Leonard's thoughts on Jesus

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kalinowt
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Leonard's thoughts on Jesus

Post by kalinowt » Mon May 31, 2010 9:22 pm

Hi I came across this years ago on a discussion forum for 10 New Songs wherein Leonard did a live discussion with fans. He had this to say about Jesus and I have kept it ever since. I'm afraid it will get lost, so I put it here for posterity.

Thanks!

I don't really have a 'take on the state of Christianity.' But when I read your question, this answer came to mind: As I understand it, into the heart of every Christian, Christ comes, and Christ goes. When, by his Grace, the landscape of the heart becomes vast and deep and limitless, then Christ makes His abode in that graceful heart, and His Will prevails. The experience is recognized as Peace. In the absence of this experience much activity arises, divisions of ever sort. Outside of the organizational enterprise, which some applaud and some mistrust, stands the figure of Jesus, nailed to a human predicament, summoning the heart to comprehend its own suffering by dissolving itself in a radical confession of hospitality
ladydi
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Re: Leonard's thoughts on Jesus

Post by ladydi » Wed Jun 02, 2010 7:02 am

liples1,

Just a suggestion to get some of your facts straight before posting. Check your blog...it contains SO many errors...er, the movie "Trek"....lol, not quite. And your time span is SO out of kilter. I don't believe Leonard ever responded to you personally. Sorry...just don't.

In fact, is this all a joke? You can't really be serious.
kalinowt
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Re: Leonard's thoughts on Jesus

Post by kalinowt » Wed Jun 02, 2010 7:03 pm

He didn't respond to me. he took the question from a guy named Seth. I read it later and thought it pretty profound. You have to remember that this was 2001 when he was still studying "deeply in the philosphies of the religions" before cheerfulness kept breaking through. Here's this Zen Buddhist monk Jewish guy and he had the best take on Christianity I'd ever read in a short answer. Remember he was a good friend of poet Irving Layton, a fellow Jew, who wrote the poem "My Brother Jesus" attempting to see Jesus from a Jewish perspective and reclaim Jesus's "Jewishness." Cohen and he probably talked for years about this subject, I'd bet. So Leonard had given it a lot of thought before he answered Seth in that live chat he did in promotion of his 10 New Songs album.
ladydi wrote:liples1,

Just a suggestion to get some of your facts straight before posting. Check your blog...it contains SO many errors...er, the movie "Trek"....lol, not quite. And your time span is SO out of kilter. I don't believe Leonard ever responded to you personally. Sorry...just don't.

In fact, is this all a joke? You can't really be serious.
John Etherington
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Re: Leonard's thoughts on Jesus

Post by John Etherington » Sat Jun 05, 2010 12:53 am

Here's another quote of Leonard's about Jesus (that I may have posted here, before). It's from a 1988 interview, and also in Jim Devlin's compilation "Leonard Cohen in his Own Words", for which Jim asked me to research quotes on Leonard's beliefs:

"I'm very fond of Jesus Christ. He may be the most beautiful guy who ever walked the face of this earth. Any guy who said "Blessed are the poor. Blessed are the meek" has got to be a figure of unparalleled generosity and insight and madness.. . A man who declared himself to stand among the thieves, the prostitutes and the homeless. His position cannot be comprehended. It is an inhuman generosity. A generosity that would overthrow the world if it was embraced because nothing could weather that compassion. I'm not trying to alter the Jewish view of Jesus Christ. But to me, in spite of what I know about the history of legal Christianity, the figure of the man has touched me".
John Etherington
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Re: Leonard's thoughts on Jesus

Post by John Etherington » Sat Jun 05, 2010 2:01 am

Did he say "blessed are the cheese makers?".
Vicomte
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Re: Leonard's thoughts on Jesus

Post by Vicomte » Sat Jun 05, 2010 2:45 am

Aha, what's so special about the cheesemakers? ;-)
I guess it all started for me sometime around Christmas 1967 and now, goodness me, it's.........2018 and over fifty years later.
No one ever listens to me. I might as well be a Leonard Cohen record.
Neil from The Young Ones
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lorcamaria
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Re: Leonard's thoughts on Jesus

