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10.20.2005    |    Are Jews Smarter?
I was born a Jew in a nominally Jewish home. Since my family had come from Eastern Europe, Poland and Russia, I am an Ashkenazi Jew, at least by birth. Given how the world works its evil ways, the fact that I was born again in Christ Jesus would matter not one iota if we have another bout at attempted genocide. This is all prelude to a post that could be considered as a third rail to many: just how superior are the Jews, or do we consider ourselves to be?

Note that "we." I am still an ethnic Jew, if not an observant one. But then, so many of those who identify themselves as "Jewish" profess no belief in God. Go figure. Anyway, cast your eyes on this article in New York Magazine, title, "Are Jews Smarter?"

OK, you're not that interested. So here's the Cliffs Notes version, from the article:
Did Jewish intelligence evolve in tandem with Jewish diseases as a result of discrimination in the ghettos of medieval Europe? That’s the premise of a controversial new study that has some preening and others plotzing. What genetic science can tell us-and what it can’t.
Bottom line? There are lots of dumb Jews. There are also lots of brilliant Jews. Given the evil uses to which ethnic stereotyping has been, and continues to be applied, The study on which the article is based makes me very uneasy. But, truth will out, as they say.

Can we get to some bottom line here, John Luke? Well, perhaps us allegedly brillianter-than-your-average-bear Ashkenazic Jews aren't really so special any longer. A concluding paragraph from the article:
Yet in America, that sense of otherness, which for so long has served as a kind of incentive to strive and achieve, may be dissipating. "I’m no demographer, but I think what’s happened in the U.S. is the normalization of the Jew," says Leon Botstein, who, as the president of Bard College, has seen all sorts of students cross his field of vision. "They’ve become as complacent and culturally undistinguished as the average, suburban, white middle-class American."
Now this Botstein, who is president of a famously liberal school with great pretensions for intellectual achievement, is almost certainly an ethnic Jew himself. So he gives the lie to his very own thesis.

My take on this matter is that it does not really matter if ethnic Jews are smarter than average. Or dumber, for that matter. Much more important for me is the instruction from one Jew, named Jesus, to love our neighbor, knowing that all men are our neighbors.

As for the ethnicity, I prefer to go with what Paul wrote to the Galatians (Chapter 3):
28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.

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Blogger John said...

And I say a hearty amen to that, JL. Great post, I think I know you a little more.


12:48 AM, October 21, 2005  

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.