Oberammergau by James Shapiro
The Troubling Story of the World's Most Famous Passion Play

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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.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About James Shapiro

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James Shapiro, aprofessor at Columbia University in New York, is the author of Rival Playwrights, Shakespeare and the Jews, and Oberammergau.
Published December 18, 2007 by Vintage. 274 pages
Genres: History, Religion & Spirituality, Travel, Literature & Fiction, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction

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In the 20th century, individual Jews as well as Jewish organizations protested the play (in 1931, for example, Philip Bernstein published an essay in Harper’s declaring that the Oberammergau play, which he had seen the summer before, fed Christian hatred of the Jew).

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Publishers Weekly

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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.

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Austin Chronicle

Take, for example, the belief of the residents of the quaint Bavarian village of Oberammergau: According to legend, when the villagers' ancestors suffered an outbreak of plague during the Thirty Years' War, the desperate survivors were able to entirely dismiss it by vowing to perform a Passion pl...

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