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犹太人是不是比其他人‘聪明’?  

2010-08-25 13:35:06|  分类: 上帝选民 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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犹太人是不是比其他人‘聪明’? - KC.Jeremiah - K.C. Jeremiah
 
犹太人是不是比其他人‘聪明’?


文/利维

 
     几天前,我在MSN上和一个纽约的朋友聊天,我们说到了关于犹太人智力的话题.(通常,我们的聊天会夹杂四种语言:英语,意第序语(世界性的犹太语,在以色列复国前最多使用的犹太语种),汉语和希伯来语.在这4种语言里,我当然最擅长汉语,其次是英语和意第序语,我最不擅长就是希伯来语.而对朋友来说,排序相反,他最擅长希伯来语,然后就是英语和意第序语,最后是汉语.对他来说,汉字和天书没有什么区别,但幸好我经常会教他一些常用的汉字.)

 

   说到犹太人智力的话题,我就和我的朋友说到以前经常挂在嘴边的词语:"klots kashe",那是一个意第序短语,读成"克鲁茨卡舍厄". 按字面理解,意思是'木头问题',但真正的意思是'愚蠢的问题'.(犹太人是不是比其他人‘聪明’? - KC.Jeremiah - K.C. Jeremiah )他立刻反驳,我的问题真正是一个"克鲁茨卡舍厄". 我一笑置之.:)

 

   我之所以要说这个短语,是因为如果你要想获得学问,最好的办法就要不怕觉得自己愚笨,如果你学会不怕提出'克鲁茨卡舍厄',你才有可能提高你的智力。这个词语是我在犹太区听过的最多的一个词语,有时候骂人也会用到,但通常这是善意的责骂,因为在犹太教法典里,就充斥着被认为是神圣的"克鲁茨卡舍厄".

 

   我们关于这个话题的最后一句对白就是:"Fregn Or Freg-nisht.Lie On Ourself".这里提到的"Fregn"以及"Freg-nisht"仍然是2个非常常用的意第序词汇,意思分别是:"问"或者"不问".真的,你愿不愿意问自己很多愚蠢的问题,完全靠你自己.在很多情况下,我们不应该介意别人认为我们是否愚蠢,因为在求知面前没有任何权威.如果我们能不断提出疑问,我们就是胜利者.

 

犹太人是不是比其他人‘聪明’? - KC.Jeremiah - K.C. Jeremiah

 

  如果读者想了解这个短语,我将它们的出处放在下面:

 

犹太人是不是比其他人‘聪明’? - KC.Jeremiah - K.C. Jeremiah

犹太人是不是比其他人‘聪明’? - KC.Jeremiah - K.C. Jeremiah

 

   

   最近在virtualtalmud的博客里,我又看到很多探讨犹太人智力的话题:


  Two Jews, Three Opinions 
 
Questioning Jewish Genius


       (前提:在这里,A:犹太人的定义仍然是:(1)祖辈就是犹太人的(2)或皈依犹太教的;B:聪明的定义很难确定,但和很多词语的定义一样,我们可以从直觉上理解它,例如我们可以感觉到某种活跃的思维,或从统计学角度考虑在科学和文化艺术领域有杰出表现的一种心理暗示。在这里不采纳那些以富裕或物质成功等结果来衡量‘聪明’的定义。)

 


犹太人是不是比其他人‘聪明’? - KC.Jeremiah - K.C. Jeremiah

       作者讨论了犹太教法典对犹太人智力的影响,在后面,将原因总结为:


The value placed on posing questions and exploring their implications from many different angles.


 

   我很高兴作者比较客观讨论了这个问题,而不是将答案扔给模糊不清的心理学说法。众所周知,我可以理解犹太教法典对智力习惯的影响,一个每天把很多时间花在阅读如此宗教文本的学生,尽管很多读者可以反驳'对宗教文本的投入简直是浪费时间',但不同文化背景的人简直无法理解很多微妙的因素,例如:


       一个人对塔木德文本的研究,可能无意中锻炼了阅读能力,以及从很多角度思考问题,并习惯将不同问题联系起来的智力习惯。这种习惯将可以使他从犹太教法典转向其他领域后仍然有所建树。[当然,我们可以对比一辈子把自己投入于法典学习的正统人士,他们的选择使的这种智力只能停留在宗教文本上。但上帝本应该使他们领悟到即使是拉希这样的学者,也自己拥有一个世俗的葡萄园并且可以为之赢利]。


