The 1929 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to U.S. Secretary of State Frank Kellogg. And why not? The year before, he had persuaded the great powers to outlaw war. Among those that ratified the historic Kellogg-Briand pact were the democratic countries, plus Germany, Japan, and Italy. High-minded people, deluded that signed agreements shaped history, were delirious with joy. Barely a decade later, of course, most of the world was plunged into war. Did the committee that chose the prize's recipients have any second thoughts?
Messianism, Zionism, and Jewish Religious Radicalism By Aviezer Ravitzky. Translated by Michael Swirsky and Jonathan Chipman (University of Chicago Press, 303 pp., $17.95) When it emerged as a political program for the Jews at the end of the nineteenth century, Zionism was a phenomenon for which traditional Jewish life was completely unequipped. It was new and it was perplexing, a movement that eluded categorization in the religious terms and the religious images of the past. It promised a political solution that was neither redemption nor exile.
Clean Hands. In the course of many centuries, there were many crimes that Jews did not commit, but this was not least because they lacked the power to commit them. I remember the day that I discovered the obscure figure of Yusuf Asar. He appeared in a remarkable volume of Syriac Christian hagiographies, called Holy Women of the Syrian Orient. Yusuf Asar lived in the South Arabian kingdom of Himyar in the early sixth century. He was a Jew (or, according to the editors of the volume, "a Jewish upstart").
If Patrick Buchanan is anything, one might think, he's a good Catholic. Unlike other miscreant politicians (Mario Cuomo, for example), he's clearly true to the faith, loyal to the authority of the Church. Buchanan, like the Jesuit teachers of his youth, is often portrayed by the secular media as one of "the pope's Marines," fearlessly vying for the Church Militant against its foes. The man who has been quick to accuse other Catholics of straying from the faith is presented as beyond theological reproach. He isn't.
It was utterly predictable that freedom of pornographic speech and action would sooner or later come into conflict with the women's movement. Pornography, after all, has long been recognized to be a predominantly male fantasy involving the sadistic humiliation of women. The women's movement itself, however, did not foresee any such conflict.