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Somebody Representing Lubavitch Will Be on the Scene From Tempest’s ‘Tin Angel’ (2012):
Well, he threw down his helmet and his cross-handled sword He renounced his faith, he denied his Lord
Rather rich this lyric, coming from Dylan, who in his post-evangelical Year of Our Lord 1985 espoused the ‘Messianic complex’. But leaving aside this Saxonesque ‘intrusion’ into Dylan’s ‘Black Jack Davey’-esque ‘Tin Angel’, the song immediately following ‘Early Roman Kings’, which isn’t about early Roman kings, the language here is part of Dylan’s current slightly ostentatiously and stiltedly religious ‘Our Lord’ Messiah trip. From Sir Walter Scott’s ‘The Fire-King’ – courtesy of the ‘muddiest superhighway in the universe’ – by definition instantly public domain it would seem, where no attribution is needed.
He has thrown by his helmet and cross-handled sword, Renouncing his knighthood, denying his Lord; He has ta’en the green caftan, and turban put on, For the love of the maiden of fair Lebanon.
Good Infidels ‘code in the lyrics’ fodder there. Does Dylan refer to ‘Our Lord’ when he is chatting with his Hasidic pal Rabbi Manis Friedman? Not on your nelly. Dylan to Scott Cohen for Spin magazine in 1985 (as reported by Cohen but by definition without the all-significant vocal nuance to give the full context of where the pauses and emphases are):
. . . What I learned in Bible school was just another side of an extension of the same thing I believed in all along, but just couldn’t verbalize or articulate. Whether you want to believe Jesus Christ is the Messiah is irrelevant, but whether you’re aware of the messianic complex, that’s all that’s important. What's the messianic complex? All that exists is spirit, before, now and forever more. The messianic thing has to do with this world, the flesh world, and you got to pass through this to get to that. The messianic thing has to do with the world of mankind, like it is. This world is scheduled to go for 7,000 years. Six thousand years of this, where man has his way, and 1,000 years when God has His way. Just like a week. Six days work, one day rest. The last thousand years is called the Messianic Age. Messiah will rule. He is, was, and will be about God, doing God's business. Drought, famine, war, murder, theft, earthquake, and all other evil things will be no more. No more disease. That's all of this world. What's gonna happen is this: you know when things change, people usually know, like in a revolution, people know before it happens who's coming in and who's going out. All the Somozas and Batistas will be on their way out, grabbing their stuff and whatever, but you can forget about them. They won't be going anywhere. It's the
people who live under tyranny and oppression, the plain, simple people that count, like the multitude of sheep. They'll see that God is coming. Somebody representing Him will be on the scene.
Sometimes it’s hard to tell for Sutton Hoo is who – where Messianic denial or equivocation is concerned. Then we got the Messianic haughty culture of a hoarse live ‘In the Garden’ with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in 1986 and ’87, whereby Dylan introduces his ‘hero’. From Dylan’s Modern Times (2006):
Put on your cat clothes, mama, put on your evening dress Put on your cat clothes, mama, put on your evening dress Few more years of hard work, then there'll be a 1,000 years of happiness
Why will the levee break? (Put on your camp clothes, atheistic totally assimilated A J Weberman). Because ‘no more water but fire next time’; the Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. ‘Not this time, babe, no more of this’. Fearful symmetry: the ‘code in the lyrics’. ‘Suffer ye thus far’ with Michael Gray’s bluesy infatuation with the ‘Authorized Version’ (which King James never really authorized). Luke 22:50-52 New International Version (NIV)
50 And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear. 51 But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him. 52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard,(A) and the elders, who had come for him, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs?
