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Author Topic: Is Superman Jewish? Is he Jesus?
bthyb
WiFi Christmas


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CNN article - Jesus Christ Superman

I hope this isn't a chow.

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If you say you love ice cream, you better be dreaming of an orgy with Ben, Jerry, and one fine-ass chunky monkey.

-- My sister and poet extraordinaire, Joanna Hoffman

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robbiev - singin' off key
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..."It's a misrecognition," said Amy Pedersen...

My thoughts exactly...and I'm a Christian. We (generally we) tend to see Jesus in everything. All we have to do it find some tiny similarity, and BOOM, there's the proof.

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Midgard_Dragon
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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Superman has been portrayed as a Christ-like figure in many incarnations (just listen to Marlon Brando's Jor-El speech from Superman: The Movie), but I don't think his official religion has ever been expanded on. If we were to look at religion-by-birth, he would be a Kryptonian-based religion, which would have nothing to do with Jesus or Jews. If we were to look at religion-by-upbringing, the Kents would most likely be some form of Christian. I don't think we could look at Superman as Jewish by any stretch of the imagination. My personal views on the subject have always been that Superman would never claim affiliation with any particular religion, and probably would hold more personal, non-organized-religion-influenced beliefs.

All that being said, I think the Superman as a metaphor for Christ thing has been played up intentionally, but I don't think it means that he has to be considered Christian, Jewish, or even as having any particular religion. For example, the Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is an allegory, but it's very easy to watch it as simply a fun, fantasy movie.

Superman in most incarnations is here to "save us", so comparisons to Christ, even when they aren't intentional, are inevitable.

Just one man's humble opinion, of course.

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Lainie
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quote:
Originally posted by Midgard_Dragon:
If we were to look at religion-by-upbringing, the Kents would most likely be some form of Christian.

Some people claim he's Methodist, based on his Midwest upbringing and there apparently being a lot of Methodists in the Midwest.

I can't speak for the Midwest as a whole, but Central Ohio is crawlin' with Methodists. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

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GenYus
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Superman can't be Jewish, no one would be able to perform the bris.

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IIRC, it wasn't the shoe bomber's loud prayers that sparked the takedown by the other passengers; it was that he was trying to light his shoe on fire. Very, very different. Canuckistan

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Lainie
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quote:
Originally posted by GenYus:
Superman can't be Jewish, no one would be able to perform the bris.

A mohel with a kryptonite-edge knife could.

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How homophobic do you have to be to have penguin gaydar? - Lewis Black

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Midgard_Dragon
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by Lainie:
quote:
Originally posted by Midgard_Dragon:
If we were to look at religion-by-upbringing, the Kents would most likely be some form of Christian.

Some people claim he's Methodist, based on his Midwest upbringing and there apparently being a lot of Methodists in the Midwest.

I can't speak for the Midwest as a whole, but Central Ohio is crawlin' with Methodists. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

*nods* That was the one I was thinking of. Couldn't remember the midwest's dominate denomination, but I knew I had heard it mentioned before.

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Mommytutu
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Hi. I'm a newbie and this is my first post. According to this website: http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/comic_book_religion.html

Superman is Methodist like Lainie said. Just wanted to help.

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abbubmah
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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The hero of popular movies is often christlike because, of course, the theme plays well:

ET - died and rose again
Luke Skywalker - the only "ONE" in tune with the Force against universal evil
The Matrix - too obvious
Many others.

I think today's society's "comparo-meter" is very sensitive in the religious awareness category.

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Fundamentally Unfundie since 1975

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snapdragonfly
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Well, actually, my mom told me that the creators of Superman (both Jewish) based the story loosely on the mythology of the Golem.

I checked it out on wiki, seems my mom, as always, is right.


"In comic book circles is it accepted that the two Jewish creators of the "Superman" comic, which was essentially the beginning of superhero comics and comic books, based their idea in part on the Golem of Prague."

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"Wolves, dragons and vampires, man. Draw the nut-bars like big ol' nut-bar magnets." ~evilrabbit

(snurched because one of my nutbar family members is all about wolves and another one is all about dragons...)(with apologies to surfcitydogdad)

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Midgard_Dragon
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by Miss_bea:
Hi. I'm a newbie and this is my first post. According to this website: http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/comic_book_religion.html

Superman is Methodist like Lainie said. Just wanted to help.

From that link -

quote:
Although possibly not "canonical" (i.e., officially established within the DC Universe), this notion has widespread support;
He was officialy brought up by Methodists, but I still doubt that meants we should assume Clark Kent is Methodist himself. After all, I was brought up by right-wing fanatics... [Wink]

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Grumpy
Deck the Malls


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Brainstorming out loud here, but...

What if there had been, say, a dozen "last sons of Krypton," and each of their rocketships landed on Earth in a different country. Then you'd have Methodist Superman, Muslim Superman, Buddhist Superman, dope-smoking San Francisco "Sunshine" Superman, etc. All co-existing in one big, crazy world.

Eh, it's probably been done.

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Midgard_Dragon
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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Well, depending on what source you use, there is sometimes more than one survivor of Krypton. That last son thing really doesn't apply anymore... Although most of them are probably still whatever Kryptonian religion.

