The Se­cret Jew­ish His­tory

O† Robin Hood

Forward Magazine - - CONTENTS - By Seth Ro­govoy ●

Robin Hood is well known as a de­fender of op­pressed pop­u­la­tions. But one as­pect of his story that has mostly been lost to time, how­ever, is his role as pro­tec­tor of Jews, who fig­ured promi­nently in bal­lads and dra­matic texts that be­gan ap­pear­ing in th- and

th-cen­tury Eng­land. Aside from his fun­da­men­tal mis­sion of tikkun olam — re­pair­ing the world via a forced re­dis­tri­bu­tion of wealth, aka steal­ing from the rich and giv­ing to the poor — Robin Hood was orig­i­nally por­trayed as a cham­pion of all the op­pressed, whether they be peas­ants, Mus­lims, dis­in­her­ited kings, scorned Cru­saders, anti-cler­ics or Jews.

There is no sin­gle scrip­tural source for the tale of Robin Hood. Rather, this fig­ure of English folk­lore, typ­i­cally por­trayed as a no­ble out­law, is the stuff of leg­ends that have ac­cu­mu­lated for over half a mil­len­nium, leg­ends that retell and elab­o­rate on the ba­sic story in or­der to em­pha­size and add to its var­i­ous as­pects like so much midrash, in the form of bal­lads, po­ems, games, plays, books and, for the past cen­tury, on the sil­ver screen: This month, the lat­est ver­sion of Robin Hood can be found in an epony­mously ti­tled movie di­rected by Otto Bathurst (“Peaky Blin­ders,” “Black Mir­ror”) and star­ring Welsh ac­tor Taron Eger­ton as the ti­tle char­ac­ter, Jamie Foxx as Lit­tle John, Ben Men­del­sohn as the Sher­iff of Not­ting­ham and Eve Hew­son (daugh­ter of U”’s Bono) as Maid Mar­ian.

While tales di–er as to Robin Hood’s ex­act ori­gins, it is gen­er­ally ac­cepted that he hailed from York­shire in the north of Eng­land in the ˜th cen­tury — an area that also boasted a sig­nif­i­cant Jew­ish set­tle­ment — be­fore mov­ing to Not­ting­hamshire, home to Sher­wood For­est and a par­tic­u­larly nasty sheri– who was no friend to the chil­dren of Is­rael. By the

th cen­tury, the fic­tional Robin Hood was typ­i­cally por­trayed as a con­tem­po­rary and sup­porter of the late- ”th-cen­tury king Richard the Li­on­heart. In this schema, Robin was driven to live out­side the law due to the mis­rule of Richard’s brother John, while his friend Richard was abroad do­ing the things cru­saders did on the Third Cru­sade. Oddly enough,

Robin Hood hails from an area that boasted a sig­nif­i­cant Jew­ish pop­u­la­tion.

LI­ON­S­GATE FILMS

GETTY IM­AGES

LOINS­GATE MOVIES

ROBIN AND HIS HOODS: The new ‘Robin Hood’ fea­tures Taron Eger­ton, Jamie Foxx (left) and Eve Hew­son (above).

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