Exhuming Bob 15: Dylan’s Jesus Years Re-examined

November 20, 2008

 

Exhuming Bob 15:

Dylan’s Jesus Years Reexamined

by

R.E. Prindle

https://idynamo.wordpress.com/2008/11/17/exhuming-bob-14-the-law-and-bob-dylan/

https://idynamo.wordpress.com/2008/10/19/exhuming-bob-13-fit-5-bob-as-messiah/

http://www.forward.com/articles/14574

     Stephen Hazan Arnoff has broached an interesting possiblity in his Jewish Forward article cited above.  He implies that Dylan is a ‘messianic’ Jew in conspiracy with Mitch Glaser and Al Kasha of Jews For Jesus to promote Jesusism as a sect within the Jewish faith.  I think there is some evidence to support this contention.

     First let us review the nature of Jesus and relationship to the Judaic faith at the transition from the Arien to the Piscean Age.  So far as I know there are no authentic third party references to the Jesus hubbub in Israel.  Whatever happened in Israel regarding Jesus was beneath the notice of the outside world.  Thus the only accounts we have of the historical Jesus are the accounts of the various gospels.  These while hagiographic appear to be eyewitness accounts.

     Jesus opposed himself to the Pharasaic establishment.  Because of this the Sanhedrin had the Romans arrest and execute him.  Yes, I know the Jewish version imposed on the world denies this fact as reported by the eyewitnesses but as the story becomes meaningless outside the context I’m going to stick to the ‘official’ story.

     With Jesus removed from the scene the Jesus sect within Judaism flourished nevertheless.  The Pharasaic establishment persecuted the Jesusites onto death.  Often referred to as Jewish Christians this is a misnomer.  The Jesusites didn’t become Christians until after Paul combined Jesusism with the Greek Kyrios Christos cult and the ‘savior’ became Jesus the Christ combining Greek and Jewish influences.  That is, he was the Messiah, the Mahdi, the Awaited One.

     Jesus the Christ then expanded out of Judaism and the very last in Judaism became the first in the world.  The Jews because of the Jewish heretic, Jesus, then made Christians their enemies both within and without the faith.  One might compare Jesus to Judaism as Luther to Catholicism.

     The Jesus sect has always existed within Judaism.  Then sometime in the seventies of the last century Mitch Glaser and Al Kasha formed the sect Jews For Jesus and began to proselytize.  Initially Glaser was in San Francisco and Kasha was in LA where Dylan ran into him.

 2,

     Now, the question of Dylan’s interest in Jesus arises.  Dylan, I believe, has the emotional problem where he must be in rebellion against whatever.  Whatya got? As Marlon Brando intoned. Also the movie Rebel Without A Cause was Dylan’s favorite.  Thus, while he was indoctrinated by Rebbe Reuben Meier, a Lubavitcher, which is to say Ultra-Orthodox and reared by a father and mother of the same persuasion he was in rebellion against those authorities.  There can be no question that Dylan was reared as a Jew of the Jews and accepted the role.  When Jews For Jesus came into existence Dylan may have found the vehicle for his rebellion against his Orthodox upbringing.  Nothing could be more rebellious to the Orthodox Lubavitchers than turning to the arch Jewish heritic, Jesus of Nazareth.  Forget this Christian stuff; Dylan was never a sincere Christian.  As a Jew of the Jews there was no way he could have been.

     Now, it appears that he took up with Al Kasha in LA before he turned up at the Vineyard Fellowship.  Dylan was very close to Kasha not only living in his house, old habits are hard to break, but he was given a key to it.  He composed many of his religious songs on Kasha’s piano.  There is no flirtation with Christianity here.

     There must therefore be an ulterior motive in his exploitation of the Vineyard Fellowship.

     Let’s follow the sequence of events.

3.

     Having written and recorded Slow Train Coming Dylan the decided to introduce his new persona and songs in the city of San Francisco.  Why SF?  Los Angeles has the largest concentration of Jews in any one city in the world.  Why not there?  Perhaps because SF also with a very large Jewish population was the Rock mecca of the world.

     Now, an interesting thing happens.  Dylan already has a close association with Jews For Jesus.  Having been a house guest of Kasha while udoubtedly becoming a convert to Jews For Jesus it seems improbable that Mitch Glaser hadn’t also spent some time with Dylan at Kasha’s place in LA.  What could be more natural?

     Well, gosh, now we go through a charade where Jews For jesus ask if they could proselytize outside the Warwick burlesque house where Dylan was playing.  No answer.  Then someone ostensibly from Dylan’s organization calls and says Dylan’s amenable.  Well, Glaser’s no fool, he and the other Js for J  get their heads together and determine to ask for passes as proof.  If those are at the window they’ll know Dylan is sincere.

