CESNUR - center for studies on new religions


by J. Edgar Bauer
A paper presented at The 1998 CESNUR International Conference, Center for Studies on New Religions, Torino, Italy

Arnold Schoenberg[1]

1. The following remarks concerning Arnold Schoenberg´s reflections on the people of Israel as the minority of "the inconceivable God"[2] concentrate on his treatment of the issue in the libretto of Moses und Aron, the dodecaphonic opera written between 1930 and 1932. Some introductory comments on Schoenberg´s views of religion, thought and Messianism will circumscribe the theological and philosophical context of this subtle and many-layered text, which can be considered one of the most profound attempts at grasping the meaning of Jewish election in the 20th century.

2. Although Schoenberg was always very cautious in giving information about his private life and in spite of the precarious situation of research concerning his biography,[3] his deeply religious character becomes evident to anyone confronting his numerous and constant efforts at articulating his own self-understanding. Without a doubt, the life of the Jewish-born Schoenberg was decisively influenced by his religious interests and options. At the age of 18 he converted to Protestantism in predominantly Catholic Vienna and in 1933 decided in Paris to return back to Judaism, as a reaction against the growing anti-Semitic tendencies he had been observing for years. Although raised in a Jewish-orthodox atmosphere, Schoenberg showed an early interest in Christian spirituality, especially that of the Quakers. His later correspondance reveals that his readings of Emmanuel Swedenborg, of Balzac´s Gnostic inspired novel "Seraphita" or of Rudolf Steiner had bearing on his aesthetic and musical conceptions.[4] Religious ideas were for him, however, not only a source of artistic inspiration. Looking back at the times beginning with World War I, Schoenberg wrote to Wassily Kandinsky in 1922, that religion freed from all "institutional fetters" was in "all these years my only support - this is to be said here for the first time."[5] The revolutionary composer striving for the "Emanzipation der Dissonanz"[6] - the liberation of dissonance –- moved in uncompromisingly spiritual honesty from Judaism to Christianity and then back to Judaism without assuming the critical ideas originated by Max Stirner or Friedrich Nietzsche that were to transform to a large extent the 20th century view of theistic religiosity. Tellingly, Schoenberg conceded once: "I am a conservative, who has been forced to become a radical."[7] In theologicis, however, Schoenberg never became a radical. His romantic-inspired, pervasively organic aesthetics were grounded in a religiosity that assumed unquestioned the traditional arguments of theodicy concerning war and death. Accordingly, Schoenberg was prepared to accept both as mere "methods of the renewal of mankind".[8]

3. For Arnold Schoenberg music is in its essence "the presentation of the musical thoughts of a music-poet, of a music-thinker."[9] Considering that "today one can be modern without being obliged to keep up to the best"[10], Schoenberg stressed the intellectual content of music and unequivocally subordinated to this content the manner of its expression. The great composer according to Schoenberg struggles not for the creation of a new style, but for the expression of new thoughts, "since only the new, the unsaid is worthwhile being said in art."[11] Viewed from this perspective, the true artist is actually never capable of attaining stylistic sovereignty, since he is constantly searching for the adequate expression of that which until his time has never been said: "das Nie-Gesagte".[12] It is not by chance, that the new musical contents that the composer brings into existence are understood by Schoenberg in direct connection with what can be termed the Messianic quality of all truly creative work. Schoenberg´s conviction that the subjacent content expressed by the work of great men is "the longing of mankind for its future form"[13], is ultimately averred in the way quintessential music presages the futurity of man, since "music transmits a prophetic message that manifests a higher form of life towards which humankind is developing."[14]

