Is Dickens' A Christmas Carol Anti-Semitic, Christian Propaganda?

scrooge christmas carol.jpg
Ebenezer Scrooge: Brought to you by the same author who created the notoriously cringe-worthy Jewish stereotype, Fagin.

Well, it's that time of year again. Christmas. We all know what that means. Twenty-four hour marathons of A Christmas Story on TBS. Gaudy lights tacked onto just about every house in the suburbs. Overcrowded stores and that annual homage to Charlie Brown's puny little tree.

Oh, and then there's our favorite: Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

But are we the only ones who've noticed that this widely-accepted, celebrated piece of literature is actually wildly anti-Semitic?

Seriously. Stop huffing and puffing. Stop talking to yourself about how absurd this claim is. Just stop and think about it.

A Christmas Carol tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge. Ebenezer, who just happens to have a Hebrew name, runs a counting-house. He's generally thought to be a banker of some kind.

Mr Scrooge is notoriously selfish and miserly -- depicted as a greedy, unsympathetic man who's icy-cold and bitter.

"External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge. No warmth could warm, no wintry weather chill him. No wind that blew was bitterer than he, no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty."

A nice guy.

Let us pause to recap. We have a man with a Hebrew name living in London. So it's safe to say he's Jewish and not, say, Welsh.

Next let's consider how Dickens describes Mr. Scrooge's appearance.

"The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice."

Hmm. As it stands, we're dealing with a cold, greedy Jewish banker sporting a pointed nose. Nope, we don't see anything stereotypical about that.

Next, our evil banker is visited by three ghosts of Christmas. Ghosts of Christmas, huh? What else is a ghost but a spirit? And what about the etymology of the word "Christmas"? Oh yeah, it means Christ's Mass. Basically, these ghosts represent the three spirits of Christ's Mass.

Pausing for another recap: A trinity of Christ's spirits visit a mean, greedy Jewish banker to preach redemption and salvation. Starting to see the undertones yet?

In the end, it works like magic. Ebenezeer awakes reborn. He now has the spirit within and rains joy, compassion and charity on his fellow man (and that darling little Gentile, Tiny Tim).

Yep, that's right. The miserly, Jewish banker opens his heart to the Spirit of Christ -- and then, and only then, is he transformed into a loving human being. Scrooge done got himself saved.

And had he not, well, we guess he'd still be an angry, greedy Jew banker destined for the shadows of an eternally-cold grave.

So, this holiday when you sit round the tree toasting eggnog and preparing for that holiday reading -- okay, viewing, since we prefer TV to books now, and there are about ten zillion TV adaptations of this thing -- just remember the hidden message you're sharing with your kiddos on this day of love and grace: Jews are bad people doomed to hell unless they find Christ.

Go Jesus!

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79 comments
jalansalur
jalansalur

SHOCK HORROR, fake Christians defend possibility that Dickens was a Jew hater.....nothing surprises me.

jalansalur
jalansalur

The more IMPORTANT issue being that CHRISTMAS is NOT a BIBLICAL festival anyway! No matter how you dress it up and 'christianise' it, it is and will always be a PAGAN FESTIVAL!
It's time you undiscerning, un-surrendered so called "believers" started to worship the GOD OF ISRAEL in truth!!

hotspur98
hotspur98

This writer is making huge assumption. Why because his nose is pointy does that paint him as an anti semitic character? So, every character described with a large nose is an anti semitic slur?? Also, he's not a banker. He deals in commodities. He sells corn etc. A man of business does not instantly equal Jews. THAT'S anti-semitic. There are plenty of men of business in the story that are good and charitable. Scrooge obviously comes from a Christian family. His nephew Fred invites him to Christmas dinner every year. Many people had "hebrew" names in those days. I could go on and on. Stupid lazy article.

anon
anon

Go Jesus!

joshthecartoonguy
joshthecartoonguy

If a story contains a Christian theme, that doesn't make it right to dismiss it as Christian propaganda anymore than I should dismiss a modern novel with progressive themes as propaganda merely because I dislike the author's politics. It's a beautiful story of redemption. The Christian Gospel message applies to everyone, whether they are Jewish or not, and the need for salvation is true for everyone, Jewish or Gentile. This author comes across as a modern, progressive, PC, hyper-sensitive, race-baiting variety of Scrooge.

joshthecartoonguy
joshthecartoonguy

This article was written by the modern progressive, PC, race-baiting variety of Scrooge.

joshthecartoonguy
joshthecartoonguy

If a story contains a Christian theme, that doesn't make it right to dismiss it as Christian propaganda anymore than I should dismiss a modern novel with progressive themes as propaganda merely because I dislike the author's politics. It's a beautiful story of redemption. The Christian Gospel message applies to everyone, whether they are Jewish or not, and the need for salvation is true for everyone, Jewish or Gentile. This author comes across as a modern, progressive, PC, hyper-sensitive, race-baiting variety of Scrooge.

