Volume 13 11, No.3 - Fall 1965
Editor of this issue: Thomas Remeikis
ISSN 0024-5089
Copyright © 1965 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.


A Survey of the Literary Heritage of Vincas Krėvė

University of Pennsylvania

Vincas Krėvė is one of the outstanding, and perhaps even the most outstanding, authors in Lithuanian literature. The aim of this article is to survey the major works of Vincas Krėvė, the colorful personages of his short stories and the memorable personalities of his dramas. 

The romantic trend in Krėvė's creativity toward the ancient past, toward folklore, the exotic Orient, forceful personalities, is closely interrelated with the acuity of the realist to the drab-ness of everyday life, with sober rationality, with remarkable psychological insight. This dual talent of Krėvė held in check his romantic flights of fancy, preventing their total flight from this earth, and making the Krėvė characters living and breathing people. On the other hand it lyricized Krėvė's portrayals of real life, compelling him to strive for more than merely dry prose or insipid descriptions of superficial scenes. Moreover, this diversity of talent expanded the framework of Krėvė's creativity, which included the warriors of antiquity, the thatched roof in the Lithuanian village, the poetic legend of the people, the distant "Story of the Waves of the Holy Ganges," the epochal times of Christ in Palestine.

Very sensitive to beauty, Krėvė seeks it in the very words he uses, in the nature he describes, and especially in man. The disclosure of man's spiritual treasure is the central problem in Krėvė's works, from which a multitudinous gallery of characters peers at us. No other writer has created as many personages that have become classic in Lithuanian literature. We find here Vainoras, the village sage whom the people call an atheist, we find the old herdsman Lapinas who communes with Nature, and little Antanukas, and the youth in the "Gilšė" legend who is ensnared by all-conquering love, and tempestuous warrior Šarūnas, and the somber ruler of Lithuania Skirgaila, and the controversial Herod the Great, and the great skeptic Jehuda of Kerioth, and many many others. The range of Krėvė's characters is very broad: the grim warrior, beside him an ordinary, kind-hearted village grandma drawn from real life. Krėvė did not give all his creative attention to any one class of people. All of the multi-colored varieties of men interest him as a writer. However, Krėvė has shown a liking for figures of power, of firm resolve, of the storm-tossed spirit, proud and bowing to no one.

The language in Krėvė's works is noteworthy for its beauty and diversity. In the legends it is stylized according to the folk songs and replete with astonishing vibrancy. Not so Krėvė's words in his realistic narratives. Here it is calm, classically lucid, in measure not overdone with stylistic graces, yet avoiding shallow banality or, even more, any harshness. In his historical dramas Krėvė's use of words reaches a dramatic peak, well-suited to his virile characters and their stormy conflicts. In his Oriental tales, Krėvė's language again glows with a genuine Oriental flourish. Krėvė manages also to catch the true flavor of the colorful biblical tongue.

Thus, the breadth of Krėvė's themes, the beauty of his prose, the sharp definition and the psychological certainty of the people he creates, finally the significance of the problems he raises, have elevated Krėvė to the very heights of Lithuanian literature. As the noted Lithuanian literary critic, V. Mykolaitis-Putinas, phrased it, "Up to now no Lithuanian writer has ever encompassed such universal areas of creativity and not one has ever delved as deeply into the life and the very soul of the Lithuanian as he has done." 1

Beauty of Folklore, Yearning for a Glorious Past

One of the basic sources of Krėvė's creativity is Lithuanian folklore. Having heard folk songs and legends from early childhood, he took an intense liking for them and even as a student recorded many of them in writing. It was not without reason that the land (southern Lithuania) in which Krėvė was born and grew up was at one time, as evidenced in historical sources, called "Dainava" — the land of songs.

Lithuanian folk songs have been famed for their poetic tenderness. Lessing and Herder had admired them, while Goethe used a Lithuanian folk song in his "Die Fischerin." Interested in the Lithuanian language because of its scholarly importance, many foreign philologists in the 19th century were also collecting and publishing folk songs. Although there were many enthusiastic appraisals of the beauty of Lithuanian songs, the chief interest was still from a philological and folk-loristic viewpoint.

At the beginning of the 20th century Lithuanian literary critics expressed the opinion that folk poetry should not only be annotated, collected, published and appreciated, but should also serve as a source for the creation of new literary works. In the field of art, a similar idea was expressed for basing new creativity on the old folk art forms.

Lithuanian artist-composer M. K. Čiurlionis, well-known even outside his native country, on the occasion of a Lithuanian art exhibit wrote: "Folk art must be the fundamental of our individual art. A specific Lithuanian style is bound to originate from folk art, of which we should be proud, because the beauty expressed in it is pure and truly Lithuanian." 2 Čiurlionis also called attention to the folk songs and maintained that, "The 'dainos' (songs) are like rocks of precious marble, awaiting only the genius who will know how to make of them undying works of art." 3

This same thought became a concern of young student Krėvė. In 1907, he and one of his friends published an appeal in "Vilniaus Žinios" regarding the collecting and publishing of folk tales, with the reminder that, "Perhaps more than one tale of Dzūkija [that region of Lithuania where Krėvė was born j might under the pen of an inspired artist be transformed into a most unique work."4 And indeed, two years later, Krėvė published "Gilšė," one of his most beautiful legends which, because of the overpowering passion that enslaves man which it describes, could be called the Lithuanian Tristan and Isolde. This tale was later included in Krėvė's anthology, "Tales of the Old Folks of Dainava."

Lithuanian folk songs are purely lyric; there are no such heroic epics as the German Nibelungenlied or the Russian By-liny. However, ancient chroniclers, for instance J. Dhigosz in the 15th century, recorded that the "dainos" honored the exploits of heroes. During the Romantic era in Europe there were some, for example Czech V. Hanka, who, not finding any in their own nation, even tried to falsify such ancient epics. Krėvė, though, had no intention of falsifying. Utilizing the enduring folk tales, the nuances of folk songs, and conforming to the characteristic rules of epic poetry, Krėvė wanted to recreate a vanished era of Lithuanian heroes, even in unrhymed form, being satisfied with ringing poetic prose.

And so the- world of poetic tales is restored in Krėvė's creations: sorrowing for her young man who had died, the maiden turns into a roadside stone, while her anguished tears became a salty stream gushing from the earth; because of a young man's transgression a fine manor house sinks to the bottom of a lake, where on bright moonlit nights the youth and his beloved splash about in ghostly frolic; frightful moans of an ancient prince can be heard from the top of a cursed hill at midnight; tall castle-fortresses with their ruins of ancient walls bespeak the courageous battles for the freedom of their native land by the forefathers against the armor-clad Crusaders.

The author speaks as though through the lips of an ancient bard: "Oh, you young men, ye spotted falcons, be ye quiet for a moment, listen to an old man, to the sorrowful words of my sad tale. Then I, an old man, shall sing to you ..." 5

The heroic epic elevates the portrayed life and people out of the realm of gray every-dayness. The life described in the "Tales of Dainava" are like a perpetual holiday: riotous hunts, banquets in the grand manner, valiant battles, and the people — warriors worthy of amazement. Psychologically they are not complicated — just like the heroes of ancient epics. Their basic emotions are few: love, revenge, happiness, and above all — striving for glory. There are grand passions, however, worthy of fearless and unswerving titans,

... giant men who never knew the meaning of fear or the onerous misfortune of slavery; whose hand is mightier than desire, than longing, while their actions and their deeds are quicker than thoughts: what their heads tadn't yet thought out, their hands had already done.6

Word pictures of an exciting life call for a language that is other than every-day prose. The language of "Tales of Dainava" is at once poetic and decorative. As in folk poetry, there is in it much of the enduring epithets and similes, graceful parallelisms, gentle diminutives, depictive metaphors, impressive antitheses and repetitions, and plain hyperbole, so favored in heroic epics. These numerous poetic means allow an unlimited expansion of style. The true epic bard favors just this kind of breadth in story-telling. Far from trying to tell his listeners the story as quickly as possible, he wants to enjoy the flavor of the telling itself. It is like a wide and shoreless river whose flow is calm and even. The tranquillity of the tale is not interrupted by dark suffering nor by the joy of victory. The closely-ordered sentences, often embellished by long and resounding phrases, give the language of "Tales of Dainava" a gentle rhythmic flow. Lithuanian literature until then had never had any such rich-sounding, genuinely musical prose.

To Krėvė, the ancient past of his native land arises like a beautiful dream: "And I imagine that the ancient times have returned, that I hear the strident shouts of warriors, the sensitive songs of the bards ... I dream, and I dream a golden and splendidfornied dream." 7 At the same time the author realizes with sorrow that this is all gone, that it has vanished a long, long time ago: "It is still all around .. . The swords no longer clang, the steeds no longer neigh in Dainava, only balding Merkinė hill weeps that the walls upon its top have crumbled. It weeps and cries because the sons of Dainava have already forgotten it." 8 It is these two sensations that comprise the emotional foundation of "Tales of Dainava." A fascination for something and a deep sorrow that it is gone create longing. Thus the romantic yearning for the grand past inspired Krėvė's "Tales of Dainava."

Lithuanian Hamlet and the Birth of a Nation

Speaking at Philadelphia on his 70th birthday, Krėvė emphasized a certain patriotic side of his intense interest in Lithuanian history:

... there arose in me a desire to revive that ancient Lithuania, especially after I had occasion in the university to meet students of other nationalities who spoke of their noble past. It was then that I developed a desire to show that our past is grander than that of most others. It was then that I wanted to recreate that ancient Lithuania which all alone fought off all of Europe, when that continent was furnishing aid to the Crusaders. Not only did Lithuania not collapse, nor surrender, but she even crushed the Crusaders to whom all of Europe was rendering assistance.

I wanted to demonstrate that in the deadly win-or-die battles Lithuania became the greatest and most powerful state, that it repulsed the Asiatic hordes which all of Europe had been unable to resist. I thought that if these people were able to do all this they had to be spiritual giants. And I wanted to portray the spirit of these giants — of ancient Lithuania. 9

So we know that it was not the physically strong and agile fighting knight, the traditional hero of historic novels, who was the main concern of Krėvė, but the personage of mighty spirit. Krėvė's approach to the subject matter could be called a crossroads method, for he selects from history an important era, when the nation was at a fateful crossroad, then elucidates these epochal problems which with all their onerous weight fall on his hero's shoulders. Here then, in the face of that inexorably heavy historic burden, arises the spiritual greatness of Krėvė's personages, shining forth in tragic nobility. On the other hand, though, these are not some mythological titans or demigods, at whose great deeds we are amazed, but over whose fate or even death we remain cold. Nor are they elementary single- minded warriors of a heroic epic, but psychologically individual entities. The historic crossroad at which they stand matches the duality of their spirit which causes them more than once to waver, to have doubts about their chosen way, at the same time suffering cruelly. Their suffering atones for their repelling cruelties, makes them close and understandable, and we are no longer indifferent about the tragic fate which awaits them.

There is just such a crossroad in which the Lithuanian nation finds itself. In "Šarūnas, The Prince of Dainava" it is a do-or-die matter to convert the Lithuanians from their tranquil idyllic situation, living separately in small tribus, into a united and strong state, in order to be able to survive in the face of the danger from a new, most powelful yet seen, foe — the Teutonic Knights. This task of being the uniter of a state fell to legendary Prince Šarūnas, a person who, it would seem, by the coarseness of his character would only succeed in alienating everyone, not in uniting them. But the performance of that historic task called for a powerful personality, one which could overcome the total inertia, the allegiance to tradition, and stubborn resistance to innovations. This is a truly romantic view of a decisive role played by an individual in the course of history.

In the beginning even Šarūnas did not comprehend the scope of his historic task, the need to create a powerful united state. He was concerned only with his own unstable desires and the satisfaction of his unbridled ambitions. His proud soul was filled with his disappointment with life, leaving a bitter taste and a hatred for the people. He was cheated by nature, born an ugly hunchback. He was unloved by anyone and ridiculed by everyone. From childhood on he had never experienced any kindness within his family. He had never felt the joy of love, although he yearned for it. Thus, as though in revenge his heart is inflamed by a powerful longing for the glory of great deeds which no one could dim.