4. As a perceptive Jew living in an anti-Semitic world and as an unyielding revolutionary artist unmasking the varied forms of pseudo-modern banalities, Schoenberg was well acquainted with the difficulties and advantages of having a minority status. It is indicative of his own self-perception and of his consequent radicality, that he drew attention to the human rights of what he called " 'one-man' minorities "[15], those rare five to ten individuals in every century aspiring to true creativity and thus to human greatness. Schoenberg´s assessment of the rights of those who believe "in conquered art, in conquered ideas"[16] was to a large extent determined by his understanding of the Romantic conception of genius and of the Jewish idea of Messianic election. Both elements combine in Schoenberg´s spirit to form and nurture his characteristic sense of mission which -similar to that of Heinrich Heine- was at the same time elitist and humanistic. Thus, it is not surprising when Schoenberg underlines that the present and the genius have nothing in common, since "the genius is our future."[17] While those gifted with mere talent aspire just to learn and master what is the case, the genius developes "new ways towards the unlimited, over the whole of life."[18] Since in the last analysis the genius does not turn his mind to the learning of factual contents, but developes himself from within through organic creativity, the "occult science" [Geheimwissenschaft] he brings about is nothing that the alchemist could prevent from being generally known, for it is a science that cannot be learnt.[19] In analogy to the birthright of Jewishness, the "occult science" of genius is "innate or not at hand."[20] Considering that both Judaism and geniality are determined by the future-oriented structure of redemptive fulfilment, Schoenberg´s art in Moses und Aron strives to give expression by word and in music to the genial content of Jewish monotheism. Such a content, however, escapes by principle the communicative strategies of conceptual manipulations. In its own characteristic way, Moses und Aron is an overwhelmingly articulate approach to the strictly unexpressible. Since "art is the desperate cry of those who experience in themselves the destiny of humanity"[21], it may well be argued that this opera - measured by Schoenberg´s own standards - is entitled to be considered art at its highest realisation.

5. After abandoning his work on the oratorio Die Jacobsleiter [22], Schoenberg became profoundly concerned with the figure of Moses who was to be a constant source of religious and artistic inspiration from 1923 until his death in 1951. Two main works resulted from his pervading interest in the Hebraic lawgiver. In 1927 Schoenberg concluded the prose drama Der biblische Weg [23] which is essentially a modern Zionistic version of the biblical materials concerning Moses and concentrates on the foundation of a Jewish state in a new promised land in Africa. In the libretto of Moses und Aron, the second work in question, Schoenberg indeed abandoned the explicit literary transpositions he had used previously, but still dealt more or less freely with the motifs and structures of the biblical texts. The libretto takes for granted Moses´ previous biography as well as the events concerning the ten plagues, the exodus from Egypt and the destruction of Pharaoh, that would have had to take place between the first and second act of the opera. Schoenberg works out mainly the accounts relating to the providential calling of Moses, the adoration of the Golden Calf and the breaking of the Tables of the Law, since these episodes allow for a more thorough elaboration of the spiritual contents of the story as understood by the artist. At its core, the argument of the libretto is based on the opposition of principles between Moses and Aron concerning the possibility of mediation and communication of the idea (or, more precisely: of the thought) whose content is God. The programmatic antagonism between the two biblical figures is stressed even throughout the strictly musical elements of the opera. While Aron´s part is sung by a lyrical tenor producing unequivocal operatic effects, the powerful Sprechgesang [24] of Moses is only once interrupted by his duet with Aron, in which the latter is summoned to purify his thought from all worthlessness. Schoenberg´s characterization of Moses in this context is especially relevant, since it can be seen as an embodiment of the demanding aesthetics of simplicity he developed from the insights of his close friend, the Vienna architect Adolf Loos.[25] What the latter expounded on his famous manifesto Ornament und Verbrechen [26] (1908) was later to be summarized mutatis mutandis by a dictum Schoenberg´s in his Theory of Harmony: "The artist does nothing that would appear nice to other people, but only what is necessary to himself."[27]

6. The first sentence of the libretto expresses in the form of an invocation the theological kernel of Moses´ conviction:

The God whom he addresses is the God of the Fathers, who has "once more awakened their great thoughts"[29] in Moses´ mind and whose Name will be forever linked with Moses´ mission of liberating Israel from its servitude of the perishable. From the start however, Moses hopes to avoid the godly call by stressing his inability to communicate :

God counters this objection by alloting Aron a mediatorial task. Thus:

From now on, Aron´s godly assignment consists in mediating       between Moses´  thoughts and the people of Israel. They are to be instructed in the demanding character of God´s will and election, manifested in a "Law of thought irresistible"[32] that forces fulfilment. This thought will prove to be the Torah itself, whose essence Moses describes towards the end of Act II as follows: 

