Wandering Jew

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Wandering Jew,

in literary and popular legend, a Jew who mocked or mistreated Jesus while he was on his way to the cross and who was condemned therefore to a life of wandering on earth until Judgment Day. The story of this wanderer was first recorded in the chronicles of Roger of Wendover and Matthew of Paris (13th cent.), but not until the early 17th cent. was he identified as a Jew. The story is common in Western Europe, but it presents marked national variations. Among the innumerable treatments of the subject is Shelley's Queen Mab.


See G. K. Anderson, The Legend of the Wandering Jew (1965); G. Hasan-Rokem and A. Dundes, ed., The Wandering Jew: Essays in the Interpretation of a Christian Legend (1986).

wandering jew,

common name for several creeping plants of the genus Tradescantia (including Zebrina) in the spiderwortspiderwort,
common name for some members of the Commelinaceae, a family of tropical and subtropical succulent herbs found especially in Africa and the Americas. Species of the spiderworts (genus Tradescantia) and the dayflowers (genus Commelina
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 family. T. pendula is most commonly cultivated in window boxes and hanging pots. Wandering jew is classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Liliopsida, order Commelinales, family Commelinaceae.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Wandering Jew


(Ahasuerus; in Russian, Agasfer or the Eternal Jew), a character in legends that appeared in the Middle Ages; supposedly condemned by God to eternal wandering for not having allowed Christ to rest on his way to the Crucifixion. The character of Ahasuerus the Wanderer has attracted the imagination of many writers. There have been poems about him by C. F. D. Schubart, N. Lenau, and J. W. Goethe; a philosophical drama by E. Quinet; and a satirical novel by E. Sue.


Shubart, C. F. D. Legenda ob Agasfere“vechnom zhide.”
Edited and with a foreword by M. Gorky. Petrograd, 1919. Sue, E. Agasfer, vols. 1–4. Moscow-Leningrad, 1933–36.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Wandering Jew

doomed to live forever for scorning Jesus. [Fr. Lit.: The Wandering Jew]

Wandering Jew

condemned to eternal wandering for mocking Christ. [Christian Legend: NCE, 2926; Fr. Lit.: Wandering Jew]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Both Roger and Matthew's textual account speak of Cartaphilus as a porter in Pilate's court, where, they tell us, the infamous exchange between Cartaphilus and Christ takes place.
Relendo sua historia posteriormente, ja distante dos eventos, Cartaphilus percebe o uso de expressoes similares as de Homero e oferece suas impressoes;
Tras senalar algunas de las reacciones de Borges frente a las criticas que se le hicieron en los 40 respecto al caracter intelectual, decadente y no argentino de su literatura, y tras revisar sus ideas respecto a la naderia de la personalidad como respuesta a la "egolatria romantica" y al "vocinglero individualismo", Alonso Estenoz indica que en "El inmortal" recordar es curarse de la inmortalidad, es sentirse nuevamente individuo y ser, mas que un autor, un lector critico de lo que se ha narrado hasta el momento, tal como le acontece a Cartaphilus en el relato.
That's why Rufus had once been Homer and is also Cartaphilus. In this respect, we may daim that within Borges's immortal's conceptual scheme, Nietzsche's single or unique individual dissolves into the bundle of all possible identities (i.e., Rufus-Homer-Cartaphilus).
Argos remembers having once been Homer, and Cartaphilus's account (and therefore the very text we are reading) could not have existed had Cartaphilus not been able to remember having once been Rufus.
Quizas lo mas curioso de la observacion de Marco Flaminio Rufo -o Joseph Cartaphilus, como despues pasaria a llamarse- es que da credito a la version de que Homero es el autor dei poema satirico.
Y en "El imortal", Joseph Cartaphilus, que fue Homero, descubre "en un reino boreal y un idioma barbaro, las formas de su Iliada" (OC 1: 543) --la referencia es a la Iliada de Pope--.
En la postdata ficticia del cuento, el narrador se burla de los comentaristas que intentan acusarlo de plagio, para lo que escriben una diatriba de 1oo paginas; (26) es decir, la acusacion contiene noventa paginas mas que el manuscrito original, encontrado en un libro del anticuario Joseph Cartaphilus de Esmima, en otro burle metaliterario caracteristico de Borges.