Was Raiders of the Lost Ark a Rabbinical Parable?

Was Raiders of the Lost Ark a Rabbinical Parable?

Stories are the prism through which we view the world.

Whether we agree with them is completely and absolutely immaterial.  What matters is that we were exposed to them.  They affect how we view the cosmos, no matter if we like how those stories do that, or not.

From my article on Eastern Story Structure.

“Hakawati, is the Arabic tradition of storytelling wherein each story must have…

and teach a moral lesson.  I suspect this tradition is more Middle Eastern than specifically Arabian because the story of Jonah fits perfectly within its structure.

Jonah’s story is rather unsatisfying to a Westerner if you read the whole thing.

Jonah is ordered by God to go to Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian Empire, and deliver a command from Him to stop sinning.  Jonah, like all of his people and, well, everyone else who had come into contact with Assyria wants them all dead. So he refused to deliver God’s message and ran away to sea.  A terrible storm came up while the ship was at sea. The crew drew lots to see who was to be sacrificed to appease the waters.  The never-lucky Jonah lost and was chucked over the side.  God sent a whale to swallow Jonah.  Jonah repented and God had the whale spit, Jonah, onto a shoreline that had decent access to Nineveh.  Jonah delivered the message to the hated Assyrians and then went to a nearby hill to watch God’s wrath descend on Nineveh.  

And it didn’t.  

The End. 

When I was in Sunday school the whale part of the story was the only thing that our teacher concentrated on. Mostly because a giant whale story would keep squirming seven-year-olds occupied while their parents had coffee and donuts after the service. It worked because that part of the story was the closest thing that conformed to the western idea of the three-act story structure with an introduction, an inciting incident, rising tension, climax, and then denouement. 

The original purpose of the story however wasn’t to entertain, it was to teach.”

I have no reason real to believe that either George Lucas or Stephen Spielberg are good men and a few hints that they are rather bad men. Whether they are good men or bad is immaterial, they were both born in the mid-1940s and would have gone to Hebrew School when they were boys starting at about age six or seven.  The same thing applies to their screenwriter Lawrence Kasden.  The stories they were told at that age would affect how they see the world because, as I say again, stories are the prism through which we view the world.  

I had stated in my RE:View of Raiders of the Lost Ark, “Think about it. If Jones had done nothing in this story but teach at Marshall, he would have changed nothing that eventually happened. The Nazis would have grabbed the amulet from Marion, found the Ark and melted themselves without any help whatsoever from Indiana Jones.”

The comments from that article included this exchange:

Shimson; “…I’ve heard this said before. This isn’t necessarily true. The inscription from the half of the amulet that the Nazis didn’t get didn’t only discuss altering the height of the staff. As a fan site says:

‘The headpiece included a dire warning to not disturb the Ark of the Covenant, giving Indy the knowledge needed to survive the Ark’s power later, though this warning was either forgotten, not on the side that was imprinted onto Toht or simply ignored by Belloq and the other Nazis present.’

I’m going with, this warning was not on the side in the possession of the Nazis, thus making the story have an actual point.”

To which I replied; “Sorry, but no. Indy was receiving a stream of dire warnings for the entire movie. The warning on the amulet was just one more of them. All of Indy’s friends were telling him not to screw around with it. Belloq on the other hand was way too determined to dick around with the Ark to be put off by a warning label. He had Nimrod’s hubris, he was going to use his “hotline for speaking to God” whether God wanted to hear from him or not. Indy learned a bit of humility but that was his lesson and his lesson alone.”

And it suddenly struck me that as inadvertent as it was, the whole point of the story could be reduced to, Indiana Jones needed to be learn humility and he did.

The question posed: “Was Raiders of the Lost Ark a Rabbinical Parable?”

I don’t know the answer since being a Christian, I never went to Hebrew School. 

Discuss in the comments.

See you Monday.