In its intrinsic necessity, this law implies an emancipatory iconoclasm that liberates from the closures of representation by opening up a radical horizon of futurity. The Messianic dimension of monotheism offers thus the critical instrumentality for dismissing all pretentions to absoluteness of any given thing capable of being imagined or represented. The young man in Act II bears witness ex negativo to this insight when he begins his aria against the background of the idolatrous orgy with the words:

7. In opposition to Moses´ uncompromising truthfulness and directness Schoenberg delineates Aron as a cunning and false character that perverts his task of mediation between Moses and Israel. This paradigmatic contrast is clearly underlined when Aron, after snatching away from Moses the rod that will turn into a snake, sings:

Appealing to the pretended inevitable constraints of life, Aron will represent an intellectual and spiritual position that Moses lastly condemns as a betrayal of the Law of the inconceivable God. Making use of his garbling rhetoric, Aron reminds his listeners that the righteous shall see God[36] and takes this as a point of departure toward decisive theological concessions that will finally lead to the rejection of Mosaic monotheism. Thus, just before the orgiastic outburst Aron proclaims in Act II:

Against the preservation of the monotheistic purity in the desert, Aron proclaims the sanctity of pleasure and fertility. He justifies his procedure by the need to avoid the martyrdom to which the Mosaic message necessarily leads, as had been foretold at the beginning of the opera, when Moses warns the people of Israel concerning the hardships

Increasingly, Moses´ spiritual dilemma acquires the dimensions of a truly prophetic struggle. Aron has adulterated the thought of the inconceivable One and has thus betrayed God to the gods. Moses must now repudiate the mediator of his thought in the name of this very thought, in spite of the fact that it was God Himself who appointed Aron to his interpretive task. 

8. In facing Moses´ reproaches, Aron aims at justifying himself by showing that his procedure is after all not very different from that of Moses, who has also used words, images and miracles to support his mission. The fact that Moses has destroyed the Golden Calf by the mere power of his word is a miracle that Aron´s perverse logic adduces in order to substantiate his supposedly miraculous "visualisation of God". Further, Aron underlines that even the Tables of the Law "are just an image, a part of the thought"[39], in order to diminish the impact on Moses of what Aron knows will be an outrageous equation. In the German text Aron states: "sie sind er", that is: "the images are the thought". Confronted with Aron´s self-apology, Moses is forced to a consequent radicalisation of his iconoclasm. He will not only destroy the Tables of the Law, but even declare that the fiery and cloudlike pillars - regarded by Aron as showing the way to the promised land and to the Eternal - are in fact just "idols", "Götzenbilder". Since Aron characterizes not only the heavenly pillars, but also the burning bush of revelation as "God´s signals", there is no doubt that the last and fundamental intention of Aron was to undermine and dismiss the imageless character of Moses´ monotheistic thought. Against this background, it is not surprising that the portion of the libretto for which Schoenberg composed the music, ends with Moses´ self-critical cry of despair as a consequence of his failure to articulate the thought that determines his mission: 

9. This last sentence is a cry mima'amakim, de profundis [41] as the psalmist would describe it. That the thought of the Eternal One is inexpressible, and that the experience of man coram deo remains beyond the possibilities of communication are the very facts to which Schoenberg gives artistic articulation through the persona of Moses. From this perspective, Schoenberg´s basic pursuit proves to be the reassertion of Jewish truthfulness in its opposition to the paradigmatic priestly lie and cunning of Aron, whose fault according to Moses is that:

At the same time, Moses´ cry of distress concerning the lackig word can be understood as a reaffirmation of Jewish truth in the decisive year of 1933 by the ba'al-tshuva[43] Arnold Schoenberg against the background of two thousand years of Christian logocentrism. For Moses´ cry contains in nuce the fundamental and distinctive feature of Jewish monotheism and messianism in their opposition to the Christian assumption expressed by the Gospel of John: kai ho logos sarx egeneto [44]. As Act III of the opera forcibly stresses, Moses´ conduct is dominated by the idea of the insurmountable difference of the "inconceivable One". Thus, his language denounces the all-too-human attempts to bridge this essential gap in order to gain control over the Holy One in the name of a Logos pretending to guarantee universal communicability. It is not by chance that the exhilarated chorus just before the scene with the Golden Calf demands:

