Britain's first book blogger (November 2000). This Space is now a major motion picture, or something.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Spectral Jew

In the TLS, Gabriel Josipovici begins his review of Steven F. Kruger's The Spectral Jew by discussing Pietro Lorenzetti's painting The Last Supper.
A closer look brings a shock to our liberal sensibilities: we may be happy to go along with the abstractions described so far, but baulk, perhaps, at certain aspects of the medieval imagination. For what is this dishcloth with which the scullion is wiping the plate? It is nothing other than the tallith, the Jewish ritual shawl. This domestic kitchen, then, with its cosy cat and dog, is the stinking physical world of the Old Testament, for St Bonaventure tells us that those who want real flesh as opposed to the spiritualized flesh of the Lamb of God are dogs who must be excluded from the Eucharistic banquet. This is strong stuff to emanate from so noble a painting, but it is indubitably there. Or is it – quite?
US readers should also be aware that, next week, Josipovici's exceptional novel Goldberg: Variations is published over there by Harper Perennial. You can read my review here.

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