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

James Shapiro, Author Pantheon Books $24 (256p) ISBN 978-0-375-40926-4
About every 10 years since 1634, the residents of Oberammergau, nestled in the foothills of the Bavarian Alps, stage their version of the Passion play, attracting large international audiences. In 2000, the six-hour production will be performed five times a week, from May to November, earning $30 million in ticket sales. During off years, tourists come to Oberammergau to see the theater, buy woodcarvings, meet the actors and enjoy the scenic beauty. Yet controversy has consistently dogged the Passion play: its version of the suffering, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus has entailed blaming the Jews and aroused anti-Semitic fervor. Hitler praised the play for its Jew-hating message, and many Oberammergau villagers became members of the Nazi party. In recent years, as Catholic-Jewish relations have improved (marked by an encyclical absolving the Jews of responsibility for the death of Jesus), the play has become an anachronism. Jewish organizations have successfully pressed for changes, and the 2000 version will be largely cleansed of its undesirable features. Moreover, Jesus will be referred to as ""Rabbi"" and will utter a Hebrew prayer. The fascinating story of Oberammergau, and the myths and the people surrounding it, are told in abundant detail by Shapiro, a professor of English whose interest in art and anti-Semitism led to an earlier book, Shakespeare and the Jews (1995). His two books contribute enormously to our understanding of the power of theater to transcend entertainment and engender alarming beliefs. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/01/2000
Release date: 05/01/2000
Show other formats
FORMATS
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-375-70852-7
Open Ebook - 272 pages - 978-0-307-42708-3
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.