Saturday, December 27, 2008

Chesterton and the Jews

My new issue of Gilbert Magazine came the other day, and it's a large issue (over sized because it combines November and December's issues) devoted to the unfortunate myth of Chesterton's reported view of Jews being negative.

This was recently dragged into the public square again, when the New Yorker magazine ran an article that favorably recorded the fact that this was the 100th anniversary year of the publication of Orthodoxy, but then trotted out the old myth as a way of sort of dismissing Chesterton's genius at anything. Our President, Dale Ahlquist, sent this response to the New Yorker, but it was, sadly, never published.

So, the Chesterton group decided that if the New Yorker wouldn't publish it, Gilbert would, with additional support from anyone who has anything to say about Chesterton and Jews. Which, naturally, a lot of us did.

After spending several days reading this large issue, I have to say that it would be the perfect resource for anyone needing to defend Chesterton against the charges of being an anti-Semite. For those in the future finding this blog post, it is Gilbert Magazine, Volume 12, Numbers 2 & 3, the November/December 2008 issue.


  1. I just recently joined the American Chesterton Society, and the other day received this issue of Gilbert Magazine as my first issue ever. Admittedly, I have only skimmed through it, but I expect it to be very good.

    It's not exactly an issue I wish to be reading around people who know nothing about G.K. Chesterton (i.e., most everyone I know in real life) for obvious reasons. If they see me reading it and ask what it's about, well, saying that it "defends G.K. Chesterton from charges of anti-Semitism" isn't exactly helpful, and would prevent many people from even considering to start reading Chesterton. For many people these days, almost unconsciously, the mere fact he has been accused of such a thing is just as good as a conviction by itself, quite apart from any evidence one way or the other. (In other words, instead of "innocent until proven guitly", it's rather "guitly even if proven innocent".) For obvious reasons, I would prefer their introduction to him to be through other means, and even get them to read Chesterton's writing itself, and allow them to see what type of person he really was, so that when they do come across such charges made against him, they will realize they are ludicrous, or at the very least be more willing to hear the defense.

    So, like I said, I *do* look forward to future issues that I can lend them to others who don't know much about Chesterton. This issue, however, I am still very glad that I received, since I will find it very helpful for myself if I ever come across someone making such accusations against him.

    And for that I thank-you greatly!

    God bless!


  2. How despicable: The New Yorker smears GKC as an anti-Semite, but won't publish a reply from a writer who knows more about Chesterton than they do.

  3. Manalive,
    Yes, well, obviously anyone belonging to a Chesterton group, or being its very president would be one-sided about the matter, whereas an academic such as the man who wrote the article for the New Yorker is perfectly unbiased and capable of writing an objective article.


    jk, as the kids say

  4. I am enjoying the issue - if "enjoy" is the right word. It is sad that an issue had to be devoted to countering the lies. But then, the MSM is good at distorting the facts when it comes to people of faith and the Catholic Church.


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