“The Temptation of the Cross”

Neta Stahl

in Other and Brother

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199760008
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979561 | DOI:
“The Temptation of the Cross”

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It has been commonly assumed that in the wake of the Holocaust, the figure of Jesus became clearly associated with the persecutors—those who tried to exterminate the Jewish people—and that as a result, the Jewish fascination with Jesus had faded and no longer had a place in Jewish culture. However, this chapter demonstrates that contrary to this assumption, post-Holocaust Hebrew literature adopted the figure of Jesus and did so in a manner that allowed for complete identification with him. In the period after the Holocaust, and in the wake of the establishment of the State of Israel, Jesus' foreignness creates a greater affinity between him and Israeli writers, who now identify with the very “otherness” that in previous works constituted a threatening element. The menacing Christian component of the image of Jesus as the Other is now almost completely neutralized. Instead of presenting the Christian Jesus as an idol, Israeli writers (just like their western counterparts), present Jesus as a symbol of existential suffering and the internal experience of alienation.

Keywords: Israeli literature; Pinhas Sadeh; Natan Zach; Yona Wallach; Meir Wieseltier; Benyamin Shvili

Chapter.  18274 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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