the Wandering Jew, a restless person

After Ahasverus, figure from a medieval Christian legend.

Ahasverus only became known in Dutch after the translation of a German chapbook appeared in Leiden in 1602. According to this story, Ahasuerus was a shoemaker who chased Jesus Christ from his door when he was on his way to Golgotha with his cross and wanted to rest on a bench.

Ahasuerus was condemned to roam the earth until the Last Judgment. Later he became the symbol of the wandering and persecuted Jewish people. For Goethe, Ahasverus is the rational man who, bereft of belief in anything higher, goes through life doubting and grumbling.

The theme of the restless wanderer who has eternal life has often been dealt with in literature, including by Eugène Sue in Le Juif errant (1844) and August Vermeylen in De Wandelende Jood (1903).