Note: We review this book in light of the rising anti-Semitism in some part of the World in our day and age. Also, it is part of our Worldview Dilemmas in the Movies and Comics Series.
Will Eisner. The Secret Story of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. New York, NY:
W.W Norton & Company, Inc., 2005. 142 pp.
This is the last work of the famous cartoonist Will Eisner. What this work is about is no laughing matter and is more a tragedy than a comic, as the forward mentioned. This graphic novel is about an alleged secret document that supposedly proved a secret agenda and plan by Jewish leaders to take over the world. This document, called the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, has been perpetuated for decades by various group of people with varying agendas but whom all unite under the banner of anti-Semitism. Although repeatedly proven as a fraud in scholarly sources unfortunately a lot of these evidences against the document have been as accessible for most common people. This Graphic Novel is Eisner’s contribution to combat against the propaganda. I think Eisner understood the power of the medium in reaching the masses through Graphic Novel which is more mainstream for our society than academic works. And yet as the Graphic Novel approaches the end Eisner himself shows his awareness that some will be convinced no matter what the evidence is because they have already made up their mind as to what to believe.
Through this book I learned that Mathieu Golovinski was the source of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Golovinski was a Russian forger and plagiarizer working for the Russian Secret Police. He has spent a portion of his childhood in France and was thus an asset for the Russians to use to try to doctor a false document that allegedly showed a plot of Jews wanting to take over the world. This was originally planted in French newspaper and then used by Golovinski handlers to pressure the Tsar of Russia against modernizing policies. Unfortunately The Protocols went on to have a larger life of its own.
Golovniski plagiarized heavily from a French writer name Marcie Joly who wrote a book titled The Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu that was originally a literary piece critical of Napoleon. I appreciate that though this is a Graphic Novel it was serious enough of a topic that Eisner presented a side by side comparision between the works for the readers to come to their own conclusion that The Protocols was plagerized. I appreciated the fact that this Graphic Novel had “end notes” to show where one can find the original source of the quotation!
This Graphic Novel tells the story of how a Russian séances name Sergius Nilus who was a competitor to Rasputin published in his books The Protocol to attack the Jews. This helped spread the malicious use of The Protocol. The book also show how the Nazis, the Soviets, the Klu Klux Klan, Marxists and Islamists also published the Protocol as being true even though it has been continuously refuted. In terms of the history of the document being debunked it began with a British foreign correspondent name Philip Graves when he was working at Constantinople in 1921 for “The Times” of London. Graves was sold a copy of The Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu by a Russian Émigré who pointed out to him that The Protocol was a plagiary. Graves published his finding in the newspaper and also had the book authenticated and compared to other copies. As decades went on more problems were pointed out by others concerning the document. The Graphic Novel also show the author Will Eisner going about researching on The Protocol.
I enjoyed the graphic novel very much and found the introduction and afterwards helpful. The introduction was written by Umberto Eco who have written as a scholar exposing The Protocol, specifically with how it has stolen ideas from Eugene Sue’s Le Juif Errant that tells of the Jesuits plans and agenda. Stephen Eric Bronner, a political scientist at Rutgers also wrote the afterwards. It was helpful to see that the book also have a bibliography for further research; and I plan to study more on this topic in the near future.
Posted in anti-Semitism, Book Review, History, History Books, Jews, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Will Eisner | 9 Comments »
Joel Beeke. Piety: The Heartbeat of Reformed Theology. Piety Phillipsburg, NJ:
Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, April 17th, 2015. 40 pp.
I have benefited greatly from the works of the author Joel Beeke who has been a great example of how one can be doctrinally strong, historically rooted while also embracing sound “experiential religion” with holy sanctification. That was what compelled me to read this booklet since I wanted to be edified by Beeke’s summary of what biblical piety is. I think he manages to do that in forty pages and surprisingly eighty two footnotes!
At the outset Beeke indicate his awareness that tday the term “piety” often has the connotation of a self-righteous “holier-than-thou” attitude. This however is not consistent with what the Bible teaches nor faithful to Reformed theology. Instead as Beeke tells us in the booklet “Reformed theologians viewed piety as the heartbeat of their theology of godly living” (Kindle Location 18). Beeke surveys the work of John Calvin, William Ames and Gisbertus Voetius as exemplars of the Reformed faith who also advocated a form of pietism. Reformed piety must not be confused with “Pietism” that is often associated with later German origins which stresses the importance of right action but has a low regard for doctrines and theology. Instead Beeke’s thesis is that the historical Reformed and Biblical understanding of piety is one in which sound theology is the source for Christian living. For instance, we live as our supreme goal for the glory of God and this also mean our piety ought to be for the glory of God.
I don’t want to give the whole book away but I also want to add that Beeke end with some practical pointers and biblical instruction to develop true piety. I think this booklet is helpful and the cost of it is reasonable.
NOTE: This book was provided to me free by P&R Publishing and Net Galley without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.
