Oberammergau Passion Play: Resources
Playgoers, scholars, and students are invited to explore this annotated multimedia collection of published material on the Oberammergau Passion Play from the past one hundred and twenty years.
Going to Oberammergau: Two rabbis talk about how Jews recently helped change Germany’s passion play
May 25, 2022
Joanne Palmer. Published by The Jewish Standard
In this article, Rabbi Noam Marans of AJC and Rabbi David Fine of Temple Israel speak on their personal experience seeing the Passion Play, and the evolution of the play through the years.
Oberammergau Passion Play enters a new era
May 9, 2022
Noam E. Marans, Peter A. Pettit. Published by Religious News Service
The RNS Op-Ed by Rabbi Noam Marans of AJC and Reverend Peter Pettit details the troubled history of the play, and the work done by director Christian Stückl in consort with an AJC convened working group to continue transforming the play.
Centuries-old passion play returns after pandemic break
May 8, 2022
Kirsten Greishaber, AP
In this AP article, Kirsten Greishaber interviews play director Christian Stückl and Rabbi Noam Marans of AJC regarding the delayed opening of the play due to Covid, the changes made to remove antisemetic tropes, and the diversification of the cast.
Oberammergau, Far Flung with Saleem Reshamwala
July 1, 2020
Saleem Reshamwala, Far Flung
In this TED podcast, Saleem Reshamwala interviews Rabbi Noam Marans of AJC and Christian Stückl, director of the play, about the history of the play, their collaboration in reforming it, and Stückl’s path from a childhood acting in the play to an adulthood as director, taking the play boldly in new directions.
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The passion play at Oberammergau
Joanne Palmer, Jewish Standard
February 13, 2020
In this article, Joanne Palmer interviews AJC Director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations Rabbi Noam Marans and Rabbi David Fine of Temple Israel and Jewish Community Center in Ridgewood about their experience working to remove antisemitism from the play and recent progress in that effort.
How the infamous Oberammergau Passion Play is evolving
November 21, 2019
Noam Marans, Religion News Service
In this op-ed, AJC Director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations Rabbi Noam Marans outlines both the troubled history of the play and the historic progress that AJC and other Jewish organizations have made in constructive collaboration with the play’s leadership.
AJC Convenes Academic Advisory Group
November 14, 2019
In this press release, AJC announced the convening of an Academic Advisory Group led by Rabbi Noam Marans, AJC’s Director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations, together with experts in Christian-Jewish relations, New Testament studies, German-Jewish relations, and the Oberammergau Passion Play. The group visited Oberammergau to discuss the (planned) 2020 production and review the script, costumes and set designs.
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Pharisees in the Passion Play of Oberammergau
May 7-9, 2019
Christian Stückl at “Jesus and the Pharisees” conference, hosted by Pontifical Biblical Institute and the Pontifical Gregorian University and co-sponsored by AJC
The Pontifical Biblical Institute and the Pontifical Gregorian University hosted a “Jesus and the Pharisees” conference on May 7-9, 2019, co-sponsored by AJC. Christian Stückl, Oberammergau’s director since 1990, delivered a speech on the history of Oberammergau, Jewish groups’ engagement, and evolutionary revisions to the play. In his presentation, Stückl describes AJC’s Rabbi Marc Tanenbaum and Rabbi James Rudin as leading figures who pushed for play revisions.
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“The Place of John in Christian-Jewish Relations Fifty Years after Nostra Aetate” in John and Judaism: A Contested Relationship in Context
October 23, 2017
Noam Marans. Edited by Alan Culpepper and Paul N. Anderson.SBL Press
Within a larger essay on reading the Gospel of John in a post-Nostra Aetate era, AJC’s Director of Intergroup Relations Rabbi Noam Marans writes about the 2010 Oberammergau revisions as an example of a more positive and conscious selection of New Testament texts. Oberammergau 2010 elevates Jesus’s Jewishness and thereby mitigates lingering anti-Jewish tropes within the play. One new signature scene involves Jesus lifting a Torah in front of his Jewish compatriots as those assembled on stage sing the Shema, the central Jewish prayer.
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Passionate Centrism: One Rabbi’s Judaism (pages 65-69)
October 3, 2016
David Fine. Published by United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
In Passionate Centrism, Rabbi David Fine, a member of AJC’s Oberammergau Academic Advisory Group, addresses the Jewish relationship with Christian scripture, and cites the 2010 version of Oberammergau as a working example of how Jews might learn to accept Christian texts. Fine acknowledges the importance of removing parts of the play that foster antisemitism. However, he writes, Christians must be given the same leeway with which Jews approach their sacred texts, which means acknowledging that they are legitimate for believers, even if not historically accurate. As such, Fine writes that, “Jews cannot be taken out of the story” of the Passion because they are integral to the Gospel account.
