Muslim to be Vice Director for Bavarian Oberammergau Play

This, I confess is a little strange. Perhaps I am missing something, but what can a Muslim, denying the divinity of Christ, as Muslims do, add to something that has inspired Christians the world over for centuries?.

 from: http://eponymousflower.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08
An Oberammergau for Nathan the Wise?
Edit: Lessing’s Play, “Nathan the Wise”, is a bit of syncretistic fantasizing where a Jewish wise man attempts to bridge the gap between Judaism, Christianity and Islam with the help of “wise” Saladin and a helpful Templar. The play sounds a lot like the mediocre film, “Kingdom of Heaven” by Ridley Scott.

Oberammergau Play in 1900

(Munich) At a time when the religious arbitrariness that somehow rhymes with all sorts of isms and ultimately especially with agnosticism and atheism, a Muslim can also be director of the Oberammergau Passion Play. At least second director. For now. That the passion plays depict the crucial five days in the earthly life of Jesus Christ with his saving work for humanity, which a Muslim does not believe, it does not matter. Because if the new director of Oberammergau, the Turk Kenan Abdullah Karaca, does not bring faith, he brings professionalism, and that after all is what matters. Especially since it’s more about culture, theater and entertainment than religion.

Artful reasons for the replacement are not lacking. Strengthening internationality is only one. Players are supposed to be from Oberammergau, which goes back to an old injunction, only locals, and finally, Karaca is a native of Oberammergau, so a local. That a native only recently in Bavaria that has a Turkish passport would then still require explanation, but on “such topics” it is indeed better “not to talk too much.” And after all, Wulff and Merkel have said that Islam “belongs to Germany.”

Whoever is a Bavarian and Christian, is for us to decide

And anyway “No way”, say the majority of the city council of Oberammergau. Where would we be then: Who is a resident and who is a Christian, is for us to decide. And we say that the Turk and Muslim Karaca is a Bavarian and a Christian … or at least a half … or maybe three-quarters, or … Aba Sakradi and übahaupt was ma wäidofffa, which means: now and ever we are open-minded. Promise of 1633 or not, since 1990, we have indeed had a Weiberleid (women) under 35 in the play and even Lutherans (Protestants). And just now, Hamma, who is also a Muslim. If that isn’t modern.

One can safely assume that Christian Stückl, since 1990, the first director, appointed Karaca precisely because he is Muslim. Abdullah Kenan Karaca has studied directing anyhow and is “proud” of his appointment. Stückl knows him from the Munich Volkstheater. According to the unwritten laws of the culture industry, one has to make a name for themselves, no matter what the cost. Provocations have cult status – at least somehow to stay on cult theme, when thus something quite different is meant. Not all have seen it that way in the council. The vote went from 13 to 5 votes, but “enlightened reason” has triumphed.

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing knew already 236 years ago

That’s right, Gotthold is pleased with the appointment. Gotthold Ephraim Lessing indeed already knew 236 years ago, that all religions are equal, in other words these at best are not to be spoken of except insofar as they serve the state to maintain law and order.

Passion plays represent the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ with a Muslim as (vice) director, that’s the arbitrary relativism and especially the perfect expression of a politically invoked “welcoming culture”. Everything as usual. The message seems pretty clear.

“Soon in deepest Bavaria a determined young Turk will participate in the fortunes of a deeply religious, Christian tradition: for the first time in 380 years, a Muslim will be part of the management team of the Oberammergau Passion Play. Salam Aleikum under wooden cross,” exulted numerous media, in this case the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation, (the Austrians are still related to the Bavarians.)

Public criticism? “But the issue is too sensitive”

The ORF also provided further illumination: “There are public criticisms of Oberammergau, but the issue is too sensitive.” What can be sensitive: The Passion Play, or the fact that Karaca is a Muslim and foreigner? Anyway, the recent Oberammergau decision has a lot to do with modern prohibitions on thinking, which increasingly take hold in the freest country and the freest society on German soil.

The texts of the Passion Play are still being “touched up”. The text of the 42nd edition in 2020 is going to be “revised.” Who knows, maybe the Christian Passion Drama will even end with Lessing’s idea drama of Nathan the Wise.

Text: Martha Weinzl
Image: Wikicommons
Trans: Tancred vekron99@hotmail.com
Link to Katholisches….
AMDG

About Gertrude

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21 Responses to Muslim to be Vice Director for Bavarian Oberammergau Play

  1. “(I)t’s more about culture, theater and entertainment than religion.” Well, yes. But it’s also about political correctness. Of course, I’m sure there are Moslems ready to reciprocate in some way.

