Bulletin for the Study of Religion, Vol 42, No 3 (2013)

Baal Sham Tov: Woody Allen's Hassidic Tale-Telling

Jennifer Caplan
Issued Date: 27 Sep 2013


Woody Allen has long been seen as a definitive voice in American Jewish humor because of his films, but his short fiction has been largely ignored. An analysis of his fiction can, however, yield strong indications that while Allen himself may be an atheist, his prose owes a great debt to his religious upbringing and his ongoing religious literacy. This essay take a closer look at one particular story to note the ways in which Allen encounters religion in his fiction and uses his knowledge of Jewish scriptural forms to enhance the reader's experience of his satire. In this story, consisting of his parodies of the Hassidic tales of Eastern Europe, is he the Baal Sham Tov; the Master of the Good Fake.

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DOI: 10.1558/bsor.v42i3.11


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