Share this post

Comments (12)

  • Albert Reply

    IIRC, Jonah was also rather salty that the people of Ninevah actually paid attention to the message and were spared. Then God chided him for that.

    July 2, 2021 at 8:35 pm
    • Talos Valcoran Reply

      I honestly love the ending of Jonah for how it demonstrates not only the extent of God’s patience (with peoples AND individuals), but also something of his sense of humor; He doesn’t smack Jonah for his saltiness over the Assyrians not getting Sodom and Gomorrah’ed, He just trolls him to get His point across.

      July 3, 2021 at 1:21 am
    • Skyler the Weird Reply

      Jonah was a Prophet of the Northern Kingdom Samaria. I think he knew what the Assyrians were going to do to Israel in a few years so he skedaddled to Tarshish to keep that from happening by letting Nineveh be destroyed.

      July 4, 2021 at 12:52 am
  • furor kek tonicus Reply

    Lucas is Jewish and attended Hebrew school? i thought he was the one goy in the woodpile.

    July 2, 2021 at 9:16 pm
    • Codex Reply

      Now that is an interesting question.
      George Lucas was definitely team Churchi at least and part of the “Dirty Dozen” a clique of film school friends and future colleagues and promoters. The alliance was real: One writer getting blacklisted by the Normie Libs for being a normiecon got aid and comfort (money & jobs) from the band.
      Working through the 12, there is ine Jewish fellow*: Bob Gale, best buds with Vile 770 Mike Glyer (See: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Gale – sorry – IG is incomplete**) There’s Randal Kleiser (heritage American) both gay and pedo-adjacent… And that is it
      So how did this (mostly) square-dealing, midwestern and heritage Americans rot?
      To be continued…
      *probably [Jewish] but who knows?
      **I have tried. There is no IG edits for Dummies, and I think I broke something the last time. It is *not* standard wiki (I can do that). Users’ manual wanted!

      (My note: Willard Huyck Sr. possible father of one of the D12 https://www.legacy.com/us/obituaries/latimes/name/willard-huyck-obituary?pid=190667129)

      July 3, 2021 at 7:49 am
  • Chris Lopes Reply

    I doubt it was intentional. The nature of the Ark sort of dictated some rather nasty end when opened, so Indy couldn’t have been the one to open it. It had to be the bad guys, and it had to be something so bad that the Allies wouldn’t be stupid enough to try to use it either. Neither Lucas not Spielberg strike me as the least bit religious.

    July 2, 2021 at 11:14 pm
    • The Dark Herald Reply

      Intention had nothing to do with it.

      Their religious beliefs (if any) had nothing to with the result.

      My point was that the stories they learned as little boys affected how they saw the world and what stories they would tell the world.

      July 3, 2021 at 12:48 am
      • Chris Lopes Reply

        If you are saying the story went the way it did because of the subconscious influences of early religious training, I can’t argue with you on that. As someone raised in the Church of Rome, I know very well how such things can affect how you see the world in big and small ways.

        July 3, 2021 at 4:32 am
  • MrUNIVAC Reply

    I didn’t think that Lucas was Jewish. “May the Force be with you” sounds an awful lot like “May the Lord be with you,” which we say an awful lot in Catholic mass. It’s not evidence, but it smells right to me.

    July 5, 2021 at 9:31 pm
  • Sensor Sweep: Runequest, Jewels of Gwalur, Steve Hickman – castaliahouse.com Reply

    […] (Arkhaven Comics): I had stated in my RE:View of Raiders of the Lost Ark, “Think about it. If Jones had done […]

    July 26, 2021 at 4:31 am
  • Kal Reply

    Moral is Jews = good, white (Christians) = bad.

    July 26, 2021 at 8:18 am
  • The Dark Herald Reply

    I got Lucas’ religion wrong. He claims to be “Buddhist Methodist.” Whatever the hell that is. However, Speilberg and the sceeenplay writer Lawerance Kasden are both definetly Jewish so the question is still valid.

    July 26, 2021 at 10:55 am

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *