Heinrich Heine's poem Disputation, from Jewish Stories and Hebrew Melodies, p. 138-140

In this section, the Christian friar has made his case and it is Rabbi Judah of Navarre's chance at a rebuttal.

"To manure the seed you're sowing

In my spirit's barren ground,

You load up your dung with insults

And spread barrelsful around.

 

"Everyone to his own method;

Each man does what he knows how;

I won't chide you for it – thank you,

I'm resigned to it by now.

 

"But this Trinitarian doctrine

Will not do at all, you see,

For a people who since childhood 

Have dealt with the Rule of Three.

 

"That your Godhead has three persons,

And three only, is a claim

That is moderate: the ancients

Knew six thousand gods by name.

 

"I don't know this 'Christ' you talk of–

I suppose, some god or other;

Nor have I yet had the honor

To have known his Virgin Mother.

 

"That, twelve hundred years ago

In Jerusalem, he clearly

Had unpleasant tribulations–

I regret this most sincerely.

 

"That it was the Jews who killed him

Is a hard thing to say now

Since the corpus delicti vanished

Three days afterward somehow.

 

"Claims that he is some relation

To our own God can't be so,

For the latter has no children,

Far as any of us know.

 

"It was not our Lord who perished 

Like your wretched Lamb of God

For humanity– he is no

Foolish-philanthropic clod.

 

"No, our God's not love incarnate,

Never bills and coos – no wonder,

For he is a God of vengeance

And he is a God of thunder.

 

"His stern lightning smites each sinner

And his wrath is grim and gruff; 

And a father's guilt is paid for

By the children oft enough.

 

"Our God is a living God:

Up in Heaven's spaces, he

Lives in glory and will live on

All through far Eternity.

 

"Our God is a healthy God:

Not mere legend to affright us,

Thin as a communion wafer,

Pale as shadows on Cocytus.

 

"Strong is he. His hands keep planets,

Suns and stars upon their path;

Thrones are toppled, nations perish

When he knits his brow in wrath.

 

"And he is a mighty God.

David sang at his behest:

Never can his might be measured,

Earth's a footstool for his rest.

 

"Our God loves the sound of music,

Festal song and singing strings;

But it jars, like piglets grunting,

When an odious church bell rings.

 

Further argument yet remains! To be continued...