A GROUP of Jewish and Christian scholars are to meet to discuss whether the Oberammergau Passion play, performed every 10 years, encourages antiSemitism in Germany and in Christian culture.
The symposium which will be held in Munich, West Germany, next weekend has been organised by the Catholic Academy of Bavaria and the American Jewish Inter-religious Affairs Department.
The American Jewish group has long been concerned with the effect of the play and derivative Passion Plays in other parts of the world on Jewish-Christian relations.
More than 20 years ago the committee analysed the script then used in the play and concluded that it was a highly antiSemitic document "that could not help but contribute to the misunderstanding of Jews and Judaism."
Mr Miles Jafe, the Jewish group's chairman said this week that the symposium would be "the first time in the history of the Oberammergau, Passion Play, which dates back to 1634, that a German Catholic group of such prestige has taken the initiative in co-operation with a Jewish body to examine the root causes of anti-Semitism engendered by certain accounts ofiesus' death."
Rabbi Tanenbaum, who will present one of the major papers at the symposium, has also been invited to speak in the village of Oberammergau. It is the first time that a Jewish spokesman has addressed a public gathering in the village on the theme or antiSemitism and Jewish-Christian relations.