Sunday, March 25, 2007

Philistine facts on the ground - Haaretz - Israel News

Philistine facts on the ground - Haaretz - Israel News: "The Philistines acquired a negative image in the West's historical awareness and are the source of 'Philistine' and 'Philister' - terms of derision and scorn generally used to refer to narrow-minded, ignorant, materialistic conservative members of the bourgeoisie, who are the enemies of culture. These derogatory terms were used from the 17th century onward. It is commonly accepted that they originated at the funeral service for a student in the German city of Jena, who was killed in a brawl with local residents. The priest eulogizing him quoted from the Book of Judges, 'The Philistines be upon thee, Samson' - a reference that was perhaps inspired by the fact that first-year students were called 'foxes,' while second-year students were 'burning foxes.' ['And Samson went and caught 300 foxes, and took firebrands, and turned tail to tail, and put a firebrand in the midst between two tails' (Judges 15:4).] This term, influenced by the fact that the Philistines were considered to have only a material culture, was adopted by leaders of the Romantic movement in Germany and entered the English language through Matthew Arnold's famous book of essays, 'Culture and Anarchy.' "

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