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Soul of the Israelites

Who are the Jews? Vol. 1

Seymour W. Itzkoff

Soul of the Israelites refers to the teachings transmitted by the Prophet Moses to the Israelites from their God, YHWH. Central to the argument of Soul of the Israelites is the solution to the two great mysteries concerning the formation and destiny of the Israelites: 1. Who are these people; how were they formed into tribes and then a nation? 2. Who was Moses, an historical figure, a religious myth of the imagination? How did his teachings come to be so central to the destiny of this people?
The tribes of Israel, the twelve sons of Jacob, united in the monarchy, were in all likelihood of tripartite origins. First, the Israelite highlanders from Canaan/Shechem, worshippers of the traditional God, gods of the Middle East, El/Elohim. Second, the nomadic tribes of Sinai, the Negeb, northwest Arabia, and the oases of south Canaan, what would become Judah, worshippers of the fiery war god, YHWH. Third, Moses and the returnees from the Delta of Egypt. These latter, now worshippers of YHWH of the wilderness tribes, had, through the efforts of Moses, transformed this God into a moral and intellectual force unique to existing religious belief.
Moses was too powerful and too concrete a human being to have been an invention. But his individual gift of vision was not his alone. The rigorous belief system that Moses provided to this rabble of Asiatic escapees from the corvée was their only hope of returning to that land of «milk and honey.»
YHWH did not permit Moses personally to attain that goal. That role passes forward to future generations of judges, prophets, priests. Despite the efforts of the wisest of them, both the rulers and the am-har-etz, the people of the land, failed the Law.
The Mesopotamian destruction of the Kingdoms and then the Temple, 586 BCE, was sanctioned by YHWH. Expelled from their homeland, once more in exile, the Israelites were again to be tested, to reconstruct their moral identity, their nationhood, and their Temple, 2500-586 BCE.
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A Nation of Philosophers

Who are the Jews? Vol. 2

Seymour W. Itzkoff

A nation of philosophers is the description given by the Hellenistic Greek thinkers to the Jews when the Greeks and Jews first encountered each other, c.300 BCE. By this era, after the destruction of the First Temple and Jerusalem, 586 BCE, great changes had taken place in Judaism.
The Persians had allowed for the return to Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the Temple, 539-520 BCE. Thence, the people of the province of Yehud had to be reeducated in their faith. Priests, prophets, and scribes from the Diaspora, Ezra/Nehemiah, c.458 BCE and after, emerged to explain the meaning of the then-ancient and sacred books. Thus, the Oral Torah, derived from the Holy writings of a bygone era, gradually developed as a guide to the present.
By 300 BCE, Jewish belief and practice had been severely impacted by the spread of the dominant Greek civilization. Greek secularism and modernism created a revolution within the Mid-Eastern faiths similar to what has occurred in the twentieth century. A crisis developed in Second Temple Judaism.
A new nationalism, along with new sects, arose in response. As a result of the Jong evolving chaos of revolution and search for identity, the Temple and Jerusalem were destroyed by Rome, 175 BCE- 135 CE. At the end, only Christianity and pharisaical/rabbinical Judaism survived. The former rose to the internationalist challenge of Hellenism. The latter, now without sacral or national roots, returned to the Holy Writings. The Jews were once more an alien people.
A Nation of Philosophers probes this mysterious and controversial transition. At first flirting with the modern, the universal, then in rejection and renunciation, the Jews became the «People of the Book», turning inward to the moral roots of YHWH's teachings as given to Moses.
Hellenism disappeared; the Jews survived. Was it due to the rabbinical insistence that in the study of the Talmud a higher and deeper education would result in the creation of a nation chosen for its intellectual and moral purity in obedience to a Law far beyond the standards of modernity?
Great sacrifice and incredible suffering followed, all to make possible the destined appointment with redemption and immortality. Is there a lesson here, 586 BCE-1200 CE, for modern Judaism?
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Seymour W. Itzkoff

