of his fighter plane to the team of an Armenianrnand a Jew, while Cosimo, whornpiously “emblazoned even the monks’rnprivies” with his heraldic balls, did notrnhesitate to embrace the “whoremongerrnand scrounger” Fra Filippo Lippi. Therernis the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact with thernbastard condottiere Francesco Sforza,rnwhom Cosimo had shrewdly fosteredrnlong before his takeover of Milan wasrnconsummated in the marriage to BiancarnVisconti, just as Stalin had secretly supportedrnthe National Socialists over therncommunists in Weimar Germany.rnThere is even Molotov himself, in thernfigure of Cosimo’s sidekick Puccio Pucci,rnand if one looks hard enough one canrnjust make out Trotsky in the “tiresome,rnvain and cantankerous” agitator, partisanrnof the exiled Albizzi, Francesco Filelfo.rnBut the key to the parallel is found inrnthe power of the legitimized lie whichrnFlorence’s Pater Patriae and our own Fatherrnof the Peoples have created, and perpetuated,rnin their epoch-specific, yet kindred,rnways. The constitutional reformrnframed by Pucci in the wake of the routrnof the Albizzi in 1434 was, like Stalin’srnconstitution, a gateway to the new era ofrnvirtual tyranny disguised as virtualrndemocracy. According to an historian ofrnthe period,rnthe Grandi were now all declaredrnPopolani which gratified the nobles,rnwho were thus theoreticallyrnrendered eligible for election to office,rnwhile pleasing the popolornminuto who chose to interpret thernmeasure as commendably democratic.rnThe people were givenrngreater satisfaction when it wasrnseen that the most talentedrnamongst them, despite their humblernorigins, were now considered,rnfor the first time in the history ofrnFlorence, worthy of holding officialrnpositions in the State.rnStalin’s constitution, it must be borne inrnmind, allowed for ballot boxes to be deliveredrnto the bedside of the sick on electionrnday. And yet, the historian continues,rnof the 159 newly qualified citizensrnfrom the Santa Maria Novellarnquarter whose names were placedrnin the horse in 1453, no less thanrn145 were sons, grandsons or brothersrnof men who had been consideredrneligible for oflFice in 1449.rnIn other words, what the Italiansrnwould these days call una grossa fregatura.rnA great swindle, which required greatrnart to cover it up. And, great art aside,rnfrom here to the restructured new democraticrnRussia —or, if you prefer, to thernAmerican bumper stickers that read IrnLOVE MY COUNTRY BUT I FEARrnMY GOVERNMENT-it is but a shortrnstep.rnAnd so I confess that as I leave Florence,rnthis treasury of the Renaissance tornwhich I bid farewell seems almost a partrnof my childhood, not unlike the enclavernof Stalin’s writers and artists where I wasrnraised. Yet these grandiose monumentsrnto the sleight of hand known since therndays of the Medici as modern democracyrnare now at the heart of world culture.rnCan one really ever leave Florence, anyrnmore than Gide could leave Stalin’srnMoscow?rnAndrei Navrozov is Chronicles’rnEuropean correspondent.rnLetter FromrnInner Israelrnby Jacob NeusnerrnReligion or Ethnicity?rnWhen people in the academy study “Judaism,”rnthey tend to pursue the history ofrnthe ethnic group, the Jews, rather thanrndescribe, analyze, and interpret the religion,rnJudaism. In the realm of high culture,rnthe Judaic religious tradition, beginningrnwith the revelation at Sinai, isrndeprived of its rightful presence alongsidernthe world’s other great religions,rnChristianity and Islam.rnTurning on its head Karl Earth’s insistencernthat Christianity is not a religionrnamong religions, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer’srnappeal for a “religionless Christianity,”rnscholars of Judaism are drawn to thernsubject by ethnic affiliation—Jews studyingrnand teaching Jewish things to Jews.rnSo they end up ethnic cheerleaders,rntelling Jews why they should be Jewishrn(stressing “the holocaust” as a powerfulrnreason) or rehearsing the self-evidentrnvirtue of being Jewish (“nicer, smarter.rnmore sensitive”).rnJewish stiidies are dumbed down andrnamateurized; the principal qualificationrnfor advertising opinions on Jewish topicsrnis ethnic affiliation. Jewish professors ofrnanything—philosophy will do, or chemistryrnin a pinch —qualify as experts byrnvirtue of ethnicity. The universities wantrnthe Jewish money that comes with therncelebration of Jewish ethnicity. Jewishrnculture is not interested in religion, asrnBritain’s Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks hasrnunderscored, and the universities followrnthe money.rnWhat is wrong with the ethnic modelrnis illustrated by Norman Cantor at NewrnYork University, who produced a vile,rnshallow, and ignorant caricature of ethnicrnculture. Because he is Jewish andrnalso a professor of medieval history, hernfelt entitied to proclaim his opinion, fullrnof disdain and disrespect for the veryrnsources of Judaism. That is somethingrnhe never would have tolerated in his ownrnfield. He exemplifies the galloping amateurismrnof Jewish scholars of Judaismrnwho feel qualified by Jewish birth but arernof only marginal professional achievement.rnWhy do some university officials feelrnthat Jewish ethnics in any field are certifiedrnas experts when it comes to Jewishrnstudies, inclusive of religion? BecausernJews, they assume, know pretty much thernsame things when it comes to “the Jewishrnthing.” (Just as, some suppose, we reallyrnall do know one another and lookrnalike!) Princeton University’s Froma InselbuchrnZeitiin is a case in point. A classicistrnwho practices Judaism, she acceptedrnthe chairmanship of the PrincetonrnUniversity Jewish studies program offeredrnto her by the Jewish president ofrnPrinceton University. In that role, lackingrnany professional qualifications, sherndirected ill-informed dissertations onrnfirst-century problems involving rabbinicrntexts on which she herself has publishedrnnothing much. She appointed as thernfirst professor of Jewish studies in arnnamed chair a German Catholic, PeterrnSchaefer of Berlin, a philologist and collatorrnof textual variants in ancient manuscriptsrnwhose scholarship on Judaismrncarries forward the German academicrnnihilism that, from the time of ImmanuelrnKant, has dismissed Judaism as arnreligion.rnParadoxes abound. The Harvard programrnin the study of religion does notrnencompass professors of Judaism, whornmake their academic home in the De-rn38/CHRONICLESrnrnrn