In unequivocal contrast to this idolatrous desire, the thought of God as hinted at by Moses/Schoenberg is radically iconoclastic, and therefore also logoclastic, since images along with their concurrent concepts

In as much as the inconceivable character of the One God is the condition of the Messianic critique of all the factually given, the God of Israel will ultimately denounce even his own revelation in the burning bush as an image. In this light, the cry of distress concerning the lacking word proves to be an artistic transposition of a wordless cry that in the name of God´s critical negativity puts an end to the priestly lie of Aron. The lacking word of the Prophet is the deconstructive principle of the mediator´s Logos.

10. Schoenberg´s libretto is in its fundamental meaning not only a late modern elaboration on the central Jewish issue of the matan torah[47] or revelation. It is also an actualisation of the Messianic import of this revelation as a critique of occidental logocentrism. The God of Israel revealing Himself historically in thought imposes the recognition of the lacking word that preserves His own transcendence from the idolatrous pursuits of religious manipulation. Schoenberg, the Jewish thinker with an inside knowledge of Christianity, was in a privileged position to deconstruct the basic tenet of the "logical" finitisation of God by dealing with the problem within the context of the foundational Jewish history. By so doing, he directed attention to the universal danger with which monotheism is permanently threatened from within in its history. Although Moses und Aron purports among its essential implications the refusal by principle of the Christian ideas of a godly Logos and its incarnation, its working out of Moses´ prophetic struggle can shed light upon a decisive moment in the life of the Jew whom the occidental world chose to regard as its god. The issue in question concerns the final episodes of the crucifixion of Jesus as depicted by the Evangelists. As is well known, the Gospels present more or less discordant accounts of the last words of the suposedly Logos incarnate. In contrast to John´s theology of plenitude, according to which the dying Jesus profers a sovereign tetelestai [48], the synoptic Gospels underline that Jesus departed from this world with a phônê megalê, with a "great cry". There is however no unanimity as to its content. While the Lucan Jesus quotes from Psalm 31,6[49], Matthew and Mark report with light variations his words as taken from psalm 22, 2. After translating the text into Greek, both evangelists mention that Jesus´ appeal to God with "Eloi" or "Eli" was understood by those standing by as if he were calling the prophet Elias. Although both Matthew and Mark report that Jesus on the cross pronounced with a "great cry" the words of the Psalm, it is only Matthew who lets Jesus quote it again in the moments immediately preceeding death when he writes:

The adverb palin makes reference to the already quoted content of the cry, which the construction kraugazô phônê megalê lets us expect. Mark, however, when depicting the very last moments of Jesus´ life, only reports:

In a strict sense, this ultimate cry is bereft of all language articulation and offers therefore no communicative contents. While the Johannine Logos in the Flesh articulates an eschatological sense of plenitude with his last pronounced word, the voice of Mark´s Jesus remains at the end wordless. His cry without a logos is a paradoxical autophônia contrasting with and even opposing the incarnational logology of Christian paradosis. Inasmuch as this "a-logic" cry denounces with the critical force of its Messianic negativity what Friedrich Nietzsche would call "priestly lies" and their theological systematisation, the Markian Jesus comes near to the Jewish prophetic heritage to which Schoenberg´s Moses bears witness. Far from being a matter of Jewish recuperation or spiritual archaeology, this constatation concerns basically the futurity of the task Israel is meant to undertake in a post-Christian world. By interpreting the House of Israel as the Messianic minority going through History with the religious insight that the word for the Holy One is lacking, Schoenberg was at the same time giving modern man a better clue than that of the Evangelists for the understanding of the crucified Rabbi[52] whose actual message is entitled to survive the world historical decline of Christianity.