Post by lorcamaria » Mon Oct 04, 2010 2:43 pm

John Etherington wrote:Here's another quote of Leonard's about Jesus (that I may have posted here, before). It's from a 1988 interview, and also in Jim Devlin's compilation "Leonard Cohen in his Own Words", for which Jim asked me to research quotes on Leonard's beliefs:

"I'm very fond of Jesus Christ. He may be the most beautiful guy who ever walked the face of this earth. Any guy who said "Blessed are the poor. Blessed are the meek" has got to be a figure of unparalleled generosity and insight and madness.. . A man who declared himself to stand among the thieves, the prostitutes and the homeless. His position cannot be comprehended. It is an inhuman generosity. A generosity that would overthrow the world if it was embraced because nothing could weather that compassion. I'm not trying to alter the Jewish view of Jesus Christ. But to me, in spite of what I know about the history of legal Christianity, the figure of the man has touched me".
John,

Has Leonard said anything else about Jesus Christ? I thought this statement of his was very beautiful, but what else would one expect from Mr. Cohen :D
Maria

Ring the bell that still can ring, forget your perfect offering,
There is a crack in everything, that's how the Light gets in.
IMM
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Re: Leonard's thoughts on Jesus

Post by IMM » Tue Oct 05, 2010 7:34 am

lorcamaria wrote:Has Leonard said anything else about Jesus Christ? I thought this statement of his was very beautiful, but what else would one expect from Mr. Cohen :D
No one has mentioned the lines from Jazz Police?

Jesus taken serious by the many
Jesus taken joyous by a few
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lorcamaria
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Re: Leonard's thoughts on Jesus

Post by lorcamaria » Tue Oct 05, 2010 11:14 pm

Hello IMM,

No, I have not yet come across this but I am now on the lookout.
Maria

Ring the bell that still can ring, forget your perfect offering,
There is a crack in everything, that's how the Light gets in.
John Etherington
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Re: Leonard's thoughts on Jesus

Post by John Etherington » Wed Oct 06, 2010 2:48 am

Hi lorcamaria,

Another related quote of Leonard's that I chose for Jim Devlin's book is the following (from 1968):

"Our natural vocabulary is Judeo-Christan. That is our blood myth... We have to rediscover the crucifixion. The crucifixion will again be understood as a universal symbol not just as an experiment in sadism or masochism or aarrogance. It will have to be rediscovered because that's where man is at. On the cross."

All good things, John E
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lorcamaria
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Re: Leonard's thoughts on Jesus

Post by lorcamaria » Wed Oct 06, 2010 11:07 pm

Thank you John,

Leonard Cohen is always so very profound isn't he.

I like to see what he has to say about Jesus Christ, and especially because Leonard IS so profound and because he is Jewish, so often, this is where Genius lies!
Maria

Ring the bell that still can ring, forget your perfect offering,
There is a crack in everything, that's how the Light gets in.
seadove
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Re: Leonard's thoughts on Jesus

Post by seadove » Tue Oct 12, 2010 10:03 am

Somehow I just can't buy the fact that Leonard Cohen said all these words about Jesus. He is too much of a jew for him to say all these words. Fact is that when he was in Israel on the 24th of September of last year he talked a lot in Hebrew and he "communicated" with the audience within his jewishness. In the end he blessed the audience in the typical Cohen style, not forgetting to formulate his hands in the Cohen tradition.

Nope. Leonard Cohen is not Christian, neither does he have any inclination to Chritianity. If he was he would have changed his name to Leonard Smith or whatever back in 1955.

