Arts Narrative Ressentiment
posted by July 20 at 14:59 PMon
What Islam and Christianity have in common is narrative ressentiment toward their parent, Judaism. At one point, The New Testament attempted a complete break from its parent book, the Bible. But what would it be without the great stories of Noah, Abraham, and Job—the greatest story ever told? Jesus walking on water was nothing compared to Moses parting the sea. Instead of a cut, it decide to turn the Bible into an amazing map (an amazing story) leading up to its own realization. The New Testament is a coda, a tail. This is why it’s saturated by the end of Jesus, his death.
As for Islam, it practically kidnapped Abraham and took him to Mecca. A gap in the Bible—what happened to Hagar and Ismael, Abraham’s lover and son?—was enough to build a new narrative passage to the oasis of Islam. In essence it was a narrative theft. And the Jews of Medina didn’t hide this judgment of Muhammad’s scheme. They rejected him on the spot (“Give us back our story! You thief you!”). That rejection politicized what would become Islam.
But what do you do if all the great stories have been told—and only a great story can establish a religion, a state, a race? You take, borrow, steal, and become resentful.