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Historicism, the Holocaust, and Zionism

Critical Studies in Modern Jewish History and Thought

Steven Katz

Publication Year: 1993

"[Of] the 12 well-crafted essays in this volume...the most useful are those dealing with the Holocaust."
Choice

"Especially recommended for college-level students of Jewish history and culture."
The Bookwatch

This is a critical exploration of the most repercussive topics in modern Jewish history and thought. A sequel to Katz's National Jewish Book Award-winning study, Post-Holocaust Dialogues, this book identifies the main issues in the contemporary Jewish intellectual universe and outlines a larger, more synthetic understanding of contemporary Jewish existence.

Published by: NYU Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

I would like to thank the following individuals, publishers, and journals for permission to reprint the following material: Professor Wolfdietrich Schmied-Kowarzik, editor of Der Philosoph Franz Rosenzweig (Verlag Karl Alber, Munich, 1988), for permission...

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Introduction

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pp. xi-xii

The present collection brings together essays written over the past decade. Once again, it reflects my ongoing preoccupation with the most important issues in contemporary Jewish thought, in particular, the question of authority and its relationship...

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1. On Historicism and Eternity: Reflections on the 100th Birthday of Franz Rosenzweig

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pp. 1-26

In honoring Franz Rosenzweig on this centenary occasion, it is appropriate to ask what it is in his work that brings us together. Is this gathering, for all of its special and genuine poignancy, yet another form of war reparations, the honoring...

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2. Jewish Philosophy in the 1980s: A Diagnosis and Prescription

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pp. 27-52

The new beginning represented by the creation of this Academy is a significant event of which I feel privileged to be a part. The dialogue that fuels philosophical creativity requires a community of shared interest and support—and these promise...

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3. Abraham Joshua Heschel and Hasidism

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pp. 53-73

Abraham Joshua Heschel is now a twice famous name in the annals of Hasidism. It belonged to the beloved early sage, Abraham Joshua Heschel of Apt (d. 1825) and to his great-grandson, our late contemporary Abraham Joshua...

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4. 1918 and After: The Role of Racial Antisemitism in the Nazi Analysis of the Weimar Republic

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pp. 74-104

Post-1918 Europe was a breeding ground for conditions in which racial theory and political reality converged. The final coalescence of these two vectors after 1933 was neither "fore-ordained" nor "historically inevitable," but rather, one of the fecund possibilities...

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5. Quantity and Interpretation—Issues in the Comparative Historical Analysis of the Holocaust

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pp. 105-137

The comparative analysis of the Holocaust with other major historical tragedies turns on three issues at the very least. First, matters of definition and method; secondly, matters of fact; and third, matters of interpretation. In this paper I propose to suggest...

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6. Auschwitz and the Gulag: Discontinuities and Dissimilarities

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pp. 138-161

Scholars and others have, for various reasons, been likening Auschwitz and the Gulag since the 1940's, and the comparison has become "canonical" since its powerful employment by Hannah Arendt in her Origins of Totalitarianism, first published...

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7. Defining the Uniqueness of the Holocaust: Preliminary Clarifications and Disclaimers

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pp. 162-192

Given the confusion, crossed purposes, and misunderstandings that have accumulated around the evidently contentious question of the "uniqueness" of the Sho'ah I should like, in this chapter, to clarify six elemental issues that must be understood...

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8. Technology and Genocide: Technology as a "Form of Life"

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pp. 193-224

Technology is a determinative, metaphysical factor requiring consideration in any analytic probe of the uniqueness of the Shoah. Though the technological element has been recognized as salient from the inception of the debate over Nazism...

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9. "Voluntary Covenant": Irving Greenberg on Faith after the Holocaust

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pp. 225-250

One of the most widely discussed recent theological responses to the Holocaust is to be found in Irving (Yitz) Greenberg's challenging and provocative writings on this theme. In this chapter I would like to review and critique Greenberg's analysis...

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10. "The Tremendum": Arthur Cohen's Understanding of Faith after the Holocaust

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pp. 251-273

Among the most sustained recent Jewish theological discussions of the Sho'ah is Arthur A. Cohen's The Tremendum: A Theological Interpretation of the Holocaust.1 Though a relatively short book, 110 pages in all, it attacks this immense...

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11. Criteria for a Contemporary Zionist Ideology

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pp. 274-288

Exile and return, the twin premises of Zionism, are co-extensive on one fundamental, substantive level with classical rabbinic Judaism. Both are rooted in the negative, empirical odyssey of the Jewish people inside and outside the land of Israel...

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12. Zionism as an Expression of Jewish Freedom

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pp. 289-300

Zionism is the momentous Jewish response to modernity. Amid all the diverse and alternating reactions to the unprecedented situation of the Jewish people after 1750, Zionism and Zionism alone insisted, and rightly, that the unresolved...

Index

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pp. 301-315

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780814763544
E-ISBN-10: 0814763545
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814746479
Print-ISBN-10: 0814746470

Page Count: 416
Publication Year: 1993

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Subject Headings

  • Judaism -- 20th century.
  • Judaism -- Doctrines.
  • Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945) -- Influence.
  • Holocaust (Jewish theology).
  • Jewish philosophy.
  • Zionism -- Philosophy.
  • Historicism.
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