[1] [Schoenberg, Arnold:] Arnold Schoenberg on the Sacredness of Art. Letter to Oedon Partosh, Jerusalem [26.4.1951]. In: Ringer, Alexander L.: Arnold Schoenberg. The Composer as Jew. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993, p. 246 (Appendix D)

[2] Schoenberg, Arnold: Moses und Aron. Oper in drei Akten. Mainz, London, New York, Tokyo: Schott, 1957, p. 5: "[…] unvorstellbarer Gott…!" [All Schoenberg quotations mentioned in the following footnotes have been translated by the author in the text. For easier comparison with other editions or translations, the act and scene from which the quotations from the libretto have been taken are added is square brackets. In this case: I, 1]

[3] Indispensable for the richness of materials presented is: Nono-Schoenberg, Nuria (Editor): Arnold Schoenberg 1874 -1951. Lebensgeschichte in Begegnungen. Buchgestaltung von Catherine Lorenz. Realisation von Nuria Nono-Schoenberg und Anita Luginbuehl. Klagenfurt: Ritter Klagenfurt, 1992. The biography consulted throughout this study is by: Freitag, Eberhard: Arnold Schoenberg mit Selbstzeugnissen und Bilddokumenten. Reinbeck bei Hamburg: Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag, 1985.

[4] For the different religious influences on Schoenberg's weltanschauung cf. especially : Allende-Blin, Juan: Arnold Schoenberg und die Kabbala. In: Musik-Konzepte. Sonderband Arnold Schoenberg. Herausgegeben von Heinz-Klaus Metzger und Rainer Riehn. München: Edition Text + Kritik, 1980, pp. 117-145; Goldstein, Bluma: Reinscribing Moses. Heine, Kafka, Freud and Schoenberg in a European Wilderness. Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, England: Harvard University Press, 1992, especially the closing chapter: "Word, Image, Idea: Schoenberg and Moses - A Tragic Coexistence? pp. 137-167; Ringer, Alexander: Arnold Schoenberg. The Composer as Jew. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993; Wörner, Karl H.: Gotteswort und Magie. Die Oper »Moses und Aron« von Arnold Schoenberg. Heidelberg: Verlag Lambert Schneider, 1959.

[5] Kandinsky, Wassily und Arnold Schoenberg: Der Briefwechsel. Herausgegeben von Jelena Hahl-Koch. Stuttgart: Verlag Gerd Hatje, 1993, p. 77 : "Was ich meine, würde Ihnen am besten meine Dichtung "Jakobsleiter" (ein Oratorium) sagen: ich meine - wenn auch ohne alle organisatorischen Fesseln - die Religion. Mir war sie in diesen Jahren meine einzige Stütze - es sei das hier zum erstenmal gesagt."

[6] Quoted by: Freitag, Eberhard: Arnold Schoenberg mit Selbstzeugnissen und Bilddokumenten, op. cit., p. 51

[7] Quoted by Hofmann, Werner: Mahler: Halbgott oder Vollmensch. In: Schoenberg, Arnold: Mahler. Rede am 25. März 1912 in Prag. Mit einem Essay von Werner Hofmann. Hamburg: Europäische Verlagsanstalt, 1993, p. 56: "Ich bin ein Konservativer, den man gezwungen hat, ein Radikaler zu werden."

[8] Kandinsky, Wassily und Arnold Schoenberg: op. cit. , p. 86: "Methoden der Erneuerung des Menschengeschlechts"

[9] Schoenberg, Arnold: Stil und Gedanke. Herausgegeben von Ivan Voytech. Frankfurt am Main: Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, 1995, p. 111 : "(...) die Darstellung musikalischer Gedanken eines Musik-Dichters, eines Musik-Denkers."

[10] Schoenberg, Arnold: Mahler, op. cit., p. 15 : "Man kann heute modern sein, ohne sich an das Beste halten zu müssen."

[11] Schoenberg, Arnold: Stil und Gedanke, op. cit., p. 215: "Denn nur das Neue, Ungesagte ist in der Kunst sagenswert."

[12] Schoenberg, Arnold: Stil und Gedanke, op. cit., p. 221: "das Nie-Gesagte!"

[13] Schoenberg, Arnold: Mahler, op.cit., p. 35: "[...] die Sehnsucht der Menschheit nach ihrer zukünftigen Gestalt [...]"

[14] Schoenberg, Arnold: Stil und Gedanke, op. cit., p. 183: "[...] Musik [vermittelt] eine prophetische Botschaft, die eine höhere Form des Lebens enthüllt, auf die die Menschheit sich hinentwickelt."

