The Wandering Jew
This essay examines the interaction between the myth of the Wandering Jew, diaspora history and the notion of cosmopolitanism. This is a paradoxical synthesis that points in several directions: towards the ideals embedded in international education; towards the roots of anti-Semitism; in the direction of the notion of cosmopolitanism as a crime against the nation (something that Hitler, Stalin and Henry Ford agreed upon). The figure of the Wandering Jew has roots in history and myth and is a presence in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The figure wanders through history as an emblem of a cursed outcast, the possessor of arcane secrets, and a sophisticated global flâneur. The essay explores Biblical, literary, and historical sources with further reference to memoirs including Edmund de Waal’s The Hare with Amber Eyes.
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