Fatal Gift, Jewish Intelligente and Western Civilization is the third and final volume of Seymour Itzkoffs highly praised series, Who Are the Jews?
The theme of this book involves the Holocaust, perhaps the most searing event in the history of the Jews. Itzkoffs main concern is to understand and explain this event in the context of Jewish history and the unfolding meaning of the Western Civilizational experience.
Itzkoff views the rationale for the destruction of the European Jews as arising from the anti-Semitic hatred of burgeoning Jewish intelligente and achievements in the West, this amidst the pseudo-egalitarianism that was invested in the ideological demonization of achievement in the social dynamics of the 19 th and 20t h centuries.
The Holocaust was enabled because the Jews had become a vulnerable minority in Europe, attempting to assimilate, but carrying with them their unalterable heritage of religious and ethnic uniqueness. This they could not shed.
ltzkoff traces this atypical intellectual endowment of the Jews to their Biblical and Talmudic disciplines, ultimately to their vulnerability and self-protection, and to the hope for political toleration by their governing masters.
Itzkoff argues that Ashkenazic Judaism, by its classless cultivation of a universal internal, if impoverished intellectual elite, mirrors the best of the Western Civilizational heritage. The Ashkenazim never placed their own people under the yoke of the feudal oppression of serfdom and slavery, as did their daughter religions, Christianity and Islam.
As such, the Ashkenazim became the inheritors of the great Western and Eur-Asian achievements of the ancient Cro-Magnon Upper Paleolithic peoples. Also, consider the Sumerians of Mesopotamia, who gave us literacy and urbanism, the Hellenes, who perhaps inspired the highest intellectual and creative civilization in human history.
«Fatal Gift» is a plea to understand the place of the Jews in modern Western Civilization, to treasure the EurAsian intellectual and creative gifts which the Jews protected and cultivated, and for which they were sacrificed by a modern ideological barbarism.
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Humanity’s Evolutionary Destiny

A Darwinian Perspective

Seymour W. Itzkoff

Humans are biological creatures first. Culture is an expression of our brain and neurological function. Intelligence is the key to the flourishing of the human super-species. Humanity has reached the point where two sub-species are now competing within the earthly ecology. These are not defined by any of the existing racial categories, rather, intellectual and cultural behavior. They can be symbolized as Homo sapiens and Homo sapiens sapiens.
In evolutionary history, no two sub-species have ever been able to cohabit a limited ecology. The outcome of this inherent selective conflict is written in the history of the human genus Homo, that is, the successive increases in brain size and intelligence and the disappearance of earlier, less corticalized forms of Homo. Civilization will eventually be shaped by the domination of Homo sapiens sapiens.
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Seymour W. Itzkoff

The Form of Man presents a new interpretation, consonant with Darwinian evolutionary theory, recent evidence of human evolution, and the realities of cultural life.
The exploration begins with the study of the form of life, traversing the tentative gropings of intelligent organic matter in its long struggle to establish itself as life's major adaptation. Seymour Itzkoff explains how intelligence as an adaptation is the slowest and most complex of life's vehicles to escape the degradation of energy predicted by the second law of thermodynamics.
Dr. Itzkoff proposes that two evolutionary processes were keys to shaping human nature along its own particular path. Paedomorphosis (infantilization) explains many of man's unique anthropoid features. Orthoselection (evolution in a straight line) allows us to complete a picture of mankind's rapid catapult in brain size expansion almost into our own day. Both concepts reveal how man could have escaped the close selective honing that would have made him a far more practical creature. The final dramatic moment came with the sudden icy extrusion of a super sapient, Homo sapiens sapiens, sometime after 100,000 B.P. It ransformed the structure of all existing transitional hominids and created the conditions for both the growth of civilization and the paradoxical dilemmas and tragedies in our present polyglot humanity.
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Seymour W. Itzkoff

The third volume in a projected four-part series on the evolution of human intelligence, a series acknowledged by opponents and supporters alike as one of the most important recent investigations into the sources and nature of human intelligence.
Professor Itzkoff first sets forth the evolutionary facts as a beacon to illuminate his biological theory of variable intelligence. Filling out the evidence from the psychological and brain sciences presented in THE FORM OF MAN and TRIUMPH OF THE INTELLIGENT, he here develops a full-scale model of the mind that more fully explains the relationship between I.Q. and the broader expressions of human intelligence as experienced in daily life.
(His model of variable intelligence further delves into the historical consequences of our ancient biological and psychoneurological heritage. Issues such as gender, race, and ethnic variability are treated factually and responsibly, taking into account the full range of empirical evidence available to scholars.)
The result is a theory having three complementary bodies of evidence - evolutionary, psychoneurological, and historical - building into a perspective on the factual «why» of human intellectual differences. These differences can best be observed in the richness and diversity of individual personality as well as in the cultures of our world. Itzkoff here takes the first tentative steps toward a biological explanation of the nature and structure of culture.
WHY HUMANS VARY IN INTELLIGENCE is an appeal for the rational study of human nature, a plea to allow for further nonideological research into this most crucial area of contemporary concern.
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Triumph of the Intelligent