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asnakeny
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quote:
Originally posted by snapdragonfly:
Well, actually, my mom told me that the creators of Superman (both Jewish) based the story loosely on the mythology of the Golem.

There are also obvious Superman-Moses parallels if you want to follow on this line.

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Max_Renn
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quote:
Originally posted by Lainie:
quote:
Originally posted by GenYus:
Superman can't be Jewish, no one would be able to perform the bris.

A mohel with a kryptonite-edge knife could.
A YOMANK twofer!

But seriously, folks. There's a terrific book called Men Of Tomorrow, about the origins and travails of the superhero comic book. One of the most bizarre passages talks about how Fredric Wertham (author of "Seduction Of The Innocent") had implied that another reason the comic books were a bad influence on children was that Superman was a Nazi:

"Superman has long been recognized as a symbol of violent race superiority. The television Superman, looking like a mixture of an operatic tenor withut his armor and an amateur athlete out of a health-magazine advertisement, does not only have 'superhuman powers,' but explicitly belongs to a 'super-race." (p. 274)

This interpretation enraged the comic book creators, of course, because the grand majority of them were Jewish (Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, Harry Donenfeld, Mort Weisinger, Jack Schiff, Alvin Schwartz, Jack Liebowitz and so on). Men who supported B'Nai Brith and Israel and had in many cases, fled persecution in Europe or even gone to fight in the war, and this nut was in effect calling them Nazis. To their minds the superheroes, Superman especially, were representations of themselves, striking back against such fascism:

"Theirs were the fantasies of real Jews, the daydreams of kids who'd been made to pay personally, by Russian pogroms and Irish fists, for their Jewishness."

The book is great, kind of the non-fiction version of "Kavalier & Clay."

Max "This is why Superman works alone" Renn

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Midgard_Dragon
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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I can see viewing Superman as racist, at one point in time. "Slap the Japs" was a common slogan on Superman covers during a certain war. But I don't think "Nazi" immediately springs to mind. It's not like those comics are particularly canon at this point in time, anyways.

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Dara bhur gCara
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quote:
Originally posted by Midgard_Dragon:
I can see viewing Superman as racist, at one point in time. "Slap the Japs" was a common slogan on Superman covers during a certain war. But I don't think "Nazi" immediately springs to mind. It's not like those comics are particularly canon at this point in time, anyways.

I don't think it's fair to criticise a US comic for taking the US' side in a war; moreover, slogans like 'slap a jap' or 'clout a Kraut' (which I just made up actually) would have been acceptable at the time.

The radio serial The adventures of Superman caused enormous controversy in 1947 by casting the Ku Klux Klan, then a much larger and more potent organisation than they are now, as villains, and I don't think it's enormously hyperbolic to say that that series of episodes effectively destroyed the Ku Klux Klan as a mass-membership organisation in the United States.

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Got me so down, I got me a headache, My heart is crammed in my cranium and it still knows how to pound


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diddy
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:

"Superman has long been recognized as a symbol of violent race superiority. The television Superman, looking like a mixture of an operatic tenor withut his armor and an amateur athlete out of a health-magazine advertisement, does not only have 'superhuman powers,' but explicitly belongs to a 'super-race." (p. 274)

All of which are irrelivent when you remember that superman was from another planet and such abilities were (if memory serves) very common and therefore isnt even human. Comparing him to us is comparing apples to oranges.

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Midgard_Dragon
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by Dara bhur gCara:
quote:
Originally posted by Midgard_Dragon:
I can see viewing Superman as racist, at one point in time. "Slap the Japs" was a common slogan on Superman covers during a certain war. But I don't think "Nazi" immediately springs to mind. It's not like those comics are particularly canon at this point in time, anyways.

I don't think it's fair to criticise a US comic for taking the US' side in a war; moreover, slogans like 'slap a jap' or 'clout a Kraut' (which I just made up actually) would have been acceptable at the time.

The radio serial The adventures of Superman caused enormous controversy in 1947 by casting the Ku Klux Klan, then a much larger and more potent organisation than they are now, as villains, and I don't think it's enormously hyperbolic to say that that series of episodes effectively destroyed the Ku Klux Klan as a mass-membership organisation in the United States.

They were common at the time, yes, I wouldn't say that makes them less racist.

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Dogwater
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...well, if his costume were any tighter, I guess you could see is he were Jewish... [fish]

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First of Two
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quote:
Originally posted by Grumpy:
Brainstorming out loud here, but...

What if there had been, say, a dozen "last sons of Krypton," and each of their rocketships landed on Earth in a different country. Then you'd have Methodist Superman, Muslim Superman, Buddhist Superman, dope-smoking San Francisco "Sunshine" Superman, etc. All co-existing in one big, crazy world.

Eh, it's probably been done.

I don't think there's ever been a "multiple supermen" story, but there was an Elseworld 3-book series where baby Kal-El lands in the Ukraine instead of Kansas... Superman: Red Son

And also one with an Amish Superman who doesn't get involved (that's a spoiler, curse me!) in JLA: The Nail

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