  2. Catherine Geldart says:

    But better a Muslim than an apostate! I agree, a very arch attempt at “political correctness’. Still give thanks it wasn’t an atheist!

  3. toadspittle says:

    Is it necessary to be a Communist to stage Brecht?
    To be an anti-Semite to direct ‘The Merchant of Venice’?
    To be a Nazi to produce The Ring Cycle?

    “…the fact that Karaca is a Muslim and foreigner?” A foreigner? Why should we let “foreigners” direct plays in Germany at all? Wouldn’t have happened in 1938, would it?.
    Why should we, for example, allow Woody Allen to make films in England? Hadn’t we better send these people “home,” where they belong?
    “…the recent Oberammergau decision has a lot to do with modern prohibitions on thinking,”
    What mindless nonsense. How can anyone prohibit “thinking”? Hasn’t stopped someone on CP&S “thinking” it’s all right to run this variety of vitriol, anyway – has it?

    What a shameful post.

  4. Tom Fisher says:

    the Turk Kenan Abdullah Karaca

    He’s German.

  5. Tom Fisher says:

    What a shameful post.

    Not entirely Toad; he’s a very young man (born in ’89). At least this post may draw (a tiny bit) more (and much deserved) attention to his work. Let’s hope the production goes well. The xenophobic silliness is just par for the course

  6. toadspittle says:

    “Kenan Abdullah Karaca” -What kind of name is that? German? Come on Tom – How can that be? Any more than someone named Patrick O’Gara can be an Englishman? Just because he, and his father before him, was born there.
    Deport him back to Ireland, where he’s never set foot before in his life.
    Bloody foreigner. Taking jobs away from decent English Protestants – just because he’s prepared to work for starvation wages..

  7. GC says:

    Tom Fisher says:
    August 20, 2015 at 08:33

    The xenophobic silliness is just par for the course

    Agreed, Mr Fisher, they are hopelessly non-PC. Probably homophobic too and anti-love, I dare say. Either that or just self-loathing potential same-sex partners. Absolutely woeful. There should be a law against it.

  8. toadspittle says:

    “There should be a law against it.”
    Almost certainly is, GC. Won’t apply to Catholics, though. Heartening, though unsurprising, to see you displaying your usual compassion for self-loathing potential same-sex partners. We all have our little crosses to bear, don’t we? And so it behoves* us to be tolerant of the foibles of others.
    …My little cross is your petulant refusal to call me Mr Toad.
    (But seriously, are you feeling all right? Your comments get nastier and more bitter by the month. Is there a reason? Health perhaps? I will light a candle, anyway. Can’t hurt.)

    *Lovely word! Swedish, possibly?

  9. Tom Fisher says:

    Agreed, Mr Fisher, they are hopelessly non-PC. Probably homophobic too and anti-love, I dare say. Either that or just self-loathing potential same-sex partners. Absolutely woeful. There should be a law against it.

    What an odd little rant, have a cup of tea

  10. The Raven says:

    Well, Toad, Tom, I guess that your irony meters are not in working order today, with regard to GC’s comment.

    As for your comments about the article, I’m not wholly sure that the very odd “translation” (I suspect that Google should really be the credited party) is a wholly idiomatic rendering of whatever it is that the author originally intended to say, but I’ll agree that I find the discussion of the gentleman’s nationality decidedly odd.

    Having said that, Obaammagau has always been rather more than just a secular entertainment (like a performance of Brecht would be), the passion play there is more like the Bacchic performances of the plays of Aeschylus or even Aristophanes; the performance and watching of the play was intended as a devotional activity, which makes the appointment of a Mahometan as Vice Director rather odd (although, since a Church Council of minor importance in the twentieth century, we have numbered Mahometans among the ranks of the heretics and not the idolaters, I don’t see it as more inexplicable to have a Mahometan act as director than any other flavour of protestant).

    The point that the article is really getting at (assuming that I have deciphered it correctly) is that the appointment of this gentleman rather undermines the devotional aspects of the Obaammagau play, instead rendering it into just another tourist-trap theatrical production (a little like the West End plays that Japanese tourists get hurded through, a different party occupying the same seats for different acts (if you are lucky), so that they can say that they’ve seen a West End play).

  11. johnhenrycn says:

    The Raven: I agree that “the performance and watching of the play was intended as a devotional activity”. Much like Handel’s Messiah. As for this bench warming second director being a Mussulman (SpellCheck suggests Muscleman, but I’m Old School like you) it all seems rather ho-hum. How many famous Jews have conducted the Messiah? Mahler, Ormandy, Previn, Solti, Bernstein?