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Chapter 5: Caiaphas on Stage. Caiaphas The High Priest.
January 1, 2013
Adele Reinhartz. Published by Fortress Press
In the fifth chapter of Caiaphas the High Priest, Professor Adele Reinhartz, a member of AJC’s Oberammergau Advisory Group, discusses the depiction of Caiaphas in Oberammergau’s various iterations. Caiaphas is much more prominent in the Oberammergau script than he is in the Gospels, writes Reinhartz. Even in the reformed 2010 version of the play, which portrays Caiaphas’s difficult political position, Caiaphas’s determination to get rid of Jesus is portrayed as the ultimate reason Jesus is crucified.
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Even in the Shadow of the Shoah, We Can’t Hate Indiscriminately
February 21, 2013
Marc Keller is a young American Jew who participated in AJC-Germany Close Up’s trip to Germany in May of 2010 that focused, in part, on Oberammergau. While on the trip, Keller was struck by Germany’s explicit acknowledgment of its past through Holocaust memorials around the country, as well as young Germans’ openness to speaking about the atrocities. Despite the pain of the Holocaust, said Keller, Jews must not hate modern Germans blindly, because they are making an effort to learn about Judaism, build relationships with Jews, and acknowledge country’s history.
The Success of this Passion: Getting Particular and Becoming Universal
Rev. Dr. Peter A. Pettit, Sightings
September 23, 2010
Rev. Dr. Peter Pettit, a member of AJC’s Oberammergau Academic Advisory Group, participated in the Council of Centers of Jewish Christian Relations (CCJR) script review of the 2010 Oberammergau Passion Play. He then saw the play and wrote, “This notoriously anti-Jewish institution has been transformed under the current directors…. [The directors] have cleared the stage of the distractions of classical Christian anti-Jewish tropes by taking seriously the calling to portray a Jewish Jesus.”
Oberammergau Passion Play 'inter-religiously triumphant'
September 13, 2010
Leonard Swidler, National Catholic Reporter
In this review, Leonard Swidler proclaimed the 2010 performance of Oberammergau “inter-religiously triumphant.” Swidler is a professor of Catholic thought and Interreligious Dialogue, who worked with AJC and ADL on studying and recommending revisions to Oberammergau since 1980. In his view, the 2010 performance went above and beyond both in ridding the play of anti-Judaic elements and adding in positive portrayals of Judaism and Jewish characters.
Each year, a Bavarian village performs an antisemitic play about the life of Jesus. This year, there are changes. (Hebrew)
August 27, 2010
Ze’ev Avrahami, Haaretz
In an expansive Haaretz magazine piece, Ze’ev Avrahami highlights the integral role played by AJC’s Rabbis Gary Greenebaum and Noam Marans in combatting anti-Jewish tropes within Oberammergau as a vehicle of engagement in interfaith dialogue. Greenebaum and Marans accompanied the Archbishop of New York, Timothy Dolan, to see the play and discuss it with the play’s leaders. Afterwards, Greenebaum acknowledged the extensive progress of the play, but found certain remaining elements offensive, such as the depictions of the Jewish priests, and a scene where the Jewish mob called for Jesus's crucifixion. Still, Greenebaum and Marans expressed much appreciation for the changes director Christian Stückl had implemented, including adding transformational moments that highlight Jesus's Jewish identity.
Oberammergau Passion Play is a changing tradition
August 15, 2010
Lewis Segal, LA Times
The Oberammergau Passion Play of today does not look like its 20th century production, writes Lewis Segal. A new scene featuring Jesus in a prayer shawl, the clear Jewish identity of Jesus and his disciples, a sympathetic Judas, and Pilate’s increased power were some of the revisions that marked the 2010 performance. Ludwig Mödl, the play’s theological adviser, emphasized that these revisions were crucial in ensuring the play was no longer linked with antisemitism.