Compare this from ‘Belief in Moshiach: Possibility or Certainty’ c) 1992 Wellsprings, an interview with Rabbi Manis Friedman by Susan Handelman:
HANDELMAN: In the passage you quoted earlier, Maimonides says you can "assume" someone is Moshiach, but you don't know it for sure unless certain conditions are met. FRIEDMAN: Right. Assume it, and hope it, like Rabbi Akiva did. He went and carried Bar Kochba's armor for him. HANDELMAN: But as with Shabbetai Zvi, we have seen that when people do get very worked up about Moshiach and they're wrong, the consequences are bad. Moshiach is coming today. Always today Never tomorrow. FRIEDMAN: But how can you reconcile this fear of a false Moshiach with your belief in Moshiach? What does your belief in Moshiach consist of if you're afraid that he might be a false Moshiach?
When the real Moshiach does come, what are we going to say? Who's going to believe him? Are we going to say, "Got to be careful - remember Shabbetai Zvi? HANDELMAN: Still people find finger-pointing very unsettling. They feel that it's very dangerous to point to someone and claim that he is the Moshiach. FRIEDMAN: If people can point a finger to someone and say, "This is Moshiach," that simply shows how alive and vibrant their faith in Moshiach is. Whether this person is or is not Moshiach is irrelevant. HANDELMAN: Would you say that it is irrelevant even if, for example, we decide on the wrong person? New religions have been formed as a result of the belief that certain persons were the Moshiach, and Judaism suffered considerably when these other religions persecuted the Jews for refusing to accept these "Messiahs."
‘Man of Peace’ (1983):
Well, first he’s in the background, then he’s in the front Both eyes are looking like they’re on a rabbit hunt Nobody can see through him No, not even the Chief of Police You know that sometimes Satan comes as a man of peace
Michael J. Gilmour, Assistant Professor of New Testament Providence College, Otterburne, MB in Journal of Religion and Popular Culture Volume I: Spring 2002 They Refused Jesus Too: A Biblical Paradigm in the Writing of Bob Dylan
 "Jokerman" (1985, 471-72) explores ambiguity and the dangerous deceptions possible for those looking to place their faith in something or someone. Of course the question ‘who is he?’ is the one usually asked though clear identification seems out of reach.
Professor Gilmour reached too high. How so? Because the connection is not too difficult for an NT scholar. Deuteronomy 30 (one of the Jokerman’s ‘only teachers’) New International Version :
11 Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach.
From Michael Gray's damned King James Bible, what he likes to call the Authorized Version (authorized, supposedly, by Bob):
11For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. 12It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? 13Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
14But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.
‘Foot of Pride’, out-take from the 1983 Infidels sessions, about a fool of pride:
He reached too high, was thrown back to the ground You know what they say about bein' nice to the right people on the way up Sooner or later you gonna meet them comin' down
Freedom just around the corner for you But with the truth so far off, what good will it do?
Fearful (a)symmetry: the Infidels ‘code in the lyrics’ (Dylan to Jonathan Cott in 1978). Max Dimont in The Indestructible Jews:
Sabbetai then headed for Egypt where, in fulfilment of the prophecy that the messiah would marry an unchaste woman, he took as his fourth wife a whore named Sarah. Sarah’s life imitates fiction.
Indeed it does. Dimont on Shabbetai in Jews, God & History p 276:
Sabbatai’s evangelistic itinerary took him to Egypt, and here the century’s most talked-about marriage took place. He was betrothed to Sarah, an international, peripatetic prostitute. Sarah is so implausible she could not have been invented. At the age of six she had been taken to a convent after her Jewish parents had been killed in a Polish pogrom. Early in her teens she had made her escape, deciding to see Europe before settling down. Her quick wit, bucolic beauty, and ready body preserved her life as she trekked from Poland to Amsterdam. Here she had a double hallucination, one voice informing her about Sabbatai Zevi and another voice telling her to become his bride. This team of saint and whore is not a unique one in Scripture. Hosea was married to the prostitute Gomer, and legend proclaimed that the messiah would marry an unchaste bride. After his marriage, Sabbatai went to Palestine, where the masses hysterically adored him as the messiah.
