Germany in the first half of 1919. Disgruntled soldiers trudge home from a war they cannot believe they have lost. The Kaiser is in exile. The reigning noble houses have vanished, swept into history by the so-called November Revolution. Coups d’etat are in open preparation. Violence is everywhere. In this volatile climate, Hermann Hesse’s ‘Demian’ found enthusiastic readers.
The ‘Our Father,’ the prayer that Jesus taught us, booms around our churches with hearty maleness, bringing the liturgy down an octave or two. The congregation may or may not believe in God, but the men among them, it seems, believe strongly, and viscerally, that God, if He exists, is male.