Journalistic Methodology

Dingir, the divine letter

Dingir, the divine letter “D” in Sumerian religion.

The appropriate way to study secretive forms of religion is by means of deconstructive investigative journalistic methods; namely in this field collecting large amounts of data and then highly critically examine the data by carefully checking the facts and discovering deliberate discursive fallacies intended to mislead. Academia is rarely successful at studying secretive religion because scholars of academia typically deploy the wrong methods in this field. Academic footnotes tend to have rather limited value in the study of secretive religion as academic footnotes in the field of the study of secretive religion also tend to endlessly repeat erroneous information (i.e. religious dissimulation) that both members and leaders of secretive denominations typically communicate to outsiders as intended to mislead and thus perpetuate the concealment of religious secrets.

Indeed, anyone should feel most welcome to check the facts for herself as in any journalistic product. Applying journalistic methods rather than academic ones is therefore a very deliberate choice and in the context of the study of secretive religion certainly the right choice. Yet, the extensive data WPJO provides as a public documentation project offers ample opportunity for career scholars of academia to further delve into this topic. Career scientists should however be mindful that WPJO is specifically a political and journalistic project although surely consequential for academia and organized religion as well. Transcending boundaries of genres of narration although doubtless provocative to some guardians of paradigm can open the pursuit of knowledge and accuracy by making previously invisible structurally oppressed perspectives visible indeed.

“Said Rabbi Meir: Look not at the vessel, but at what it contains. There are new vessels that are filled with old wine, and old vessels that do not even contain new wine.”

Pirkei Avot 3:20 of the Babylonian Talmud

Therefore in the study of secretive religion it is imperative to be capable to most carefully and meticulously indeed distinguish between core and exterior; what is primary and what is secondary, what is the body and what are the clothes? Also, how would someone like Leo Strauss have deconstructed the open esotericism of these overtly secretive denominations of Priestly Judaism? The question of origin is relevant not only historically considering that Judaism predates religious imperialism but also because this is politically highly relevant indeed for the future of the Middle East.

The WPJO aims to help bring about political change in the Middle East and around the world by educating the general public about Crypto-Judaism, Para-Jewish peoples and Crypto-Jewish history. Therefore as an educational project, it is vital to provide accurate and reliable information and so any lingering errors are immediately corrected once taken note of. This is surely not possible with printed paper books where errors can take on a life of their own and hence be continually disseminated.

Therefore, academic literature about Priestly Judaism tends to be rife with prejudice and errors, including by discursively subordinating Priestly Judaism to religious imperialism in thus actually re-enacting this very crime that was committed so many times throughout history against the oppressed peoples of Priestly Judaism. This widespread failure of academia in this particular field prompted the formation of WPJO as a political project with a journalistic methodology indeed.

History is always narrated through perspective and so the WPJO seeks to empower Crypto-Jews by re-narrating history from their perspective as suppressed Jews. This entails deconstructing hegemonic historiographical narratives of religious imperialism by reweaving the facts into different historiographies as narrated from Jewish and Crypto-Jewish perspectives.