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In: Second Corinthians in the Perspective of Late Second Temple Judaism
In: Second Corinthians in the Perspective of Late Second Temple Judaism

The images of the clown and the freak and representations of the grotesque body are recurrent motifs in modern Jewish literature, film, art, theatre and dance. Kafka’s novella Metamorphosis is an early prototype of the changeling who leaves conventional human appearance behind and is gradually transformed into an insect-like creature. The story served as a prototype for Woody Allen’s film Zelig, in which the main protagonist adopts a variety of different personas, amongst them a Nazi in the Third Reich. The theme of morphing into a freak, clown, or grotesque body reappears in various forms in contemporary Jewish culture and art: The American Jewish writer Philip Roth declared in the 1960s that he was not a Jewish sage but a Jewish freak. Freakishness, clowns, and the circus have a subversive potential: they constitute a digression from what is considered normal appearance and behaviour and play with presumptions, expectations, and social values. A study of this subject reveals the constant dialogue between religion and culture as far as Judaism is concerned.

In: Culture and Dialogue
In: A Wandering Galilean: Essays in Honour of Seán Freyne