Oberammergau: The Troubling Story of the World's Most Famous Passion Play

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9780375708527: Oberammergau: The Troubling Story of the World's Most Famous Passion Play

The Bavarian village of Oberammergau has staged the trial, crucifixion, and resurrection of Christ nearly every decade since 1634. Each production of the Passion Play attracts hundreds of thousands, many drawn by the spiritual benefits it promises. Yet Hitler called it a convincing portrayal of the menace of Jewry, and in 1970 a group of international luminaries boycotted the play for its anti-Semitism. As the production for the year 2000 drew near, James Shapiro was there to document the newest wave of obstacles that faced the determined Bavarian villagers. Erudite and judicious, Oberammergau is a fascinating and important look at the unpredictable and sometimes tragic relationship between art and society, belief and tolerance, religion and politics.

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In 1633, the residents of the small Bavarian village of Oberammergau made a vow that, if they were spared from a plague that was sweeping the countryside, they would perform a Passion play in perpetuity. Legend has it that no more villagers died; and the town has famously kept its vow. Every decade for centuries, the people of Oberammergau have presented their play. As described by theatrical historian James Shapiro, Oberammergau is a fascinating cultural, commercial, and religious saga. The book is sharpest in its analysis of the villagers' ambivalent efforts to rid their play of anti-Semitism. (Hitler, who attended the play twice, praised its convincing portrayal of "the menace of Jewry.") Recent revisions in the play's text, as well as casting and costume changes, have restored an historically accurate, Hebrew quality to Jesus and the other major characters in the drama. James Shapiro, who spent a great deal of time in the village gathering material for this book, observes in detail the anxieties and scandals that attended these changes--as well as the empathy and understanding that they occasioned. --Michael Joseph Gross

From the Publisher:

"James Shapiro has written an utterly fascinating account of a phenomenon that is at once ephemeral and eternal--a once-a-decade drama saddled with centuries of passion. With scholarly ingenuity and journalistic wits, he dissects an event that has, as Shapiro himself writes, 'profound implications for interfaith relations in a post-Holocaust world.' This book will go down as a model of cultural commentary--and a treasure."
-- Stephen J. Dubner, author of Turbulent Souls: A Catholic Son's Return to His Jewish Family

"Oberammergau is an obsessively readable treatment of this vexed subject, the drama which serves as such a perfect metaphor for the anguished and complex problem of Christian anti-Semitism. Professor Shapiro speaks with a scholar's authority, but with none of the obfuscation that such scholarship often entails. He sheds a most welcome light on this dark and murky terrain."
-- Mary Gordon

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Book Description Random House USA Inc, India, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The Bavarian village of Oberammergau has staged the trial, crucifixion, and resurrection of Christ nearly every decade since 1634. Each production of the Passion Play attracts hundreds of thousands, many drawn by the spiritual benefits it promises. Yet Hitler called it a convincing portrayal of the menace of Jewry, and in 1970 a group of international luminaries boycotted the play for its anti-Semitism. As the production for the year 2000 drew near, James Shapiro was there to document the newest wave of obstacles that faced the determined Bavarian villagers. Erudite and judicious, Oberammergau is a fascinating and important look at the unpredictable and sometimes tragic relationship between art and society, belief and tolerance, religion and politics. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780375708527

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Book Description Random House USA Inc, India, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The Bavarian village of Oberammergau has staged the trial, crucifixion, and resurrection of Christ nearly every decade since 1634. Each production of the Passion Play attracts hundreds of thousands, many drawn by the spiritual benefits it promises. Yet Hitler called it a convincing portrayal of the menace of Jewry, and in 1970 a group of international luminaries boycotted the play for its anti-Semitism. As the production for the year 2000 drew near, James Shapiro was there to document the newest wave of obstacles that faced the determined Bavarian villagers. Erudite and judicious, Oberammergau is a fascinating and important look at the unpredictable and sometimes tragic relationship between art and society, belief and tolerance, religion and politics. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780375708527

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