Elie Wiesel Digs Jesus

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Last night, Elie Wiesel began his lecture at the 92nd Street Y with a few words about Jean-Marie Lustiger, the French Cardinal who died this past summer.

elie_wiesel_125.jpg Lustiger was, of course, born a Jew, and he was hidden by a Catholic woman during WWII. He later converted to Catholicism at the age of 13. Lustiger’s continued identification as a Jew has been well reported, and kaddish was recited at his funeral.

Wiesel and Lustiger were friends, and in struggling with the nature of Lustiger’s Jewishness, Wiesel decided to research the first Jewish convert to Christianity: Jesus.

What did he learn? According to Wiesel, Jesus was a passionate, interested, relatively normative Jew — a spiritual seeker, who had issues with the corrupt status quo. It was Paul and later Christian leaders, Wiesel asserted, who turned Jesus into the ultimate Jew-foil.

Hardly original or shocking. And probably not worth the $35 admission charge.

Perhaps most strangely, Wiesel never returned to discuss Lustiger. How did Jesus’ Jewishness affect Wiesel’s view of Lustiger’s identity? Was the lecture alluding to the possibility that an individual Christian could still be a good Jew?

I don’t think so. In all probability, Lustiger was merely a segue, not the actual topic of conversation. Which is disappointing, because then the question remains: What do we make of Lustiger’s Jewishness? What did Wiesel conclude about that?

Posted on October 19, 2007

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2 thoughts on “Elie Wiesel Digs Jesus

  1. Daniel Septimus Post author

    Apparently, Ann Coulter wasn’t at the Wiesel lecture. She had this to say on Michael Medved’s radio show:

    “Jews don’t accept the New Testament, so, you know, as long as we’re playing this new sport of ‘he who is offended first wins,’ if anyone’s going to be offended by anyone else’s religion, the Jews believe that my savior, a Jew, was a raving lunatic, and you don’t see me sniffling and crying.”

  2. clara1

    Ann Coulter,

    is an fing idiot. The last book she put out even had the right wondering what was going on with her. I have a talk show that she did with a Jewish host, which i got from Rabbi Pauli on Torah.org. I would print it here if the powers on the board say its okay.

    Jesus was a law abiding Jew==what’s not to like.


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