Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Bob Dylan Jewish Messiah?

"In 1978, a young graduate student traveling in India named Daniel Matt wrote to Gershom Scholem, the 80-year-old Professor of Jewish Mysticism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The letter discussed his experiences, his ambitious plans to translate the central text of Jewish mysticism, the Zohar, and, most of all, about Bob Dylan, who he hoped Scholem might appreciate.

Scholem replied: “Who was or is Robert Zimmerman, called Bob Dylan? Is he a Jew?" Good questions! Almost from the beginning of his career Bob Dylan nĂ© Zimmerman has had an odd, intense, divisive, often mysterious, relationship with Jews and Judaism. For some Jews (and Christians too) he has become a virtually messianic figure. In his new book, Bob Dylan: Prophet, Mystic, Poet, Seth Rogovoy portrays him as a kind of biblical prophet on the order of Isaiah or Jeremiah.

Ron Rosenbaum in The Jewish Review of Books gives it a once over.

An old Times story, Why Pope Tried to Stop Dylan Knockin' On Heaven's Door,  plays the cool JPII off against the rigid Ratzinger in recounting Bob Dylan's performance before JPII. JPII's homily is of special interest as he tries to connect with Dylan fans.
"At the concert in Bologna, attended by 300,000 people in 1997, Dylan – who was born into a Jewish family in Minnesota but later flirted with Christianity – sang Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door and A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall, his antiwar classic, with Forever Young as an encore.

He did not sing his 1963 hit Blowin’ in the Wind, but John Paul II – who was known for his showmanship and media skills – showed his familiarity with the song and based his homily on it in an effort to connect with the audience.

“You say the answer is blowing in the wind, my friend,” he said. “So it is: but it is not the wind that blows things away, it is the breath and life of the Holy Spirit, the voice that calls and says, Come!” This brought the house down. The Pope added: “You ask me how many roads a man must walk down before he becomes a man. I answer: there is only one road for man, and it is the road of Jesus Christ, who said, ‘I am the Way and the Life’.”

1 comment:

  1. "Ya gotta serve somebody, yes indeed, ya gotta serve somenbody. It may be the devil or it may be the Lord but you're gonna have to serve somebody."

    Real raw gospel lyrics in the late 1970s. Three albums worth hearing "Slow Train Comin'", then a less tidy album called simply "Saved" with some great black gospel choirs and moving ballads. What the heck was the third one?