Jews should recognize when Christians change
August 9, 2010
Gary Greenebaum and Noam Marans, The Jewish Journal: Opinion
In this opinion piece, AJC’s Director and Associate Director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations, Rabbis Gary Greenebaum and Noam Marans, call on the Jewish community to acknowledge the “serious metamorphosis” of the Oberammergau Passion Play. The 1990 and onward revisions, say Greenebaum and Marans, are a testament to how contemporary Germans, including Christian Stückl and Otto Huber, are addressing Germany’s past. Even though the play should be reformed further, it no longer resembles the virulently antisemitic play it once was.
Two Rabbis, an Archbishop and the Oberammergau Passion Play
July 29, 2010
Archbishop Timothy Dolan, Archdiocese of New York
In this column published by the Archdiocese of New York, Archbishop Timothy Dolan reflects on his visit with AJC Rabbis Gary Greenebaum and Noam Marans to the 2010 Oberammergau Passion Play. After the performance, Dolan, Greenebaum, Marans, and others discussed the progress achieved, as well as the remaining problematic elements within the 2010 play. Dolan closed his article with a prayer for further Catholic-Jewish dialogue and friendship, saying, “God willing, what has been in the past a cause of acrimony between the children of Abraham can become now an occasion of deepening understanding and reverence.”
Germany’s Mega Passion Play Is Back, and Jews Are Watching
July 4, 2010
Niels Sorrells, Religious News Service, HUFFPOST
The Oberammergau Passion Play attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world, which is one of the reasons Jewish groups, such as AJC, have pushed to have anti-Jewish elements removed. Rabbi James Rudin, AJC’s senior interreligious adviser, called for further revisions of the 2010 script, stating that the play still has “a great potential to transmit toxic images.”
AJC, Archbishop Timothy Dolan to Visit Oberammergau Passion Play
June 28, 2010
On July 1st, 2010, Archbishop Timothy Dolan attended the Oberammergau Passion Play, with AJC’s Director and Associate Director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations, Rabbis Gary Greenebaum and Noam Marans. Dolan expressed gratitude for the opportunity to strengthen his ties with AJC and, in partnership, discuss the problematic elements of the play.
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Oberammergau’s Impact on Christian-Jewish Relations
June 14, 2010
Rabbi Noam Marans, The Jerusalem Post
In “Oberammergau’s Impact on Christian-Jewish Relations,” AJC Associate Director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations Rabbi Noam Marans praised the addition of a scene to the 2010 play where Jesus holds up a Torah facsimile and the crowd of Jews sings Shema Yisrael. Nonetheless, Marans wrote that the deicide charge against the Jews remained and must be revised for the good of Christian-Jewish relations. Finally, Marans discussed the importance of an AJC-Germany Close Up trip, which brought 15 American Jewish students to Germany, in advancing Christian-Jewish dialogue.
Oberammergau: It takes a village
June 3, 2010
Jennifer H. Svan, Stars and Stripes
Over the decades, the Oberammergau Passion Play has changed to reflect the times and appeal to new audiences. Still, according to Ludwig Mödl, the Oberammergau Passion play religious adviser, the message of the play remains the same throughout its varying renditions. Though he acknowledged some of the positive change, AJC’s Rabbi Marans remained critical of one scene in the 2010 performance, where Pilate offers to release Jesus, but the Jewish mob shouts for his death, leaving the impression that the whole of the Jewish community was responsible for Jesus’s death.
Oberammergau Still Needs Some Work
June 2, 2010
Rabbi Noam Marans, Forward: Published Letters
At the end of May of 2010, The Forward’s A.J. Goldman wrote an article titled, “New Kind of Passion in an Alpine Jerusalem,” which claimed that the 2010 version of Oberammergau was totally absent of antisemitic elements. He also quoted Otto Huber, who called the conversations between Oberammergau leadership and American Jewish groups a “dialogue between a policeman and a criminal.” In response to the article, AJC’s Associate Director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations, Rabbi Noam Marans, acknowledged the positive portrayal of Jesus in the new performance, but wrote that the deicide charge within the play still existed. Additionally, Marans described AJC-Germany Close Up’s trip to Germany earlier that month, where participants had the chance to engage in ongoing dialogue with the director of the play, Christian Stückl. Finally, Marans noted that Christians as well as Jews were protesting problematic elements of the play.
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In Oberammergau, a Passion Play for the Times
May 28, 2010
Sarah Breger, Wall Street Journal
For the first time in its history, Oberammergau’s 2010 production featured Jesus lighting a menorah, reading from the Torah, and wearing a kippah (Jewish head covering), writes Sarah Breger, who participated in AJC-Germany Close Up’s study of and visit to Oberammergau. As a result of these changes, AJC’s Rabbi Noam Marans described the Jesus of this play as a “reformist rabbi.” The new production also highlighted Jesus's rejection of religious institutions, something which resonated with Oberammergau residents following a recent sex scandal at the nearby monastery.