[15] Schoenberg, Arnold: Stil und Gedanke, op. cit., p. 195: " 'Ein-Mann'-Minoritäten"

[16] Schoenberg, Arnold: Stil und Gedanke, op. cit., p. 198: " [...]an besiegte Kunst, an besiegte Ideen [...]"

[17] Schoenberg, Arnold: Mahler, op.cit., p. 49: "Das Genie ist unsere Zukunft."

[18] Schoenberg, Arnold: Mahler, op.cit., p. 43: "[...] neue Wege ins Unbegrenzte [...], über das ganze Leben." 

[19] Cf. Schoenberg, Arnold: Stil und Gedanke, op. cit., p. 207

[20] Schoenberg, Arnold: Stil und Gedanke, op. cit., p. 207: "Sie ist eingeboren oder nicht da."

[21] Schoenberg, Arnold: Mahler, op.cit., p. 67: "Kunst ist der Notschrei jener, die an sich das Schicksal der Menschheit erleben."

[22] Literal translation: "Jacob´s Ladder"

[23] Literal translation: "The biblical Way"

[24] Translated as speech-song and defined as "a type of vocal enunciation intermediate between speech and song", in: The New Grove. Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Edited by Stanley Sadie. London: Macmillan Publishers Limited, 1995, Volume 18, p. 27 [Lemma: Sprechgesang]

[25] It is not by chance that Adolf Loos is one of the most often quoted authors in Schoenbergs Theory of Harmony. Cf. for example: Schoenberg, Arnold: Harmonielehre. [Budapest:] Universal Edition, 1986, p. 325, 410, 495 and 498. [There is an English translation of this work: Schoenberg, Arnold: Theory of Harmony. Translated by R.E. Carter. Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1978.]

[26] Literal translation: "Ornament and Crime". Schoenberg´s intellectual closeness to Loos is not surprising if one considers some of the fundamental aperçus in the architect´s most famous text. (Cf. Loos, Adolf: Ornament und Verbrechen. In: Programme und Manifeste zur Architektur des 20. Jahrhunderts. Zusammengestellt und kommentiert von Ulrich Conrads. Braunschweig / Wiesbaden: Fried. Vieweg & Sohn Verlagsgesellschaft, 1981, S. 15-21) Tellingly, he stresses with prophetical tone: "Bald werden die straßen der städte wie weiße mauern glänzen. Wie Zion, die heilige stadt, die hauptstadt des himmels. Dann ist die erfüllung da." (p. 16) Near the end of the text, he then sums up: "Ornamentlosigkeit ist ein zeichen geistiger kraft." (p. 21)

[27] Schoenberg, Arnold: Harmonielehre, op. cit., p. 495: "Der Künstler tut nichts, was andere für schön halten, sondern nur was ihm notwendig ist." In another passage in which Schoenberg refers to the analogy with architecture and deals with the issue of ornaments, he writes: "Die Erkenntnis, daß die einzige Veranlassung, der einzige Motor für die selbständige Stimmenbewegung nur die Triebkraft des Motivs, nicht aber die billige Freude am billigen Ornament, an der billigen Verzierung sein darf, zwingt mich, eine Aufgabe [i.e.: die der Stimmführungsornamentik] zu verpönen, deren Lösung hochstens jene kitschige Scheinkunst erzielt, die jeder hassen muß, der Wahrhaftigkeit anstrebt." (Schoenberg, Arnold: Harmonielehre, op. cit., p. 243)

[28] Schoenberg, Arnold: Moses und Aron, op. cit., p. 5: "Einziger, ewiger, allgegenwärtiger, / unsichtbarer und unvorstellbarer Gott!" [ I, 1]

[29] Schoenberg, Arnold: Moses und Aron, op. cit., p. 5: "[...] der du ihren Gedanken / in mir wiedererweckt hast [...]" [ I, 1]

[30] Schoenberg, Arnold: Moses und Aron, op. cit., p. 5 : "Meine Zunge ist ungelenk: / Ich kann denken, / aber nicht reden." [ I, 1]

[31] Schoenberg, Arnold: Moses und Aron, op. cit., p. 6. "Aus ihm soll deine Stimme sprechen, / wie aus dir die meine." [ I,1]