lnqqnl
lnqqnl

Who gives a rat's behind.

samgl12
samgl12

story was written almost 200 years ago, but we still hear echos of BS about it.  Now let see the amount of hate and anti-christian movies coming out of semitic hollywood.  GOT THE POINT?

nadia
nadia

actually the names in your family make it likely you are descended from jewish conversos

Brian
Brian

The whole moral universe does not revolve around anti-Semitic detection. What you should do, in all fairness, is purge any nasty loan sharking and usurious traits from within your tribe, and then come back and join the discussion. We are no more morally obligated to treat them with deference than was Dickens, Dosteovsky or Wagner, for that matter.

freddy sessler
freddy sessler

The only thing this author manages to prove is that he's racist.  Its a very angry piece that attacks many groups.  Merry Christmas 

Charles Norrie
Charles Norrie

This is nonsense.  Though Ebenezer is a Jewish name, it was widely used by Puritan and Protestants in naming male children after the re-entry of Jews into England in the 1650s.  There are no rfreneces (postive or derogatory) to Jewish ritual practice in the story, anf the behaviour of the man fits narrow-minded dissenets as much as jews.

Ken
Ken

Even if your wild anti-Christian conspiracy theory was true it would be no less compelling, Jewish bankers are lovely selfless people as we all know ;)

Allan
Allan

i think you can make the same reference to Fagen in oliver twist.....

Grevy
Grevy

Because jews AREN'T like Scrooge?? On what planet?

Michael Pitt
Michael Pitt

"Scrooge done got himself saved."

So you're a nigger hater?

ABOUTtoFuUPwithSOMEtruth
ABOUTtoFuUPwithSOMEtruth

Gotta agree with all the people saying that there is too much sensitivity around this and quite likely too much subtext being read into the story.  The bottom line is that the movie is against greedy, cold-hearted, money-grubbing tendencies and pro "the spirit of Christmas," which is supposed to embody generosity and goodwill toward one another (which I might be reading too much into by interpreting as goodwill toward ALL people) and putting the general well being ahead of self interest.  If people want to interpret this as "anti-semitic," that is their problem and--whether or not it relates to anything Dickens intended--is certainly a reflection of their OWN stereotypes regarding Jewish people.

Vince
Vince

Missy Y = the author of this article under a fake name, who is trying to cover up for the fact that the premise of this article is poorly thought out, by saying that it was all supposed to be a joke. There are many things it's cool to joke about, but accusing a wonderful and well-intentioned author and book, whose purpose is to spread cheer and goodwill, of being a racist is NOT one of them. It is sick that you need attention this badly and pathetic that you have nothing better to do with your time. Any decent human being would apologize for this and retract the story.

blase
blase

Methinks people think about things to much to enjoy a good story!

Moo
Moo

so, here is the thing my name is Benjamin, which is clearly a name of Hebrew origin and I am in no way Jewish... Im thinking you are grasping for straws a bit... playing connect the controversy. While I agree that Dickens did create the worlds most famous Anti-semetic character, Fagin, Im not buying the Christmas Carol garbage.

Anonymous
Anonymous

"Jews are bad people doomed to hell unless they find Christ."

Not just Jews, but everyone, no matter what ethnicity, is a sinner under God's wrath, and forgiveness is only found in Jesus Christ (whom God Himself sent out of pure mercy and grace)

Secondly, this is not anti Semitism. To tell someone that he needs redemption through Jesus is not an act of hate, but an act of love.

If someone was in a burning house, it is not hateful to try to rescue them. It is loving.

It doesn't matter what religion you are, whether Jewish or some weird African tribe. To tell someone that God himself has provided salvation in Jesus has nothing to do with "hostility towards the person's ethnicity, culture, or religion", as antisemitism is.

Way to use the word wrongly.

ProjectFain
ProjectFain

You make some interesting points. It's fascinating the things we discover when we dig a little deeper into things like literature and art. Personally, I always felt like ACC was more about the greed and sense of self preservation that threatens to consume us all. Ebenezer is a jaded man far to preoccupied with his own petty desires to give much thought to the well being of others. Dickens wasn't from a wealthy family and suffered very much in the manner of the Cratchit family. Despite the economic upswing in England, many families went hungry because none of the noble or professional families in the country gave any thought to those outside of their social circles. Dickens said himself "It is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time." He was speaking from experience.I feel like this is less a story about religion or righteousness and more about learning to see and feel the plight of our fellow man. Dickens was trying to raise awareness and open the eyes of his wealthier peers so that perhaps the suffering of many of his countrymen might ease. The book itself WAS the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future. It reminded people of the joys they had been blessed with, the plague that lay before them and the blackness that was yet to come if they continued to live selfishly.My interpretation is perhaps not as academic or deep as yours, it's simply what I get from the story.