Oberammergau Passion Play better, but not good
May 25, 2010
Toby Axelrod, JTA
Through a joint AJC-Germany Close Up trip, Rabbi Noam Marans led a group of young American Jews to witness the Oberammergau Passion Play. In one scene in the play, the Jews on stage all screamed for Jesus's crucifixion, which Marans called “bone chilling.” However, much progress has been made with the play in its relationship to Jews. During intermission, for instance, the AJC group met with the actor who played Jesus, and during their stay in Oberammergau, the Jews stayed with local Christian families. Most importantly, the 2010 performance featured a new scene of all the Jewish characters on stage singing “Shema Yisrael,” which Marans called an “incredible moment in the history of the Oberammergau Passion Play.”
Passion Play continues to excite strong feelings
May 21, 2010
Lois Goldrich, The Jewish Standard
In May of 2010, Rabbi Noam Marans, AJC Associate Director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations, led a group of fifteen Jews to see the Oberammergau Passion Play. Before the performance, Marans facilitated dialogue between the Jewish group and German Catholics, which was especially important because Oberammergau is located in what was the stronghold of Nazi-Germany. The AJC group was likely the largest group of Jews ever to attend the play. According to Marans, the 2010 Oberammergau performance no longer contained blatant antisemitism. However, it was still not in line with the Catholic Church’s stance on Passion plays, which stressed that plays should show that Jesus died for the sins of humanity, and not focus on who should be blamed for his death.
Once-a-decade passion play opening
May 18, 2010
Melissa Eddy, Associated Press, San Diego Union Tribune
In this article, Christian Stückl, the director of Oberammergau, expressed the importance of emphasizing Jesus's Jewish identity in the play. Still, he acknowledged that because he must take the village’s desires into account, AJC might not be totally satisfied with the changes he made for the 2010 play. AJC’s Rabbi Noam Marans acknowledged the good intentions of Stückl but said that the play “falls short” in showing that Jews are not responsible for Jesus's death.
German Passion Play
May 16, 2010
Rabbi Noam Marans, The New York Times
In a “Letter to the Editor” in the New York Times, AJC Associate Director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations Rabbi Noam Marans wrote that the 2010 version of Oberammergau still promoted the deicide charge against the Jews, even though important changes had been made to the script.
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Interview with Rabbi Noam Marans: Thoughts on the Oberammergau Passion Play and Antisemitism (German)
May 12, 2010
Tobias Kuhn, Juedische Allgemeine Zeitung
Leading up to the 2010 performance of Oberammergau, the German-Jewish newspaper Juedische Allgemeine Zeitung conducted an interview with AJC Associate Director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations, Rabbi Noam Marans. In the interview, Marans spoke about why he was coming to see Oberammergau, the progress made in the 2010 version of the play, and what his expectations were for the young, mixed Jewish-Catholic group which would jointly view the performance and discuss its ramifications.
Ad Hoc Committee Report on the 2010 Oberammergau Passion Play Script
May 14, 2010
CCJR Ad Hoc Committee, Advisor, Rabbi A. James Rudin.
Before the 2010 performance of Oberammergau, the CCJR (Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations) examined the script of the play to see if it was in line with both historical and biblical research as well as Catholic doctrine. First, the committee named its positive impressions of the revised play, such as the diversity in opinion about Jesus within the Jewish community and the representation of Jesus as a practicing Jew. The committee then outlined its negative impressions, which included, among other issues, the golden calf tableau vivant and Caiaphas’s hatred of Jesus. Finally, the report offers recommendations for future iterations of the play. AJC, a CCJR Liaison Representative member, joined the initiative through the participation of its Senior Interreligious
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AJC to Bring Young U.S. Jews to Dialogue at Oberammergau Passion Play
May 3, 2010
For the 2010 performance of Oberammergau, AJC, in cooperation with Germany Close Up, brought a group of young Jews to Germany to engage with Germans in dialogue about the Passion Play and German-Jewish relations in general. AJC’s Rabbi Noam Marans, who led the trip, expressed disappointment at elements within the play that still did not align with Nostra Aetate theology.
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AJC, ADL: We have not approved 2010 production of Oberammergau Passion Play
February 18, 2010
Before the 2010 performance of Oberammergau, the Oberammergau website erroneously stated that AJC and ADL, the leading Jewish groups involved with the play, had ‘approved’ the 2010 production. AJC and ADL denied having done so and asked for the website to remove the organizations’ names from the website.
