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Sunday, December 04, 2005

Bible P*rn

Update: I bleeped the title because apparently, the P-word is causing my blog to be blocked by some of my most loyal readers' workplaces. Not, of course, that I condone reading my blog on company time.

This is just a really weird story:
A German Protestant youth group has put together a 2006 calendar with 12 staged photos depicting erotic scenes from the Bible, including a bare-breasted Delilah cutting Samson's hair and a nude Eve offering an apple.
I would understand this being put out by a publishing company looking for a new gimmick to sell calendars - who isn't looking for a new gimmick these days? But apparently, this calendar is being published under the auspices of the Protestant church.
Bernd Grasser, pastor of the church in Nuremberg where the calendar is being sold, was enthusiastic about the project...

"It's just wonderful when teenagers commit themselves with their hair and their skin to the bible," he said.
The group behind the venture professes that pure motivations are behind it:
Anne Rohmer, 21, poses on a doorstep in garters and stockings as the prostitute Rahab, who is mentioned in both New and Old Testaments. "We wanted to represent the Bible in a different way and to interest young people," she told Reuters.
My question is, why stop at soft-core pornography? I mean, we should be trying everything to "interest young people" who are less than excited about religion, right? Maybe we should start handing out joints and quaaludes at the entrance to the local shuls. That should pull 'em in.

38 Comments:

Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

How is this different than Renaissance art? It's all naked people, angels, and naked angels...

2:28 PM  
Blogger Mirty said...

Um, Steg, those are photos of real people, not paintings. I'm not a prude, but IMHO, that ain't art. (But is it all subjective anyway? The definition of porn being "I know it when I see it"?)

2:32 PM  
Blogger Mirty said...

I think OM gets a nod for "Best Post Title of the Day"

2:33 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

How is this different than Renaissance art? It's all naked people, angels, and naked angels...

Steg, I have to agree with Mirty on this one. Did you check out the pics in the link? A bit too much like soft porn to me.

2:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Maybe we should start handing out joints and quaaludes at the entrance to the local shuls."

ROFLMAO.

2:51 PM  
Anonymous Fox said...

This *is* a little over the top, but there's definitely plenty of racy stuff, Biblically-speaking.

My daughters attend a Bais Yaakov, and I'm always having to suppress a smirk when they recount the whitewashed versions they've been taught. Of course, I'm glad *I'm* not the one trying explain concepts such as rape and adultery to fourth graders, LOL!

2:56 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Noooooo!

I wasn't saying "hey this is art it's all good", i was saying that it's nothing new — Rennaisance Art is also too porn-like for my tastes, and this calendar is just following in that same European Christian tradition.

3:31 PM  
Blogger Jewish Atheist said...

Better they depict the sexuality than the violence.

3:49 PM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

Steg,

Some Renaissance Art is really the height of beauty, despite (or perhaps because of? chas ve-scholem) its displays of the human nude.

"Pornography", on the other hand, is the displaying of humans (usually women) as victims for the viewer to "use".

8:25 PM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

Maybe we should start handing out joints and quaaludes at the entrance to the local shuls. That should pull 'em in.

Um, I've heard that at certain Carlebach Minyanim....

(It's not for nothing that I'm a hardcore misnaggeid.)

8:26 PM  
Anonymous charliehall said...

This is far from the worst thing that German Christians have done! After all, there *is* a lot of sex in the Bible. I wouldn't produce such a calendar, but I also wouldn't translate Shir HaShirim the way Artscroll did.

8:27 PM  
Blogger Tam said...

C'mon people, don't say it's not art. It may be bad art or offensive art, but it's still art.

On a related note, http://seforim.blogspot.com/ has a neat new post on racy title pages in sifre kodesh.

8:28 PM  
Blogger shmutzy said...

actually, i do know a few boys who go to Chabad specifically because the rabbi will let them get drunk after services.

12:15 AM  
Blogger YMedad said...

My German is rusty but from what I can make out, in addition to Lot's Daughters (now, there is a porn theme if ever), they have Salome's Dance which is New Testament. If they went there why not do Mary Magdelene in her professional capacity as a sex worker? Seems, though that Shir Hashirim is left out. That's a bit odd. Or maybe we can expect a 2007 edition?

8:06 AM  
Blogger YMedad said...

Oops, letting my curiosity get the better, or worse, of me, well, after all, OrthoMom's been there first, seems that this pic http://www.bibelkalender.de/premiere.htm was taken inside a church with Yoshke up on the wall. That maybe a bit going too far.

8:09 AM  
Blogger Mississippi Fred MacDowell said...

>hey have Salome's Dance which is New Testament. If they went there why not do Mary Magdelene in her professional capacity as a sex worker?

Mary Magdalene isn't depicted as a prostitute in the Greek Testament. That's pure popular legend.

9:12 AM  
Anonymous 1of4 (j/k) said...

whats a quaalude?

