Monday, August 12, 2013

J. Robert Oppenheimer, For Example by Frederic Raphael

The blurb of the book says that "J. ROBERT OPPENHEIMER, FOR EXAMPLE: the Drama of the Eternal Outsider, is an ironic polemic inspired by the story of Oppenheimer, the father of the atom bomb. Drawing on a detail in Oppenheimer’s childhood, Frederic Raphael (screenwriter EYES WIDE SHUT) not explores this strange, chilly and haughty scientist, but takes off into a dazzling exploration of exceptional men throughout history."

Well actually, this book is about the Jews and how they have been outcasted. J. Robert Oppenheimer isn't discussed until chapter 10, and even then, he is talked about only in relation to how the Jews have been marginalised. If you wanted to learn more about J. R. Oppenheimer, this is not the right book. The author is here to talk about how the Jews have been marginalised through history and how that has affected how they react to the world.

I'm not a history student, so I can't comment on how accurate the history and its interpretation are, but I do disagree with the author's portrayal of Christianity. The theology consists of the same old things, such as the claim that Jesus never claimed to be divine (not true). But as for Church history, I'm no expert and its possible that the author is right and that the Church has continually mis-intepreted the Bible to encourage anti-semitism. (I was, however, skeptical from the moment that he wrote 'how many Christian initiates would learn that Jesus never preached to anyone but Jews?' Most of them actually, considering that they were commanded to preach the Gospel first to the Jews, then to the Gentiles). The book also ignores the East (Japan taking in Jewish refugees for one thing), although since this book focuses on the displacement of Jewish people, I suppose the emphasis on the West is understandable.

This is an interesting book and the author does show how anti-semitism is carried on even to the present day. Just a word of warning, don't be mislead by the title - the focus is definitely not on the father of the atomic bomb,

Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this galley from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

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