I would give the blood and tears not only of the world, but my own as well, for one hotfr of such power, such glory as no one else, as long as the earth is the earth, has ever achieved.10

In the primitive conditions of those hoary ancient times Šarūnas could seek such glory only on the field of battle. And so, with valiant military measures, copious shedding of blood, and the glow of war's conflagrations Šarūnas shook up all of idylly peaceful Dainava. He wanted to "fly 'round the world like an eagle." 4 11 Only at long last, under the influence of Rainys the bard, did the basic purpose of his feats become clear to Šarūnas: "One sun in the sky, there must be only one ruler in Dainava, or the earth will not be able to keep me alive." 12 The people did not understand Šarūnas, only cursing him for the blood and tears he caused: "It was so quiet, so peaceful in the homeland! Everyone lived as the gods commanded, everyone worked happily at his occupation." 13 Aged Gelovinis says to Šarūnas:

You are wrecking what was gradually created over the ages. Like a wide river, life flowed smoothly along its regular channel, while you want to dam this channel, direct it into another course
—    you are doing the right thing, but the people do not understand
—    they believe that you want to enslave them only for the sake of your proud vanity.14

The meaning of Šarūnas' measures became evident when he fell in battle, after having defeated the Crusaders when they first appeared on Lithuania's territory. Šarūnas perished, but his idea lived on. All understood that only by maintaining a united state could they withstand the new, powerful foe. And so they select Mindaugas as the successor to Šarūnas, to carry on his work. At the pyre consuming Šarūnas' remains. Mindaugas pronounces the solemn words: "I swear by your ashes, by the ashes of our fathers, by the holy fire that I shall not forget your ways, as I shall not forget you, brother." 15

The basic literary worth of this work by Krėvė is not the problem of creating a state, but Šarūnas' character, psychologically complicated and profoundly tragic. He has disputed not only with others, but often even with his own conflicting desires and emotions. More than once he wavers and suffers for it.

You do not know, bard, how your fantasies have captivated me! What storms awaken in my heart, the doubts with which my soul struggles. I speak and I laugh, while inside it is as though someone is needling my heart, as though cats are clawing each other there. I want to dare, and it is terrible: everyone will be against me, my own people as well as strangers. Our people have grown unaccustomed to the sword, they have become unused to war. And so much blood, so much blood can be shed...16

Šarūnas is by no means only an angry avenger, he is also a man thirsting for the joy of quiet happiness, which was denied him by a jealous fate. He feels the onerous burden of his chosen path and sometimes has doubts about its success: "It is very difficult! Will I last it out? Wherever there is a step, there is entanglement, there are obstacles ... I may give it all up and live as my ancestors lived." 17 Normally a man of strong action, for these often recurring doubts in his soul one critic accuratelly called Šarūnas the Lithuanian Hamlet.18

The Crossroad Between Pagan Tradition and Christianity

Spiritually akin to Šarūnas is Skirgaila, in Krėvė's drama of the same title about Lithuania's 14th century history. This is no longer a legendary prince like Šarūnas, but a personality known from history. He was the brother of Jogaila, who had become King of Poland (called Wladislaw Jagiello by the Poles) and his deputy in Lithuania. Krėvė, however, took the liberty of thinking up many events in Skirgaila's life not attested by historical sources.

Like Šarūnas, Skirgaila is a ruler of grim nature and mailed fist. "There is no other will, after I have expressed mine," 19 he cuts sharply as though with an ax. He is not, however, as impulsive as was Šarūnas. More than once he stifles his inborn pride which refused to bow down to anyone, heeding a mind which weighs the realities of historic conditions. His greatest wish, for which he is willing to sacrifice himself, is a great and powerful Lithuania. But he clearly sees the decisive crossroad in which Lithuania had found herself; he realizes that pagan Lithuania, surrounded and being gradually annihilated by numerous Christian foes, will be unable to resist. To a pagan priest urging him to retain the ancient traditions, Skirgaila retorts sharply:

You, priest, do not foresee the fate of nations. You are acquainted with the past, which to you glitters with the radiance of a newly-wed bride. You do not think of the future. From the east and the west, from the south and the north, the enemies of our gods have encircled the country. The Teutons and the Poles are destroying the land by sword and fire, while other nations give them aid. We will not be able to withstand the whole world. 20

Here, then, is the crossing of the ways which Skirgaila so sorely experienced: to listen to his heart, remain loyal to the ancient traditions of his forebears and heroically, albeit hopelessly, battle the overwhelming foe; or take the way dictated by rationality, adopt the new faith and in this way be saved from an otherwise inevitable doom. It is this crucial crossing of the ways that is at the heart of Skirgaila's tragedy:

... I am a knave, that in sight of the people I am compelled to honor the angry and unjust god of a hated nation, because through him our Lithuania is bathed in blood and because with the sword and with fire they forced us to make obeisance to him.21

Having lost his self-esteem, Skirgaila denigrates others as well, especially when he hears the trumped-up news that the priest Stardas, the staunch defender of the ancient faith, had been baptized before he died.

Skirgaila's disillusionment increases. He is disenchanted even with Lithuania's ancient gods. He, who recognizes only might, who can sincerely enjoy even the success of a courageous foe, is unable to comprehend and respect gods who have lost their power to avenge and punish those who renounce them. "Why does Perkūnas (the Thunder god) remain quiet and not smite those who turn away from him?",22 he asked bewilderedly of a priest. The tragedy experienced by all Lithuania is sensed in this complete disillusionment of Skirgaila. He becomes a symbolic personage of an era.

The Beauty of the Simple Soul

Like some giants, Šarūnas and Skirgaila arise out of a mist-enveloped past. Nevertheless, it was not solely the great personalities of history that attracted Krėvė's attention as a writer. No less dear to his heart is the ordinary villager of his youth. Growing up in a village, from childhood Krėvė not only heard many tuneful folk songs and unique legends about haunted lakes and castle hills, he was also well acquainted with the dull everyday existence of the village, and knew intimately the joys and tribulations of the village folk, their thoughts and their feelings. Krėvė is concerned not with everyone's social problems in village life, but with the soul of the village man. In a collection of realistic short stories, "Under a Thatched Roof," Krėvė displays not only great powers of psychological observation, but also affection for the personage portrayed. This permits him time and again to reveal such a spiritual richness and beauty as we probably would not have expected to find in the common villager. For example, in the short story "Grandma's Worries," the detailed motherly concern of the old grandmother, tired after endless work from early morning until late at night, her forgiving goodness described with great sympathy by the author, gives the whole episode much moral warmth. Old farm wife Gerdviliene, in the short story "The Herrings", is alike in her forgiving character, never hastening to judge anyone, with a heart overflowing with kindness. When a servant girl who had swindled a tired Jewish peddler alibis: "Goodness sakes! You'd think it was a sin against God to cheat a Jew! Weren't they the people who tortured and crucified our Lord ?!", Gerdviliene reminds her gently: "My dear girl, we ourselves torment and crucify our beloved Lord every day. Yet He always forgives us!" 23

A bright tendency toward good, an individual sense of honesty is inherent, often subconsciously, in the "Thatched Roof" people. Mischievous shepherd Petrukas, in the short story "The Murderer", for example, having killed a pig with a well-aimed stone and avoiding like fire the farmer enraged by this misdeed, when he finally comes face to face with the farmer not only doesn't try to get away, but even breaks into tears of sorrow over his evil deed. Servant girl Marcele, in the short story "The Herrings", having stolen three herrings from the poor peddler, feels remorse over the wrong she has done and determines to make restitution, even though in doing so she commits another theft, secretly stealing a few eggs from her mistress.

In the short story "The Dvainis Family", the impoverished farmer Dvainis labors tediously, yet he is not so oppressed by his penury as by a sense of injured justice which is so alive in him:

And why does God so dislike him? After all, he does everything that is required: he goes to church, and goes to confession, and fasts on fast days. How can he help but fast, when often even on Sunday he has to eat dry gruel because there is nothing else in the larder! Even though poor himself, often unable to come by any money, yet during Easter and Pentecost and on other holy days he always gives to the beggars. Neither does he forget the church: if he has at least two pennies, he does not go by the altar without leaving an offering... Or perhaps God had ordained it so, that the one who is wicked, who is evil, would always have success. While for the good person there is no place, and that is that.24

And there arises within him a notion to fight back:

Well, since you are this way with me, dear God, I shall be the same with You. You give me no good for my prayers, so I will not pray to You, but this is what I shall do. Look, the priest holds mass there, and I shall go cut timber! So there! 25

He determines to take revenge on God Himself, knowingly committing what is, in the opinion of the mass of people, a grave sin. He does not carry out his resolve, however, because he, a superstitious villager, is frightened away from the tree he is chopping by a bird which swoops down from its branches uttering a strange cry. Recalling all the tales he has heard about the strange and dreadful things which happened in forests, Dvainis flees. The climax of this tale sounds a bit comical. But, for deeply devout Dvainis to decide to chop trees while mass is going on and thus express a protest against God called for quite a bit of daring. Thus there flared up in him a little spark of the rebellious spirit of Šarūnas.

To Dvainis, as to other characters peopling Krėvė's stories, nature is still alive and spiritual. Within them there still remains some of the ancient animistic view of nature, which is also reflected in Lithuanian folklore. Little touched by modern culture, they keenly feel a close tie with nature and are not deaf to its voice.

Hear the trees rustle, [says one old "Thatched Roof" man.] Why they rustle, you don't know, but I have known for a long time. Hear the harvester singing in the field? You do not understand why she sings, but I do. Listen to the swallow trilling on the rooftop. What it is trilling you do not understand, but I know it as well as I know myself. For you the wind only musses your hair — that is all! But to me it whispers a message into my ear.26

How such an animistic outlook is instilled in the "Thatched Roof" people from childhood is penetratingly told in the short story "Antanukas' Morning." Little Antanukas firmly believes — how can he not believe, when his grandmother says it is so — that smoke is red because blood is dripping from it. He also believes when his grandmother explains that trees feel pain: "Yes. Antanukas, it hurts them. The trees hurt when people hack at them, and flowers hurt when people pluck them. But because they have no voice, they can't cry out." 27

Just like little Antanukas, Krėvė too spent his childhood in the same kind of "Thatched Roof" living, close to nature, to whose beauty he remained sensitive even later. True, Krėvė was primarily concerned with a psychological insight into his characters, which accounts for the paucity of longer descriptions of nature in his short stories. Even these are closely tied in with his personal experiences. For instance his description of the forest, from remembrance of his long-past happy young days, tinged with the patina of melancholy:

The pine forest had the spicy fragrance of a farmer's orchard full of beehives. You had only to open your mouth and inhale, and you felt as if you had actually been eating honey.

The heat had simmered all day long, like a boiling pot; only towards evening did it cool off a bit, as the horizon became shot with a hazy mist.

I was returning from town, jacketless and barefoot. The trip was not long, only about two miles, and the road led through the woods.

Some years ago a deep forest extended on both sides of the road — shady, luxuriant, and dark as the night. The fir trees soughed mournfully, the pines swayed in silence, the green knotty oaks murmured mysteriously. Entering the forest you find yourself in an entirely different world, so secret and sinister that a cold shiver runs down your spine. There is silence and gloom, as if it were a haunted palace. The trees stand motionless, like village elders who have seen much in their lifetimes; not a leaf stirs, there is not a whisper anywhere, not a twig moves.

You can hear the little bird hop from one branch to another, and a gray squirrel scampering up a tree trunk. Then all at once, the forest sighs as though from a distance; the sound swells as it approaches, grows to a mighty roar, the leaves rustle overhead, the boughs wave, the tops of the trees dip and sway as though manipulated by someone's hand — then again, stillness and calm descend on the lofty pines ...

I walked in this forest when I was a boy. Then, the sunshine seemed warmer, the world appeared more gaily colored, everything was transfigured before my very eyes by the mysterious voices and rustlings.28

The subtle acoustic perception of the external world in the cited passage is characteristic. This must be correlated with the fundamentals of music which, as critics have noted, is evident in all of Krėvė's works.

To Krėvė, nature is not just a beautiful landscape, nor merely a background in which the life of his characters takes place. To him, nature is first of all that great power which acts upon the "Thatched Roof" man, often directing his viewpoints and his actions. It is this force of nature, this secretiveness of the scary forest, that defeats Dvainis who had determined to take revenge upon God by defying Him. It is this very nature, this feeling of a dark and rainy fall day, which erases farmer Kalpokas' long-carried anger, and he no longer strikes the shepherd who killed his pig, but actually soothes the weeping boy. It is nature, its great and calm secretiveness, which fills so-called atheist Vainoras with such an amazing spiritual serenity that he appears to us like some sage who has guessed the great mystery of life.

Perhaps the person most closely allied with nature is herdsman Lapinas of the short story "The Herdsman" who tied his own fate in with that of a century-old tree; he would live as long as the grand old linden on the Grainis property remained standing. He is the one who amazes us with that rare vitality for such a ripe old age, with such a great urge to live. For even the oldest men of the village remember him only as an already graying man. Yet although he is as white as an apple tree in full blossom, Lapinas does not feel the weight and exhaustion of his years, nor does he even long for the serenity of old age. Exactly the reverse is true — more than anything he favors happiness, children's quarrels, arguments between grown-ups. Wherever he is there is activity. Just like that other village ancient, the Grainis linden, which from daybreak on is alive with the rustling of its leaves and the voices of birds. Lapinas is ancient not only in years, but in his outlook. Little affected by modern culture, he looks like a relic of antiquity only half-way out of pagan times. Shepherds often taunt him that he does not know the catechism and that he doesn't even know how many gods there are.

