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The New Jerusalem

Item Number: 20242

Catalog Code: NJER-DIS

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New Jerusalem

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The New Jerusalem
by G.K. Chesterton


Here's how leading Catholics once could talk about the Middle East Looking for the plain, unsanitized truth about Islam? About why the Zionist dream of a Jewish "refuge" in the Holy Land was doomed from the start? About the real causes of the Crusades—and the real condition of Christians under Muslim rule? You won't find it books published today; they're too constrained by political correctness. But you will find it—in spades—in this neglected, 80- year-old classic by G.K. Chesterton, comprising his thoughts on the land and peoples of Palestine following a trip he made there shortly after World War I.


  • Why potential for fanaticism in Islam is "deep”
  • The myth of Islamic "tolerance" vs. Christian "intolerance"
  • Why "to recognize the reality of the Jewish problem is very vital for everybody but especially vital for Jews"
  • The secret of Christianity's cultural and scientific creativity—and of Islam's sterility and failure
  • The Crusades: necessary, justified—and, on balance, a gloriously chapter in Christian history
  • What modern historians distort or omit in order to paint the Crusaders as aggressors and the Muslims as "victims"
  • Why "religious" war is more rational than "patriotic" war
  • Why Eastern Christianity was vulnerable to the assaults of Islam—and Latin Christianity had to come to the rescue
  • What original Zionism had in common with Communism
  • Islam's theological simplicity: its greatest strength—but also its weakness. How that simplicity helps explain its hostility toward, and incompabitility with, Christianity
  • How Christianity exalts women—and Islam degrades them
  • The folly of "progress" in religion. Why Christianity is—and always should be—"out of date"
  • Flaw in Islam which it shares with modern, secular society
  • Shakespeare's Shylock: how modern critics, blinded by ideology, almost entirely miss the point, in G.K.'s view
  • What the Arabs fear most from the West
  • Christ and Judaism
  • Jews as victims: they cannot always be cast as such
  • Why Jews are often good citizens, but less often unconditionally patriotic, he insists
  • The greatest practical difficulty of Zionism. Why what Zionists claim to need are what Arabs fear most
  • Ethnic stereotypes: where they come from—and why they often contain truth
  • Why paganism and polytheism—not "reason" or "science"—most accurately describes modern belief
  • How Victorian historical novels helped pave the way for bias against Christians, and in favor of Moslems and Jews
  • Why the conflict in the Holy Land is more about history, nationalism and patriotism than religion
  • Myths about the Middle Ages—and why it was actually "perhaps the one real age of progress in all history"
  • The fallacy of transferring democracy to non-Western lands
  • Why politics cannot solve the deep differences between peoples and cultures
  • How pro-Muslim prejudice has its roots in the revolt of many Westerners against their own tradition, Christianity
  • How Christianity restores what was good in pagan cultures—while Islam "leaves the ruins in ruins"
  • The best solution to the problem of the Holy Land

    Even in his own day, Chesterton's views on these issues were controversial. For criticizing Zionism, he was among the early victims of the "anti-Semitism" smear—a charge he answers, with characteristic aplomb, in these pages. His take on Islam and the Crusades flouted the more romanticized, pro-Muslim version.

    Plain truths, spoken unforgettably

    "No man living in the West can form the faintest conception of what it must have been to live in the very heart of the East through the long and seemingly everlasting epoch of Moslem power. A man in Jerusalem was in the centre of the Turkish Empire as a man in Rome was in the centre of the Roman Empire. The imperial power of Islam stretched away to the sunrise and the sunset; westward to the mountains of Spain and eastward to towards the wall of China. It must have seemed as if the whole earth belonged to Mahomet to those who in this rocky city renewed their hopeless witness to Christ. What we have to ask ourselves is not whether we happen in all respects to agree with them, but whether we in the same condition should even have the courage to agree with ourselves."

    "Islam asserts admirably the quality of men; but it is the equlity of males....On the road to Cairo one may see twenty groups exactly like that of the Holy Family in the pictures of the Flight into Egypt; with only one difference. The man is riding on the ass."

    "The Zionist problem is complicated by a real quarrel [among Jews]. The old religious Jews do not welcome the new nationalist Jews; it would sometimes be hardly an exaggeration to say that one party stands for the religion without the nation, and the other for the nation without the religion."

    "The real mistake of the Moslems is something much more modern in its application than any particular passing persecution of Christians as such. It lay in the very fact that they did think they had a simpler and saner sort of Christianity, as do many modern Christians. They thought it could be made universal merely by being made uninteresting. Now a man preaching what he thinks is a platitude is far more intolerant than a man preaching what he admits is a paradox. It was exactly because it seemed self-evident, to Moslems as to Bolshevists, that their simple creed was suited to everybody, that they wished in that particular sweeping fashion to impose it on everybody. It was because Islam was broad that Moslems were narrow."

    "The Jewish problem can be stated very simply after all. It is normal for the the nation to contain the family. With the Jews the family is generally dividied among the nations."

    "Nothing has been so wholly missed in our modern religious ideals as the ideal of tenacity. Fashion is called progress. Every new fashion is called a new faith. Every faith is a faith which offers everything except faithfulness."

    "I do not admit that theological points are small points. Theology is only thought applied to religion."

    From G.K. Chesterton: blunt discussion about Islam, Zionism and other continuing controversies. Agree or disagree, how can you resist a thoroughly honest treatment?

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