10:14 AM  
Blogger AMSHINOVER said...

Kwayludes? Kwayludes are sooooo out! duh Ortho GRAND MA Quaaludes depressants are sleep inducer) that were popular in the 60s and 70s. In the early 80s, the manufacture of quaaludes was ceased due to excessive abuse and due to the improvement of valium and other sedatives, which are safer. there are some illicit manufactures of qualudes today, most of what is sold as qualudes are benzodiazepine or a weak opiate. Effects are sedation, decrease in anxiety, loosening of inhibitions, and "balance issues". Some people experience pleasant body effects. Side effects include disorientation, extreme sedation/sleep, grogginess the next day, and memory loss.

11:51 AM  
Blogger MDmom said...

while this calendar may not have been my method of choice, i have to say there is some merit to the calendar producers' argument. several years back i taught a tanach seminar to high schoolers in an after school religious school program. how to hook the kids? it was called, "it's not what you think: love, lust, violence and the bible" what was the curriculum? kayin and hevel, yaakov and esav, david and batsheva, ruth and boaz, megillat esther... and you know what? they actually showed up to class, eagerly, and many of them expressed surprise that the torah could be so intriguing. many of them went on to read the torah on their own for the very first time, and wanted to discuss it with me further. another point: in one community we lived in the rabbi felt his shabbat afternoon shiurim were waning in favor of a shabbat nap so he enticed the men with a shiur,"pilegesh, yes or no?" guess what? it was the most popular shiur all year! SRO! as all good ad execs know, sex sells, people.

12:27 PM  
Blogger Shifra said...

"Bernd Grasser, pastor of the church in Nuremberg where the calendar is being sold, was enthusiastic about the project..."

Enthusiastic?! I'll BET he was.
In this country we some other terms for pastors who enjoy naked or semi-nude teenagers...

12:33 PM  
Blogger Shifra said...

"Bernd Grasser, pastor of the church in Nuremberg where the calendar is being sold, was enthusiastic about the project..."

Enthusiastic?! I'll BET he was.
In this country we some other terms for pastors who enjoy naked or semi-nude teenagers...

12:33 PM  
Blogger DovBear said...

I object to the photo on accuracy grounds. Eve got her fig leaf AFTER she offered Adam the apple. Not before.

And I need to weigh in with Steg: This has more in common with Ren. art than soft porn. (and yes, Ren Art was also thought to be a little porny by the OrthoMom's of the day.)

As for OM not liking the idea of leading people to mitzvoth through sins, well, she's just echoing one of the original complaints about Hasidut. According to the first misnagdim, Chassidus promoted dissension into sin by a tzaddik in order to facilitate "ascension"

The more things change...

12:34 PM  
Blogger Shifra said...

(sorry for the double post, comments were acting up!)

12:35 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Kwayludes? Kwayludes are sooooo out! duh Ortho GRAND MA
Amshi, apparently they are back among the Society set. They are legal in Canada, and there is a burgeoning trade for them. And trust me, i wouldn't remember them from the 60's, not having been born, or the 70's, as i was only round for half the decade.

12:43 PM  
Blogger Conservative Apikoris said...

Maybe we should start handing out joints and quaaludes at the entrance to the local shuls. That should pull 'em in.

Hmmm, attendance at shul seemed to drop off after the rabbis banned "kiddush clubs."+

3:16 PM  
Blogger Mirty said...

They can bring attendance back up with the "Pilegesh, yes or no?" shiur. ;)

4:22 PM  
Blogger YMedad said...

DovBear is displaying anti-Chassidut animosity in writing "According to the first misnagdim, Chassidus promoted dissension into sin by a tzaddik in order to facilitate 'ascension'". Mendel Pierkarz, in his study The Beginning of Hasidism, Chapt. 4, thoroughly deals with the idea of "aveira tzorech tshuva", shows its origin in Gemara Yoma, brings other Rishonim and notes mussar works prior to appearance of Hassidut and concludes with the opposition to the idea by non other than R' Yaakov Yosef of Polany.

5:47 PM  
Blogger DovBear said...

Where did I display animosity (on this thread, I mean?)

All I did was point out that the first misnagdim attacked the first Hasidim for promoting the idea of "dissension into sin by a tzaddik in order to facilitate 'ascension'"

I'm very happy the idea has a pedigree. This doesn't alter the fact that the first misnagdim opposed it and published polemics against the Hasidim on these grounds.

11:37 AM  
Blogger YMedad said...

Animosity is displayed by repeating a historical mistake which is fairly well-known but most people who dabble in theology, Jewish sociology and other items that intelligent people think or should know get wrong because their starting point is not objective but confrontational stemming from animus. There are loads of things to disagree and even know are wrong with Chassidut but it should be done on a factual basis. To repeat the errors of the Mitnagdim of some 300 years ago is really way off.

2:32 PM  
Blogger YMedad said...

okay, some 260 years ago

2:34 PM  
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