“Cut Off from All of His Brothers, from His Blood”

Neta Stahl

in Other and Brother

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199760008
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979561 | DOI:
“Cut Off from All of His Brothers, from His Blood”

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Uri Zvi Greenberg (1896–1981) was one of the most prominent figures in twentieth century Jewish poetry. In Greenberg's poetry perhaps more than in the work of any other modern Jewish writer, the figure of Jesus reflects his own personal, literary and ideological biography, and his sense of selfhood. Greenberg's characterization of Jesus is profoundly ambivalent. His poetry merges elements of rejection and aversion, rooted in traditional Judaism, with a depiction of Jesus as a character of great charm and mystery who rebels against the social and religious conventions of his time. The chapter is divided into three sections. The first section focuses on the different literary devices Greenberg uses to express the tension between Jesus' human aspect, linked to his Jewish character, and his godly aspect, connected to his idolatrous representation within the Christian Church. The second section demonstrates how this tension becomes an actual division between two personas: the Christian Jesus is referenced by the Slavic name “Yezus,” while the “authentic” Jewish Jesus is called “Yeshu.” The third section discusses the tensions between Greenberg's divergent representations of Jesus as Exilic Jew, Zionist pioneer, and even national Messiah.

Keywords: Uri Zvi Greenberg; Streets of the River; Messiahnism; Holocaust poetry; exile; the land of Israel; Jewish ultra nationalism; Hebrew expressionism

Chapter.  13088 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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