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Abstract

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.
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