Sunday, April 4, 2010

PA Arts Sunday - Easter Edition - The Finale from Mahler's "Resurrection" Symphony

I'm pretty sure Jesus existed. He was probably crucified. The Romans killed a lot of religious teachers, often in league with the local ruling elite, wherever they went, and they were particularly brutal in Judea.

For over 1,900 years Christians repaid people from variations of the sect from which Jesus had emerged, by killing them senselessly, culminating in the Christian-supported Holocaust of 1939-45. (Hitler rose to power with the help of hundreds of Christian organizations in Germany and Austria. Most non-SS Wehrmacht battalions, regiments and divisions had Christian chaplains attached throughout the entire duration of the 2nd World War.)

Now, that Christian guilt is often cynically manipulated to justify the slow humiliation and impoverishment of the Palestinians - Christian, Islamic and secular alike - by a coalition of Christians seeking to give Jesus an easy route back to Earth from wherever he's been hanging out for almost 2,000 years, and a small group of energetic people, now expanding their territories in the Biblical lands from which the Christ Myth emerged.

The concept of the kind of resurrection made emblematic to Christians by Easter predated their religion, in the rites of many others. Spring celebrations, human sacrifices and complex myth structures similar to the Easter story were and are all but universal, although sometimes somewhat veiled.

Looking back at what the symbols of Easter have meant through the ages, it strikes me that this "resurrection" festival is more insidious than the other pagan-derived Christian festival, Christmas. Spring Equinox Festivals involving human sacrifice are generally bloodier than Winter Solstice Festivals that pray for the restoration of light. The springtime blood is needed to replenish the warming earth so that crops may grow. The most recent springtime human sacrifice festival practiced openly in what is now the USA was the Skidi Pawnee Morning Star ceremony, still enacted as late as the 1830s. Like Easter's preliminaries, the rite involved binding, piercing and killing an innocent person.

When I think of a resurrection, I'm more taken by Gustav Mahler's inspiring finale to his Second Symphony, than I am by the Easter Myth. Here's Leonard Bernstein performing its uplifting conclusion:

Part One:

Part Two:

Part Three:

Part Four:

images - pre-Christian cross; Jesus keeping in shape for his return


Anonymous said...

Happy zombie jesus day!

HarpboyAK said...

FYI, the Juneau Symphony will perform the Mahler 2nd next October.

Anonymous said...

Deleting comments you don't like, eh?
I guess that's what haters do.


Philip Munger said...

Dissent is patriotic. Dishonesty is sleazy.

Anonymous said...

I don't like Mahler but can think of pieces of music which I attach similar notions to.
Calling the comment which was deleted dissent is sorta like calling a cow pie mud...
From a distance there might be enough similarity to let yourself be fooled...
Up close , whew! Difference is obvious.

Philip Munger said...


Anonymous said...

"Dishonesty is sleazy."

So is anti-semitism and misogyny. Hypocrite.

Makabit Bat Guriel said...

Gusty, you just can't contend yourself unless you drag in the term "Palestinian" in any post you seem to write.
You also forgot the Grand Mufti spent WW2 in Germany with Hitler and there was a large number of Muslims fighting for sHitler.
But you won't post this remark anyhoo...cry baby