Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Levine on Amy-Jill

Amy-Jill Levine writes her own story (marking herself, as Christians often to do her kind, as a Jew) in her introduction to The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus:
When I was seven, this early fascination with Christianity came to a head with two events. First, I became insistent upon making my First Communion. All my friends were preparing for this special event, and I didn't want to be left out. My desire was not motivated by religious fervor or even religious understanding; I lacked both. Rather, I wanted the dress with the matching white patent-leather shoes. To provide me some consolation, my mother bought me a wedding gown for my Barbie doll. I'd dress Ken in his groom suit, with the jacket on backwards and with white construction paper for the clerical collar. Then, practicing what I learned from my friends, I'd have Barbie, in her bride dress, take Communion from Ken every morning before school.

Second, that year a friend on the school bus said to me, "You killed our Lord." "I did not," I responded with some indignation. Deicide would be the sort of thing I would have recalled. "Yes, you did," the girl insisted, "Our priest said so." Apparently, she had been taught that "the Jews" were responsible for the death of Jesus. Since I was the one one she knew, I must be guilty. But at the time I did not understand the reason for the charge or have the means to address it.

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