But then Grainis cuts down his linden. Lapinas dies then too. Of course, we can explain his death altogether realistically: after a few drinks at a wedding the old man fell asleep on the ground in the orchard, became chilled and never recoveredfundamentals of music which, as critics have noted, is evident in all of Krėvė's works.

To Krėvė, nature is not just a beautiful landscape, nor merely a background in which the life of his characters takes place. To him, nature is first of all that great power which acts upon the "Thatched Roof" man, often directing his viewpoints and his actions. It is this force of nature, this secretiveness of the scary forest, that defeats Dvainis who had determined to take revenge upon God by defying Him. It is this very nature, this feeling of a dark and rainy fall day, which erases farmer Kalpokas' long-carried anger, and he no longer strikes the shepherd who killed his pig, but actually soothes the weeping boy. It is nature, its great and calm secretiveness, which fills so-called atheist Vainoras with such an amazing spiritual serenity that he appears to us like some sage who has guessed the great mystery of life.

Perhaps the person most closely allied with nature is herdsman Lapinas of the short story "The Herdsman" who tied his own fate in with that of a century-old tree; he would live as long as the grand old linden on the Grainis property remained standing. He is the one who amazes us with that rare vitality for such a ripe old age, with such a great urge to live. For even the oldest men of the village remember him only as an already graying man. Yet although he is as white as an apple tree in full blossom, Lapinas does not feel the weight and exhaustion of his years, nor does he even long for the serenity of old age. Exactly the reverse is true — more than anything he favors happiness, children's quarrels, arguments between grown-ups. Wherever he is there is activity. Just like that other village ancient, the Grainis linden, which from daybreak on is alive with the rustling of its leaves and the voices of birds. Lapinas is ancient not only in years, but in his outlook. Little affected by modern culture, he looks like a relic of antiquity only half-way out of pagan times. Shepherds often taunt him that he does not know the catechism and that he doesn't even know how many gods there are.

But then Grainis cuts down his linden. Lapinas dies then too. Of course, we can explain his death altogether realistically: after a few drinks at a wedding the old man fell asleep on the ground in the orchard, became chilled and never recoveredfundamentals of music which, as critics have noted, is evident in all of Krėvė's works.

To Krėvė, nature is not just a beautiful landscape, nor merely a background in which the life of his characters takes place. To him, nature is first of all that great power which acts upon the "Thatched Roof" man, often directing his viewpoints and his actions. It is this force of nature, this secretiveness of the scary forest, that defeats Dvainis who had determined to take revenge upon God by defying Him. It is this very nature, this feeling of a dark and rainy fall day, which erases farmer Kalpokas' long-carried anger, and he no longer strikes the shepherd who killed his pig, but actually soothes the weeping boy. It is nature, its great and calm secretiveness, which fills so-called atheist Vainoras with such an amazing spiritual serenity that he appears to us like some sage who has guessed the great mystery of life.

Perhaps the person most closely allied with nature is herdsman Lapinas of the short story "The Herdsman" who tied his own fate in with that of a century-old tree; he would live as long as the grand old linden on the Grainis property remained standing. He is the one who amazes us with that rare vitality for such a ripe old age, with such a great urge to live. For even the oldest men of the village remember him only as an already graying man. Yet although he is as white as an apple tree in full blossom, Lapinas does not feel the weight and exhaustion of his years, nor does he even long for the serenity of old age. Exactly the reverse is true — more than anything he favors happiness, children's quarrels, arguments between grown-ups. Wherever he is there is activity. Just like that other village ancient, the Grainis linden, which from daybreak on is alive with the rustling of its leaves and the voices of birds. Lapinas is ancient not only in years, but in his outlook. Little affected by modern culture, he looks like a relic of antiquity only half-way out of pagan times. Shepherds often taunt him that he does not know the catechism and that he doesn't even know how many gods there are.

But then Grainis cuts down his linden. Lapinas dies then too. Of course, we can explain his death altogether realistically: after a few drinks at a wedding the old man fell asleep on the ground in the orchard, became chilled and never recovered from his illness. But this is, so to speak, only the superficial cause of his death, while basically it was because the cutting down of the linden tree with which he had intertwined his life, cut the life-line of his vitality; he lost the will to live: "If the people have not heart for a tree such as this linden, they have no pity for anyone. It is better to die than to live in times like these." 29 He suddenly felt that he had long outlived his time and no longer fitted into this modern age. By the same token, it was not merely Lapinas who died; it was all of the ancient ways that died with him. There died an era astonishing in its sense of total union of man and the nature surrounding him, full of the grand vital force, exuding the pure joy of living. Together with Lapinas, something more beautiful, more poetic in the wretched life of the "Thatched Roof" people was extinguished with him. The story ends on a melancholy note: the people go their ways in sadness, for the frightening shadow of death had flickered past.

Herdsman Lapinas was not by any means a fictitious personality thought up by the author. Krėvė related that he had seen such old man in his youth in the Lithuanian village. Some time later Krėvė described a somewhat similar personage in "The Sorcerer."

Krėvė also portrayed life in the Lithuanian village in his play "The Son-in-Law". The basis of the plot here — the traditional love triangle. Having married a wealthy but unloved farm girl, Stasys Mėrūnas does not forget his former sweetheart and does not stop loving her. This is not a trifling love affair or, even more, just common adultery arising from moral depravity, but the forceful animalistic emotion of love that enslaves man and disregards any and all obstacles. This is the same love for which the legendary youth of "Gilšė" prepares to commit a great sin, and later does not fear the harsh penalty. Deserting his family, Mėrūnas emigrates to America. After several years there he nevertheless returns to his homeland. The drama ends in the brightening setting of a family reconciliation. This is not, however, the usual aftermath "happy ending." It is rather a victory of traditions, evolved over the centuries in the patriarchal village and giving it moral strength. On the other hand, it is not some thesis that the author would try to prove by his work. It is more a particular problem of village life linked with psychological traditions, one which the author incisively reveals.


In the Ante-room to the Orient

Lithuania's landscape is not grandiose: there are here no cloud-piercing mountains, no boundless steppes, nor any mighty rivers. It is serene and gentle: wide flatlands varied here and there with low rolling hills, vari-hued with dark green forests and pleasant blue lakes, laced with winding rivers and streams. And like his "Thatched Roof" characters, Krėvė too from childhood became as one with this nature, came to love it, and often illustrated its beauty in his writing.

But Krėvė also spent more than ten years of his life in the Caucasus. The grandeur of the Caucasian scene made a deep impression on Krėvė, in whose spirit there is a typical streak of heroism. He is fascinated by the Caucasian mountains:

The mists always lay over the marshes and blanket the valley plains. But the snow-clad mountains are again agleam in the rays of the sun and stir even mere my breast with longing — I would go there myself and call others, I would fly there, where the snowy tops of the distant mountains are alit... They already see the sun while the valleys, cloaked in night, still sleep in deep slumber and blanket themselves with the mists. Oh, I so want too myself go there and would invite others! But I do not know how to escape these level valleys, how to reach the peaks of those high mountains. I know not the path, and have not the wings to fly directly there... Oh, you mountains, you tall mountains! You are fortunate, you glisten from afar and stir the souls of men!30

Under the spell of this mood Krėvė composed his popular "Song of the Eagle," poetry in prose (incorporated into his Dainava tales, even though it differed in content from the other legends in the collection which poeticized Lithuania's heroic past). This was an enthusiastic hymn to an unconquerable, noble spirit which cherished liberty above all else. In the verbal picture of the bird valiantly fighting against the storm, Krėvė's "Song of the Eagle" may have similarity to M. Gorky's "Song of the Stormy Petrel." But Krėvė emphasizes the forcefulness of the untrammeled free spirit with the antithesis of petty opportunistic moods: at the cage in which the Eagle is confined, a group of domestic fowl congregate, content with their good life with man and with no desire to be free. They charge the Eagle with being ungrateful to man who cares for him and feeds him.

But Eagle didn't listen to their talk. He touched neither food nor drink. His strength had left him, his wings no longer obeyed him. He brooded in a corner of the cage, while blood oozed from his wounded breast... Eagle died ... Having lost his freedom, life ceased for him. Let the people know that Eagle, born free, knows how to die freely in the cage and will never be a slave to men. Even though his body is caged, although he is captured, yet who can break Eagle's pride, who will be able to capture his spirit? It soars on high, even higher than he can rise on wings!. 31

His residence of many years in the Caucasus is significant in another sense on Krėvė's creative way. Here Krėvė faced not just a different climate, but also a very different culture, customs, and religion (Islam). The Caucasus is a true anteroom to the Orient. It was here that Krėvė's interest in the Orient grew, having become apparent even in his student days at the university, when he had already written one Oriental legend. For his thesis for his master's degree at the University of Kiev (1913) he had chosen Oriental philology as a theme — the origin of the names Buddha and Pratjekabuddha. In addition to his full-time work teaching in the city of Baku, Krėvė lectured not only on literature and linguistics, but also on Buddhism and Islam. According to his former students Krėvė was extremely interested in Azerbaijan folklore and customs, asking questions and taking notes. Thus, besides the dominating Lithuanian themes Krėvė's work showed Oriental motifs. As his contribution to the land in which he had lived, Krėvė wrote "The Land of Azerstan" (the ancient name of Azerbaijan), which was later included in his collected "Tales of the Orient."

This was a rich addition to Lithuanian literature, as much with its oriental style as by its intense and interesting thematics. In "Opposing Forces" the antithesis of good and evil, based on the dualism of the ancient Persian religion, becomes the constant surge into unknown distances, the undying yearning and bitter protest against restrictions on the spirit of freedom, as opposed to a lazy and smug serenity. In "Pratjekabuddha, The Story of the Waves of the Holy Ganges." the long search for the meaning of life is ended in the uneasy way of the sage: "The sleep of life is sweet as honey, while knowledge is difficult, like those mountains which you see when vou face the north."32

"... In the Days of the Son of Man"

Krėvė's "The Sons of Heaven and Earth," written partly in biblical style, blends with the oriental flavor of his storytelling. Krėvė toiled long on this story, having begun it while still a university student in 1907. He later published some fragments of the work in Lithuanian periodicals. Only toward the sunset of his life did Krėvė determine to complete and publish this opus. Part one of this work was published in 1949, the second part was released after the author's death, but Krėvė had not managed to write the projected third volume. Several disconnected fragments have been found, but it is not known how he would have used these in the volume, since Krėvė left no outline plan for the last part.

This then was a life-time project for Krėvė, as "Faust" was for Goethe. Also, as in "Faust," the prologue of Krėvė's work takes place in heaven and in legend form wants to disclose by it the basic moral aspect of man. Goethe wanted to show that in the depths of man's soul there lurks a moral principle which also eventually decides his actions: "Ein guter Mensch in seinem dunklen Drange ist sich des rechten Weges wohl bewusst" (A good man, through obscurest aspiration has still an instinct of the one true way). To Krėvė a typical aspect of mankind is the constant vacillation between good and evil. The people — the spirits who in that biblical uprising of the angels which faltered and were punished for it by being banished to live on earth: "Therefore you will go to earth, cloaked in bodies, and will travel until you stop questioning about which path you must choose: to Me or to the one who is my enemy."33

That wavering between good and evil makes up the great variety of characters in Krėvė's work. Some of his characters are peaceful and meek of heart, others are proud rabble-rousers; some are gentle and full of love, others are inflamed with the fire of mad vengeance; some are open-hearted and honest, others — slimy hypocrites; some have only modest want and are not given over to the temptation of worldly luxuries, others — deeply engrossed in worldly matters and slaves of their own uncontrollable lusts. All are genuine "sons of heaven and earth."

Nevertheless, the prologue to the story has only symbolic meaning, as a beautiful legend, since the story line itself follows the realistic line. Krėvė aimed his opus to paint a broad picture of Jewish national life in "the days of the son of man" (Luke, 17:26). People of all walks of life are described vividly with all their lusts and desires, hope and faith, everyday worries and joys, their aspirations and resolute struggle. Before the eyes of the reader amazed at the fullness of the described life there pass the peaceful fishermen of the Gennesareth and the serenity of the shepherds in the hills of Judea; the worry of the laborers building roads for Herod about the harshness of everyday existence; the multi-colored mass of pilgrims from everywhere in Jerusalem for the Passover; the groups of armed brawlers gathered around the alleged Messiah, their thoughts and words afire with fanatical hate; the vary-nationed community around Herod's palace with the tolerant Greek counselors, the strict and disciplined foreign soldiers, the craftily fawning chief of Herod's spies; the staunch Pharisees arguing heatedly in Sanhedrin with the Sadducees who leaned toward political agreement with the situation; the Essenes who had renounced personal possessions and were living by the principle of love thy neighbor; devout ascetics, the Nazirites, who shunned physical comforts; the students at Bet ha Midrash sitting at the feet of the learned soferim and attentively listening to their words. The broad and convincing picture of ancient times is based not only on the author's talent, but also on his intimate knowledge of historic sources (the works of Flavius Josephus in the very first instance) and research (by E. Schurer, E. Renan and others).

