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An Inspired Performance

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Jesus. By Edmond Fleg. E. P. Dutton and Co.

Entire libraries have been written in the course of the ages about Jesus, Son of God, the Redeemer of man, performer of miracles and the founder of a religion to which the greater portion of civilized mankind adheres.

Mr. Fleg has conceived the original idea of retelling the colorful story of Jesus’ ministry through the mouth of the Wandering Jew, that mythical creature who, because he deserted the Master at the last moment, was condemned to be an eternal wanderer upon th face of the earth, denied the boon of ultimate release—dath.

The author resorts to a quite simple device. He blows the breath of life into the nostrils of this mythical being and he becomes a living and breathing man, a man who has spanned the centuries and has lived through all the wanderings of his people during the two milleniums. He has been to Rome and Babylon, to Spain and Portugal, to France and Germany, has lived in the Polish ghetto, has experienced the Czaristic persecutions, has wandered to America and to the new Palestine. He has watched the human procession file by, the varied human processions, some bent on the path of wisdom, others bent on the road of folly and destruction.

It is out of this accumulated wisdom of the centuries and out of his intimate knowledge of all that has transpired all through those many ages that he speaks to Mr. Fleg.

In order to give the tale a truly living atmosphere of the time, Mr. Fleg has created an entire gallery of living people, who all participate in the pregnant and world-shaking events of those eventful days. There is the Wandering Jew himself, a helpless cripple from his birth; his Uncle Simeon, a sandalmaker, a level-headed Pharisee, well learned in the traditional lore, who smiles skeptically when neighbors bring him tidings of the miracles supposedly performed by Jesus and asks: “Were you present when these miracles were performed, or did you learn of them by hearsay?” There is his Aunt Sephora who is inclined to test the powers of the miracle-working rabbi, and there are the two sons, Baruch and Reuben, one inclined to follow the teachings of the Zealots and offer active resistance to the Romans, the other to join the Essenes and lead a life of retiring contemplation and withdrawal from the world.

As recounted by the supposed eye-witness, the Wandering Jew, the tale of a crucifixion unrolls before us in its true historic light —a sordid and brutal Roman execution in the true Roman tradition.

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