So, it’s helpful to add a third culture to the big question of the day about Christianity and Islam:
– In Culture A, X happened, but in Cultures B and C, X didn’t happen? Why?
Fortunately for our analytical purposes, there was a third culture C in Western Eurasia during this time period which had many of the presumed prerequisites to invent liberal modernity, such as literacy, wealth, and globalist connections, and yet failed: Judaism.
Only in the second half of the 18th Century did a few German Jews, such as composer Felix Mendelssohn’s grandfather Moses, start to notice that the gentiles were no longer such impoverished ignoramuses, and that Jews could, for once, learn from the gentiles, and thus launched the Jewish Enlightenment in imitation of the host culture’s long ongoing Enlightenment.
In contrast to the Islamic world’s continuing failures, we can be sure that Judaism’s failures were due to nurture rather than nature, in that within a few generations, many Jews had rapidly adjusted to the new culture and were at the forefront of global modernity (e.g., Einstein).
So, the failure of Jews to achieve anything near liberal modernity without imitating enlightened German gentiles reflects flaws (from the perspective of liberal modernity) in Jewish culture that could provide enlightening perspectives on the current Christian v. Muslim cultures discussion.
But, of course, the failures of Jewish culture are not a topic open to discussion in the 21st Century, at least not among gentiles. The only explanation allowed for gentile thinkers to even consider is gentile anti-Semitic discrimination.
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