The outstanding feature of the life of the Hebrews in those days was the awaiting of the Messiah — the Savior of Israel promised by the prophets in the Old Testament. "This ardent longing for the Messiah, and the belief in his advent, swayed all classes of the Judean nation, excepting the aristocracy and those who clung to Rome" (H. Graetz).34 Krėvė also described the anxious expectancy in vivid language:

And happily they spoke that the days of God's grace are matured, and as they spoke they were joyous that the happiness promised by the Eternal One would come down upon them like ripe fruit. The days of that happiness and the greatness of the sons of Israel would start when the Promised One stepped upon the earth. There would then be among the sons of the chosen people not one wronged, nor hungry, nor tired — all would be as the children of one father. The days of debasement would end, and the Lord of Heavenly Power will repay all those who sinned by wronging the children of His beloved nation, in accord with His heart's desire: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a wrong for a wrong, oppression for oppression .. .35

The greatest expectation awaited was political liberation:

The chosen people impatiently waited for when the Most Just would by the hands of the Promised liberate them from the oppression of the non-believers... And all the peoples of the world would bow to him who shall sit on the throne of David.36

And in Krėvė's work only such sages as Rabbi Joel or Scharia ben Eleazar, teacher of the Essenes, explain philosophically that the Promised One is merely a placating hope for those oppressed by worries, so, according to Joel, "that man could live and suffer in soul-searching and misfortune, he must be granted a ray of hope." 37

It is not surprising that many pseudo-Messiahs were able to appear in such times. "Each visionary who arose, each rebel who incited Israel to take up arms, could count on a following who would be ready to hail him as the long-awaited Messiah."38

One pseudo-Messiah who caused an armed uprising toward the end of Herod's reign is portrayed by Krėvė in his story. His speech of incitement rings with fanatical hatred, at the same time there shines forth the nation's great yearning to be freed of the foreign yoke:

Let not your arms have pity on Edomite and Samaritan and anyone else who does not pay homage to the true God and does not obey His commandments. Slay them wherever you come upon them — on the road, in the field and among the hills... Kill them in the fields and villages, in the city streets... From behind every tree trunk, from behind every rock, from around every corner attack and kill! .. Kill day and night, while at meal time and rest time and every other time! .. Let the foes of the Eternal One feel that, the hour of angry vengeance has struck, and let them know that no power on earth can any longer protect the days of their lives... Let your hearts not be frightened nor your souls falter, when in battle with the enemy the peril of losing your life faces you: dying for God you will find recompense in heaven, on the laps of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob... Therefore when you face the Edomites, fall upon them even when there be one of you against ten or even one hundred of them... Let him be accursed who would falter at that moment and retreat! His name shall be erased from the books of heavenly life! . .39

Betrayed by one of his disciples, Jehuda of Kerioth, the pseudo-Messiah is condemned by Herod to die by nailing to a cross. Before passing sentence Herod ridiculed him, ordering that he be cloaked with his royal purple robe, and that the soldiers pay farcical homage to him as their king. This is a certain analogy with the scene of the derision of Christ described in the Gospels (Matthew, 27:27-30; Mark, 15:16-20).

Because the true name of the pseudo-Messiah, as Sanhedrin's messengers in Krėvė's book revealed, was Jehuda of Galilee, the criticism of anachronistic inaccuracy was leveled at Krėvė. For, the true Jehuda of Galilee (or Judas the Galilean), mentioned in the New Testament (Acts 5:37) and the writings of Flavius Josephus, had incited unrest among the Jews later, some ten years after Herod's death. Judas the Galilean, however, who according to the testimony of Flavius Josephus was a native of the city of Gamala, must be identified not with this pseudo-Messiah, but with another character in Krėvė's work, namely, with Jehuda of Hamala.

Jeshua the Charmer

The son of Nazareth carpenter Joseph and Miriam, Jeshua (the Hebrew form for Jesus), also chose the way of the Messiah, but of an entirely different nature — not one of hate-filled revenge, but of forgiving love of all mankind. It appears the French author, Ernest Renan, with whose works Krėvė was acquainted and whose "The Life of Jesus" was one of the most controversial books of the 19th century, will have had more or less influence upon Krėvė.40 Renan "treated Jesus as other biographers had treated other great and famous men. Jesus, to him, was not divine, but human" (J. H. Holmes).41

According to Renan, "Jesus never once gave utterance to the sacrilegious idea that he was God." 42 In his work Renan rejected all of the miracles described in the Gospels, and critically considered the scriptures as some sort of historic sources. In the foreword to the 13th edition of his book Renan wrote that "to the rationalist... the Gospels are texts to which the ordinary rules of criticism ought to be applied; we are, in this respect, like the Arabists in the presence of the Koran and the hadith, like the Indianists in the presence of the Vedas and the Buddhist book." 43

The critics have noted this rationalistic approach to the picturing of those biblical times as being also present in Krėvė's book.44 In his review Lithuanian Bishop V. Padolskis pointed out that Krėvė "follows the plain line of rationalism, trying to explain naturally each miraculous sign known to us from the Gospels ... According to the author, there was nothing miraculous in the person of Christ, rather everything was natural." 45

The popularity of the book by Renan, one of the great masters of the French style, was aided considerably by its noteworthy literary value. According to J. H. Holmes, "We can get our information elsewhere, and get it more fully and accurately but nowhere else can we read the immortal story in such magic phrases as those in which it has been clothed by Renan."46 Albert Schweitzer wrote in a similar vein: "There is something magical about the work. It offends and yet attracts. It will never be quite forgotten, not is it ever likely to be surpassed in its own line, for nature is not prodigal of masters of style." 47 One critic (T. Colani, 1863) accused Renan immediately after publication of his book: "Mr. Renan thinks too much of beauty and not enough of the truth." 48

The glance of the artist at the life he portrays was near at hand for Krėvė too, as revealed by his susceptibility to beauty so evident in his works. Thus it would be more likely that he would be affected by Renan, who, in the words of A. Schweitzer,

offered his readers a Jesus who was alive, whom he, with artistic imagination, had met under the blue heaven of Galilee, and whose lineaments his inspired pencil had seized. Men's attention was arrested, and they thought to see Jesus, because Renan had the skill to make them see blue skies, seas of waving corn, distant mountains, gleaming lilies, in a landscape with the Lake of Gen-nesareth for its center, and to hear with him in the whispering of the reeds the eternal melody of the Sermon on the Mount.49

Renan himself gloried in the natural beauty of the Nazareth area: "The environs, moreover, are charming; and no place in the world was so well adapted for dreams of perfect happines ... The people are amicable and cheerful." 50 This was the sort of Jesus that Renan portrayed. In the foreword of the 13th edition Renan wrote: "There are those who would make Jesus a sage, a philosopher, a patriot, a good man, a moralist, or a saint. He was neither or any of these. He was a charmer." 51 And Renan constantly emphasizes this suggestive charm of Jesus' personality.

Jesus owed those numerous conquests to the infinite charm of his person and speech. ... His preaching was gentle and pleasing, breathing nature and the perfume of the fields ... the charm of his speech and person captivated the people___His amiable character... threw around him a fascination from which no one in the midst of these kindly and simple populations could escape.52

Similarly in Krėvė's book, all those who meet with the gentle Jeshua, immediately feel the irresistible charm of his personality, which fills some of them with a kind of unearthly peace of mind, gives others a sense of uplifting happiness, and for still others soothes their vengeful anger. Simon (this is the Apostle Peter-to-be), when he would "glance at Jeshua. felt each time that an ever greater love was growing in his soul and his heart would flame with joy." 53 Carpenter Joseph of Nazareth felt the same sensation:

The son once more looked at his father and smiled. Old Joseph liked nothing better than this quiet smile of his son. To him it seemed that it calmed the soul and gave new life to the strength of his hands.54

Even the terrible Barabbas calms down:

His glance met the glance of Jeshua, who smiled with a smile such as a friend smiles to a friend. Barabbas felt his heart become easy and his soul brighten; the terrible passions began fading and vanishing, like a morning mist before the hot rays of the morning sun.55

We could also point out other similarities in the works of Renan and Krėvė. It was Renan's contention that the religion created by Jesus was "a pure worship, a religion without priests and external ceremonies, resting entirely on the feelings of the heart." 56 The religion of Krėvė's Jeshua was also, first of all, a matter of the feeling found within the heart of each person. To the complaint of Jeshua of Kerioth, that he had been unable to find God in the house of worship in Jerusalem, only worldly men dealing in his name, Jeshua replies: "We must each of us seek God in our heart: seek there and ye shall find." 57 Even the wise Rabbi Joel, having heard young Jeshua's conversation with Johanan, commented: "Blessed are you. little rabbi, for God truly lives in your heart .. . Listen always to what your heart tells you and you will never err as you go along the path of life . .." 58

In Renan's book Jesus, at long last changing from a sweet Galilean dreamer into a strong-willed proclaimer of new religious rights, alters in character too: "Urgent and imperative, he suffered no opposition: men must be converted, nothing less would satisfy him: he was sometimes harsh and capricious." 59 Whether Krėvė's Jeshua would have similarly lost his charming gentility in the long run, we do not know because Krėvė's work was not completed.

The Great Enigma of Hebrew History

In Krėvė's narrative the Essenes are a decisive influence in the formation of Jeshua's religious feelings and morals in general. The Bible is silent about this Hebrew sect, but Krėvė writes about it quite extensively, conforming to the generally known data supplied by some of the ancient authors, particularly Flavius Josephus. The Essenes lived in closed communities, or brotherhoods, choosing mostly the En-gedi wilderness by the Dead Sea for their settlements. They earned their livelihood by manual labor, mostly farming, content with a humble existence and shunning luxuries. Deeply devout, they nevertheless did not attend the Jerusalem temple as did other Jews, and did not recognize blood sacrifices. They condemned warfare and did not bear arms. They did not acknowledge slavery, but proclaimed the equality of all men. Proclaiming love of one's neighbors, they were helpful to those who needed help. Common prayer, common meals with a certain ritualistic aspect, addressing one another as brother, identical white clothing, discipline and obedience to their leaders, appreciation of the celibate, particularly the renunciation of private property and its common ownership,60 for all this, as Ch. Guignebert sees it, "at the first glance, they appear, both by their spirit and their organization, as a sort of earlier anticipation of Christian monasticism." 61

It is not astonishing, therefore, that the Essene sect, called "the great enigma of Hebrew history," has for the long time intrigued the attention of researchers. According to A. Dupont-Sommer,

This Jewish sect seemed to present, insofar as it was known, striking analogies to the primitive Church; there were the same beliefs, the same moral and mystical ideas, and the same characteristic rites. In the eighteenth century, historical criticism bravely suggested that Christianity itself sprang from an Essene milieu. This point of view, which was very general at that time among philosophers, is expressed for example — a little boldly perhaps — in a letter written by Frederick II to d'Alembert on October 17th, 1770. "Jesus," wrote the philosopher-king, "was really an Essene: he was imbued with Essene ethics..."

Such views drew strong criticism, especially of theologians, yet even its opponents admitted "that between Essenism in certain aspects and Christianity there were some points of resemblance."63

E. Renan, whose views in many instances will have been close to those of Kreve, wrote on this question as follows:

Christianity is an Essenism which has had wide success. The spirit in both was the same; assuredly, when the disciples of Jesus and the Essene met, they must have felt themselves to be brethren... At the close of the last century and at the beginning of this, it was the fashion to explain Christianity entirely by the doctrine of the Essenes. Jesus, it was said, was an Essene, who developed certain features of the sect, and formed a group apart; the Gospel was nothing but a new edition of the moral maxims of the Essenes... In our day the attempt to explain the origin of Christianity by Essenism has been almost entirely abandoned... Between Christianity and Essenism the direct connection is doubtful; but the resemblances are deep.64

The question of the relationship between Christianity and Essenism again became actual when, after World War II, the so-called Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in the caves of Qumran, not far from the Dead Sea, which are credited to the Essenes.65 This fact could not of course one way or the other affect the opinion formed earlier by Krėvė — which was, by the way, already remarked by his critics — 66 about the close ties between Christianity and Essenism.

