The Trial of God (as it was held on February 25, 1649, in Shamgorod)
A Play by Elie Wiesel
Translated by Marion Wiesel
Introduction by Robert McAfee Brown
Afterword by Matthew Fox
Where is God when innocent human beings suffer? This drama lays bare the most vexing questions confronting the moral imagination.
Set in a Ukranian village in the year 1649, this haunting play takes place in the aftermath of a pogrom. Only two Jews, Berish the innkeeper and his daughter Hannah, have survived the brutal Cossack raids. When three itinerant actors arrive in town to perform a Purim play, Berish demands that they stage a mock trial of God instead, indicting Him for His silence in the face of evil. Berish, a latter-day Job, is ready to take on the role of prosecutor. But who will defend God? A mysterious stranger named Sam, who seems oddly familiar to everyone present, shows up just in time to volunteer.
The idea for this play came from an event that Elie Wiesel witnessed as a boy in Auschwitz: "Three rabbisall erudite and pious mendecided one evening to indict God for allowing His children to be massacred. I remember: I was there, and I felt like crying. But there nobody cried."
Inspired and challenged by this play, Christian theologians Robert McAfee Brown and Matthew Fox, in a new Introduction and Afterword, join Elie Wiesel in the search for faith in a world where God is silent.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
ELIE WIESEL is the author of more than fifty books, both fiction and nonfiction. He is a recipient of the United States Congressional Gold Medal, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the French Legion of Honors Grand-Croix, an honorary knighthood of the British Empire and, in 1986, the Nobel Peace Prize. Since 1976, he has been the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University.
"From the abyss of the death camps he has come as a messenger to mankindnot with a message of hate and revenge, but with one of brotherhood and atonement."
From the Citation for the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize
"Wiesel uses words to craft literary monuments, works that stand as acts of remembrance and as meditations on the nature of remembrance itself."
San Francisco Chronicle
"Unquestionably, Wiesel is one of the most admirable, indeed indispensable, human beings now writing."
"Not since Albert Camus has there been such an eloquent spokesman for man."
The New York Review of Books