pher of politics, compares Utopian ideas to a global compass serving humanity as an orientation force pushing for a better and more humane future. However he mentions anti-Utopian literature in which the dangers of Utopia are emphasised. Utopia in devaluating the individual, leads through its uncompromising ideas, violence, oppression, and hides an inherent and uncompromising desire for power. These genres can be seen in books like We by the Russian Zemiatin who seems to have initiated the anti-utopian idea already in 1921, and more famous books like Ernest Callenbach’s The Open Society and its Enemies, and 1945; Aldus Huxly’s 1984, Brave New World; and George Orwel’s Animal Farm. 

[76] Max I. Dimont  Jews, God and History,  1962, p. 236.

[77] Als een brandende toorts, P.20

[78] Moshe Idel, Kabbalah, New Perspective, Schoken, Tel Aviv 1993, pp 80-91

[79] Przywara, Erich, In und Gegen Nuremberg 1955, p.212.

[80] N.C News Service, May 4, 1987,p. 23.

[81] Raphael Patai The Hebrew Goddess, Ktav publishing house, New York, 1967, pp 137-156

[82] Als een brandende toorts,   Echt 1967  p. 100

[83] Midrash Abba Gorion, 12th century, literally defines Esther as a redeemer

[84] N.C News Service, 4  May 1987, p. 23.

[85] Julia Kristeva, The Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection, Columbia University Press, 1982, p. 9

[86] Zev Garber ‘Jewish Perspective on Edith Stein’s Martyrdom’, in Harry James Cargas, 1994, p. 70.

[87] Kristeva, J. ‘Women, Psychoanalysis, Politics: Freud and Love, Treatment and Discontent’,  The Powers of Horrors, 1982, p. 243

[88] Jung, C.G. Uber die Psychologie des Unbewussten, and  Die Beziehungen Zwischen dem Ich und dem Unbewussten ,  Dvir, Israel (Hebrew Translation), 1975