Jeshua and the Essenes

Krėvė does not make an Essene of Jeshua, but merely brings him into close contact with the Essenes and lets him experience the strong influence of their teaching. Renowned Jewish historian H. Graetz thought similarly:

Although it cannot be proved that Jesus was formally admitted into the order of the Essenes, much in his life and work can only be explained by the supposition that he had adopted their fundamental principles.67

Since the Gospels do not even make mention of the Essenes, individual authors speculate variously as to when Jesus could have met with Essenes. In his "The Story of Civilization" W. Durant ponders: "On the annual journeys that all good Palestinian Jews made to Jerusalem for the Passover festival Jesus must have learned something of the Essenes." 68 Charles F. Potter poses the question: "But could he (i.e., Jesus) not have been a student in Qumran library, or even a member of the brotherhood." 69 In the foreword to Potter's work J. C. Wilson writes:

The lost years, or the so-called "eighteen silent years" between the ages 12 and 30, when the Gospels tell us nothing about Jesus, is a tempting gap to try to fill in. Dr. Potter gives us in this book very good reasons for believing that Jesus spent those years among the Essenes and that he was one of them.70

Krėvė moves Jeshua's contact with the Essenes to earlier times. In his story Krėvė relates how Joseph, on his way to the land of Mizraim (i.e., Egypt), where he was fleeing from Herod's persecution, stopped with Essenes and, at the invitation of their headman Scharia ben Eleazar, remained there with his family for a longer time. It was here that Jeshua reached the age of 12 years and became acquainted with the teaching of the Essenes, since "for several years he sat at the feet of Scharia,71 absorbing words of wisdom from his lips, learning to read and understand the Scriptures and the language of the prophets." 72

The most significant thing which Scharia taught was:

Do not do unto another what you do not want him to do unto you, act toward your neighbor and brother as your heart would want that they act toward you___The Eternal One did not say: "Love the Jew, ridicule the Samaritan, hate the Edomite and everyone who was not circumcised in childhood." But he did say: "Love thy neighbor as you would yourself."73

This is the same thought which Christ stressed in his Sermon on the Mount. On the whole, all of the teachings of Scharia, whose soul was "serene and face radiant, like a quiet evening 'in the warm summer," 74 is permeated with the spirit of the Sermon on the Mount.

Also filled with the genuine spirit of the Gospels was Scharia's lesson that "The Eternal One is our Father and we are all his children." 75 In the same manner, Jeshua also calls God Heavenly Father.76 When on the occasion of the Passover Joseph with his family arrive at the temple in Jerusalem and he urges Jeshua to pray to God and ask his blessings, Jeshua answered him: "Is not the heart of our Father, who is in heaven, full of love? Does not a father who loves his children know without being asked what each of them needs? I shall not bother my Father, who has already assigned a way for me, and knows what is needed that I go that way."77 Such words by Jeshua actually frighten the cautious Joseph: others might construe the words to mean that he and his family had taken advantage of the asylum with the Essenes damned by Jerusalem in order to damn them also. For, according to Joseph, all of those gathered here in Jerusalem "think that the Eternal One is not our father, but a harsh Lord who does not forgive man his sins: that he punishes the children unto the fourth generation for the sins of their fathers." 78

In addition Scharia taught that not dogmas, not rites, but a pure heart is the most important aim:

For did not the Eternal One say: "I do not need your offerings nor your sacrifices by fire. I want only that your hearts be pure, like the sky of a clear day, and that love dwell therein___ Not in Jerusalem, not in the Holy of Holies, but in the heart of the righteous is where I will place my throne." 79

We can recall here Renan's words about the Essenes: "We see in them, as in the early Christians, pietists of the first water." 80

Scharia's words imbedded themselves deeply into Jeshua's heart and he would recall him often. Explaining to Johanan one time that the kingdom of God on earth would be established on the word of love, Jeshua points out that this had been said by "my teacher, who was the wisest of all man." 81

In this way Scharia's role became influential in Jeshua's further life. Even as he gave asylum to Joseph's family, Scharia blessed the infant Jeshua and emotionally-charged he prophesied: "My soul felt a joy because it heard, Father, Your voice, that he shall become the joy of all people who are lighted and warmed by the rays of the sun, and through him shall be blessed the parents who gave him birth!" 82 (An aside: in this episode Scharia actually reminds one of God-fearing Simon — Luke, 2:25-35.) So in this fateful vision, which he had when he went to Jerusalem with his parents, Jeshua hears none other than Scharia's encouraging words not to fear about the difficulties of the way of Messiah: "Drive the doubts out of your heart, which are there. The Eternal One is a God of love and chose thee, that you captivate the world by the word of love . .." 83

In weighing the origin of Christianity and its eventual relations with Essenism, one must have in mind that in the first place this is a subject for discussion by scholars, while Krėvė's "The Sons of Heaven and Earth" is only a creation of Krėvė's literary art. Even more fitting for him than for Renan's work are the words of J. Klausner: "It is rather a historical novel, than a work of scholarship." 84 Thus the solution of theological and historical problems of one sort or another, no matter how much they display Krėvė's interest in these problems and how important they would be to point up Krėvė's viewpoint, in no wise decide the artistic value of Krėvė's work. This is in the first place created by the fine Krėvė style (it is not without cause that Krėvė is one of the greatest masters of style in Lithuanian literature), the colorful word-picture of the Palestine of ancient times which catches the attention of and convinces the reader, and mostly — the deep psychological insight into the soul of man which, as in other works by him, primarily concerns Krėvė. Often even the petty, second-rate characters amaze us with their truthful accuracy. We are especially interested in those to whom the author gave more of his creative attention.

The Revolutionary and the Avenger

One of the outstanding characters in Krėvė's tale is Jehuda of Hamala. This is Judas the Galilean, known from the New Testament (Acts, 5 :37) and the writings of Flavius Josephus, who in 7 A.D. had caused the revolt of the Jews, "upbraiding them as cowards for consenting to pay tribute to the Romans, and tolerating mortal masters, after having God for their Lord".85 Utilizing these short mentions, Krėvė created a character in depth of Jehuda of Hamala. In this instance the words of M. Goguel, aimed at Renan, fit Krėvė as well: "He gives his own interpretation; the intuition of the artist supplements the scarcity of the historical material."86 True it is that Krėvė's Jehuda of Hamala, the same as the historic Judas the Galilean, says that "the Jew does not have to pay tribute to the rulers of pagans." 87 but this is far from typical of his actions and he is not a rebel against the Roman rule, but is in the first place a social revolutionary.

To his armed followers Jehuda says:

We shall wait no more, and we shall go forth to even the paths of life, so they would not be thorn-covered for some, while flower petal-strewn for others... That is why among us there should be no ragged, hungry and tired while there are those who have more than they need... Yes, the wealthy have forgotten that they must share the good fortune with which the Eternal One has blessed them, with those Who have nothing, for love of neighbor no longer exists in their hearts, greed has control of their souls, and mammon has become their lord... We must compel them to share their surpluses with their brothers who lack even their daily bread .. .88

To the Jews who have suffered from the tax collectors Jehuda says the same thing as the Gospels (Matthew, 22:21, and elsewhere): "Is it not said: give unto the Lord that which you owe him, and to Melech (the King) what is Melech's. The Melech of Rome is the Melech of all Melechs." 89 That is why when Sanhedrin's messengers accused Jehuda, the Roman proconsul refuses to prosecute him because he is not "inciting against Caesar." 90 This, however, is Krėvė's "own interpretation," since the real Judas the Galilean was slain during a rebellion against the Romans.

Jehuda of Hamala directs his activity not against the Romans, but against the well-to-do of his own nation, for whom he does not spare bitter and even angry words:

Woe unto you, the rich and the powerful of the world, if because of your complacency all the hungry and deprived will doubt the justice and order of the Eternal One, which you instituted and maintain in His name! Woe to you rich and hypocrites, for those days shall be days of anger for you, and you shall no longer be able to cloak and justify yourselves in the name of the Eternal! .. Woe unto you, the so-called leaders of the nation, that you are blind and unable to perceive the storm which arises with envy in the hearts of the populace!... Man must be brother to man and it is not fitting that one Should slave for the other.91

And Jehuda fights social injustice with armed force.

The episode about Jehuda of Hamala was necessary to Krėvė's work in order to describe the social trends of those times, which undoubtedly had to affect the view of maturing Jeshua. In Jehuda's deliberations we hear clearly the words of the Gospels aimed against the rich and against the love of possessions in general: "... go, sell what thou hast, and give to the poor" (Matthew, 19:21; similarly — Mark, 10:21; Luke, 18-22) ; "But woe to you rich! for you are now having your comfort" (Luke, 6:24); "Woe to you lawmakers also! Because you burden men with oppressive burdens and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with even one of your fingers" (Luke, 11:46).

Krėvė nevertheless does not picture Jehuda of Hamala as some biased and blind idealistic fanatic who might more than once be successful in life, but who for his spiritual paucity remains uninteresting in the literary work. Within Jehuda there abides a streak of Hamlet, which is also typical of some other Krėvė characters, especially Skirgaila. Jehuda wavers, and suffers through the harshness of the path he has chosen. He has doubts even about God: "If you, Lord, permitted injustice, subterfuge and force to become powerful in the world, I shall fight until I either defeat them or die. If I should have to die, then as I die I shall shout so the world hears me that You are not the God of justice, and that only the sufferings of men make You happy." 92 This vacillation and the tortuous search for a just decision makes the character interesting by the wealth and variety of nuances of thought and emotions.

Jehuda's antagonist in Krėvė's story is Barabbas. This is the robber named in the Gospels who, during the Passover period of amnesty, when Pontius Pilate offered to free one prisoner, was chosen by the Jewish populace instead of Christ. This episode is not in Krėvė's uncompleted opus, but in it the fate of Barabbas is sensed from the words of the curse of Jehuda of Kerioth: "May you be eternally called a murderer and all the ages despise you." 93

Thus the name of murderer remained with Barabbas for all times. But from the brief mentions which we find about him in the Gospels, we may deduce that he was not just an ordinary robber. For example, in the Gospel according to Mark (15:7) it is written: "And among the rebels in prison who had committed murder in the insurrection, there was a man called Barabbas." Noteworthy is the fact that in the Gospel according to John (18:40) in the Greek original Barabbas is called "lestes" (robber), while this is "the word most frequently used by our chief historian of zealotism (Josephus) as synonymous with zealot [i.e., anti-Roman Jewish nationalist] ; while Mark's account indicates that Barabbas was no ordinary highwayman, but one who had headed one of the numerous revolts against Roman authority. Barabbas was, therefore, probably a zealot leader."94 Krėvė too reached such a conclusion, when in one passage he writes about Barabbas: "He is the leader of all the Sicarii and the vengeful scourge of Eternal God for all those who sin against His commandments." 95

According to his method of giving "his own interpretation," Krėvė makes of him an implacable foe of the social revolution of Jehuda of Hamala. Guided by the ancient code — "a tooth for a tooth, an eye for an eye, as is related in the Scriptures and the Torah"96 (comparatively, "Thou shalt not pity him but shalt require life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot" — Deuteronomy, 19:21), Barabbas relentlessly persecutes the followers of Jehuda of Hamala and takes bloody vengeance against those who in their social oppression and poverty used Jehuda's aid against the well-to-do. Barabbas was as cruel as a blind fanatic, or "as cruel as is an unresolved person when he makes a resolve, and the frightened man when no danger perils his life." 97 Copious tears, and even blood, are shed in the whole country and the complaints of the disenfranchised are heard on all sides. And Barabbas "name became on the peoples' lips as the name of a terrible robber and cruel murderer, and everyone called for . .. the help of the Eternal One, but their voices did not reach the gates of heaven, but only the ear of Rome's proconsul." 98 How Barabbas was captured by the Romans, Krėvė's unfinished work does not relate.

By its contrast the episode about Barabbas pointedly stresses the love of mankind proclaimed by Jeshua, so opposed to the unforgiving ancient principle of an "eye for an eye," and we feel even more strongly the birth of the era of the New Testament. And thus the youth Jeshua fearlessly asked Barabbas, who was feared by all:

Why, in persecuting your brothers, did you contaminate yourself with the tears of men and women? ... You shall not avenge and shall not hold hatred in your heart for your brother, said the Heavenly Father... Be forgiving, so the Heavenly Father would be forgiving unto you."

The Great Skeptic

One of the most interesting personages in Krėvė's opus is Jehuda of Kerioth, known in the Gospels as Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of Christ. Jehuda of Kerioth betrays the pseudo-Messiah, but it is unknown how his relationship with Jeshua would have culminated, since Krėvė's work was unfinished. In one episode, however, "The Garden of Gethsemane," (published as late as 1937), where the betrayal related in the Gospels was to take place, Jehuda not only does not betray Jeshua to the Edomites, but even tries to save him, warning him of the impending danger and sincerely begging him to go into hiding:

Master, dear Master! Why do you wish to die, Why do you want to give your fate into the hands of the enemy, so they could arrange for you a horrible death! I know that your spirit is unbreakable, but are you not yet convinced, oh Master, that the people do not understand your truth, while those who do understand do not want it... And why do you want to sacrifice yourself for such people! Are even your best friends worthy of such a sacrifice — the blind fools, the misguided, the fawners...100

Jehuda kisses the arrested Jeshua not, as written in the Gospels, with a kiss of betrayal but with a kiss of love:

I see now that you are truly the son of man and you can truly be honored and loved, if someone wants to love you! May I kiss you with a kiss of love, Master? — [And saddened Jeshua replied to him:] Of all those who were with me, only you act as befits a true son of man.101

Jehuda provokes the soldiers so they would seize him also, but they only chase him away, having orders to apprehend only Jeshua. When they returned after first having scattered from fear, Jeshua's disciples, seeing Jehuda still free, suspect him and in uncontrolled anger accuse him of having betrayed their Master.

