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The Blessed Human Race

Essays on Reconsideration

George Jochnowitz

Professor George Jochnowitz and his daughter Miriam were teaching in China at the time of the Tiananmen Massacre in 1989. The experience drastically changed the author's way of thinking about Marxism. Professor Jochnowitz saw that the rulers of China were acting in the spirit of Karl Marx, whose writing logically led to dictatorship and famine. Many people have expressed negative views about communism. Some have harsh words for Marxism as well. Almost nobody, however, will take the next step and relate the cruelty of Marxism to the words of Marx. Living and teaching in China led Professor Jochnowitz to cross this line and examine his experience and new outlook in The Blessed Human Race. Having crossed this political line, Professor Jochnowitz crossed others as well. His thoughts about faith of any sort, religious or political, became negative. The idea of justification through faith became morally offensive. He concluded that this world has too many idols that go unquestioned. Questioning major and minor taboos, including interpretation of works of music as well as politics and religion, he concludes that the human race's virtue is found in questioning rather than obedience. For more information, visit the author's Web site at http://www.jochnowitz.net. « less more »
Hamilton Books
Pages: 132Size: 6 x 9
978-0-7618-3732-9 • Hardback • November 2007 • $69.00 • (£47.95)
978-0-7618-3733-6 • Paperback • May 2007 • $34.99 • (£23.95)
978-1-4616-2688-6 • eBook • May 2007 • $32.99 • (£22.95)
George Jochnowitz is a professor emeritus of linguistics whose specialty is Jewish languages, in particular the dialects of the Jews of Italy and southern France. He taught for many years at the College of Staten Island, CUNY, and was an exchange professor at Hebei University in Baoding, China, during the spring semesters of 1984 and 1989. His interests range far and wide, and include politics, music, the Bible, and humanity itself. He and his beautiful wife, Carol, have two beautiful daughters and a beautiful grandson.
Part 1 Acknowledgements
Part 2 Preface
Part 3 I: Learning to Reconsider
Chapter 4 Baoding Revisted
Chapter 5 Beijing Spring
Chapter 6 We Flee China
Chapter 7 Marx, Money, and Mysticism after Mao
Chapter 8 China, Marx, and Islam
Chapter 9 Happiness in Chinese Culture
Part 10 II: Reconsiderations
Chapter 11 Reconsidering Marx
Chapter 12 Reconsidering Salvation through Faith
Chapter 13 Reconsidering Abraham
Chapter 14 Reconsidering 20th-century Music
Chapter 15 Reconsidering The Magic Flute
Chapter 16 Reconsidering Così Fan Tutte
Chapter 17 Reconsidering Shakespeare
Chapter 18 Reconsidering Dark Restaurants
Chapter 19 Reconsidering Tipping
Chapter 20 Reconsidering Wasting Food
Chapter 21 Reconsidering Santa Claus
Chapter 22 Reconsidering Sports
Chapter 23 Reconsidering Gay and Jewish Success
Chapter 24 Reconsidering the Blessed Human Race
[These] essays are truly magnificent! I have been reading them with enormous pleasure, given their scope and depth and given how surprisingly resonant are our range of interests from classical music to Torah study to popular culture, politics, travel, etc. Jochnowitz's sojourn in China is fascinating as is his playful, witty, but very serious writing on a wide variety of matters including happiness, homosexuality, Israel, etc. This is a joy, so well written, so sophisticated. Jochnowitz is a learned and charming man and his ideas, reconsidered, are both delightful and truly informative. Reading this volume is like visiting with a Renaissance intellectual who has invited you for tea. He is as familiar with Chinese and China as he is with the Bible, Plato, Mozart, Shakespeare and Marx-and that's just for starters.
Phyllis Chesler, Emerita Professor, Author of Women and Madness, Woman's Inhumanity to Woman, The New Anti-Semitism, and The Death of Feminism, B

Topics are connected by the running theme of reconsiderations, the author's reflections and re-evaluations of his understanding of and relationship to the world about him....the ideas come together: the reconsider-ation of a New York Jewish liberal who realizes not before time that what he really values has to be preserved.
2008; Mentalities

Jochnowitz, throughout the essays, is animated by the cool precision of logic....[His] essays are scintillating, amusing, and provocative.
Midstream: A Quarterly Jewish Review , February 2009

George Jochnowitz's essays on politics, art, religion, and human nature are original, thought-provoking, and a pleasure to read.
Steven Pinker, Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, and The Blank Slate