The debate around the relations between Christians and Jews has recently become one of the discussed issues in the cultural Israeli world. This article examines the references to Christianity and to Jesus in the contemporary Israeli fiction. Through the analysis of some literary works produced by the best-know Israeli writers, we will try to describe the way the authors deal with Christian elements and explore their personal considerations. In particular a great attention will be devoted to Amos Oz’s last novel Judas, published in 2014. The story is based on the life of a young student who is writing a doctoral dissertation on “How Jews see Jesus” but it ends up focusing on the figure of Judas. In revealing the intent of his research the protagonist presents a detailed investigation of the Jewish attitude towards Christians quoting sources from the ancient times until today. Through Oz’s book it is possible to explore the complex relationship between Christians and Jews and offers new starting points for the future debates.
Julius Margolin (1900–1971), a Jewish author of Russian and Polish origins, wrote his famous Russian-language novel A Journey to the Land Zeka in pre-State Israel, one year after his release from a Soviet concentration camp (1946–1947). Having been one of the earliest testimonies about Stalin’s atrocities, this book was published in 1952 in its abridged version, whereas the unabridged version came out only in 2016. While the social and political significance of this book has been repeatedly discussed, its poetical and discursive strategies are understudied. This article makes a few steps in the direction of understanding of Margolin’s book seriocomic style, discourse of fairytale and fantasy, the Palestine-Zionist text, the sea motif and other themes. The analysis unveils the author’s ambitious literary project that hides behind the historical testimony and is intended to strengthen it.
This article looks at a character of Jakub Frank, the 18th-century Jewish Messianic leader, in Andrzej Żuławski’s book of idiosyncratic essays Moliwda (published in 1994). Żuławski, a controversial fi lm-maker and writer, whose historic musings are usually focused on an individual who embodies the spirit of the age in this case turns his attention to Jakub Frank. Moliwda is typical of the early phase of Żuławski’s writing career characterized by a radically revisionist explorations of the Age of the Enlightenment in search for parallels with the modern age and his own life. Jakub Frank is presented as a trickster, religious charlatan, political fraudster and fateful ancestor of 20th-century tyrants, but at the same time as a rebel against the idea of God and history enshrined in the Judaic tradition. The article views Żuławski’s interpretation as an attempt to appropriate certain elements of the history of religion to create an authoritarian vision of modernity and its historical roots, based on mechanisms of self-aggrandizement, sexualization of power and subversion of all hierarchies.