This is a typical Krėvė interpretation. We find another example in "Temptations," a posthumously published fragment of Krėvė's "The Sons of Heaven and Earth". Here Krėvė interprets in his own way the Gospels telling of the three temptations of Christ. While meditating in the solitude of desert, Jeshua is tempted not by an evil spirit, but by a traveler who turns out to be Jehuda of Kerioth. He devastates Jeshua's outlook on life, stating that "the world understands only such a right as does not please such as you." 102 It is not slogans of love thy neighbor which attract people, but only material advantages (bre&d and gold). So Jehuda says to Jeshua, in other words tempts him:

You know what, if you the young dreamer should want that love of neighbor rule the world, turn these rocks into bread, and the pure sand into gold, so that there would be enough of both for everyone ... As long as the stones remain stones, and you cannot turn them into bread, the God of love is not necessary for them and you won't win a thing by proclaiming it.103

And when Jeshua pronounces the words known to the Gospels: "The soul of man is not fed by bread alone, but also by the word of God" (compare Luke, 4:4), Jehuda retorts sharply:

"When a man is hungry, he does not think about God's word."104

Furthermore, according to Jehuda, the people listen not to the voice of love, but bow only to force. Thus he again "tempts" Jeshua: "Yes, yes, you shall have to take to the sword. You will say to me, I already know, that the son of the Eternal One does not have to resort to force. But do you think that the new law, your law, which is to bring happiness to the weak, will be able to go into effect peacefully, without sacrifices, in the world ? Or that those who live by the rule of force will turn their backs on force and surrender to words of love ? No, do not think so! The greater the truth, the greater the storm it must arouse and the greater sacrifices it must demand."105

A basic trait of Jehuda's character becomes evident in the quoted episode from "Temptations" — a pessimistic view of man and of life in general, with skepticism discouraging any nobler resolves. But this is not just disappointment generated by failures in personal life and the resultant bitteri.ess (e. g., after the adventure with the pseudo-Messiah Jehuda's father disowned him, later Jehuda had even been taken into slavery) but also of the trend to criticism dormant in the depths of his soul, forcing him to refuse to bow before truths which everyone recognizes, and boldly stating the traiiition-shattering question — Why? Just as Byron's Cain, asked by his father why he kept silent and didn't pray together with all the family, replied with a question: "Why should I ?" Urged to thank God, Cain laconically and coldly retorts: "No!" 106 Jehuda of Kerioth says the same: "I think that I don't owe the Eternal One anything, and what I should thank him for, I don't know." 107 Like Byron's Cain, Jehuda dares to doubt the goodness and justice of God:

There is no greater misfortune for the soul of man than to doubt the justice of the Eternal One, said Jehuda. My soul was in torment a long time until I decided to go to the Holy City [i.e., Jerusalem] and at the foot of the Eternal One's throne to ask Him in these words: "Lord of my days, if you are just and honest, you concern yourself with the world and those who live on it, then why do injustice, force and oppression prevail everywhere in the world, even among the sons of your chosen people? Why have your chosen melechs [kings] David and Salomon, whom you called to rule your nation, changed nothing during their reigns... I do not understand, o Lord, why you have given the world a system based on injustice. Do you love only those who are able to take advantage of others, while you feel no pity for those wronged? Answer, Lord, dispel my doubts, or I shall believe that you are not a friend of man.108

To devout Joseph, fearful for such sacrilegious words, Jehuda replies: "Why do we fear our own words and like slaves dare not speak in the sight of God that which lies hidden in our hearts! ... Why are the pagans, among whom I lived, unafraid to have doubts and seek justice there, where they expect to find it! ..." 109

Yet, Jehuda's character is not of a single piece. Beside the bitter skepticism there is heard an enthusiastic note expressing itself in his passionate longing for great deeds and shining honor. Altogether similarly to the legendary warrior Šarūnas of ancient Lithuania portrayed by Krėvė, Jehuda dreams: "Just give me one, a single little hour of glory, of any sort, that the whole world envy me; those who are living now, and those yet unborn . .. Give me, o Lord, the power of the world so I could rule the world as you rule heaven."110

In quest of fame-winning ventures, Jehuda had joined a group of armed followers of the pseudo-Messiah: "What does it concern me, whether the truth or untruth is in the words of the one who calls himself the Promised One. My soul longs for a storm, and I shall enjoy a storm and good things if I go together with those who are determined." 111

At length a thought strikes him: why couldn't he himself become that Messiah for whom the entire Jewish nation anxiously waits as a saviour and ruler:

What would happen if I should now go to the center of the crowd and say that I am the Expected One... Did not the Eternal One put into my heart that zealous desire which drives sleep from my brow? God of our Fathers! Why cannot I shine forth like that fluttering star which so many years ago so lighted the night sky that the people remember it to this day. It vanished as suddenly as it appeared. O, if only I could as suddenly rise up like a windstorm, like an all-destroying hurricane, pass through like a tempest, roil up the calm of the world and again vanish, so that the people would talk about me later also: that great man of the storm, no one knows from where he came and where he vanished... God of our Fathers, is it not your voice, is it not you who call me!! I shall go! ... 112

But then Jehuda's enthusiasm fades and skepticism again asserts itself: "I shall go... But what sign shall I give the people when they ask for it?... And I shall then be laughed at by everyone, those who know me, and those who don't know me." 113

These two closely inter-related yet contradictory facets of Jehuda's character — skepticism and enthusiasm — show that in his rich and unsettled soul there was no harmonious balance. From this his constant vacillation, from this his misfortune. This dual character of his soul shows that he is a man on a crossroad.

Superb King or Base Assassin?

We could also call King Herod in Kreve's opus another such split personality whose mighty soul is split from one side by a sincere concern for the welfare of his subjects, from the other — a no leSs sincere hatred and feeling of an evil vengeance for them.

Herod was long renowned for his cruelty. Flavius Jose-phus, whose writings are the basic source of information about Herod, calles him "brutish and a stranger to all humanity."114 Even after the death of Herod the Jews complained to the Emperor of Rome that Herod "was not a king, but the most barbarous of all tyrants," 115 and "that Herod had put such abuses upon them as wild beast would not have put on them, if he had power given him to rule over us." 116

Thus, Herod was "cold-bloodedly Machiavellian in politics" (Ricciotti).117 "Religion, philosophy, patriotism, virtue, had no meaning to him ... He was, in short, a fine animal — a lion whom one admires for his massive throat and his thick mane, without expecting any moral sense from him" (Renan).118 Having become King of the Jews 119 by devious intrigues and shady favors, Herod ruled as a blood}' despot and died after long suffering from a serious illness, as described in detail by Flavius Josephus.120 Thus his entire reign was epitomized by one historian as, "Herod stole along to his throne like a fox, he ruled like a tiger and died like a dog." 121

Herod maintained his hold upon the throne by such cruelties, which, according to H. Graetz, "rested upon ruins and upon the dead bodies of his subjects." 122 Even his closest relatives fell victim to Herold's cruelty. For example, he sentenced even his own three sons whom he suspected of plotting against him. That was the reason for Emperor Augustus' pun, as reported by Macrobius in the 5th century: better to be one of Herod's pigs (hus in Greek) than his son (huios in Greek), for Herod did not slaughter hogs because, in accordance with Jewish custom, he did not eat pork.123

The name of Herod was remembered by later generations because of Matthew's reporting in the Gospels about the slaying of Jewish infants in Bethlehem and its environs at Herod's order (Matthew, 2:16). That is why to this day the name of Herod to many is synonymous with cruelty. "Herod was a monster, one of the most perfidious monsters of the many which have sprung from the burning deserts of the East." (G. Pa-pini).124

Others, however, are more circumspect and cautious in evaluating Herod. Charles Guignebert, for instance, writes:

His crimes have often been emphasized. There is no need either to deny or to exaggerate them. They should be viewed in the perspective of his time, since his acts seemed more natural and therefore less disturbing to his contemporaries than they do to us today. He compares not unfavorably with several of his predecessors who, with an equal capacity for evil, did far less good.125

The need for looking at Herod from the perspective of the times is stressed also by Stewart Perowne:

Herod lived in a brutal and violent age. Human life was of little more account than that of cattle. When even the cultivated Greeks could regard as "a mathematical axiom" a king's murder of his brothers, when crucifixions were ordered by the score as a commonplace sentence of a court of justice, when torture was a recognized legal process, when the destruction of man by man in the arena was a popular amusement — in such a world might not the murder of a relation or two pass as a necessity of state?126

Daniel Rops writes about Herod: "... it would be unjust to judge the man solely by his well-earned reputation as a pitiless executioner. In many respects he appears to have been worthy of admiration." 127 Then, for example, A. L. Sachar points out that Herod's reign "was a genuine Augustan era for Palestine." 128 F. W. Farrar writes: "He made Judea a first-rate kingdom and achieved an acknowledged precedence over all but the very greatest of the Oriental kings." 129 Historians particularly stress the fact that Herod kept his country at peace for several decades, which in those unsettled times was a noteworthy achievement for his land. In addition, Herod used stern measures to eradicate the bands of highwaymen which had infested Palestine, making the roads safe for travelers and the fields safe for tillers of the soil. The land was beautified with new buildings, of which the temple in Jerusalem was outstanding. Herod even built entire new cities. The excellent harbor of Caesarea aided in the economic development of the country. True, Herod squeezed the inhabitants more than a little with taxes (which are not and never were popular); but when famine came he made every effort to aid those who had fallen upon bad times, giving them grain and clothing free of charge, even selling the silver service and furnishings of his palace to finance the dole.

Thus there are varied and opposing estimates of Herod. To some he is "the evil genius of the Judean nation" 130 or even a "gorgeous criminal",131 others found even complimentary epithets for him: he had been a "brilliant monarch" 132 "one of the strongest and ablest rulers in Jewish history" 133 even "a miniature Augustus".134 Thus Herod is a truly controversial person in the eyes of the historians. "Historians are still grappling with the question, was Herod genius or tyrant, hero or demon, a superb king or a base assassin? Such was the complexity of his character that both are possible" (J. S. Minkin).135 Minkin concludes his monograph, in which he attempts to give a psychological analysis of the "strangest and most inscrutable character in the history of the world,"136 with the following words: "But when the mists of myths and fables that have hung over his reputation have cleared away, Herod will be found to be one of the most interesting and fascinating characters the world has known." 137

A Victim of Ingratitude

It is not surprising then that Herod, "one of the most enigmatical characters of history" (G. A. Barton),138 has long attracted the attention of writers. Scores of authors (among them Calderon, Voltaire, Friedrich Hebbel) wrote dramas about Herod. Krėvė too was fascinated by Herod, by his controversial character, since it is exactly this type of personality that affords Krėvė the greatest opportunity for "his own interpretation."

The favorite subject of the writers was the tragic episode of Herod and his beautiful wife Mariamne (Krėvė uses the Hebraic form — Miriam), whom Herod loved deeply, but who was slain because of jealousy incited by intrigues.139 In his story Krėvė also mentions Herod's great love for Miriam, which is also Herod's last thought — his vision before death. But Krėvė relates events many years after Miriam's death, and his main concern is not the problem of Herod's love and jealousy, but the tragedy of Herod as the ruler of the Jews.

To Herod, government was the most important part of his life. "Herod was born to be a ruler" (E. Schiirer),140 and "Herod's dominant characteristic was an obsession for power" (G. Ricciotti).141 So in Krėvė's story we see Herod first of all as a ruler, the basic cause of whose tragedy, according to Krėvė's literary interpretation, is that he was not only unappreciated, but even hated by the nation which he ruled and which he sincerely wanted to elevate.