  12. johnhenrycn says:

    …or even Bernstein, come to think of it.

  13. Tom Fisher says:

    I guess that your irony meters are not in working order today, with regard to GC’s comment

    Guilty as charged. I was irritated by perceived sarcasm, but fair call – as we say down here.

    The point that the article is really getting at (assuming that I have deciphered it correctly) is that the appointment of this gentleman rather undermines the devotional aspects of the Obaammagau play, instead rendering it into just another tourist-trap theatrical production

    We’re not asking him to design a Catholic Cathedral from scratch; just to use his professional skills to ensure the scaffolding is sound, and the stonemasons know where to be and when.
    My (admittedly limited) research leads me to believe that he is a talented young man of goodwill.
    The play is devotional in its very essence — a vice director (of goodwill) needn’t undermine that anymore than a Hindu carpenter building the stage would.

    How many famous Jews have conducted the Messiah?

    Exactly JH, well put.

    Mussulman

    I don’t have a dog in this hunt, I generally write muslim but I know some people prefer Moslem, Mahometan, mohammedan, muhammedan, etc. etc. I guess the question is which is the best rendering of the Arabic, darned if I know!

  14. toadspittle says:

    “The point that the article is really getting at (assuming that I have deciphered it correctly) is that the appointment of this gentleman rather undermines the devotional aspects of the Oberammergau play,”
    Well, Raven, my deciphering is – that the job should have gone to a nice, proper, white, German Catholic with a name like Schicklgruber – not some ghastly, foreign, self-loathing, dusky, Muslim (who’s probably gay) – and it’s yet another stench in the nostrils of Western civilisation that it didn’t.
    And my deciphering of that sentiment is – that it’s nasty, vicious and racist. And predictable.
    But my deciphering might be wrong. Often is.

  15. johnhenrycn says:

    Hi, Tom: when I first began commenting on blogs in February 2009, being a rather strident new arrival, I never (for a few years) used the term muslim, let alone Muslim, when commenting on blogs, preferring instead to make my ‘point’ clear with the archaic Mussulman. I don’t think I was ever so bold as to use Mahometan, as does our friend😉 but over the ensuing years, I’ve come to accept the word Muslim and now eschew all non-PC variants, because it doesn’t cost me anything to be polite when referring to individuals who espouse that religion, however awful I think it to be.

  16. johnhenrycn says:

    Paddy says the Oberammergau production should have gone to a German Catholic. Was Richard Wagner a Catholic?

  17. The Raven says:

    Well, JH, I stick with Mahometans for a number of reasons:
    • they are followers of Mahomet;
    • I have never sought to tell a Mahometan of Arabic or Sub-continental origin to stop calling Our Lord “Isas” and call Him “Jesus” instead in their own languages;
    • or, for that matter, tried to stop them from referring to is as “Nasranis” in their own languages (which is a deliberate refusal to acknowledge Our Lord as the Christ)
    • why should I accept their dictation that I trade in my good, English translation of the gentleman’s name “Mahomet” for the ugly transliteration of the Arabic “Muhammad”?
    Most of the PC outrage on this point is simply nonsensical: I have known people get upset over the word “Mussulman” (which is an anglicisation of the word that the Turks use to refer to themselves in their own language) or get irate about the use of the spelling “Moslem”, insisting on the ugly transliteration “Muslim”.


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  18. johnhenrycn says:

    TR says: “Most of the PC outrage on this point is simply nonsensical…”

    True dat. I like the Gunga Din poem. Have never dared recite it here since Mr Kehoe arrived.

  19. toadspittle says:

    Muslims in Spain are Musulmanes. Whether they like it or not.
    No, JH – I don’t want necessarily want a Catholic for the Passion Play job. If the designation is Assistant Director, I’d like it to go to the best qualified available one.
    Regardless of whether he (or she) is, let’s say, Catholic, Musulman, Methodist, or Mormon. Whether or not that happened in this case, I don’t know.
    Nice to think it did, though.
    If that’s being PC – well, I suppose I must be. For once.

  20. Tom Fisher says:

    I have never sought to tell a Mahometan of Arabic or Sub-continental origin to stop calling Our Lord “Isas” and call Him “Jesus” instead in their own languages;

    Raven, in Wellington, I have helped an Arabic speaking Christian man learn conversational English. Can you guess what his word for ‘God’ is?

  21. The Raven says:

    I have helped an Arabic speaking Christian man learn conversational English. Can you guess what his word for ‘God’ is?

    Would “Allah” be a stretch too far?

    I seem to recall the authorities in GC’s neck of the woods having difficulties around that usage.

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