[32] Schoenberg, Arnold: Moses und Aron, op. cit., p. 8: "Unerbittliches / Denkgesetz [...]" [ I, 2]

[33] Schoenberg, Arnold: Moses und Aron, op. cit., p. 27: "Gottes Ewigkeit vernichtet Göttergegenwart! / Das ist kein Bild, kein Wunder! / Das ist das Gesetz. / Das Unvergängliche [...]" [ II,5]

[34] Schoenberg, Arnold: Moses und Aron, op. cit., p. 23: "Gedankenhoch waren wir erhöht, / gegenwartsfern, zukunftsnah!" [ II, 3]

[35] Schoenberg, Arnold: Moses und Aron, op. cit., p. 13: "In Moses´ Hand ein starrer Stab: / das Gesetz; / in meiner Hand die bewegliche Schlange: / die Klugheit. / Stellt euch so, wie sie euch zwingt." [ I, 4]

[36] Cf. Schoenberg, Arnold: Moses und Aron, op. cit., p. 12 [ I, 4]

[37] Schoenberg, Arnold: Moses und Aron, op. cit., p. 21: "Volk Israel! / Deine Götter geb' ich dir wieder / und dich ihnen; / wie es dich verlangt." [ II,2]

[38] Schoenberg, Arnold: Moses und Aron, op. cit., p. 6: "[...] denen - in Jahrtausenden - / der Gedanke ausgesetzt ist." [ I, 1]

[39] Schoenberg, Arnold: Moses und Aron, op. cit., p. 28: " ...die auch nur ein Bild, / ein Teil des Gedankens sind." [ II, 5]

[40] Schoenberg, Arnold: Moses und Aron, op. cit., p. 29: "Unvorstellbarer Gott! / Unausprechlicher, vieldeutiger Gedanke! / Läßt du diese Auslegung zu? / Darf Aron, mein Mund, dieses Bild machen? / So habe ich mir ein Bild gemacht, falsch, / wie ein Bild nur sein kann! / So bin ich geschlagen! / So war alles Wahnsinn, was ich / gedacht habe, / und kann und darf nicht gesagt werden! / O Wort, du Wort, das mir fehlt!" [ II, 5]

[41] Psalm 130

[42] Schoenberg, Arnold: Moses und Aron, op. cit., p. 31: "Du sagst es schlechter, als du es verstehst [...]" [ III, 1]

[43] The concept is generally translated as "repenting sinner". In the present context it alludes to the fact that Schoenberg was a man who returned to Judaism.

[44] John 1, 14

[45] Schoenberg, Arnold: Moses und Aron, op. cit., p. 21: "[...] Götter, die wir ganz begreifen.[...]" [ II, 2]

[46] Schoenberg, Arnold: Moses und Aron, op. cit., p. 31: "[...] dem Leib nicht geben, / was er braucht gegen den Geist, / der Seele, was deren Wunschlosigkeit / zu ewigem Leben genug ist." [ III, 1]

[47] Literal translation: "Giving of the Torah"

[48] John 19, 30

[49] Luke 23, 46

[50] Matthew 27, 50

[51] Mark 15, 37

[52] For a Jewish perspective of Jesus´ life and rabbinical background cf. the books by the New Testament scholar David Flusser, especially: Jesus in Selbstzeugnissen und Bilddokumenten. Reinbeck bei Hamburg: Rowohlt Tachenbuch Verlag, 1976; Die letzten Tage Jesu in Jerusalem. Das Passionsgeschehen aus jüdischer Sicht. Bericht über neueste Forschungsergebnisse. Stuttgart: Calwer Verlag, 1982; and Bemerkungen eines Juden zur christlichen Theologie. München: Chr. Kaiser Verlag, 1984. For a partially contrasting view, cf. the excellent studies by John Dominic Crossan: The Historical Jesus. The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant. San Francisco: HarperCollins Publishers, 1992; Jesus. A Revolutionary Biography. San Francisco: HarperCollins Publishers, 1994; and Who Killed Jesus? Exposing the Roots of Anti-Semitism in the Gospel Story of the Death of Jesus. San Francisco: HarperCollins Publishers, 1996.

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