In the conversation with the foreign merchants (these were the wise men from the East mentioned in the Gospel according to Matthew), Herod himself recounts the good he has done for the Jewish nation, which among other things are corroborated by historic sources. Herod consoled himself:

The people of this land, which the Eternal One decided I should care for, are ungrateful and never satisfied. When famine befell the land, I exhausted my fortune, sold my silver service and gold jewelry so I could provide them with bread — they blasphemed my name, that it was for my sin and not theirs that God had visited droughts and famine upon the land. I beautified the cities with fine structures, but no kind of beauty moves their insensitive eyes and calloused souls. They demand that I wreck what I have built because their fathers, living in misery and filth, never knew and had never seen such buildings. From springs in the hills I brought clean water into this city, but their unenlightened heads are not satisfied with this and demands that I destroy what I have done for their benefit. Their fathers were satisfied with the contaminated water of the Kedron, so they too want to be satisfied with the same kind of dirty water. I cleaned up the land and the roads from bandit hordes, they curse me and call me bloodthirsty... I gave thousands of them work and wages so their families would not starve — they complain that for a piece of bread they have become my slaves ... It is not fitting for a ruler to complain about his subjects in sight of visitors from a foreign country, this I know. But the heart, overflowing with rancor for their ungratefulness, cannot hold back the words .. .142

To one of his Greek courtiers Herod says:

"There was a time When I dreamt that I would be a father and benefactor to the Jews, act with them as with my own children. I did not want to be harsh, but they forced me to... I thought to elevate them, to make them the light of the world, but they turned my efforts to naught. I dreamed of beautifying Jerusalem so it would be the world's most beautiful city, so that even the rulers of Rome would envy me for it... Now you know, Hellene, why I became harsh toward them," 143

On another occasion Herod complains to the same Greek:

"Oh, Hellene! Hellene! You can't begin to understand how difficult it is to rule a nation which you despise and hate! .. I too wanted only to love, longed only for good, but it seems that only fools live here, ungrateful, and scorn arose in my soul... Today the Jews do everything to keep it from fading from my heart, but would keep it growing, instead." 144

This disillusionment with his subjects does more to break Herod's spirit than the tortuous remembrances of his murdered Miriam, and even more than the terrible sufferings of an incurable disease. Herod becomes sickly cruel. Truly blood-chilling is Herod's admission: "You cannot understand, Hellene, how happy is the soul and how happy is the heart overflowing with bile when only vengeance satisfies them! .. ,"145

One of the principal reasons for which Herod was so hated by the Jews was that he was of Idumean (Edomite) ancestry, therefore only a half-Jew, as Flavius Josephus had already called him.146 The Jews ridiculed him by calling him an Idu-mean slave or a Hasmonean slave, reminding him that not too long ago the Idumeans had been conquered by John Hyrcanus of the Hasmonean dynasty and forced to adopt Judaism. But even after this the Idumeans had remained traditional enemies of the Jews, considered half-Jews and ridiculed by them. In Krėvė's book Herod is called merely an Idumean by the Jews, with this word pouring from their lips like some evil curse-word.

The antithesis of efforts and results in Herod's life raised by Krėvė did not remain unnoticed by historians also. For example, A. L. Sachar writes: "By all the laws of compensation Herod should have been one of the best loved rulers in history. It was his fate to be the most despised." 147 And sounding exactly like a direct commentary upon the Herod characteristic written up by Krėvė are the following words of J. S. Minkin:

It was an unfortunate accident that had brought Herod to the Jewish throne... He might have been happier on any other throne than of this strange and exclusive people full of prophetic dreams and fantastic visions. He was but wasting his time trying to win their love and loyalty. To the Jews, bound by the most exclusive of all ties — race and blood — Herod forever remained a stranger, no matter how hard he may have tried to make believe that he belonged to them... To the Jews (...) he was not a Jew, and, therefore, an alien, an intruder, an impostor... It was this feeling of not-belonging, the conflict in the life of a king who had been made to realize that he was a stranger in the very country he had helped to make great, powerful and prosperous, that had sent a blight over his life and been responsible for many of his inhumanities... (He) buried sorrow in his heart, burried it deep, that no one might suspect or detect it, thus becoming a sullen, disappointed and embittered man, an object of pity rather than censure... He had been an unloved man. The milk of human kindness had never flowed into his life. He had no friends, no intimates, no companions. Unrelenting hate had been the only reward he had received at the hands of his people. He had been nagged; he had been annoyed; he had been embittered by his subjects. There was nothing he could do that would please them, that would placate them, that would take the sting out of their abhorrance for him. That under such circumstances Herod had become cold, hard, unfeeling, ruthless, violent, even a monster of cruelty, shutting his heart against those he should have loved, few will wonder at.148

Between Two Opposing Worlds

One other reason which set the Jews against Herod was that he had become pliant to the influence of Hellenism. After the conquests by Alexander the Great, Hellenism swept over the Eastern Mediterranean world. "Every people, great or small, sooner or later succumbed, except the stubborn little folk of Palestine" (A. L. Sachar).149 The efforts of Syria's rulers (especially Antiochus Epiphanes) to force the Jews to yield to Hellenism brought about a strong Maccabean rebellion, for a longer time even restoring political independence to the Jews. Herod, who had deposed the Maccabean (or Hasmonean) dynasty from the Jewish throne, "wished to be the idol of the Hellenic world, not merely the King of Jews" (W. Durant).150

Writing about Herod, Flavius Josephus said, "everyone perceived that he was more friendly to the Greeks than to the Jews." 151 Indeed, Herod, whose very name was purely Greek, and who outwardly tried to look like a Greek, wearing Greek robes, and even shaving his beard, even though this was, according to the ancient tradition as testified in the Scriptures, a real sign of debasement (compare, 2 Samuel 10:4-5).-In his palace Herod surrounded himself with Greeks, and his principal counselor was Nicholas of Damascus, one of the distinguished literary men of those times. Krėvė's work gives a goodly number of Herod's intimate dialogues with Nicholas. The Greek language was heard everywhere in Herod's palace, and he himself knew the language well. Herod built temples, palaces, aqueducts, hippodromes and gymnasia in the Greek style. He liked and patronized Greek athletic games; this of course, at the expense of great indignation of the ardent protectors of the grand Jewish traditions.

Therefore, the Jews hated Herod for his Hellenism also, even though he never did try to discourage Judaism by force, as Antiochus Epiphanes had done before him. More. Although personally indifferent to religion, with the caution of a shrewd politician Herod tried to avoid hurting the religious feelings of the Jews without good reason, for instance, he did not put his face on coins. To the complaining Jews Herod replies in Krėvė's words:

Was it not I, teachers, who built holy temple for the Eternal One, a fitting home for the God such as even Solomon in all his glory had never built... Has the Angry One already departed from the home I built for him, and does not the sacrificial fire burn there every day, and do the trumpets of the Levites and holy hymns no longer ring out there? Perhaps the angry hand of the Eternal One has pushed away the holy vessels for the holy rites, which the goldsmiths of foreign lands made at my orders?152

Nevertheless Hellenism to Herod was not only a matter of personal sympathy, but at the same time a matter of political acuity. And Herod was a truly shrewd politician, since he well understood the interplay of various forces in the Roman Empire, he knew how to make correct, wise political decisions, thus he was able to maintain himself on the throne of the Jews for several decades which, according to J. S. Minkin, was "one of the most difficult thrones in the ancient world." 153 He understood very well that with the powerful Roman Empire constantly taking more Eastern Mediterranean lands into its control, an independent Jewish state, isolated from the rest of the world, is a political impossibility. That was why "his policy was clear and simple. He decided to do three things: to suppress nationalism, which he knew to be suicidal folly,154 to promote the honor and welfare of Judaism, both in Palestine and in Dispersion, and to foster westernization. This last meant pleasing Rome and imitating Greece" 156 Herod keenly appreciated that:

if the Jews were to survive as a nation they must accept not only the rule but the culture of the Roman empire; they must abandon their dreams of independence growing out of their ex-clusiveness... Herod's aim was to break down the rigid barrier which the Jews had created between themselves and the rest of the world (A. H. M. Jones)

All of these things only served to further inflame the Jews' hatred for Herod, who' was held to be an "Idumean tool of Rome" 157 He was accused of wrecking ancient Jewish traditions. In Krėvė's version, ardent Pharisee Matthias ben Mar-galoth irately complained to the members of the Sanhedrin:

Where were you, the defenders of justice and its proclaimers, when the Idumean forced the youth of the chosen people to sin against the Eternal One with pagan games? Where were you, why were you silent, when the Idumean — may his name be cursed for all the ages — defiled the holy city in the sight of God, cluttering it with Edomite statues and temples? 158

Even the very friendship of Herod with foreigners angered the strict Jews, who bitterly accused him:

But today you consort with uncircumcised lovers of pork, 159 [and demanded:] Do not subjugate the order of the Almighty!.. Let us all live as we lived heretofore... As the Scriptures and Torah require... Destroy the houses of evil [i.e., the sports arenas], in which our youths sin in the eyes of God... Order the idols and statues which desecrate your home and those of your friends to be destroyed.160

So the fundamental cause of the discord between Herod and his Jewish subjects was the fact that they belonged to two diametrically opposed worlds.

His ideas on the question of culture did not seem to square with the ideas of the contemporary Jews. He was universal, they were parochial; he was cosmopolitan, they were provincial; he was liberal, they were fanatical; he had the imperial vision in the sense of not being bound by the barriers of race and religion, they were intensely religious and zealous. He had occupied the strange position of an interpreter of Greek and Roman ideals in a country that was fanatically Jewish (J. S. Minkin).161

Did not Krėvė's Herod feel the same, when he complained to Nicholas of Damascus:

You Hellenes are happy people, and your soul is always light and dislikes cruelties ... But here, in this land, live another kind of people, dissimilar to you. They are cruel, vengeful, and full of hatred for the entire world ... They are crude, therefore proud; vengeful, therefore cruel; foolish and uneducated, therefore they consider themselves sages, the only wise men in the world. Whoever is not a Jew, to them he is not a human ... And here I had dreamt of uplifting them, so they would become the light of the world... But what can you do with a people, a stubborn nation which imagines itself as being the ruler of the world of the future.162

The juxtaposition of two such opposing worlds was very useful for Krėvė's favorite crossroads theme which we discussed earlier in this article. Just as Lithuanian Prince Skirgaila was portrayed by Krėvė in the decisive crossroads between Christianity and the pagan traditions inherited from his ancestors, so is Herod placed between two worlds — those of the cosmopolitan Hellenic world and that of the exclusive Jewish world — in the very center of the conflict. This historic problem was too onerous even for Herod's mighty shoulders, and he cracked up morally, losing his spiritual balance and becoming psychotically cruel. Herod himself understood his spiritual breakdown, and for this reason complains to the Greek in his palace: "It is my misfortune, that in spirit I am a Hellene, while they pressure and force me to act as a Jew." 163

The chapters on Herod could easily be excised from the entire work and, since they are written in dialogue form, make a separate work of drama, which would be both original and a worthy addition to the treasury of Herod dramas. But the Herod episode in the work as a whole has also a certain significance in composition since it emphasizes the antithesis of "sons of earth" and "sons of heaven" raised in the very headline. The incompatibility of the two worlds, which finally broke "son of the earth" Herod, was not by any means an unsol-vable riddle for the "sons of heaven" Essenes, who proclaimed the idea, found also in the Pauline epistles, that "to the Heavenly Father there is neither Jew nor Hellene" 164 (compare: "There is neither Jew nor Greek" — Galatians, 3:28).

The other "sons of earth" in Krėvė's book also emphasize the same antithesis. Not armed force even though for a noble purpose (Jehuda of Hamala), not the unrelenting vengeance according to the ancient "eye for an eye" principle (Barabbas), not the misanthropic disillusionment with people (Jehuda of Ke-rioth), but universal love is the path which the Essenes proclaimed and which Jeshua chose: "The happy Kingdom of Eternal God will be established on earth not by the force of sword, but by the fervent word of love which will capture the hearts of the people." 165


