Fragile Spaces: Forays into Jewish Memory, European History and Complex Identities

Fragile Spaces: Forays into Jewish Memory, European History and Complex Identities

by Steven E. Aschheim

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Overview

This book consists of a range of essays covering the complex crises, tensions and dilemmas but also the positive potential in the meeting of Jews with Western culture. In numerous contexts and through the work of fascinating individuals and thinkers, the work examines some of the consequences of political, cultural and personal rupture, as well as the manifold ways in which various Jewish intellectuals, politicians (and occasionally spies!) sought to respond to these ruptures and carve out new, sometimes profound, sometimes fanciful, options of thought and action. It also delves critically into the attacks on liberal and Enlightenment humanism. In almost all the essays the fragility of things is palpably present and the book touches on some of the ironies, problematics and functions of responses to that condition. The work mirrors the author's ongoing fascination with the always fraught, fragile and creatively fecund confrontation of Jews (and others) with European modernity, its history, politics, culture and self-definition. In a time of increasing anxiety and feelings of fragility, this work may be helpful in understanding how people at an earlier (and sometimes contemporary) period sought to come to terms with a similar predicament.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9783110595451
Publisher: De Gruyter
Publication date: 09/24/2018
Series: Perspectives on Jewish Texts and Contexts Series , #8
Pages: 289
Sales rank: 1,047,992
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.06(h) x (d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

This book consists of a range of essays covering the complex crises, tensions and dilemmas but also the positive potential in the meeting of Jews with Western culture. In numerous contexts and through the work of fascinating individuals and thinkers, the work examines some of the consequences of political, cultural and personal rupture, as well as the manifold ways in which various Jewish intellectuals, politicians (and occasionally spies!) sought to respond to these ruptures and carve out new, sometimes profound, sometimes fanciful, options of thought and action. It also delves critically into the attacks on liberal and Enlightenment humanism. In almost all the essays the fragility of things is palpably present and the book touches on some of the ironies, problematics and functions of responses to that condition. The work mirrors the author's ongoing fascination with the always fraught, fragile and creatively fecund confrontation of Jews (and others) with European modernity, its history, politics, culture and self-definition. In a time of increasing anxiety and feelings of fragility, this work may be helpful in understanding how people at an earlier (and sometimes contemporary) period sought to come to terms with a similar predicament.

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments vii

1 Introduction 1

Part I History, Memory and Genocide

2 The Dialectic of Enlightenment Revisited 7

3 Why the Germans? Why the Jews? The Perennial Holocaust Question 33

4 Lessons of the Holocaust: A Critical Examination 50

5 Empathy, Autobiography and the Tasks and Tensions of the Historian 67

Part II Culture and Complex Identities

6 The Weimar Kaleidoscope - And, Incidentally, Frankfurt's Not Minor Place In It 83

7 The Avant-Garde and the Jews 103

8 Vienna: Harbinger of Creativity and Catastrophe 124

Part III Politics

9 Between the Particular and the Universal: Rescuing the Particular from the Particularists and the Universal from the Universalists 141

10 Zionism and Europe 163

11 Gershom Scholem and the Left 178

Part IV Scholarly Dilemmas and Personal Confrontations

12 Between New York and Jerusalem: Gershom Scholem and Hannah Arendt 199

13 An Unwritten Letter from Victor Klemperer to Hannah Arendt and Gershom Scholem 209

14 Moshe Idel and the Critique of German Jewry 224

15 On Grading Jewishness: Pierre Birnbaum's Geography of Hope 233

16 The Memory Man: Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi and the Fallen Jew 238

17 Of Memory, History - and Eggplants: The Odyssey of Saul Friedlander 246

18 The Modern Jewish Medici: Salman Schocken between Merchandise and Culture 255

19 Hans Jonas and his Troubled Century 259

20 Islamic Jihad, Zionism, and Espionage in the Great War 263

Copyright Acknowledgements 273

Index 274

About the Author 281

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