Happy Holidays!

Jamie Jessop
Jamie Jessop

Turning the RFT into an anti-anti Semitic stage is lame. If anyone at the RFT could write half as well as Dickens we'd have a lot better paper. Seems like the RFT is being used for personal propaganda purposes and that old addage about bad press being better than no press... writing junk like this just to rile people is lame. We should really attempt to write something of value. And I don't have to hate myself because I am not Jewish OR black. Word.

Matthew
Matthew

Eric,

Bob Cratchit was Scrooge's clerk, not his nephew...

Alyn
Alyn

Er, one hardly had to be Jewish to sport an Old-Testament name in Victorian London. And I seem to recall either young Scrooge or his nephew's family going to or coming from church at some point, or maybe he was just in a churchyard (burial ground � but not one open to, or frequented by, Jews). Do you not think Dickens, superb social philosopher that he was, was perhaps more interested in satirising self-professed Christians who were too miserly to support Christmas charity? I dare say London at the time would have been even better-stocked with those than miserly Jews.

Eric
Eric

This is a completely baseless and inane article.

1) As many people have pointed out, first names are no indication of heritage, and Biblical names for Christians were the norm for Christians in this era. My Christian 2nd great grandfather's name was Israel and the names of his siblings were Samuel, Isaac, Eli, and Benjamin.

2) Dickens often applied names to characters which were created to sound like qualities of those characters. Ebenezer Scrooge is called Ebenezer Scrooge because "Ebenezer" sounds extremely antiquated, and like "squeeze" and "geezer" and because "Scrooge" sounds like "scrounge," or a kind of twisted combination of "greedy" and "rude." The name has no intended or inherent ethnic association.

3) The school Ebenezer attends as a young man is not a Jewish school. His friend is named "Dick Wilkins," which isn't a Jewish name.

4) Bob Cratchit is Scrooge's nephew and celebrates Christmas dinner every year, always inviting his uncle, tho he never accepts the invitation. Scrooge's sister Fan was Cratchit's mother. According to Jewish law, the children of a Jewish mother are Jewish also, therefore if Jewish the family would not be celebrating Christmas. The Cratchits are Christians and there's no reason to believe that Ebenezer Scrooge wouldn't be of the same religion as his sister and his nephew's family.

4) Scrooge goes on at length about having spent past Christmases with Fan and Mr. Fezziwig. Not past Hanukkahs, past Christmases.

5) The father of the girl Ebenezer courts but does not marry brings home Christmas presents for his family. Therefore the girl is Christian who likely would have inclined to marry another Christian at that time and place.

6) As others have pointed out, if Dickens had wanted to write Scrooge as a Jewish character, he would have done exactly that and not been vague about it at all. But there would be no sense in writing a story about trying to make a Jew "remember the meaning of Christmas," so he DIDN'T DO THAT.

There's not a shred of evidence in the story that Ebenezer Scrooge is intended to be a Jew; this article is unresearched, in poor taste, and a total waste of time.

sick of your intolerance
sick of your intolerance

http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy...

Yes of course it is and worse. The scrooge and the grinch are tools of hate. Conform or be hated, abused etc... The worst thing about it is that it is taught to children.

It is not ok to force people to participate in you religious events and it is FORCED.

It would be a great holiday if there were no religion in it. That goes for all the other holidays too like easter and thanksgiving.

Do we have any holidays that are not religious?

Elizabeth
Elizabeth

Did you just call Christmas secular? I s'pose those ghosts were secular too?

Enki
Enki

Is Dickens' A Christmas Carol Anti-Semitic, Christian Propaganda?My opinion: noReasons: 1. Not only is A Christmas Carol quiet on the religious aspects of the holiday, it is a notorious celebration of the secular aspects. The very character of christmas in the book is an athropomorphic personification of the English cultural christmas traditions, entirely seperate from Christian practice. 2. Ebenezer is not an exclusivly Jewish name. 3. Ebenezer is never called Jewish. This juxtaposes with other declared Jewish characters from Dickens. Take Fagin, for example, from Oliver Twist. Fagin is refered to as "the Jew" far more than by his name, as Dickens believed criminals of that kind werw typically Jews. He later expressed remorse for the image this portrayed of Jews, and exorsized all references of Fagin as Jewish in later printings. If Dickebs wanted Fagin to be Jewish, he would have declared him as such with no hesitation.

I feel as if the whole premise of your article is reaching.

UJL
UJL

It's not as if Dicken's opinion of Jews is a shrouded mystery. In fact, it's a pretty contemporary story about his change in opinion, one that works in his favor btw.

