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The Trial of God: (As It Was Held on February 25, 1649, in Shamgorod)

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  584 ratings  ·  31 reviews
The Trial of God (as it was held on February 25, 1649, in Shamgorod)
"A Play by Elie Wiesel
Translated by Marion Wiesel
Introduction by Robert McAfee Brown
Afterword by Matthew Fox
"Where is God when innocent human beings suffer? This drama lays bare the most vexing questions confronting the moral imagination.
Set in a Ukranian village in the year 1649, this haunting play tak
Paperback, 208 pages
Published November 14th 1995 by Schocken Books Inc (first published January 1st 1979)
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Dec 31, 2008 max rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: library
Elie Wiesel was a boy at Auschwitz when he watched prisoners convene a traditional Hebrew court to try God of breaking his sacred covenant with the Jews. PBS's "Masterpiece Theater" excellently dramatizes the trial in its movie "God on Trial", which bears strong influence from Wiesel's play.

Wiesel's 1979 original is not set at the concentration camp. The book's introduction documents his struggles to find a suitable setting for his story; he finally settles on the late middle ages, at an inn of
I finished the play in just a few days because it moves so quickly, and want to read it again and again. It's a story that is profound but accessible and even hours after finishing it I can't seem to pick my jaw up off of the floor. Mind-blowing and awesome.

The Trial of God is a perfect vehicle for a subject beyond weighty, and it is an incredible way to honor and preserve the ideas shared by the Rabbis during the trials they held in concentration camps and ghettos for future generations.
Frank Roberts
If man is made in God's image (or vice versa) then to put God on trial is to indict Man. Wiesel's powerful drama invites reflection on mankind's inability to live up to God, or to fashion gods that are truly worthy. Most damning of all, no person is found to stand as God's advocate at the trial, except for Satan himself.

Powerful and provocative.
Noel VerDine
After finishing Jonathan Ames' book Wake Up Sir I wanted to read something very different from the current novel style in vogue. I was scanning my bookshelf and came across this, a play, by Elie Wiesel. I recalled a friend of mine telling me he really liked it, and it gave him a few things to think about. I picked it up and finished it in just one shift at my coffeeshop, as I set it down, finished, a different friend of mine noticed it for the first time even though we were reading at the same ...more
This is an amazing, painful, provoking book to read. The author Elie Wiesel was a 15 year old in Auschwitz. He spent years trying to find a way to capture what happened one evening during his imprisonment when several old Rabbis put God on trial and convicted him. This is a play in which Wiesel set the story in 17th century Poland. It asks the ageless question of where is God in all of this suffering. It is a painful to read as the horrors the characters have experienced unfold. But I also found ...more
Naomi Schmahl
The best ending...
In 1945, a teenage Elie Wiesel was a prisoner in Auschwitz with his father. Wiesel claims to have witnessed a trial conducted by three rabbis who charged God with breaking His covenant with the Jewish people. The rabbis found God guilty as charged...then left the barracks to go and pray. None of the rabbis survived the death camp, nor did any of Wiesel's relatives.

Wiesel wrote the play The Trial of God to dramatize the trial he witnessed in Auschwitz. Set in a small medieval village somewhere in
In "The Trial of God," Wiesel returns to the theological questions that drive "Night" and his other books. How can a just God allow such suffering? The survivors of a pogrom and a trio of traveling minstrels looking to perform a Purim play put God on trial. The only problem is that no one is willing to serve as God's defense attorney -- until a stranger steps forward. The stranger puts forth an eloquent defense of God's goodness, but the implications of his words change from comforting to profou ...more
The Trial of God helps me understand the questions and bitterness that people who witness or experience horrible suffering may feel towards God. This play was based on his experiences during the holocaust.
Helene Dorian
This is a powerful book by a truly amazing human being. It is easy to understand how one can lose faith in God yet gives you much hope to believe.
This was a play set during an earlier century in Poland. The scene was of a Jewish massacre by Christians. The author was a survivor of Auschwitz. The play is about a trial of God for abandoning his chosen people. This trial actually happened in Auschwitz and the author is retelling it as a play within a play. It was interesting not only as an unfolding story, but also to see how Jews view Christians who kill in the name of Christ. A similar setting could be during the Crusades where Christians ...more
This book is a complex play, surveying many of the theological arguments questioning God's existence in the face of catastrophic human suffering - set in 1649, it describes a Purim play occurring in a Jewish community recently decimated by a pogrom, although it is loosely based on real-life events which happened in the concentration camps. I got an enormous amount out of this, and found it much more readable than most of his other works (with the exception, possibly, of the iconic 'Night'). A mu ...more
This play by Elie Wiesel takes place in a Ukrainian village during the early modern period. A group of rabbis decide to put God on trial following a pogrom against their community. The play brings up some very deep, and troubling, issues and explores them in depth. Specifically, how do we understand human suffering in the light of a good God? Wiesel takes his stand with the victims of injustice and cries out on their behalf.
The ending was absolutely amazing. To use Krysten's word, which I find most fitting to properly describe its amazingness, it was epic. The Trial of God is a play and these characters set up a trial against God, with defendants and prosecutors and they basically debate the merits and drawbacks to faith. It is very possibly the best book I've ever read. And the ending...I can't get over it, it's so great. It's mind boggling.
"'The Trial of God'" and the book of Job, and suggested that sometimes the only way to respond to the depths of human suffering is not to argue or justify, but to acknowledge that there are no adequate words."

This was such a book, I wish I was a better writer so I could express myself better.
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A book like this should be required reading. How can I possibly critique such a piece. Simply stated: a work such as this could only come out of a sincere sense of what life is and I don't mean life on Earth alone.
Not so much a play as a dialectic. The denouement was predictable. I liked this, and it made me want to write more serious work than I do, but it isn't Wiesel's best work.
Based on a real trial against God that a group of Rabbis put on in a concentration camp. I have thought about this book many times since I read it.
Sep 23, 2007 Jenna added it
Wow...that's all I have to say. I have been meaning to read more of his work, but I just haven't gotten there yet.
Loed the format of a screenplay...loved the intellectual nature of how God is perceived. easy and quick read.
One of the greatest things I have ever read. I want to see this performed by some talented people.
A really moving, well written play. It might change the way you think about God/evil/the world.
Deborah Crowdy
As always with Wiesel, this book is perfectly planned and executed. Truly "awe"-ful.
Terry Garner
I'm a lawyer, and the fact that Satan defended God, well, that's just priceless
Scott Jennings
Very challenging play dealing with God, suffering, and evil in the world.
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very good... and very interesting
We all ask this question in one form or another and I was always taught that it is a fairly healthy thing to do and to work to understand. Through the interaction of theses characters we learn of our own pursuit of god and truth and jusice and perphaps better understanding the gross injustices of the world and human history.
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Eliezer Wiesel is a Romania-born American novelist, political activist, and Holocaust survivor of Hungarian Jewish descent. He is the author of over 40 books, the best known of which is Night, a memoir that describes his experiences during the Holocaust and his imprisonment in several concentration camps.

Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. The Norwegian Nobel Committee called him a "
More about Elie Wiesel...
Night (The Night Trilogy, #1) Dawn (The Night Trilogy, #2) Day (The Night Trilogy, #3) The Night Trilogy: Night/Dawn/The Accident Open Heart

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