Tuesday 31 January 2017

O Jerusalem!

How many times I have walked through the Russian Compound on my way to and from the Sisters in Musrara. To discover now just how utterly central this Compound has been in the recent history of Jerusalem - from the end-Ottoman times through the British Mandate, the Haganah and the Irgun and the birth of Israel.

And strange how little things touch you: like the description of the Mays, a German Jewish family taking walks in the hills just outside the City to collect wild cyclamens.... ("The Mays were more cultured Germans than Zionists – Kurt had won the Iron Cross in the Great War – and they were totally irreligious. The Mays lived over the shop: when their daughter Miriam wa born, she was breastfed by an Arab wetnurse but when she grew up, her parents discouraged her from playing with the Polish Jews next door who were 'not sufficiently cultured'. Jerusalem was still small thought: sometimes in spring, Miriam's father would take her on walks out of the city to pick cyclamen on the blooming Judaean hills." Montefiore 530.) And how there flashes into mind the beautiful wild cyclamens that one has seen, once, literally passing through an Arab house in Bittir-Betar, on the way up to the ruins of Bether, left as they were in times of Bar Kochba and Hadrian, now home only to a profusion of wild flowers, the flowers of the Land...

And Rehavia, home to staid German Jews and British officials.

And the King David Hotel: I had no idea it was so central to this recent history.

And the gentle Galilean who has been present all through the bloody history of this beloved City - cause of so much hate? But as Lonergan says: with his coming, the dialectic has three arms, and evil is intensified.
But when this problem of evil is met by a supernatural solution, human perfection itself becomes a limit to be transcended, and then the dialectic is transformed from a bipolar to a tripolar conjunction and opposition. The humanist viewpoint loses its primacy, not by some extrinsicist invasion, but by submitting to its own immanent necessities. (Lonergan, Insight CWL 3:749.)
To reflect, with Sebag Montefiore's biography on the one hand, and the religions on the other. And also Bozzolo's reflections on the salesian consecrated life in Sapientiam dedit illi. The point is that, with the gentle Gailean, things become complicated, far more complicated.  

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