Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Jan Hus, Reformer - Heretical Views Sound Modern

Here is Jan Hus, a statue in an unlikely place: Terezin, or Theresienstadt -- the Nazi-created ghetto / concentration camp-that was staged for purposes of Red Cross inspections as an ideal settlement place for Jews. In reality, it was a holding pen, a way station to Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Jan Hus: a more famous statue is in Prague Square, see ://www.prague.cz/jan-hus-monument/ but it was being renovated and under nets and tarps when we were there. The pose in Prague is different, see ://pragueee.blogspot.com/2009/05/statue-of-jan-hus-1372-1415-prague.html/

Jan Hus: Why here? Unanswered. Is it the theme of martyrdom, persecution? See photos of Terezin at ://www.scrapbookpages.com/CzechRepublic/Theresienstadt/TheresienstadtGhetto/GhettoTour/Tour02.html

Jan Hus: What did he do to deserve the designation of heretic, and burn, as he did. See The Hussites at http://www2.kenyon.edu/projects/margin/hussites.htm/

He and his followers saw themselves as Christian, and devout. Their disagreement was not with the theology of the Church, but with its implementation of authority. His thought preceded the reform movement of Martin Luther. Some of his followers fled to Germany and Poland.

Hus favored these things:

1. People should be able to read the Bible in their own language; people are well able to interpret scripture for themselves; this same issue was fought and lost in Croatia, at Nin, by Bishop Gregory, Gregor of Nin, in the 10th Century. See Croatia Road Ways, Nin

2. Priests should stop engaging in sexual immorality and financial abuses;

3. All Christians should be allowed to receive full communion (only priests took the wine apparently in those days);

4. The Pope should not sell "indulgences" (buy your way out of sin?)

5. The Bible itself supersedes all the councils and authorities' views of it;

6. When accused of heresy, undermining the authority of the church, he said he would obey the Church if the Church could prove that what he said was error.

That did it. He put his own ability to interpret scripture ahead of the Church power to do so, and in 1418 he was executed.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Terezin On Stage - "Way to Heaven".. Theresienstadt.

Terezin (Theresienstadt):  More in Arts News

On stage: "Way to Heaven."  A play by Juan Mayorga about the important Nazi staging aspect of Terezin, concentration camp billed as a settlement.  For inspectors from the Red Cross in WWII, see the well-fed little children and happily working adults in fine conditions.  And music, even. A New York Times calls it "a fake utopia," notes the "synthetic contentment." See ://theater2.nytimes.com/2009/05/20/theater/reviews/20heav.html/.

The playwright is Spanish. The play is offered in Spanish on alternate nights, adding to a universality concept in the issues, if not as to the actual nationality of persons kept, and shipped to Auschwitz and death camps from there.

This small post serves as a collection point for the reviews for future reference.  See this characterization, "an audacious play about a monstrous wrong," at Classical Voice of North Carolina.  See ://www.cvnc.org/reviews/2009/012009/Way.html/

Emerging themes:  how we are duped, how we fail to act on hunches while being duped - liking the duping - and the clash of public view vs. concealed reality. Subtlety and daring prevail over the right.