The great contrast to Lewis and Tolkien, in both his enthusiastic embrace of the occult and his extensive use of the trope of the Occult Jew, was their friend Charles Williams. Williams was a poet, a popular speaker on literature, the author of works on Christian theology and witchcraft, a religious dramatist, and an influential … Continue reading The Occult Jew, pt. 5
J. R. R. Tolkien’s famous essay “On Fairy Stories,” first delivered as a lecture in 1939, is a pioneering text in the definition of the fantasy genre. It is notable that Tolkien takes pains here to distinguish between what he means by fantasy literature, which displays the benevolent quality he calls “enchantment,” and another sort … Continue reading The Occult Jew, pt. 4
The late nineteenth century saw the emergence of a modern occult that featured its own mystifications of Jews. England’s preeminent occult society, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, was founded in the 1880s and known for its dramatic rituals, celebrity membership, and penchant for bitter schisms. Initiates of the order were required to learn … Continue reading The Occult Jew, pt. 3
The association of Jews with magic in the Western imagination dates back to the Middle Ages, and was very much bound up with anti-Jewish hostility and suspicion. Medieval and early modern Christians accused Jews of abducting, torturing, and using the blood of Christians, especially children, for their rituals (i.e., the blood libel); of stealing and … Continue reading The Occult Jew, pt. 2
As millions of readers know, the first book in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series turns on a search for the fabled Philosopher’s Stone. This artifact grants immortality and was created by the alchemist Nicholas Flamel, an old associate of Harry’s wizarding school headmaster, Albus Dumbledore. But unlike Harry, Dumbledore, and the other characters in … Continue reading The Occult Jew, pt. 1
The overproduction of golems I described back in 2017 in the pages of the Jewish Review of Books continues apace. I recently listened to an audiobook of Servants of War, the first volume in Larry Correia and Steve Diamond’s new military fantasy series. In this novel, golems and the Jews who make them (especially a … Continue reading Golems, an Update
Two Jewish fantasy novels, one set in an Eastern Europe of demons and death, the other a time travel romance in which a Tel Aviv hipster falls for a 13th-century Crusader. Read the full review at the Jewish Review of Books.
A few nights after I saw Tenet, the new Christopher Nolan movie, the rioters in Portland attacked the Oregon Historical Society building, near where I live and work. They caused thousands of dollars of damage and also demolished nearby statues of Teddy Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. I’ve been thinking about this in connection with the … Continue reading Christopher Nolan’s Tenet and the Tenets of Progressive Faith
Even in comparison with so many other contributions to American popular culture and entertainment, comic books are an especially Jewish story. But what kind of Jewishness? Read the full review at the Jewish Review of Books.
How Shakespeare’s fairy king is descended from Judah Maccabee. Read the essay at Mosaic.