1    V. Mykolaitis, "Vincas Krėvė", Varpai: literatūros almanachas (Šiauliai, 1944), p. 249.
2    As quoted by P. Galaunė, Lietuvių liaudies menas (Kaunas, 1930), p. B.
3    M. K. Čiurlionis, "Apie muziką", in S. Čiurlionienė, Lietuvoje (Vilnius, 1910), p. 62.
4    Vilniaus Žinios (Vilnius), 1907, No. 103.
6   Vincas Krėvė, Raštai, ed. Vincas Maciūnas, (Boston, 1956-1961 [i. e. 1963]), Vol. I, p. 176. All subsequent citations of Krėvė are taken from the above six volume edition of his works.
6    Ibid., Vol. I, p. 176.
7    Ibid., Vol. I, p. 122.
8    Ibid., Vol. I, p. 194.
9    Aidai (Kennebunkport, Me.), 1952, No. 9, p. 393.
10    Krėvė, Raštai, Vol. III, p. 148.
11    Ibid., Vol. III, p. 126.
12    Ibid., Vol. III, p. 229.
13    Ibid., Vol. III, p. 251.
14    Ibid., Vol. III, p. 126.
15    Ibid., Vol. III, p. 363.
16    Ibid., Vol. III, p. 126.
17    Ibid., Vol. III, p. 248.
18    Liudas Gira, "Vincas Krėvė-Mickevičius", Lietuvos Aidas (Kaunas), 1929, No. 283.
19    Krėvė, Raštai, Vol. IV, p. 65.
20    Ibid., Vol. IV, p. 20.
21    Ibid., Vol. IV, pp. 42-43.
22    Ibid., Vol. IV, p. 74.
23    Ibid., Vol. II, p. 62.
24    Ibid., Vol. II, p. 34.
25    Ibid., Vol. II, p. 35.
26    Ibid., Vol. II, p. 135.
27    Ibid., Vol. II, p. 93.
28    Ibid., Vol. II, p. 146.
29    Ibid., Vol. II, p. 160.
30    Ibid., Vol. I, p. 29.
31    Ibid., Vol. I, p. 309.
32    Ibid., Vol. V, p. 109.
33    Ibid., Vol. VI, p. 13.
34    H. Graetz, History of Jews (Philadelphia, 1945 [c 1893]), Vol. II, p. 143.
35    Krėvė, Raštai, Vol. VI, p. 220.
36    Ibid., Vol. VI, p. 90.
37    Ibid., Vol. VI, p. 326.
38    Charles Guignebert, The Jewish World in the Time of Jesus, trans, from the French by S. H. Hooke (London, 1939), p. 152.
39    Krėvė, Raštai, Vol. VI, p. 100.
40    Krėvė has related to the author of this article that before World War I, when Krėvė was teaching in Baku, he was asked by a court to give an opinion on one Russian pamphlet, the author of which was being tried for an alleged anti-religious content of the booklet. The author of the booklet was acquited when Krėvė pointed out to the court that the pamphlet was merely a retelling of Renan's ideas and that Renan's works were being freely translated and published in Russia at that time. Among other things this episode suggests that Krėvė was considered an expert on such matters.
41    Ernest Renan, The Life of Jesus, introduction by John Haynes Holmes (New York, 1927), p. 18. Citations of Renan are taken from this edition.
42    Ibid., p. 122.
43    E. Renan, Oeuvres complètes. Édition définitive établie par Henriette Psichari, (Paris, 1949), Vol. 4, p. 16.
44    Of course, this should not necessarily show direct influence of Renan for such a rationalistic viewpoint is not a characteristic of Renan alone. Besides, to Krėvė Renan was not an absolute authority in all matters. For example, Krėvė rejects Renan's opinion that "the journey of the family of Jesus to Bethlehem is not historical" (Renan, The Life of Jesus, p. 81) and that Jesus was born not in Bethlehem but in Nazareth. He also disagrees with Renan that "Herod did not try to kill Jesus, who was not born till four years after his death" (Renan, History of the People of Israel [Boston, 1895], Vol. V. p. 213). In his work Krėvė adheres to the known evangelical story about the murder of Jewish babies according to the order of Herod and the hiding of Joseph with his family.
45    Aidai, 1950, No. 5, pp. 197, 202.
46    Renan, The Life of Jesus, p. 22.
47    Albert Schweitzer, The Quest of the Historical Jesus, trans. W. Montgomery (London, 1922), p. 182.
48    As quoted by Maurice Goguel, The Life of Jesus, trans. O. Wyon (New York, 1953), p. 51.
49    Schweitzer, op. cit., p. 181.
50    Renan, The Life of Jesus, p. 86.
51    Renan, Oeuvres complètes, Vol. 4, p. 32.
52    Renan, The Life of Jesus, pp. 182, 186, 166, 126.
53    Krėvė, Raštai, Vol. VI, p. 204.
54    Ibid., Vol. VI, p. 281.
55    Ibid., Vol. VI, p. 287.
56    Renan, The Life of Jesus, p. 129.
57    Krėvė, Raštai, Vol. VI, p. 218.
58    Ibid., Vol. VI, pp. 232-233.
59    Renan, The Life of Jesus, p. 293.
60    Flavius Josep'hus writes: "... it is law among them, that those who come to them must what they have be common to the whole order" (Jewish War, 2:8:3). This was the practice in times of the apostles: "Those who owned lands and houses would sell them and bring the price of what they sold and lay it at the feet of the apostles" (Acts, 4: 34-35).
61    Guignebert, op. cit., p. 179.
62    A. Dupont-Sommer, The Essene Writings from Qumran, trans. G. Vermes (Oxford, 1961), p. 13.
63    The Catholic Encyclopedia (New York, 1909), Vol. V, p. 547.
64    Renan, History of the People of Israel, Vol. V, pp. 61-62.
65    Cf., John M. Allegro, The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Origins of Christianity (N.Y., 1957); Jean Daniėlou, Les manuscrits de la Mer M orte et les origines du Christianisme (Paris, 1957). Rev. J. T. Milik, one of the team of scholars working on these findings points out: "The Essene movement, because of its points of contact with Christianity, obviously holds first place in the eyes of the wider circles who are interested in these discoveries." J. T. Milik, Ten Years of Discovery in the Wilderness of Judaea, trans. J. Strugnell (Naperville, 111., 1959), p. 140.
66    The Lithuanian bishop V. Padolskis has criticized Krėvė's work, expressing the following opinion: "We should not search for the basis of Christianity in essenism and consider it precursor of Christianity, its preparation, for it is essentially different" (Aidai, 1950, No. 5, p. 199).
67    Graetz, op cit., Vol. II, p. 150.
68    W. Durant, Christ and Caesar (New York, 1944), p. 559.
69    Ch. F. Potter, The Lost Years of Jesus (Newhyde Park, N.Y.), 1963, p. 18.
70    Ibid., p. 9.
71    According to the custom of those times, the students listened to their teachers sitting at their feet; for example St. Paul says: "I am ... brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel" (Acts, 22:3).
72    Krėvė, Raštai, Vol. VI, p. 153.
73    Ibid., Vol. VI, pp. 63-64.
74    Ibid., Vol. VI, p. 62.
75    Ibid., Vol., VI, p. 64.
76    The prayer given by Christ in the Sermon on the Mount — "Our Father who art in heaven" according to H. Graetz, "may possibly have been in use among the Essenes" (Graetz, op cit., vol. II, p. 155). In Krėvė's work this prayer is said by the "Sons of God".
77    Krėvė, Raštai, Vol. VI, p. 213. Cf.: "But in praying, do not multiply words, as the Gentiles do; for they think that by saying a great deal, they will be heard. So do not like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask him" (Matthew, 6:7-8).
78    Ibid., Vol. VI, p. 213. Cf.: "I am the Lord thy God, mighty, jealous, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me" (Exodus, 20:15).
79    Ibid., Vol. VI, p. 64.
80    Renan, History of the People of Israel, Vol. V, p. 55.
81    Krėvė, Raštai, Vol. VI, p. 231.
82    Ibid., Vol. VI, p.61.
83    Ibid., Vol. VI, p. 223.
84    J. Klausner, Jesus of Nazareth, trans, from original Hebrew by H. Dinby (New York, 1925), p. 87.
85    Flavius Josephus, Jewish War, 2:8:1.
86    Goguel, op cit., p. 52.
87    Krėvė, Raištai, Vol. VI, p. 246.
88    Ibid., Vol. VI, p. 239.
89    Ibid., Vol. VI, p. 258.
90    Ibid., Vol. VI, p. 266.
91    Ibid., Vol.VI, pp. 260-261.
92    Ibid., Vol. VI, p. 239.
93    Ibid., Vol. VI, p. 92.
94    Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics (New York, 1951), Vol. 12, p. 851.
95    Krėvė, Raštai, Vol. VI, p. 73. Sicarii — dagger men (Latin: sica — dagger), the most fanatical group among zealots, which did not hesitate to use a dagger against their political opponents.
96    Ibid., Vol. VI, p. 276.
97    Ibid., Vol. VI, p. 279.
98    Ibid., Vol. VI, p. 279.
99    Ibid., Vol. VI, pp. 288-289.
100    Ibid., Vol. VI, p. 372.
101    Ibid., Vol. VI, p. 375.
102    Ibid., Vol., VI, p. 359.
103    Ibid., Vol. VI, pp. 360, 363.
104    Ibid., Vol. VI, p. 361.
105    Ibid., Vol. VI, p. 370.
106    Byron was always one of the authors liked by Krėvė. Reminiscences of Byron's personages are felt in Šarünas and other gloomy and powerful personalities. His former students are able to recollect after several decades how their teacher, with great enthusiasm, discussed on Byron, especialy his Cain, who attracted Krėvė by his rebellious spirit. Cf. Pergalė (Vilnius), 1961, No. 2, p. 142.
107    Krėvė, Raštai, Vol. VI, p. 207.
108    Ibid., Vol. VI, pp. 207-208.
109    Ibid., Vol. VI, p. 209.
110    Ibid., Vol. VI, p. 352.
111    Ibid., Vol. VI, p. 108.
112    Ibid., Vol. VI, pp. 337-338.
113    Ibid., Vol. VI, p. 338.
114    Flavius Josephus, Antiquities, 16:11:2.
115    Flavius Josephus, Jewish War, 2:6:2.
116    Flavius Josephus, Antiquities, 17:11:2.
117    G. Ricciotti, The History of Israel (Milwaukee, 1955), Vol. II, p. 322.
118    Renan, History of the People of Israel, Vol. V, p. 213.
119    "A king of Jews he was, but not a Jewish king". J. Goldin, "The Period of the Talmud", The Jews; Their History, Culture, and Religion, ed. L. Finkelstein. (3rd ed.; New York, 1960), Vol. I, p. 127.
120    It seems that Herod "had an intestinal cancer complicated by diabetes and perhaps other ailments" (Ricciotti, op. cit. Vol. II, p. 352).
121    As quoted by Klausner, op. cit., p. 145.
122    Graetz, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 349.
123    Ricciotti, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 349.
124    G. Papini, Life of Christ, freely translated from Italian by D. C. Fisher (New York, 1925), p. 27.
125    Guignebert,op. cit., p. 34.
126    St. Perowne, The Life and Times of Herod the Great (London, 1956), p. 179.
127    Daniel-Rops, Daily Life in Palestine at the Time of Christ, translated from the French by P. O'Brien (London, 1962), p. 61.
128    A. L. Sachar, A History of the Jews (4th ed., New York, 1958), p. 114.
129    F. W. Farrar, The Herods (New York, 1898), p. 109.
130    Graetz, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 77.
131    F. W. Farrar, as quoted by J. S. Minkin, Herod: A Biography (New York, 1936), p. 252.
132    Guignebert, op. cit., p. 34.
133    Sachar, op. cit., p. 114.
134    M. S. Enslin, "New Testament Times", The Interpreter's Bible (New York, 1951) Vol. VII, p. 104.
135    Minkin, op. cit., p. 263.
136    Ibid., p. 254.
137    Ibid., p. 264.
138    G. A. Barton, A History of the Hebrew People (New York, 1930), p. 437.
139    M. J. Valency, The Tragedies of Herod and Mariamne (New York, 1940)
140    E. Schurer, A History of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus, edited and introduced by N. N. Glatzer (New York, 1961), p. 128.
141    Ricciotti, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 321.
142    Krėvė, Raštai, Vol. VI, p. 56.
143    Ibid., Vol. VI, p. 147.
144    Ibid., Vol. VI, p. 135.
145    Ibid., Vol. VI, p. 132.
146    Flavius Josephus, Antiquities, 14:15:2.
147    Sachar, op cit., p. 114.
148    Minkin, op. cit. pp. 255-262. Krėvė probably did not read Minkin, because he did not know English well enough.
149    Sachar, op. cit., p. 98.
150    Durant, op. cit., p. 534.
151    Flavius Josephus, Antiquities, 19:7:3.
152    Krėvė, Raštai, Vol. VI, p. 23.
153    Minkin op. cit., p. 253.
154    And indeed, after the last Jewish revolt Rome not only destroyed the Jewish state, but also ruthlessly dispersed the Jewish nation from the native land. For this reason, according to Perowne, "Herod's conception of Jewry, its destiny, was farsighted to the verge of prophecy" (Perowne, op. cit. p. 178).
155    Ibid., p. 108.
156    A. H. M. Jones, The Herods of Judaea (Oxford, 1938), p. 153.
157    M. S. Enslin, "New Testament Times", Interpreter's Bible, Vol. 7, p. 104.
158    Krėvė, Raštai, Vol. VI, p. 120.
159    Ibid., Vol. VI, p. 24.
160    Ibid., Vol. VI, p. 25. In its mood and style this passage from Krėvė reminds the condemnation of the high priest Jason's behavior in the Books of Maccabees: "... he began to bring over his countrymen to the fashion of the heathen ... For he had the boldness to set up, under the very castle, a place of exercise, and to put all the choicest youths in brothel houses ... And setting nought by the honors of theirs fathers, they esteemed the Grecian glories for the best" (2 Maccabees, 4:10-15).
161    Minkin, op. cit. p. 258.
162    Krėvė, Raštai, Vol. VI, pp. 132-133.
163    Ibid., Vol. VI, p.146.
164    Ibid., Vol. VI, p. 274.
165    Ibid., Vol. VI, p. 231.