Read the story of Fagan and the character's change from edition to edition of "Oliver Twist." Then find out why Dickens made those changes.

brian
brian

Just because someone states that the Jews were/are mostly in the "service" industry and not the productive industry for whatever reason [but mostly because of the discrimination against them for being secular thereby forcing them into that "profession"], doesn't necessarily mean that they are anti-Jewish, it is just stating a fact.

Now, to repeat that in order to dengrade them, that then is anti-Jewish. Facts should not be hidden nor veiled with threats of being anti-Semitic but rather to make history clear and perhaps if such a behaviour is not a good example but was necessary at one time, that then should be the case.

This situation of treading on eggshells about bad Jewish behaviour and their mistreatment is bad for all. Only the truth will set you free but first ensure what you have is the truth. If the Jews wants to be special like being deserving of worship, then they deserve their wages of pride but should they want to be treated just like others should, then acknowledge the bad behaviour on all sides and return to the community. It might seemed too late for some, but it is worth a try inspite of the status quo.

Anonymous
Anonymous

I am Jewish and I 100% disagree. I love the Christmas Carol and gladly watch/read it this time of the year. Yes Dickens was anti-semetic but that was just the period in history. I mean Shakespeare was much more, does this mean I shouldn't enjoy Henry V? Can't we just this wonderful story?

Matthew
Matthew

Yeah, except this isnt about random population samples Soto. Dickens CHOSE that name. Sure there are plenty of people with with Jewish first names that are not Jewish, but this is a work of fiction crafted by a storyteller who had an acute sense of class and was very socially aware. I'm sure Dickens chose that name so he could highlight Scrooge being an everyday guy. 19th century London was just filled with Protestant men named Ebenezer. That's why it's such a common name in 19th century British Lit.

W. Soto
W. Soto

"We have a man with a Hebrew name living in London. So it's safe to say he's Jewish and not, say, Welsh"

So on the basis of a Hebrew first name you conclude that Scrooge must be Jewish. Wow. So my Puerto Rican father, Efrain, must also be Jewish. My sister Rebecca must also be Jewish. My aunt Raquel (Rachel). My cousin Ezekiel.His sister Dorcas. There are plenty more in my family alone. In case you wonder, none of them are Jewish. So, you got any other evidence to back up your asinine claim?

samgl12
samgl12

@Brian well said Brian, what do you expect from talmudic toting vile tribe bent so much on enslaving or kill everyone else.

i_baum
i_baum

@Brian No Brian, maybe you should purge your own absurd generalizations from your weak mind before you put everyone 'from within the tribe' in the same category. 

i_baum
i_baum

@freddy sessler where did he say anything racist?

i_baum
i_baum

@Grevy all jews? Idiot.

jalansalur
jalansalur

@ABOUTtoFuUPwithSOMEtruth zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Really?
Really?

It's fascinating that people can say the movie lacks the religious subtext while also using language like pro "spirit" of "Christmas," which is Christ's Mass.

ProjectMelton
ProjectMelton

Moo,

Out of curiosity, do you think that your name is a good comparison in this instance? Scrooge was a fictional character. That's the part of the equation most people are leaving out.

The argument is not, "If you meet someone with a name that has a Hebrew origin, then they must be Jewish."

Dickens was a very deliberate author. He chose this name for a reason. I find it hard to believe that he chose the name Ebenezer to show that Scrooge was your everyday Londoner.

Also, as one reader pointed out, Eben-Ezer is also the name of a historical site at which occurred battles between the Israelites and Philistines. As a well-read man, I find it even harder to believe that Dickens was not aware of this or the connotations that the name might carry.

So, when you take all the information together and consider that one, well-schooled person selected all of these names, allusions and etc. then the intent starts to show.

No?

Grinchy Fagin
Grinchy Fagin

The really awesome part too is that some of those weird African tribes have religions that are part of traditions tens of thousands of years older than Jesus.

But yeah, they should all drop everything because some guy with a beard got nailed to a piece of wood on Golgotha.

And yes Missy, this is definitely some classy shit given that WOW (That's What I Call Music?) is apparently against "hostility towards the person's ethnicity, culture, or religion" in the same breath that they say everyone is "doomed to hell" unless they find Jesus.

Apparently God really got off on dooming all the millions of people born before Christ to Hell. And apparently everyone born after Christ but not visited by missionaries is in Hell, too. And let's not even get started on those folks who dared to think their own tried-and-true belief systems were worth sticking with even after being presented with stories from the Bible. Oh, I guess all our pets are writhing in hellfire right now, too, so forget all about Kitty Heaven.

On that note, Merry Christmas everyone!

Missy Yearian
Missy Yearian

"some weird African tribe"

That is some classy shit right there.

jalansalur
jalansalur

@Elizabeth well it aint BIBLICAL is it darling

nadia
nadia

actually you are probably descended from jewish conversos

samgl12
samgl12

@ProjectMelton almost all christian names are biblical, hebrew names are also taken from people around them.  Not like they were God given.

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