Wednesday, August 04, 2004

The Death of Superman (A thought)

One of most notable comic book events in the D.C. universe in the early nineties was the Death of Superman after a battle with Doomsday.

After the death of Superman he was "replaced" by four superbeings, which took on the mantle of the Man of Steel:
Superboy (created by Cadmus & cloned from Superman's DNA)
Steel (John Henry Irons)
Cyborg (Hank Henshaw)
Last Son

I was thinking last weekend about how this can be seen as a metaphor for Judaism in the modern era. When Judaism was first confronted by Modernity (Doomsday), many thought it "dead".

Among that which replaced traditional Judaism was (and possibly continues to be):
Reform Judaism (Cyborg): A combination of the "ethical monotheism" of Judaism with (then) current religious & philosophical trends (e.g. Kant, Hegel).
Jewish Culture (Superboy) which is cool, young, hip & relevant.
Academic Jewish Studies/Wissenschaft des Judentums (Steel) which shares much of the texts (symbols) with Judaism but would be the first to admit that it is different than Jewish religion.
Zionism (Last Son) who was more violent and manly than the "original" Judaism (see Guy Gardner's take on the Last Son) but also the most insecure about its identity.

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