       犹太学生习惯提出问题,并且老师都会对学生提问的习惯给予很大的鼓励.塔木德本身就是由提问和回答问题的两条主线构成的。


       众所周知,犹太人对智力性的东西都是乐意投入巨大的精力,并且宗教的习惯促使他们使自己的行为变得神圣,这使他们对物质的追求不会侵袭到对精神的追求上。而在其他人群中,人们毫无戒律的生活,或者单纯追求物欲的生活方式使他们不介意自己偏离精神生活。

  但我在一些读者反馈中也了解到有很不多不同的意见,例如:


  (1)很多犹太人实际上从没有读过犹太教法典.(但有一些学者反驳说,即使他们没有读过,但他们的生长环境里会无意识感染到某种法典式的思考.这就像很多中国人并没有读过<论语>,但他们也会受到<论语>的影响)。


  (2)达尔文学说的影响[survival of the fittest],也就是反犹主义使犹太人的智力得到进化[因为智力相对低的人将被淘汰].


  (3)上帝的因素,可以理解成上帝的福佑,但从另外的角度说,人们愿意这么想:犹太教的上帝是无形抽象唯一的,这种特点使犹太人喜欢抽象的思维,并且强烈拒绝权威对他们的不良影响。


  (4)对知识和对老师的尊重,这体现在东方犹太人身上(尤为强烈),其次为阿什肯纳茨犹太人.


  (5)对智力问题的划分等级容易形成反犹主义.


  .....

 


     我个人的看法是:


       假设'犹太人比较聪明'这个说法确实为真,那么原因应该是很多因素偶尔在历史环境下被综合到一起的某种巧合,这些因素如同你无法将它们排序一样:一神论产生的对抽象思考的催化,犹太教传统里的对学者尊敬的自我伦理选择,塔木德以及各种宗教文本的思考传统和带给后期犹太人的学习传统,反犹主义对犹太人自身智力的外因要求,以及串联上面因素的遗传原因和进化原因。


       我把那些有趣的看法放在下面,给对这个问题有兴趣的读者作为参考:

 

Rabbi Waxman implies that being raised in the tradition of the Talmud teaches Jews to ask questions and to look at things from many different points of view. What about the many Jews who were not exposed to the Talmudic tradition? Einstein was Jewish, but did he study Talmud? That's just one example.
Cheryl | 05.08.07 - 12:21 pm | #


Gravatar I believe that the approach to Jewish "superior intelligence" is valid, since Jewish people have put in practice questioning everything in different ways and approaches along their history. So, it's matter of well schooled and disciplined minds, more than of raw intelligence looking for simple and comfortable explanations to any kind of problem we face every day. Since I am not Jewish, but I feel the utmost respect for Jewish accomplishments, I think we ought to learn from them and put in practice the methods and ways to become more "smart and intelligent" and some people would put it.
Juan | 05.08.07 - 1:42 pm | #


Gravatar Speaking as a Gentile, let me say that I am not in the least bit offended by the idea that Jews might be statistically more intelligent than other people-groups. Neither would I be surprised if it were true. Might I add that they are demonstrably the most forgiving group of people in all of time; after all they have gone through in history and continue to go through today. With all my heart, Shalom.
Gordon | 05.08.07 - 2:59 pm | #


Gravatar Why haven't anti-semites figured it out yet? It's a simple case of Darwinian "survival of the fittest." Keep oppressing and killing the Jews and the the more intelligent and creative will figure out ways to survive and pass on their genes.
Elke | 05.08.07 - 4:27 pm | #


Gravatar And Jews have a religious obligation to be literate and the social norm has favored scholars for centuries. We are self-selected for intelligence and education.
Bill Wertman | 05.08.07 - 6:09 pm | #


Gravatar I fully agree with this article. Jewish people are far more intelligent than the rest of us. I had worked with few brilliant men Like Prof. Chambon, Prof Mandel, Dr. Benenson. They do have superior intelligence. Dr. Chambon is a leading molecular biologist and Dr. Mandel was a wellknown Neurochemist. My reasoning for this is that the Jewish parents teach their children Torah, Good work ethics, Discipline and lessons on how to handle money. Good nutrition during the first 5 years of life as well as Disciplining the mind are essential components in the development of the brain which contribute to the superior intelligence. They are no doubt God's chosen people.
Dr. Philip Sekar | Homepage | 05.08.07 - 6:20 pm | #


