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.

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.

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]
References in periodicals archive ?
For him, the Wandering Jew is a miracle of the faith and a sign of the End Times, one of several such signs bound up with his representation of Jews and Judaism.
The Wandering Jew is here a figure of the common, restless individual-a version of the American dream that is continually pushing further west.
Twenty years later, the French artist Gustave Dore illustrated Pierre-Jean de Beranger's "La Legende du Juij'Errant"-- images that Brichetto calls the "definitive representation of the anti-Jewish Wandering Jew.
77) In Franz Kafka's work, however, the more dominating, sad image of Ahasver emerges, at times in Kafka's tragic writing against himself, whom he sees as the eternally wandering Jew.
The bulk of Davison's textual analysis commences more than midway through her study, with a chapter focusing largely on the varying functions of the Wandering Jew in The Monk (as millenarian), William Godwin's St Leon (as a warning of the evils of modern 'Jewish' economics) and Charles Robert Maturin's Melmoth the Wanderer (as signifying castration anxiety).
The original title is more provocative, in that it refers to the figure of the Wandering Jew that figures prominently in Wagner's stage works from Der fliegende Hollander to Parsifal.
Chagall, who inherited this folk sensibility from his parents, 'rarely remembered the sequel of events and returned, time and again, to the basic images of his paintings and his self-constructed biography,' 'The mythologies of the Wandering Jew and of the Russian Communist Revolution both had an enormous influence on his life and his thinking, and inevitably became intertwined in his iconography.
It was like the leaving of a wandering Jew ages ago from the town of his birth for a voyage to a new land and a new life, with the clear but unspoken understanding that he would never be back again, though he would always speak of his childhood shtetl as di haym--the home-- however few years he spent there in distant times past, more dream than real, and however many more years he would subsequently spend elsewhere in alien surroundings.
According to Secrest, Isaac Edward Leibowitz, "revived from the dead and immortal" is the Wandering Jew, Old Benjamin.
I'm looking for voters for you-- Some blacks or a wandering Jew.
A Roman centurion, a man of power and influence and wealth, did not think himself worthy to confront a wandering Jew, an itinerant rabbi of no power or wealth or influence whatsoever, indeed a vagrant who had nowhere to lay his head.
Some of the new forms of Wandering Sailor or Wandering Jew are most attractive, easy to keep and will look magnificent all year.