Multi-Dimonontial complexity. Dylan in Chronicles:
The Bible is full of these things. A lot of those old kings and leaders had many wives and concubines and Hosea the Prophet was even married to a prostitute, and it didn’t stop him from being a holy man.
From Blind Willie McTell’s ‘Pious Man’s Phylactery Blues’:
But the correlation lies rolled up in the pious man’s phylactery for whom the fragments were glued together with the balm of grace—
Especially Rabbi Manis Friedman’s. Messianic spin – or curveball. From that same interview with Susan Handelman:
FRIEDMAN: Everybody has a little bit of Moshiach in them, but still, there is the one who is Moshiach. I think that everybody in Moshe's generation was a little bit like him. HANDELMAN: How so? FRIEDMAN: They all received the Torah, they all heard G-d speak face to face, so they had certain qualities that are unique to Moshe, and because they were his generation they shared those qualities. In our generation, we all share a quality that resembles Moshiach. But there must also be a Moshiach. This idea that there is a Messianic era without Moshiach is like the 60's without Bob Dylan.
As I recall someone saying on rec.music.dylan in response to Dylan’s 1985 quasi-Hasidic Messianic formulation about Christ’s Messiahship: ‘He is neither a theologian nor a systematic thinker’. Someone (thinly) disguised as Robin Hood in February 1998:
I was in St. Paul and living in the Jewish community (Highland Park) when Bob came poking around. His friend Larry Keegan, a quadrapalegic and he were very close around this time (1981-82) and Larry was involved with the Lubabvitchers. Dylan was only on a mission of discovery, not fully committed to becoming observantly Jewish as far as I could see. He had many discussions over that year with Manis Friedman, the Lubavitcher "pop philosopher:". The other Lubavitcher rabbis, conscious of Dylan's fame were, in my opinion, trying to exploit the relationship with Dylan to further the cause of their Lubavitch messianism. I think that Bob sensed this and backed off of his "discovery" after a while. One of the most amusing stories that I can recall about Dylan's interaction with the St Paul Jewish community was during a Sabbath afternoon meal at the St. Paul orthodox synagogue. Larry Keegan, with his caretakers drove to the synagogue (since he was quadrapalegic, this was accepted by the community) with Dylan in tow. Dylan was dressed in casual clothing (jeans etc.) which of course was inappropriate for attendence at the synagogue. During the meal (which is served between the afternoon service and the conclusion of the Sabbath) which consisted of herring, matzah, and some deli-salads, one of the elderly members of the congregation noticed Dylan, and, thinking that he was a "Shabbos goy", asked him to open a plastic bag of paper cups (which he thought was forbidden work on the Sabbath). Dylan kindly complied but the Lubavitch rabbis were falling all over themselves to "correct" the old man so as not to anger Dylan. It seemed to me that this "brownnosing" by the Lubavitchers pissed of Dylan more than being thought of as the "Shabbos goy".
Amer Olson on 13 August 2012:
Just found this older posting. The account corresponds to a story told to me by one of the Lubavitchers in the St. Paul community. In that version, however, some kids had accidentally hit the light switch and someone assumed Dylan could turn them back on. To this he reportedly replied, "I may be a Christian, but I'm not your Shabbos Goy." A quote (however accurate) I will forever cherish.
Bob Dylan, Property of Louvre-itch: Why did he slip away to a quiet place instead? Dylan the dumb golem, closing Infidels with ‘Don't Fall Apart On Me Tonight’:
I ain’t too good at conversation, girl So you might not know exactly how I feel But if I could, I’d bring you to the mountaintop, girl And build you a house made out of stainless steel But it’s like I’m stuck inside a painting That’s hanging in the Louvre My throat start to tickle and my nose itches But I know that I can’t move
Alan Unterman on Lubavitch in DICTIONARY OF JEWISH LORE AND LEGEND:
. . . they accost Jews in public places, encouraging them to perform rituals with a zeal born out of their Messianic beliefs.
