Was Superman Jewish or Christian? Author Larry Tye lays out the claims for each religion in his history detailing the character, his history as a business asset, and the many times creative teams changed him or his back story to appeal to changing tastes over more than 70 years. His creators, Jerry Siegel the writer, and Joseph Shuster, the illustrator, were both Jewish, but there was more to it than that. His name on the planet Krypton was the Hebrew sounding Kal-El, with El being a name for God. Kal sounds a bit like Kol, so perhaps Superman was intended to be the voice of God. In some ways, Superman was a lot like Moses. His parents, knowing he would be otherwise doomed, put him into a vessel to go alone to his fate.

But Christians have good claims on Superman as well. For them Kal-El means something beyond God, perhaps a son. They note that his adoptive mother’s original name was Mary–the same name as the mother of Jesus. The blanket in which he was wrapped can be compared to the swaddling clothes of Jesus. Supposedly, in the language of Krypton, Kal-El mean “Star Child,” which could be a reference to the bright star of Bethlehem. And Superman’s arch enemy is Lex Luthor, whose name sounds a lot like “Lucifer.”

Or Luther even. Perhaps Superman was a Roman Catholic.


UP, UP AND OY VEY! — 7 Comments

  1. Oh for Pete’s sake! Everyone knows Superman was a Methodist. There is no controversy here! “While growing up in Smallville, Kansas, Clark Kent attended Sunday church services at the local Methodist church with his mother, Martha Kent, every week until he was fourteen years old. These aspects of the character are not speculative, but are canonical – established by in-continuity published DC Comics. Action Comics #850 (August 2007), for example, identifies Methodism by name as the denomination that Clark Kent and his mother attended.”


    It must be noted that Lex Luthor was an Episcopalian. Other superhero and villain religious affiliations here:


  2. Yes, and how many Jewish children were raised as Christians by Christian adoptive parents after their people’s Holocaust?

    [But what would Jor-El have thought of that Shiksa Lois Lane? “I have no son!” ;-p]

  3. I’m a little bit sulky because nobody has commented on the title to this post along the lines of “Wow! That’s brilliant!”

  4. I would have commented on the title, MP, but I can’t type right now because my eyes have been burnt out by the previous post. OMG!