The aim of the author is to present some messianic and prophetic ideas, which are intrinsically fused with Karl Marx’s doctrines, and which had also been expressed in Jewish mystical thought as well as in the ethical message of the Bible. Although Marx did not obtain any proper Jewish education, he was not able to reject his own being-a-Jew or his inborn spirituality together with the implicit axio-normative system of Judaism. Marxist philosophy, generally speaking, is dominated by the postulate of building a better and a more just world, and by the ethical demand of creating a new reality, from which poverty and social marginalization would be eradicated. However, such views were not new. For, it was the author of the Biblical “Book of Devarim”, who earlier emphasized the need for social solidarity. There had also been some Jewish prophets who criticized kings and priests, and Tsfat Jewish mystics who had formulated an ethically radical tikkun ha-olam postulate in the 16th century.
This article looks at a character of Jakub Frank, the 18th-century Jewish Messianic leader, in Andrzej Żuławski’s book of idiosyncratic essays Moliwda (published in 1994). Żuławski, a controversial fi lm-maker and writer, whose historic musings are usually focused on an individual who embodies the spirit of the age in this case turns his attention to Jakub Frank. Moliwda is typical of the early phase of Żuławski’s writing career characterized by a radically revisionist explorations of the Age of the Enlightenment in search for parallels with the modern age and his own life. Jakub Frank is presented as a trickster, religious charlatan, political fraudster and fateful ancestor of 20th-century tyrants, but at the same time as a rebel against the idea of God and history enshrined in the Judaic tradition. The article views Żuławski’s interpretation as an attempt to appropriate certain elements of the history of religion to create an authoritarian vision of modernity and its historical roots, based on mechanisms of self-aggrandizement, sexualization of power and subversion of all hierarchies.