Marx wrote in The Capital, Vol.1, under the heading ‘The Capitalist Character of Manufacture’:
In the front of the chosen people it was written that they are the property of Jehovah.
Pauline Kirby-Moore writes in Post-Friedmanian Cut-and-Paste Metaphors: Image of Somebody in the Blues Poetry of Blind Willie McTell: . . . it is characteristic of Renaldo to use a traditional religious concept, that of the
messiah, without using religious terminology: Someone will take the ball from the hands that play the game of terror.
Grazing the mystery of the invisible Messianic Bob.
In History of the Jewish people Ben Sasson reports (on p 703) on the Messianic movement for Shabbetai Zevi:
The keenest and fiercest of his opponents admits that he and those like him all stood in fear and awe . . . And I also saw that I was [isolated], only a grain of sand in the country. And all the Torah scholars and their students took their stand against me. . . . So I had to rise and stand when they rose. And when they responsed Amen to each benediction and praise, I would respond Amen after them to each curse I uttered . . . So each one said Amen according to his intention and opinion.
Jonathan Cott in Dylan (1985) p 216:
One might have seen a sign of his incipient rebellion in the extraordinary, visionary, still-unreleased song “Caribbean Wind'' (with its images of “the furnace of desire'' and “ships of liberty”), which Dylan had sung only at certain of his concerts between 1980 and 198l--a song that broke with the generally rigid versifying and moralizing of his born-again compositions and returned to the leaping verbal associations and passionate allusiveness of earlier songwriting periods. But it was the release of his album Infidels in late 1983 that revealed the unmistakable loosening of the bornagain, Protean grip. As he sang on “Don't Fall Apart on Me Tonight'': ’It's like I'm stuck inside a painting / That's hanging in the Louvre / My throat starts to tickle and my nose itches / But I know that l can't move.” And as he allegorically criticized the archetypal fundamentalist ideologue in ''Man of Peace”: He's a great humanitarian, he's a great philanthropist / He knows just where to touch you, honey, and how you like to be kissed / He'll put both his . . .
Phylacteries (tefillin) and fringes. From the Los Angeles Times 30 October 1983
That [born-again period] was all part of my experience. It had to happen. When I get involved in something, I get totally involved. I don't just play around on the fringes.
‘Brownsville Girl’ (1986):
Well, they were looking for somebody with a pompadour I was crossin’ the street when shots rang out I didn’t know whether to duck or to run, so I ran “We got him cornered in the churchyard,” I heard somebody shout Well, you saw my picture in the Corpus Christi Tribune. Underneath it, it said, “A man with no alibi” . . .
Compare this from The Jewish Daily Forward with its obsessive-compulsive Bob Dylan complex at http://forward.com/articles/163439/bob-dylans-bestand-worst-album-covers/
Bob Dylan's Best and Worst Album Covers
Musical Genius, Yes. Skilled Creator of Cover Art? Sometimes.
By Jay Michaelson
Published October 02, 2012, issue of October 05, 2012. The Best
5. Slow Train Coming (1979)
Jewish fans of Dylan may despise this album, the first of Dylan’s short stint as a born again Christian. But the cover, with its subtle cross symbolism, vision of redemption and home-grown feel, perfectly captures Dylan’s spiritual renaissance after a few years of drug and alcohol addiction — itself well captured on the cover of his previous album, “Bob Dylan at Budokan.” Like “John Wesley Harding,” which it narrowly beat out for the No. 5 spot, the cover of “Slow Train” is at once enigmatic and revealing. You want to know more.
