Why do you hate Jesus Christ

From the point of view of Jesus Christ

"I, Jesus of Nazareth, was born as a cuckoo child in the year zero between the years before me and the years after me in Bethlehem."

What the first-person narrator brings up like a logelist or a little fantasy is the beginning of the autobiography of one of the most famous saviors in human history: Jesus Christ. The term autobiography seems to be a contradiction in terms, because author and narrator or protagonist are not identical. Nevertheless, the generic name has a certain justification, because Jürg Amann takes the biographical part of the story from the four Gospels according to Matthew, Marcus, Luke and Johannes as material for the figure of the first-person narrator. In 29 short chapters, it leads through a narrative whose events probably everyone knows - if not from school reading, then from the iconography of Western art.

The well-known stages of salvation history begin with Mary's pregnancy, even before Joseph brought her into his house, with the Annunciation and the birth of Christ, and the flight to Egypt from Herod. Soon - says Jesus - he stayed behind in Jerusalem at the age of twelve to hear and question the scholars in the temple, a little later he works his first miracles, so that John the Baptist asks astonished why he wanted to be baptized by him and where it must be the other way around. But Christ insists, and during his baptism a voice from heaven speaks:

"This is my beloved son, in whom I am very pleased."

The continuation of the story with the wedding of Canaan, the miracles he works in Syria, walking across the water, the calling of the apostles as fishermen of men shows his growing into the growing responsibility of accepting his own divinity as the Son of Man and finally as the sacrificial lamb to meet.

"And the ax is already at the roots of the trees. Any tree that does not produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire."

While John is still conjuring up the wrath of God, Jesus preaches to those who stream to him about the salt of the earth, goodness and forgiveness, and in the Sermon on the Mount lays the ethical basis for what should constitute the Christian faith:

"You have heard that it was said: An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth! I tell you, however, that you should not oppose the evil one. If someone hits you on the right cheek, offer him the left one too."
"A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Therefore: You should recognize them by their fruits."


With the crowds during the Sermon on the Mount, he ensures a wonderful increase in bread, which increases his awareness, but also the displeasure of the opponents, until the situation comes to a head:

"So they asked me: Who are you? And I answered: What I say to you: the Son of Man of God. If you would hear the Son of Man, you would recognize that I do nothing of myself, as the Father taught me That's how I speak. Why don't you understand my language? They replied: We are not born of fornication; we have a father. "

The episode, which is soon to be followed by his arrest, opens up the possibility of interpretation that the 'fatherlessness' of Christ, his being-out-of-this-world leads to incomprehension and rejection of his message of salvation, and persecution and hatred from his opponents, to the point of desire justified after execution. After Jesus, betrayed by Judas, is handed over to the Roman governor Pilate, who cannot find fault with him, he lets the angry people decide on the "King of the Jews" and they demand: "Crucify him!" With the shoulders of the cross and Jesus ‘inner outcry: Father, why did you leave me, Amann ends the story.

If one were to break this down to the biography of an average person, the story could be read as a father-son conflict, as the fantastic, slightly exaggerated story of a young man with messianic ambitions, whose life is shaped by the pathologically close relationship with his father. The never-appearing but almighty Father sends his son to earth to redeem people and, at the end of his mission, delivers him to the Pharisees, who consider him a blasphemer and crucify him.

It is extremely exciting how the approach to the important figure of the founder of the religion works through Amann's tried and tested poetological procedure: the raw material, the language of the evangelists, their parables and simple, earth-bound images that have become proverbs are so deeply familiar and repeated that the gaze seems misplaced to the original meaning. This view is sharpened by Amann's reading of the material in the reduced original language. In a sense, he cores the biography through his concise language on its narrative content and thus brings the essentials to light. In doing so, he creates a closeness to the first-person narrator, which makes his humanity palpable in the literal sense and makes the autobiographical immediately believable.

Postscript: Death was quicker now.

Jürg Amann: "Father, why did you leave me? Autobiography of Christ", 111 pages, Arche Verlag 2013, 14.95 euros