A Skirball Academy Class

Dr. Mark W. Weisstuch

Christ and the Cross in Jewish Art and Literature

The Cross, representing the crucified Jesus, sits at the heart of Christian faith, symbolizing hope, resurrection, salvation and redemption.  It also marks the hard border between Judaism and Christianity as for centuries it has inflamed Christian violence toward Jews who were identified as “Christ-killers.” Jews responded to the Cross with fear, disgust and hostility.  Yet beginning in the late 19th century, Jewish artists, poets and novelists incorporated the image of the Cross and invoked a reclaimed Jewish Jesus as a symbol of Jewish suffering and an indictment of Christian anti-Semitic persecution of Jews.

Is the repurposing of the Cross a distortion of Jewish suffering and a diminishment of its Christian valences?  How far can the sharing of fundamental religious symbols be stretched in the spirit of ecumenism?  Are core symbols so iconic that recasting them in a foreign context serves to confuse meanings rather than illuminate understanding?  Examine these questions through the work of visual artists like Marc Chagall and writers like Uri Zvi Greenberg and Sholem Asch.

 

Hortense Jordan Chair in Ethics

Wednesdays, 6:30 –8:00 PM

October 28
November 4, 11, 18
December 2, 9

Free | Friends of Streicker*
$120

*Friends of Streicker program information

Dr. Mark W. Weisstuch has been on the faculty of the Skirball Academy since its inception.  Over the last several years, he has focused on the Second Temple period, teaching classes on the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Jewish origins of Christianity, the early roots of Jewish mysticism and the composition of the Bible.

Wednesdays, 6:30 –8:00 PM

October 28
November 4, 11, 18
December 2, 9

Free | Friends of Streicker*
$120

*Friends of Streicker program information

The Cross, representing the crucified Jesus, sits at the heart of Christian faith, symbolizing hope, resurrection, salvation and redemption.  It also marks the hard border between Judaism and Christianity as for centuries it has inflamed Christian violence toward Jews who were identified as “Christ-killers.” Jews responded to the Cross with fear, disgust and hostility.  Yet beginning in the late 19th century, Jewish artists, poets and novelists incorporated the image of the Cross and invoked a reclaimed Jewish Jesus as a symbol of Jewish suffering and an indictment of Christian anti-Semitic persecution of Jews.

Is the repurposing of the Cross a distortion of Jewish suffering and a diminishment of its Christian valences?  How far can the sharing of fundamental religious symbols be stretched in the spirit of ecumenism?  Are core symbols so iconic that recasting them in a foreign context serves to confuse meanings rather than illuminate understanding?  Examine these questions through the work of visual artists like Marc Chagall and writers like Uri Zvi Greenberg and Sholem Asch.

 

Hortense Jordan Chair in Ethics

Dr. Mark W. Weisstuch has been on the faculty of the Skirball Academy since its inception.  Over the last several years, he has focused on the Second Temple period, teaching classes on the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Jewish origins of Christianity, the early roots of Jewish mysticism and the composition of the Bible.

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