Jakob Dylan ‘interview’ in Rolling Stone magazine 762 (June 12, 1997):
"Jake's family is a huge advantage to him," says T-Bone Burnett. "I'm not talking about the name. I'm talking about the people. They're all great kids. Sara is a beautiful woman, and Bob, well, no matter what anybody thinks or writes, he is a wonderful man." And, adds Jakob, a habitual seeker. When Bob Dylan, born Bob Zimmerman, temporarily turned his back on Judaism and declared himself a born-again Christian, there were interviews, concerts and albums (Slow Train Coming, Saved). "I went through different times," Jakob says of his spiritual upbringing. "During the conversion thing, I went where I was told. I was aware that it mattered to him. He's never done anything half-assed. If he does anything, he goes fully underwater." I've been Jewish for most of my life."
Most? Does that mean that for some of his life his mother wasn’t Jewish? In 2000 Jakob deflected Mick Brown the ‘Exclusive’ with, ‘I’m Jewish and that’s what’s there’. (But Howard Stern would suggest that’s not all.) T S Eliot in ‘The Waste Land’:
IV. DEATH BY WATER
Phlebas the Phoenician, a fortnight dead, Forgot the cry of gulls, and the deep sea swell And the profit and loss. A current under sea Picked his bones in whispers. As he rose and fell He passed the stages of his age and youth Entering the whirlpool. Gentile or Jew you who turn the wheel and look to windward, Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.
http://www.jewishindependent.ca/archives/Dec07/archives07Dec07-05.html Dec. 7, 2007 The musical chameleon returns For the last 50 years, musician Bob Dylan has been shifting from one identity to another. EUGENE KAELLIS
As Dylan's career skyrocketed, he seemed to be trying on "different suits." The cover of one of his albums shows him in the guise of a Chassid. Dylan also dabbled in Christianity and in 1979 he became a born-again Christian, although more recently his Christianity seems to have abated and he has become more attached to the Judaism of his family. His son, Jesse Byron, was bar mitzvahed in Israel and Dylan has donated considerable sums of money to the Jewish state.
Oct 5, 1997 8:00 PM EDT
But you're really here, in an oceanfront hotel in L.A., to talk about the record he's releasing this week, "Time Out of Mind," completed before his widely reported death scare last spring; it's got that album-of-the-year buzz publicists can help along some but not create. But there's stuff he's put off-limits-where he lives, his children-and stuff you just know not to ask. What did those black and white loafers set him back? Is he still in touch with his ex-wife? In fact, he seems near the edge of his comfort zone talking about why he's not talking about one of his most illegible back pages: that conservative, born-again-Christian phase that blindsided his liberal, secular fan base some 15 years ago. "It's not tangible to me," he says. "I don't think I'm tangible to myself. I mean, I think one thing today and I think another thing tomorrow. I change during the course of a day. I wake and I'm one person, and when I go to sleep I know for certain I'm somebody else. I don't know who I am most of the time. It doesn't even matter to me." This cracks him up. Then he says, "Here's the thing with me and the religious thing. This is the flat-out truth: I find the religiosity and philosophy in the music. I don't find it anywhere else. Songs like 'Let Me Rest on a Peaceful Mountain' or 'I Saw the Light'-that's my religion. I don't adhere to rabbis, preachers, evangelists, all of that. I've learned more
from the songs than I've learned from any of this kind of entity. The songs are my lexicon. I believe the songs."
And Manis Friedman . . . Sir Walter Scott:
Well, he threw down his helmet and his cross-handled sword He renounced his faith, he denied his Lord
Bob Dylan’s plagiarism of Rabbi Manis Friedman’s secret Messianic notebook? Somebody representing the Lubavitchers will be on the scene . . . Dylan to Scott Cohen:
. . . Somebody representing Him will be on the scene. Not some crackpot lawyer or politician with the mark of the beast, but somebody who makes them feel holy.
From Hal Lindsey’s book The Late Great Planet Earth p 152:
It is through an ingenuous settlement of the Middle East problem that the Antichrist will be make good his promise to bring peace to a world terrified of war. After this he will rapidly bring all nations under his control. The world will experience great hope and put its full trust in the genius of Rome. He will begin to bring in fantastic plans of economic prosperity, even to the underdeveloped countries. War will seem to be a curious game that men used to play. The world will be universally acclaiming the Dictator. "Who is like the Dictator, and who is able to make war with him?"