The creation of "Homo sapiens sapiens

Seymour W. Itzkoff

About forty thousand years ago, a new kind of hominid suddenly appeared in Europe and Western Asia. This was a creature unlike any of the other hominids then existing - borderline Homo sapiens, and the enigmatic Homo sapiens neanderthalensis.< Homo sapiens sapiens, as he has now come to be known, was distinguished from his contemporaries by his increased height, delicate bone structure, and the huge balloon-like cranium that announced an intelligence that allowed for the radical break with the existing models. We see the results of this intelligence pouring out in an exuberance of material and artistic creativity. In his homeland, which extended from Spain to the Urals, a tiny, gemlike, if frost-encrusted civilization was spontaneously created.
Seymour W. Itzkoff focuses in Triumph of the Intelligent on the evolutionary dynamics that led to the production of ever more intelligent humans, finally culminating in this sudden spasm of reconstruction. Itzkoff has followed the evidence carefully, attempting to stay within the assignable limits of evolutionary theory to produce a most-probable model of the dynamics that extruded this enigmatic creature, Homo sapiens sapiens.
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Human Intelligence and National Power

A Political Essay in Sociobiology

Seymour W. Itzkoff

Human Intelligence and National Power: A political essay in sociobiology discusses the relationship between variable intelligence in ethnic and national cultures and their political impact on the international scene. The books's argument is developed from the theory presented in Dr. Itzkoff's four-volume «Evolution of Human Intelligence», also published by Peter Lang. Each national society to the extent that it reflects a fairly homogeneous ethnicity, also exhibits a unique intellectual profile. Its national intellectual capital is capable through the most advanced forms of education of rising to the capacity for abstract thought and action in meeting the technological requirements of modernity. National corporate intelligence will thus impact on the international community through its economic, military, and political power. The author applies his sociobiological model to the circumstances affecting formerly communist societies, Japan, the United States, the Third World, as well as the broader international scene.
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Seymour W. Itzkoff

The Making of the Civilized Mind is the fourth and final volume of the series, «The Evolution of Human Intelligence.» In this volume, the author discusses the sociobiological status of the human brain in producing social and cultural behavior. Itzkoff argues that culture is a unique product of man's biology traceable to the earliest stages of Homo's evolution. However, it is the variability of human intelligence in producing different forms of culture that provides the central argument of the book. Here, Professor Itzkoff shows how high intelligence leads to abstract symbolic thinking and that civilization itself can be seen as a form of cultural life that has been produced by the highest forms of abstraction in such fundamental areas as technology, religion, philosophy, science, music, etc.
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Liberty’s Dilemma

America. Two Nations Dependent/Independent

Seymour W. Itzkoff

Liberty’s Dilemma is a diagnostic analysis of the falling away in the United States from the founders’ vision of individual liberty and freedom of association. The founders never could have envisioned the enormous expansion of industrial and scientific power we have experienced, nor the national and international conflicts. Never could they have predicted the massive growth in power of the federal government – the kind of power they fought against in our initial struggle for independence and liberty. One significant consequence of these events for our future is the massive dependency of large portions of our present population and the consequent debilitating redistribution of the productive wealth of the independent classes.
This growth of a seemingly permanent dependent class has gone largely unexplained. Liberty’s Dilemma points to the declining intellectual capital in large portions of our society as cause. This is reflected in the disintegration of family life, lowering educational achievement levels, and the flight of our industrial and technological base. Until our leadership awakens to this fundamental issue of our intellectual capital deficits and their cause, the fundamental vision of liberty that was brought into reality by our Constitutional founders will have forever slipped beyond our political reach.