Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Wandering Jew: A curious medieval legend

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
1774 The Wandering Jew appeared in Brussels. In the Middle Ages, it was believed that there was a Jewish man still alive who had been alive at the time of Jesus Christ; the belief persisted as late as 1868, which is perhaps the last notice we have of 'the Wandering Jew'. The tale has obviously anti-Semitic origins and the central character of the enduring legend may be seen as a sort of medieval Ancient Mariner or Flying Dutchman, with racist overtones.

Cartaphilus, who was about thirty years old then, has remained the same age ever since (despite Gustave Doré's representation of him as an old man). Having insulted Jesus Christ on the last day of the latter's life, he is condemned to wander the earth until Judgement Day ...

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