Hal Lindsey, author of The Late Great Planet Earth (1970), was closely associated with the Vineyard Church with which Dylan studied for those three months of ‘Bible school’ in early 1979 – though not as closely as people try to make out as if Dylan were Lindsey’s puppet. Lindsey and the Vineyard are not synonymous. ‘Lindsey’’s dispensational premillennialism dovetails ‘perfectly’ with the very opening of the ‘Belief in Moshiach’ interview:
HANDELMAN: The Lubavitch movement has recently created quite a stir with its renewed emphasis on the coming of Moshiach. What does it really mean to say that "Moshiach will come"? FRIEDMAN: The ultimate authority on that is Maimonides. Maimonides says that there will be a Jewish leader who will be a descendant of King David who will bring Jews back to Judaism, and who will fight G-d's battle. If he does so, we can assume that he is Moshiach. If he then goes on to build the Temple and gather all Jews back to Israel, then we will know for sure that he is Moshiach. Now this means that Moshiach comes not by introducing himself as Moshiach. Moshiach is a Jewish leader who does his work diligently and accomplishes these
things. So Moshiach comes through his accomplishments and not through his pedigree. HANDELMAN: In other words, does the coming of Moshiach mean that we make this "assumption" about a certain person, but the person doesn't himself declare it - and then one day this person finally says, "It's me"? Or does the candidate actually have to go and build the Temple in Jerusalem? FRIEDMAN: Maimonides says that once he builds the Temple and gathers Jews back to Israel, then we know for sure he is Moshiach. He doesn't have to say anything. He will accept the role, but we will give it to him. He won't take it to himself. And his coming, the moment of his coming, in the literal sense, would mean the moment when the whole world recognizes him as Moshiach. HANDELMAN: What specifically does that mean? FRIEDMAN: That both Jew and non-Jew recognize that he is the responsible for all these wonderful improvements in the world. HANDELMAN: What will those wonderful improvements in the world be? FRIEDMAN: An end to war, an end to hunger, an end to suffering, a change in attitude.
‘We always did feel the same, we just saw it from a different point of view. Tangled up in blue’. To quote the academic Aidan Day, spot-on because he's way off (and vice versa):
In 'Jokerman' Dylan adopts the figure of the Joker to give emblematic shape to a vision of the bizarre, undecidable nature of human identity. Generating questions which it does not resolve, the lyric itself is presented to its audience in the form of a question or riddle. In its refusal to close lies its strength, its commitment to confront and challenge. And in that refusal it epitomizes the most distinctive perspective of Dylan’s lyrical career: a continually renewed scepticism regarding the possibility of attaining absolutely final positions and a protest at the paralysing intolerance of such as settle for closed and fixed points of view. Aidan Day, Jokerman: Reading the Lyrics of Bob Dylan (1988).
It's as if Day knows exactly what's going on but can't say so because of his ‘broadly post-structuralist’ (Neil Corcoran) principles.
Day offers . . . a broadly post-structuralist reading of the theme of identity. This reading … isolates a theme which underlies everything else in Dylan, the “I and I” … of sceptical self-scrutiny, role-play, internal dialogue; it makes the Christian lyrics of 1979-81 seem genuinely continuous with the effort of the rest of his work; and it supplies the basis for persuasive individual interpretations.’ Neil Corcoran, Times Literary Supplement
From the World Gone Wrong (1993) liner notes to Dylan’s cover of the Mississippi Sheiks’s ‘Delia’:
. . . the guy in the courthouse sounds like a pimp in primary colors, he’s not interested in mosques on the temple mount, armageddon or world war III . . .
Revelation 13 King James Version (KJV)
13 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.
6 5 4 3 2
And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. 7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
Paul Kirkman 2012
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