The Figural Jew: Politics and Identity in Postwar French Thought (Religion and Postmodernism Series)

The Figural Jew: Politics and Identity in Postwar French Thought (Religion and Postmodernism Series)

by Sarah Hammerschlag
     
 

The rootless Jew, wandering disconnected from history, homeland, and nature, was often  the target of early twentieth-century nationalist rhetoric aimed against modern culture. But following World War II, a number of prominent French philosophers recast this maligned figure in positive terms, and in so doing transformed postwar conceptions of politics and

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Overview

The rootless Jew, wandering disconnected from history, homeland, and nature, was often  the target of early twentieth-century nationalist rhetoric aimed against modern culture. But following World War II, a number of prominent French philosophers recast this maligned figure in positive terms, and in so doing transformed postwar conceptions of politics and identity.

Sarah Hammerschlag explores this figure of the Jew from its prewar usage to its resuscitation by Jean-Paul Sartre, Emmanuel Levinas, Maurice Blanchot, and Jacques Derrida. Sartre and Levinas idealized the Jew’s rootlessness in order to rethink the foundations of political identity. Blanchot and Derrida, in turn, used the figure of the Jew to call into question the very nature of group identification. By chronicling this evolution in thinking, Hammerschlag ultimately reveals how the figural Jew can function as a critical mechanism that exposes the political dangers of mythic allegiance, whether couched in universalizing or particularizing terms.

Both an intellectual history and a philosophical argument, The Figural Jew will set the agenda for all further consideration of Jewish identity, modern Jewish thought, and continental philosophy.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226315119
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
05/01/2010
Series:
Religion and Postmodernism Series
Pages:
298
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments  

Introduction 

1. Roots, Rootlessness, and Fin de Siècle France

2. Stranger and Self: Sartre’s Jew

I. Anti-Semite and Jew

II. Dialectical History, Unhappy Consciousness, and the Messiah

3. The Ethics of Uprootedness: Emmanuel Levinas’s

Postwar Project

4. Literary Unrest: Maurice Blanchot’s Rewriting of Levinas

5. “The Last of the Jews”: Jacques Derrida and the Case of the Figure

I. The Cut

II. The Exemplar

Conclusion

Selected Bibliography

Index

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