Dearth of Jewish Fantasy Authors

Why there is no Jewish Narnia

An interesting article on the absence of Jewish fantasy authors. The writer is careful to define fantasy as that which takes place in a distinctly alien land. Golems are fantasy, but most of these stories take place in otherwise realistic universes.

To put it crudely, if Christianity is a fantasy religion, then Judaism is a science fiction religion. If the former is individualistic, magical, and salvationist, the latter is collective, technical, and this-worldly. Judaism’s divine drama is connected with a specific people in a specific place within a specific history. Its halakhic core is not, I think, convincingly represented in fantasy allegory. In its rabbinic elaboration, even the messianic idea is shorn of its mythic and apocalyptic potential. Whereas fantasy grows naturally out of Christian soil, Judaism’s more adamant separation from myth and magic render classic elements of the fantasy genre undeveloped or suspect in the Jewish imaginative tradition.

And while the writer doesn’t discuss comic books…the focus on fantastic worlds eliminates most of these as well. The Marvel and DC universes are largely realistic, except for the presence of mutants.

While not directly related to the theme, I like how JRR Tolkein responded to German publishers who asked for proof he was Aryan. Read the article.

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