Purchase: Westminster | Amazon
Posted in Calvinism, Christianity, Joel Beeke, John Calvin, Piety, Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, Reformed, Sanctification, Theology | 7 Comments »
I think one of the best Christian apologist of the last half of the last Century was Greg Bahnsen. He was a skilled debater and lecturer on Presuppositional Apologetics! We have shared many resources from him on our blog. All you have to do is type in his name under search.
Here’s another one of him speaking on how to answer a fool:
Posted in Apologetic Links, christian apologetics, Christianity, Cornelius Van Til, Greg Bahnsen, Presuppositional Apologetics, presuppositionalism, Reformed, Theology, Van Til | 18 Comments »
We’re continuing with our series on a Biblical Theology of Hands. We’ve seen earlier that Scripture often shows the Hands of the Lord is that it shows He is powerful. Now we will see another aspect of the Hands of the Lord.
- The hand of the Lord is Punishing
- Point: When we look at what the Bible has to say about the Hand of God, we see His Divine Power is use to Punish Sin.
- Exodus from Egypt
- God told Moses before it happened: “WhenPharaoh does not listen to you, then I will lay My hand on Egypt andbring out My hosts, My people the sons of Israel, from the land of Egypt by great judgments.” (Exodus 7:4)
- Dagon: The Hand of God versus the hands of other gods (1 Samuel 5)
- Verse 2:The ark is stationed by Dagon, a false god.
- According to Klein, the god Dagon is attested archaeologically at Ebla, Mari and Ugarit, and in Ugaritic texts, is even referred to as the father of Baal.
- He was probably the god of vegetation or grain.
- Verse 3
- “Behold”, which in the Hebrew is “hinah”.
- This “first prostration before the ark would seem to indicate his worship of Yahweh and the acknowledgement of his superiority.
- Worship or fight?
- A second irony is the fact that the allegedly powerful God of the Philistines has fallen and can’t get up. Then the people had to take Dagon and set him in his place!
- The Hebrew verb for “took” here is laqah, which was used six times in chapter four to describe the taking of the ark by the Philistines, yet here the Philistines themselves have to “take” their own god and put him in place.
- Verse 4
- “Thus, the ancient mythological motif of the battle of the gods, which is present in various fragments in the Old Testament (Isa. 51; Pss 74 and 89; Isa 27), appears here at the center of a historical narrative in a non-mythological context and forms the climax of that narrative.”
- Dagon now has no hand to act, no head to think
- Note how many times the Hand of the Lord is mentioned (6,7,9,11)
- Do you think your sins will not be punished by God? Be challenged by these truths!
- Do you think you can get away. Be challenged by these truths!
 Dale Ralph Davis, 1 Samuel. Focus on the Bible Commentary. (Fearn, Great Britain: Christian Focus Publications, Ltd., 2008), 59.
 S. R. Driver, Notes on the Hebrew Text of the Books of 1st Samuel. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1890), 40.
 Ralph W. Klein. 1 Samuel. World Biblical Commentary. 52 volumes. Edited by David A. Hubbard and Glenn W. Barker. (Waco, Texas: Word Books Publisher, 1983), 59-60.
 Patrick D. Miller, Jr and J.J.M Roberts, The Hand of the Lord. (Baltimore, Maryland: The John Hopkins University Press 1977), 46.
Posted in bible study, biblical theology, Biblical Theology of Hands, Christianity, Dagon, God, holiness, Theology | 15 Comments »
William White. Van Til, Defender of the Faith. Nashville, TN:
Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, 1979. 233 pp.
The work is primarily a brief biographical sketch of the life of Cornelius Van Til. It is good sometimes for serious disciples of Van Til’s apologetics or those curious to know the background of Van Til’s life and the historical development that led to Van Til’s ideas. Reading this book, one can not help but to think about the soverignty of God as He orchestrated the timing of various Dutch Reformed thinkers who shaped Van Til, and events leading to the founding of Westminster Seminary. The book was not intended to be read as a robust defense of Van Tillian apologetics, but rather as a biography laced with sentimental values antidotes. However, the two appendix in the book features a good summary outline by Van Til himself of his apologetics, and a paper he delivered that expouse his ideas. Those who are out looking for Van Til’s ideas will find the two appendix to be precious gems.
I must add though that John Frame think this book is rather simplistic concerning its treatment of Van Til’s ideas. Since it has been a long time since I read this book (I’m posting this review up because it’s been sitting for years on draft) Frame might be right. This was one of the first biography of Van Til written and since this work was published another one put out by Presbyterian and Reformed has provided a more scholarly biography of him by a capable historian of the OPC. Nevertheless, I did enjoyed this biography as well for its personal flavor.
Posted in Book Review, christian apologetics, Christianity, Cornelius Van Til, Presuppositional Apologetics, presuppositionalism, Reformed, Van Til, Westminster Seminary, William White | 10 Comments »