Gravatar I personally do not believe Jews as a group have more native intelligence than people of other religous or ethnic groups. The generally high academic achievement one sees in certain groups (Jews, many Asians and others) is more of a cultural phenomenon. People from these backgrouds value education and encourage their children to do well. They give them the tools that allow them to learn and set the example by reading and studying themselves.
I have taught high school students of many different backgrounds and quickly discovered that native intelligence is pretty evenly distributed. The difference is in the attitudes the students encountered both at home and in the outside world. Korean parents, for example, would push their children to enroll in the most difficult courses (even when they were not ready for them, usually because they still lacked fluency in English) and then pay for expensive tutoring so the child would be able to pass the course. Some of these students were very bright but others were average kids with ambitious parents. On the other hand, I had two VERY BRIGHT and capable African-American boys who tried to convince everyone they were just "dumb basketball players." (Fortunately, I did not fall for it.) A number of my Latino students were unusually intelligent and creative but had to deal with language barriers. They however, did not get the extra help the Korean students so did not appear to do as well. In reality, they were just as intelligent.
Culture plays a huge part in academic success.
Lucy | 05.08.07 - 9:09 pm | #


Gravatar I agree with Lucy that culture plays a huge part in academic success. I also believe that God plays an active, though subtle and hidden, role in all of our achievements be they spiritual, intellectual, scholastic, creative, professional or athletic. The Bible warns us against saying (possibly paraphrased) "by my hand alone have I done this."
Dante Medici | 05.08.07 - 11:16 pm | #


Gravatar Every Jewish Mother I know has a genius in the high chair. Consider the first teacher. I'm not kidding! Think about it.
Janet | 05.08.07 - 11:23 pm | #


Gravatar I had something similar once, that there was a genetic basis for "jewish Inteligence". The theory went that if a family had more than one son, usually the eldest recieved land/whatever, and any other children went to the priesthood. Usually inteligent children went to the Priesthood, and their Genes disappeared with them. Compare that to jews where if there is an inteligent Child, that Child was saught after, and his Children were in turn saught after, spreading the genes through a larger Pool.
Some attribute it to the nature of jewish thinking, that we teach a level of Abstract thought that really is not found among non-jews. I mean if we have a G-d who is neither visible, and is Omnipotent, one has to take a level of abstract thought to work there.
Tzvi | Homepage | 05.09.07 - 9:07 am | #


Gravatar A lot of people had a similar environment and education as Einstein but did not have nearly his intelligence. Einstein (and others) had/have superior intelligence because of their genes.
As to the language barriers-shouldn't have had much effect on the math scores-who was better in math?
The idea that Jewish intelligence is a result of the greater discrimination weeding out the less intelligent doesn't work. The proof of this is the fact that the Roma/Gypsies suffered similar discrimination in the same geographical areas and times that Jews did but did not come out of it with the higher level of intelligence of the Jews.
Of course the other question is that if Jews have a higher level of intelligence, who has the lower level to fill out the average? Ten foot pole available? Anyone?
Dave | 05.09.07 - 12:21 pm | #


Gravatar Intelligence is an elusive quality and not necessarily defined by "I.Q." (is anybody here familiar with Gardner?) We are born with a genetically predetermined range of ability, but if you don't lose it, you literally lose it. And if it is nourished, it fluorishes.
Jewish culture encourages and values learning and critical thinking (hence the Talmudic tradition). It is not at all surprising that many of the world's academics and intellectuals have emerged from it. The rest of the world is sorely in need of the same sort of open mindedness and willingness to question.
Hali | Homepage | 05.09.07 - 1:31 pm | #


Gravatar The superior intellignce (and I would say, the moral beauty as well), of a Jewish person?
Of course.
There is a reason why the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob formed these people from a seperate and seperated group of individuals, into a race of people.
The Creator did not pick "Jews," he selected and created Israelites, who are called "Jews" now. He entered into an agreement, a contract with them. And who is surprised that they are not given an intellectual gift for the "personal" relationship they have with The Creator of the Universe?
So much beauty continues to flow from the Sinai experience of Shavout.
I am a Christian.
Donny | 05.10.07 - 9:40 am | #


