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Thanks! -- Arnie Perlstein, Portland, OR

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Oops! P.S. re Fanny and Mary the olive branches of Mansfield Park

As I was rereading what I just wrote, I came to the following paragraph and realized that I needed to clarify one very important point that might be taken the wrong way:

"And, further, Fanny is already anticipating Mary’s objections, when Fanny by bringing in those 9 other verses of Romans by implication, is in effect saying to Mary, “yes, I know that the natural branches at Mansfield Park, i.e., the Bertram Family, who are the “Jewish-born” branches in Fanny’s metaphor, are diseased, are not living a spiritually observant life despite their hypocritical pretense to same, but wait, I will bring them back to the fold too, I will get them to return to the straight and narrow of the proper “Christian walk”—but I need you in the fold, too!”

To be clear, it is not MY opinion that Jews were or are spiritually diseased! Rather, it is my understanding of Paul's meaning in his Epistle that HE saw the Jews (he having of course been born a Jew) as not getting with the Christian program, and he wanted the Gentile Romans to convert to Christianity, in the hope that this would cause some of the Jews to convert also. He was worried that the Gentile Romans might look at all the Jews who were not converting to Christianity, and think it was not such a good idea after all, and this was Paul's answer to that objection.

Nor, for that matter, is it my belief that JA herself was, by having Fanny channel Paul's Epistle, making any sort of veiled comment about Christians and Jews--to me, it is clear that Mary and Henry do not represent the Jews of JA's England, they represent the dissipated city folk of England, regardless of religious affiliation, who had no goal in life other than the selfish pursuit of pleasure.

Cheers, ARNIE

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