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"Messiah" The Reckoning (2001)

Finger counting is the oldest method of reckoning, and because we have 10 digits on our hands, each with its own name, we count in tens, one digit (Latin digitus, a finger) at a time. And because we count in tens we make a big thing about multiples thereof, particularly hundreds and thousands. Which is why there's so much excitement about the turn of the millennium, even among those who don't believe that the Messiah was born 2000 or so years ago. But there are many other ways of counting.

"Messiah" The Reckoning (2001)

He writes, This may appear to be a very minor incident from the life of the Holy Prophet(sa). However, it contains a treasure of spiritual insights. Firstly, we learn from it that God Almighty has blessed the ummah with the spiritual blessings of the Holy Prophet(sa), which have reached such perfection, that on the Day of Resurrection there will be seventy thousand such people from his ummah, who due to their extraordinary spiritual status and the special grace and mercy of God, will be exempt from the trial of any reckoning. (Seventy thousand could also denote a large number of people.)

Zuckerman in Israel, like Zuckerman recounting other people's stories in the American books, is also Roth escaping from the self-absorption of his earlier work. In England, cast among the not-so-genteel anti-Semites, Zuckerman develops an extraordinary pride, aggressiveness, and sensitivity about being Jewish. With their layers within layers, both The Counterlife and Operation Shylock can be seen as Roth's most Jewish books to date, even as Zuckerman defends himself (and Jewish life in the diaspora) against the imperious claims of orthodoxy and Zionism. They mark his return to the fold, as well as his most formally complex fiction, pointing not only to the confusions between art and life but to the multiple layers of Roth's identity. Roth's return to the Jewish fold was not permanent. Acceptance made him uncomfortable. Late books like Sabbath's Theater (1995), a horrifyingly brilliant fable about a transgressive artist, and The Dying Animal (2001), a less effective novella, were among the angriest, most deliberately offensive books he ever wrote. They were apologias for lives lived by a code of one's own, lives of self-absorbed men whom society might regard as moral monsters. Even in his late sixties, Roth continued to reinvent himself. 041b061a72


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