Gravatar Donny,
you wrote that:
>The Creator did not pick "Jews," he >selected and created Israelites, who >are called "Jews" now. He entered >into an agreement, a contract with >them. And who is surprised that they >are not given an intellectual gift ?>for the "personal" relationship
Part of the problem is that 1) Many jews(like Reconstructionists) gave up the concept of "chosenness" years ago. To believe that one was "selected" is to imply a level of superiority, and can lead to violence and feelings of :"otherness"
I tend to actually take a more mystical view, stemming from the fact that in Jewish Law, if a man forces a woman to marry him, he can not divorce her. In much the way that it is written in Torah that it appeared that the mountain was held over the camp of the Israelites. Hence they were "coerced" into the relationship, and can't leave. of course this means the G-d can't leave either.
Tzvi | Homepage | 05.10.07 - 10:13 am | #


Gravatar I read that Jewish society deliberately chose for intelligence,so it is no surprise that Jews are more intellectual,compared to the general population.Yes,and scholarship is "encouraged,"due to the culture.
A "negative"culture can really make learning difficult;AFrican-American culture does not usually encourage scholarship.(Usually,the opposite.)In societies where male youngsters are seen as "bookworms" or "bookish",and this is a derogatory comment,scholarship and studying is looked down on.
And then people wonder why all these young males fail in society,when it comes to making a living?Perhaps not so much cause they are stupid,but because it would not have hurt them to be raised in a Jewish family instead,where their intelligence could have been encouraged.(irony.)
I know that American society,in general,dislikes and fears "genius" or the truly intelligent,until one of them becomes Bill Gates,and makes tons of money.So,if ever there was a quality that we Jews could stand to spread among the larger populace,it would be "respect and encouragement for scholarship and intellect."
Many of you have probably read that the level of science and mathamatics workers produced in the U.S. is at an all-time low.Our industry needs them,yet our culture likes people to be conformists,"average" and never " odd geniuses".
Because many people in my family were geniuses,we were always regarded by neighbors as "wierd." Later in life,this had the consequences of isolating me from many gentiles,and throwing me in with other Jewish people,and causing me to actively go to synagouge,just to hear the rabbi teach the Talmud.
So,yes,I do believe Jews are more intelligent.It's something we could figure out how to encourage in the rest of the population,including gentiles.Stop refusing to accept "evolution"in science,and start understanding that being smart is nothing to be ashamed of. Choosing to be intelligent,and choosing to use it,has helped we Jews,it certainly could not hurt the rest of the world.
Doreet | 05.11.07 - 3:56 pm | #


Gravatar Just the fact that this is being contemplated shows such a level of conceit. It's like the Asians who truly believe they're are just more intelligent on the basis of them being Asian.
There is opportunity. That's what Jews have, money and opportunity. That, Obviously, will lead to being "smarter". But being as we're all human beings, and being that being Jewish doesn't change your genetic structure in any way, means that no Jews are not built to be more intelligent. If you pass that money and opportunity on to another race or culture then believe me, they'll be showing higher levels of 'intelligence' also.
Bookworm | 05.12.07 - 12:23 am | #


Gravatar To Bookworm:
I agree with you. Just the fact that this is being contemplated shows conceit. However, when you say that the money and opportunity that Jews have leads us to become 'smarter,' I have to disagree. There are a lot of Jewish people who are in the middle and lower economic brackets. There are also Jewish people who, having both money AND opportunity, manage to waste both of them.
You write that any race or culture, having money and opportunity, would also appear 'smart.' Again, I disagree. It's more than money and opportunity. It's learning and living a set of values that is centered around good for all. And it's a lot of other things, including discovering your passion in life and following it.
You write that being Jewish doesn't change one's genetic structure. No, it doesn't. However, because Jewish communities were somewhat isolated for many years, by a degree of choice and often at the wish of the surrounding non-Jewish communities, many Jews do share some genetic tendencies.
I have a question for you, Bookworm. Why do you put the words smarter and intelligence in quotation marks? What are you trying to say by doing that?
Cheryl | 05.12.07 - 12:18 pm | #


Gravatar Intelligence & I.Q.
It is my view that discussions regarding intelligence promotes racism. The idea that one race or religion, or colour of skin, or gender, is superior to another leads to differentiation, and comparison. Historically, we have sufficient examples of human differences being used to exploit, enslave, experiment, denigrade, institutionalize, torture, and murder "different" people. Twenty-First Century problems require a worldview where humanity is an inclusive concept. Engaging the debate on questions of intelligence or other traits and characteristics invites inferiority and ultimately hatred.
In Yahweh's economy, these differences can never outweigh our inherent similarities. Science continues to identify our sameness. Stem cell research and the human genome are but two examples of the oneness of humanity.
Let's avoid these debates and humanity can learn to live in harmony. We can begin the process today.
Steven McCahon | 05.12.07 - 3:55 pm | #

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