     What’s going on here?  Obviously this had been planned for months.  Dylan is a Jew For Jesus, he knew Glaser pretty well.  So why the mysterioso act?  Possibly because Dylan wanted to dupe the real Christians, however many of these might have attended his shows, while allowing the Js for J intruders access to any obvious Jews attending for proselytization purposes.  Dylan had a very large following amongst the Jews so a very large proportion of the audience would be Jews.  Sort of making it easy for them to crack that hard nut.

     As Arnoff says of the Js for J:

     (The Jews For Jesus were) almost universally regarded by non-messianic Jews as being beyond the margins of organized Jewish life.

     Hence they are outside the Law of the Talmud.  Thus we have the meaning of Arnoff’s title: Jesus, Bob: To Live Outside The Law You Must Be Honest.  Dylan was now both outside the Law and dishonest in Arnoff’s mind at least.  A marked man.

     However, confusion here, not long after:

     Dylan submitted fully to the Law that provides a singular answer to plow through the doubt, paradox, hurt and unbelief…

     What more do you need?  By that Arnoff means that Dylan submitted to a course in re-indoctrination from Orthodix Lubavitcher Rebbes.  If you believe that there’s a bridge that isn’t too far called Brooklyn with your name on it:  Fool.  Arnoff should think this through twice.  It’s not alright.

     The Beatles were bigger than Jesus and Bob Dylan undoubtedly thinks he’s bigger than Judaism.  At least as a Messiah in the Jesus mold.

4.

     So, Joel Gilbert went to a lot of trouble and expense to produce his four hour movie:  Rolling Thunder And The Gospel Years.  Note: Gospel Years rather than Christian years.  In the hopes of spreading his message and failing that, getting his money back Gilbert has separated The Gospel Years from Rolling Thunder and renamed it Inside Bob Dylan’s Jesus years: Busy Being Born…Again!  Still no mention of Christianity.

     Arnoff is nearly beside himself that anyone would promote such a film.  Of course as Dylan said in his song Motorcycle Nightmare:  If it hadn’t been for freedom of speech I would have wound up in the swamp.  Thank G-d for small favors hey?  I don’t know why it isn’t proper to spell God out since he doesn’t exist but that’s the way these people do it, so me too.  But hang on tight.  Arnoff:

     Gilbert’s mere desire may have been to find an audience for his work, but placement of the event by Glaser’s group, as well as messianic Congregation (Jews For jesus) Sha’ar Adonai at The Society For Ethical Culture- founded as a nonsectarian movement by the humanist Jew Felix Adler- added an element of irony to the insult of a messianic soft sell throughout.

     Imagine a nonsectarian humanist Jews of you will.  A contradiction in terms if I’ve ever seen one.  Mr. Arnoff somehow sees himself as nonsectarian while being aghast at the idea of outlaw messianic Jews being allowed to use this ‘nonsectarian’ facility.  As he says the insult of a messianic soft sell.  Freedom of speech.  Right.

     So, what about it?  Was Dylan brought back within the Law as Mr. Arnoff says or is he still a messianic Jewish outlaw?

Well…he may look like Robert Ford

But he feels just like Jesse James.

Addendum:  As a sort of addendum Dylan’s words at the election night bash at U. Minnesota should be looked at more closely.

Now, I was born in 1941.  That was the year they bombed Pearl Harbor.  I’ve been living in a world of darkness ever since.  But it looks like things are going to change now.

     What can that mean?  The first two sentences set the scene for the last two.

     ‘I’ve been living in darkness ever since (I was born in 1941.)  Does that mean that Dylan thinks Pearl Harbor made the world dark for everyone or does it just mean that Dylan has been denied the light personally ever since the day he was born?

     Such a state of things would seem impossible.  Born on 5/24/41, Pearl Harbor was bombed on 12/7/41.  So Dylan wouldn’t have been aware of that until say 1946 or 1947-48.  So, the bombing of Pearl Harbor is related to the bombing or darkening of Dylan’s psyche. He believes himself mentally affected since birth.

     ‘But it looks like things are going to change now.’  Alright.  The change or lifting of his personal darkness is related to Barry Obama.  Dylan’s too realistic to believe any politician is going to change anything, so what does he have to look forward to to brighten his outlook?

     In his vanity he considers himself a ‘great’ poet.  Indeed Christopher Ricks compares him to Shakespeare and Milton.  Dylan introduces himself at his concerts as ‘The Poet-Laureate of Rock And Roll.  (Snicker, snicker.)

     In Chronicles Vol. I in his discussion of the Poet Laureate of the United States he seems to show some interest in succeeding Archibald McLeish in that role.

     The idea had already occurred to me that it might happen but I read on the web recently a suggestion that Barry make Dylan the Poet Laureate of the United States.  It would cheapen the title but perhaps the deal was a Poet Laureateship for an Endorsement.  Cheap enough for Barry while the appointment would apparently lift Dylan’s inspissated gloom.

     Ain’t life too strange for words?

    

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