Wonder Woman’s Classic Origin Is Actually Based on Jewish Folklore

One of the most curious aspects of Wonder Woman's history is actually rooted in a popular Jewish myth. Princess Diana's world may center around the classic Greek gods, but her origin is strongly influenced by another culture's legendary figure.

It may come as a surprise to fans unfamiliar with Wonder Woman's older history, but the hero fans know and love had quite the unique beginning. The hero's Pre-Crisis origin had Wonder Woman's mother, Queen Hippolyta, beckon the gods for a child after sculpting one herself. Hearing her calls, the gods blessed the Amazonian leader and Wonder Woman was born from clay. This origin remained true for much of the hero's career, until 2011's New 52 gave Diana a more 'traditional' conception and made her the daughter of Zeus. While her new origin has stayed since its introduction, Wonder Woman's clay beginnings remains a part of her overall legacy.

Related: DC Froze Wonder Woman Long Before Marvel Froze Captain America

As it turns out, that particular origin for Diana was based on actual Jewish folklore. In Screen Rant's upcoming interview with Roy Schwartz, author of Is Superman Circumcised?: The Complete Jewish History of the World's Greatest Hero, Schwartz discusses the influence of Jewish creators on Golden Age heroes and the greater comic book industry. He also mentions that while Wonder Woman did not come from Jewish creators, part of her origin was influenced by a particular Jewish myth:

The comic book medium is a Jewish invention. The superhero genre is a Jewish invention. In fact, with the exception of Wonder Woman and Shazam (Captain Marvel), every Golden Age character, every significant one, was a Jewish creation.

And by the way, if you think of Wonder Woman's original origin before in 2011, they retconned it that she was the illegitimate daughter of Zeus. She was sculpted from clay and given life. She's a golem.

Even though Wonder Woman's origin hasn't included the clay sculpture detail in well over a decade, but Schwartz makes an interesting point. In Jewish mythology, golems are beings made out of clay, mud or some other inanimate material and given life through rituals to higher powers. Wonder Woman being a modern version of a golem is an interesting and unexplored aspect of her characterization.

With such strong connections to Greek mythology, it's naturally assumed that most of Wonder Woman's history takes from just one culture. But Schwartz reminds readers that rarely are fictional characters inspired by one source. Even though it isn’t Wonder Woman’s origin now, Diana's formation from clay is part of her overall makeup. And truth be told, her being a golem actually fits. In various legends, golems were defenders of the innocent, which is quite befitting for a hero like Wonder Woman. Even if it wasn't intentional when she was first created, Diana being so strongly influenced by a notable Jewish folklore shows that heroes are built on the legends that precede them. Wonder Woman might not be a golem in the traditional sense, but she certainly borrowed elements from the myth.

Next: Wonder Woman's Hardcore Redesign is a Surprising Feminist Victory

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