Anti-semitic, anti-immigrant

Charles Brown CharlesB at
Sat Nov 20 11:16:08 PST 1999

Thanks for this . But I still wonder, because English literature and learning has the Bible as such a major source, and most of the Bible is the Old Testament. I still have to be suspicious that Arnold was reflecting the "master narrative" of the Bible (Judeo-Christianity) whether he knew it or not. Also, I can't remember Arnold's exact dates, but I think Marx was using "philistine" as a pejorative in the early 1800's, in German, I think. Are we sure this doesn't originate earlier.

We might ask are the Palestinians descendents of the "Philistines".


>>> Katha Pollitt <kpollitt at> 11/19/99 07:16PM >>>
I believe "Philistine" as a pejorative comes from Matthew Arnold, not the bible or Jewish tradition. Arnold used it to mean a bourgeois person who is uncultured and happy to be so. It is not an ethnic slur that would be addressed to a Palestinian person, as "n-word" would be addressed to a black person, of "kike" to a Jew.


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