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Make Sure Oberammergau’s Passion Won’t Inflame
December 11, 2009
Rabbi Noam E. Marans, The Forward
In an op-ed in The Forward, AJC’s Associate Director of Interreligious Affairs Rabbi Noam Marans explained that to right the wrong of past Oberammergau performances, the 2010 edition must make it clear that Pilate, the Roman governor, (and not the Jewish leaders) was responsible for Jesus's death. Marans, along with other Jewish experts, met with the Oberammergau directors and the play’s religious adviser before the 2010 performance, to discuss changes that could make that clear in the play.
“Oberammergau: A Case Study of Passion Plays,” in Pondering the Passion: What’s at Stake for Christians and Jews?
October 22, 2004
James Rudin. Phillip Cunningham, ed. Published by Sheed and Ward.
In the book Pondering the Passion, which explores the Passion story in the context of Christian-Jewish relations, AJC’s Rabbi A. James Rudin contributed a chapter on the Oberammergau Passion Play, offering a history of the play. After World War II, AJC and ADL began the fight to remove the anti-Jewish elements within the play, which initially was unsuccessful. When Rudin saw the 1984 performance, he was horrified by the recitation of the blood curse from Matthew and the calls of the Jewish mob to crucify Jesus and wrote an article in the New York Times calling out the play for its antisemitism. Though important revisions were made for the 2000 performance, Rudin still found that the production contained anti-Jewish elements.
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Oberammergau: The Troubling Story of the World’s Most Famous Passion Play
June 12, 2001
James Shapiro, published by Vintage Books
James Shapiro’s “Oberammergau: The Troubling Story of the World’s Most Famous Passion Play” offers a comprehensive history of the play and revisions of Oberammergau’s script. The book details the fight by Jewish leaders, including AJC’s Rabbi A. James Rudin, to eliminate antisemitism within the play, and Oberammergau’s relationship with Nazism.
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Updating (and Retouching) an Old Passion Play
May 12, 2000
James Shapiro, The New York Times
In this New York Times article, Shapiro outlines the history of the Oberammergau Passion Play, and the fight of Jewish groups, beginning in the 1960s, to have the play reformed. Shapiro emphasizes the villagers’ attachment to maintaining traditional elements of the script, but acknowledges that in the past few decades, the town has responded to criticism of antisemitism within the text. Despite revisions, Jewish leaders remained concerned about the 2000 performance, with AJC’s Rabbi James Rudin stating, “They are still dealing with a flawed script.”
Valley Jews object to ASU trip to controversial play
December 3, 1999
Chris Garifo, Jewish News of Greater Phoenix
Arizona State University planned an alumni trip to Germany in 2000, which included an option to see Oberammergau. Jonathan Marshall, a supporter of the university, sent a letter to the ASU President asking for the play to be removed from the itinerary. AJC Director of Interreligious Affairs Rabbi A. James Rudin is quoted in the article saying that if the university was planning to go ahead with the trip, it should at least host an educational seminar on antisemitism within Passion plays and the history around Oberammergau.
Cooling the Passions Over a 17th-Century Play
December 27, 1998
Roger Cohen, The New York Times
In this New York Times article, Roger Cohen describes the town of Oberammergau, and the changes to the Oberammergau Passion Play so that it better fits with the town’s contemporary values. The article refers to a three-day conference that took place in the summer of 1998 between AJC, ADL, and Oberammergau town and play leadership. There, the directors of the play, Christian Stückl and Otto Huber, discussed changes they were making for the upcoming 2000 performance. Based on the conference, AJC’s Rabbi A. James Rudin stated that, “enormous progress has been made in putting an end to anti-Jewish stereotypes.”
Reforms coming to Oberammergau Passion Play
October 1, 1998
James Rudin, Religious News Service
Before the 2000 performance of Oberammergau, the town hosted a conference for Jewish experts and play leadership to discuss revisions of the play. Directors Christian Stückl and Otto Huber promised, among other things, to stress Jesus's Jewishness, portray a corrupt Pilate, and eliminate offensive costumes. “The major reforms promised for 2000 reflect the 30-year public campaign waged by the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, and other groups against the Oberammergau Passion Play’s egregious anti-Jewish elements,” wrote AJC’s Rabbi A. James Rudin.