Lol ;-)
kalinowt
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Re: Leonard's thoughts on Jesus

Post by kalinowt » Tue Oct 12, 2010 7:42 pm

Hi seadove,

No one is claiming Leonard Cohen is a Christian. But that does not change the fact that Cohen's mother was a Messianic Jew (this is well documented elsewhere) who respected Jesus, not in his Christian incarnation, but in his orignal Jewish "Yeshua" one. Remember Leonard Cohen was a good friend of poet Irving Layton, a fellow Canadian Jew and respected poet in Canada, who wrote the poem "My Brother Jesus" attempting to see Jesus from a Jewish perspective and reclaim Jesus's "Jewishness." Cohen and he probably talked for years about this subject, I'd bet. So Leonard has given this a lot of thought over the years. Outside of this, Leonard Cohen has an immense respect for and studied deeply in many religious philosophies and has reflected that in his songs. Buddhism (all of Ten New Songs pretty much), Sufism (The Guests, Lover, Lover, Lover) Christianity (The Future, based in part on the Book of Revelations, Suzanne, "Jesus was a sailor..., etc.) and Leonard has had a lifetime admiration for Quebec Catholic Saint Catherine Tekawitha (book Beautiful Losers). Leonard is most definately Jewish in every bone of his identity, (his grandthfather was a very famous Jewish scholar in Montreal Lyon Cohen), but he is not a simple man as you know and has sought inspiration and revelation from other Religious traditions including Christianity. And... he most definately made these quotations. His management even confirmed this when others challenged their veracity. Hope this helps clarify things for you,

Peace and Respect,

kalinowt

seadove wrote:Somehow I just can't buy the fact that Leonard Cohen said all these words about Jesus. He is too much of a jew for him to say all these words. Fact is that when he was in Israel on the 24th of September of last year he talked a lot in Hebrew and he "communicated" with the audience within his jewishness. In the end he blessed the audience in the typical Cohen style, not forgetting to formulate his hands in the Cohen tradition.

Nope. Leonard Cohen is not Christian, neither does he have any inclination to Chritianity. If he was he would have changed his name to Leonard Smith or whatever back in 1955.

Lol ;-)
John Etherington
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Re: Leonard's thoughts on Jesus

Post by John Etherington » Wed Oct 13, 2010 2:55 am

Good post, kalinowt. To this I would add that although Leonard was raised within the Jewish tradition, he was also brought up part Catholic by his Irish Catholic nanny. According to Ira Nadel, the church represented romance to Leonard. It is an interesting fact that Jesus appears in the first song ("Suzanne") on his first album, and in the second poem of his book "Let Us Compare Mythologies". The poem "For Wilf and His House" then becomes the first poem in the anthology "Selected Poems". Here it is:

FOR WILF AND HIS HOUSE

When young the Christians told me
how we pinned Jesus
like a lovely butterfly against the wood,
and I wept beside paintings of Calvary
at velvet wounds
and delicate twisted feet.

But he could not hang softly long,
your fighters so proud with bugles,
bending flowers with their silver stain,
and when I faced the Ark for counting,
trembling under the burning oil,
the meadow of running flesh turned sour
and I kissed away my gentle teachers,
warned my younger brothers.

Among the young and turning-great
of the large nations, innocent
of the spiked wish and the bright crusade,
there I could sing my heathen tears
between the summersaults and chestnut battles,
love the distant saint
who fed his arm to flies,
mourn the crushed ant
and despise the reason of the heel.

Raging and weeping are left on the early road.
Now each in his holy hill
the glittering and hurting days are almost done.
Then let us compare mythologies.
I have learned my elaborate lie
of soaring crosses and poisoned thorns
and how my fathers nailed him
like a bat against a barn
to greet the autumn and late hungry ravens
as a hollow yellow sign.

There was a discussion about this poem on this site in 2003, but it didn't get too far. Here's the link: viewtopic.php?t=643

All good things, John E
IMM
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Re: Leonard's thoughts on Jesus

Post by IMM » Wed Nov 03, 2010 7:55 am

seadove wrote:Nope. Leonard Cohen is not Christian, neither does he have any inclination to Chritianity. If he was he would have changed his name to Leonard Smith or whatever back in 1955.
I think that if he was going to use the name Smith - it would have been Smith Cohen, rather than Leonard Smith. :lol:
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