Sunday, 29 March 2015


This is another passage from the memoir of Carmen Sylva (pseudonym of Elisabeth, Queen of Romania), in which she reminisces about the distinguished scholar Jacob Bernays (1824-1881).

The great scholar Bernays was a trusted friend of our family. He spent many hours in the company of my mother who hung on his lips and always learned from him. I was a child then and wondered why he never had dinner with us. He said he was a Jew and wished to comply with his traditions. But he had more knowledge of the New Testament than we, and his thoughts were exceptionally profound.

Bernays always said that the Jewish religion was the only religion free of fetishism. He was right, for the Christian religion was obliged to adapt to all the fetishisms it encountered in diverse countries. That is the disadvantage of a religion that wants to spread its faith. It is forced to make concessions and loses depth. If the Christian religion was still the way it came out of Christ’s mouth, it would be a different faith from the one we call Christian now. If we compare our deeds and thought with the Sermon of the Mount, we can only shut our mouths and blush.
The Jews have maintained a purer religion, and that’s a fact, but they never adapted it for the purpose of introducing it elsewhere. They suffered persecution for hundreds of years, and did not diverge from their religion and never tried to impose it on others. Thus the persecution of Jews is not based on religion but on race. A nation does not want to see another nation in their midst gaining more power than they have themselves. That’s the simple truth.

(Source: Carmen Sylva, Mein Penatenwinkel; my trans.)

No comments:

Post a Comment