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The Bavarian village of Oberammergau has staged the trial, crucifixion, and resurrection of Christ nearly every decade since 1634. Each production of the Passion Play attracts hundreds of thousands, many drawn by the spiritual benefits it promises. Yet Hitler called it a convincing portrayal of the menace of Jewry, and in 1970 a group of international luminaries boycotted the play for its anti-Semitism. As the production for the year 2000 drew near, James Shapiro was there to document the newest wave of obstacles that faced the determined Bavarian villagers. Erudite and judicious, Oberammergau is a fascinating and important look at the unpredictable and sometimes tragic relationship between art and society, belief and tolerance, religion and politics.
“Compelling....Even-handed....Shapiro exposes the basic human desire to rewrite the past."–San Francisco Sunday Examiner & Chronicle
"An obsessively readable treatment of this vexed subject. The drama serves as such a perfect metaphor for the anguished and complex problem of Christian and anti-Semitism. Shapiro speaks with scholar's authority, but with none of the obfuscation that such scholarship often entails. He shed the most welcome light on this dark and murky terrain."--Mary Gordon, author of Final Payments