In Times of Crisis: Essays on European Culture, Germans and Jews

Overview

The nineteenth- and twentieth-century relationship between European culture, German history, and the Jewish experience produced some of the West’s most powerful and enduring intellectual creations—and, perhaps in subtly paradoxical and interrelated ways, our century’s darkest genocidal moments. In Times of Crisis explores the flashpoints of this vexed relationship, mapping the coordinates of a complex triangular encounter of immense historical import.
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In Times of Crisis: Essays on European Culture, Germans, and Jews

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Overview

The nineteenth- and twentieth-century relationship between European culture, German history, and the Jewish experience produced some of the West’s most powerful and enduring intellectual creations—and, perhaps in subtly paradoxical and interrelated ways, our century’s darkest genocidal moments. In Times of Crisis explores the flashpoints of this vexed relationship, mapping the coordinates of a complex triangular encounter of immense historical import.
    In essays that range from the question of Nietzsche’s legacy to the controversy over Daniel Goldhagen’s Hitler’s Willing Executioners, the distinguished historian Steven E. Aschheim presents this encounter as an ongoing dialogue between two evolving cultural identities. He touches on past dimensions of this exchange (such as the politics of Weimar Germany) and on present dilemmas of grasping and representing it (such as the Israeli discourse on the Holocaust). His work inevitably traces the roots and ramifications of Nazism but at the same time brings into focus historical circumstances and contemporary issues often overshadowed or distorted by the Holocaust.
    These essays reveal the ubiquitous charged inscriptions of Nazi genocide within our own culture and illuminate the projects of some later thinkers and historians—from Hannah Arendt to George Mosse to Saul Friedlander—who have wrestled with its problematics and sought to capture its essence. From the broadly historical to the personal, from the politics of Weimar Germany to the experience of growing up German Jewish in South Africa, the essays expand our understanding of German Jewish history in particular, but also of historical processes in general.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Explores the complex, triangular encounters of European culture, German history and Jewish experiences in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Aschheim (history, Hebrew U.) traces the roots and ramifications of the Holocaust while bringing into focus the historical circumstances and contemporary issues often overshadowed or distorted by the Nazi horror. Focuses on the junctions where the most creative and lethal aspects of the relationship between Germans and Jews, its achievements and tensions, ambiguities, ironies and subtexts, are best exposed. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780299168643
  • Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
  • Publication date: 2/1/2001
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Steven E. Aschheim is the Vigevani Chair of European Studies and professor of history at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He is the author of Brothers and Strangers: The East European Jew in German and German-Jewish Consciousness 1800-1923, also published by the University of Wisconsin Press, and of several other books, including Culture and Catastrophe: German and Jewish Confrontations with National Socialism and Other Crises.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Pt. I The Crisis of Culture - Then and Now
1 Friedrich Nietzsche, Max Nordau, and Degeneration 3
2 Thinking the Nietzsche Legacy Today: A Historian's Perspective 13
3 Against Social Science: Jewish Intellectuals, the Critique of Liberal-Bourgeois Modernity, and the (Ambiguous) Legacy of Radical Weimar Theory 24
4 Nazism and the Holocaust in Contemporary Culture 44
Pt. II (Con)Fusions of Identity - Germans and Jews
5 Excursus: Growing Up German Jewish in South Africa 59
6 Assimilation and Its Impossible Discontents: The Case of Moritz Goldstein 64
7 Hannah Arendt in Jerusalem 73
8 German History and German Jewry: Junctions, Boundaries, and Interdependencies 86
9 Archetypes and the German Jewish Dialogue: Reflections Occasioned by the Goldhagen Affair 93
Pt. III Understanding Nazism and the Holocaust: Competing Models and Radical Paradigms
10 Nazism, Normalcy, and the German Sonderweg 105
11 Nazism, Culture, and The Origins of Totalitarianism: Hannah Arendt and the Discourse of Evil 122
12 Post-Holocaust Jewish Mirrorings of Germany: Hannah Arendt and Daniel Goldhagen 137
Pt. IV Historians, History, and the Holocaust
13 Reconceiving the Holocaust? Daniel Goldhagen's Hitler's Willing Executioners 147
14 George Mosse at 80: A Critical Laudatio 155
15 On Saul Friedlander 171
Notes 197
Index 265
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