Oberammergau Play: Still Anti-Semitic
May 26, 1984
Rabbi A. James Rudin, The New York Times
In a ground-breaking New York Times op-ed, written at the same Oberammergau hotel Adolf Hitler stayed at in 1934, AJC Director of Interreligious Affairs, Rabbi A. James Rudin, denounced the 1984 Passion play as “unmistakably antisemitic.” The new theological stance of the Church, as articulated in Nostra Aetate, had not been incorporated into the 1984 performance. He described how the Jews in the play continued to be portrayed as villains, the deicide charge had not been eliminated, and Moses was portrayed twice in the play, with horns. Rudin then called for a boycott of the 1990 play if changes were not made.
Religion: Once More Oberammergau
June 9, 1980
Since the Holocaust, the Oberammergau play has been criticized by Jews and Christians. Though Oberammergau could have mitigated issues within the play by replacing the current “Daisenberger script” with the older, less offensive, “Rosner script,” the town voted against changing the text in 1978.
Oberammergau Called Capital of Religious Antisemitism
June 5, 1980
Following the 1980 performance, Rabbi Marc H. Tanenbaum, AJC’s National Director of Interreligious Affairs, declared Oberammergau to be “the international capital...of some of the worst forms of demonic religious antisemitism in the world today.” Tanenbaum was especially appalled because he, along with an AJC mission, had met the mayor and other town officials, who had promised to rid the 1980 play of remaining antisemitic elements. Among other problems, Tanenbaum claimed the play still charged the Jewish people with deicide.
Oberammergau 1980 - Progress and Problems
November 8, 1979
Judith Herschopf Banki, AJC
Judith Herschopf Banki, AJC’s Assistant Director of Interreligious Affairs, wrote a line-by-line review of the Oberammergau 1980 script and contrasted it with the 1960 and 1970 scripts. The report refers to the 1977 AJC delegation to Oberammergau, which was the first dialogue between Jewish leadership and Oberammergau authorities, as well as the "The Passion of Jesus" symposium co-sponsored by the Bavarian Catholic Academy in Munich and AJC, where AJC’s Rabbi Marc H. Tanenbaum presented a paper on Oberammergau. Among other issues, the report criticizes the remaining play elements that showed a rejected Judaism in favor of Christianity, the collective guilt of the Jews for Jesus's death, and a compassionate Pilate. In its conclusion, the report states, “In short, revision of the Oberammergau drama has taken the form of substantial cutting, but not of essential rethinking. The traditional anti-Jewish polemic which shaped the original text has not been examined, nor have the insights of current biblical and extra-biblical scholarship been incorporated into the dynamics of the play.”
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The Role of the Passion Play in Fostering Antisemitism throughout History
December 6, 1978
Rabbi Marc H. Tanenbaum, AJC
On November 19, 1978, the Bavarian Catholic Academy and AJC co-sponsored a symposium entitled, “The Passion of Jesus as a Spiritual Drama.” Rabbi Marc H. Tannenbaum, AJC’s National Director of Interreligious Affairs, presented a paper on how Passion plays have historically fostered antisemitism. In particular, he spoke about the anti-Jewish elements that still existed within Oberammergau’s 1970 performance and called on the town to address the outstanding issues within the play.
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Oberammergau 1960 and 1970: A Study in Religious Antisemitism
Following the declaration of Nostra Aetate, Christians and Jews alike called for the Oberammergau Passion Play to remove anti-Jewish elements. Five years later, Oberammergau leadership claimed that the 1970 play was cleansed of its antisemitism. AJC, under Rabbi Marc Tanenbaum’s leadership, wrote a comparative analysis of the 1960 and 1970 script to assess whether the play had indeed been remedied.
Though the report found that certain anti-Jewish elements had been eliminated, such as a supersessionist tableau showcasing Jacob’s sons, most problematic elements remained unaltered in the new script. The analysis was submitted to German government authorities, church leaders, and others in the U.S. and abroad.
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A Rabbi’s Impression of the Oberammergau Passion Play
Rabbi Joseph Krauskopf, published by Rayner Publishers, in 1901.
Following the 1900 performance of the Oberammergau Passion Play, Joseph Krauskopf, the rabbi of Philadelphia’s Keneseth Israel congregation, wrote the first Jewish criticism of the play. His book, “A Rabbi’s Impression of the Oberammergau Passion Play,” is comprised of six lectures, which detail the plot of the play and explain the historical inaccuracies within. The book also includes three supplemental chapters on other Jewish-Christian topics.