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They Made Their Souls Anew

Ils Ont Refait Leur Ame

Andre Neher, David Maisel

Publication Year: 1990

This is an original, philosophical discussion in which AndreƄ Neher relates the lives of prominent nineteenth- and twentieth-century Jews to traditional Jewish thought on issues of assimilation, the Holocaust, and liberal intellectualism.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Series: SUNY series in Modern Jewish Literature and Culture

Title Page

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pp. v-viii


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Prodigal Sons of Assimilation

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pp. 3-8

"A lost child of assimilation, Heinrich Heine grew up in the atmosphere of liberty which the armies of the French Revolution and Napoleon had brought to the German Jews of the Rhineland. As an adult, he successively espoused baptism in the Lutheran Church, Hellenic apostasy, and then,..."

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The Vertical Irruption

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pp. 9-14

"A young Jew of twenty-seven years, a typical representative of the brilliant German intelligentsia of the early twentieth century, passed through the entrance of a Berlin synagogue. He was aware that the service would begin with Kol Nidre and last throughout the twenty-four hours of..."

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The Challenge of the Holocaust

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pp. 15-20

"Until the autumn of 1933, Karl Wolfskehl had drunk plentifully, in large drafts, at the sources-all the sources-of the Germanic soul. Under the spell of Stefan George, he, like his master, had fashioned poems in a German idiom heavy with Wagnerian symbolism, and he had restored for the..."

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The Challenge of Eretz Israel

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pp. 21-25

"It was a burning night in Palestine in 1930. The date was close to that of the beginning of the Shoa (Holocaust), but the event had no connection with anything that was taking place outside. It was in the innermost depths..."

Part One

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1 The Knots and the Tensions

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pp. 29-35

"In contesting the Jews' claim simultaneously 'to be like the others and to be nevertheless different,' and in refusing them these 'two contradictory things' in the name of reason, justice, and history, Ernest Renan contested the very essence of Judaism and denied the Jews the secret of their existence..."

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2 The "Anti" and Its Masks

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pp. 37-48

"There is no need for me to retrace the history of anti-Semitism here. After Jules Isaac, Leon Poliakov, Marcel Simon, F. Lovsky, James Parkes, Renee Neher-Bernheim, Robert Mizrahi, Jacques Givet, Beate Klarsfeld, and so many others have done so, it would be a waste of time and paper. The..."

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3 The "Meta" and Its Morphoses

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pp. 49-64

"If Stefan Zweig's text had ended on this note of absolute meaninglessness, my book would also have run the risk of having to end on this absolute. I would then have had to have devoted it not to those who refashioned their souls, but to those among the Jews whose soul was unfashioned by the..."

Part Two

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4 The Ontological Psychodrama

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pp. 67-75

"In the beginning was the rupture (second day). The Christian reading of the Bible has accustomed us for nearly two millennia to load this rupture with heavy ethical connotations: fall, sin, transgression-all of it original-so as to bring out the fundamental fact..."

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5 The Typological Sociodrama

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pp. 77-85

"The life of Moses: a series of situations, each one of which can serve as an archetype of that of the Jew: Unlike the Egyptians, Moses did not create his works of art in brick and granite. He built human pyramids, he sculpted human obelisks..."

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6 The Prophetical Metadrama

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pp. 87-96

"If the idea of return is the least tragic concept in Greek thought, in biblical thought, on the contrary, it corresponds to the exact moment when the drama turns into a tragedy. Human time, in the true sense of the word, with its unique character and history, does not concern men, the form of whose..."

Part Three

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7 The Variants of Dis-assimilation

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pp. 99-104

"As an apotheosis of his meta-theater, the inventor of sociodrama and meta-Freudian psychoanalysis, Jacob Levi Moreno, used the scenario of the traditional Seder. In the Seder, all is ritual improvisation, for from the beginning the invitation is given out: 'Whoever is hungry, let him come..."

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8 The Challenge Accepted

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pp. 105-120

"Throughout this book appears the name of Benjamin Fondane. There is a silhouette of him in the Prologue and there are a number of references and quotations from his works. My readers, moreover, can find his name and extracts from his texts and poems in most of my previous books. This is..."

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9 The Returners from Marxism

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pp. 121-130

"Social revolt was born in the Bible. It was the Jewish prophets, headed by Moses, who created it and gave it to humanity. Why, then, this mysterious phenomenon of a situation that repeated itself after a period of 128 years? Namely, that the two great revolutions of..."

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10 The Pilgrim of Hope: Ernst Bloch

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pp. 131-138

"Genesis is not at the beginning: It is at the end .... When man will have found the roots of his being, those which will allow him to transform and to transcend what is given, then something will be born in the world which everyone perceives in the radiance of his youth..."

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11 From the Temptation of the Cross to the Star of Redemption: Franz Rosenzweig

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pp. 139-147

"This short life (1886-1929) was divided into two parts which were the stages of a poignant but victorious duel with death. First of all, there was a victory over spiritual death. This was the first stage, whose turning point was that memorable Yom Kippur of 1913. And,..."

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12 From Baptism to Kol Nidre - Arnold Schonberg

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pp. 149-164

"In the same way as his work, Arnold Schonberg's personality was controversial, mysterious, contradictory, disputed. The revolution he effected in art finally gained acceptance even in his lifetime, but some of his major works-the opera Moses and Aaron, Jacob's Ladder, The Biblical Path,..."

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13 Kol Nidre

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pp. 165-168

"An upturned tree whose roots are in the heavens, the ba' al teshuva shakes with a movement that passes from the root to the top and, again, from the top to the root. Outstretched between time and eternity, between exile and the Land, between the source and the estuary, he gathers up in his dynamic..."


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pp. 169-170


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pp. 171-172


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pp. 173-179

E-ISBN-13: 9781438414362
E-ISBN-10: 1438414366
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791403150
Print-ISBN-10: 0791403157

Page Count: 179
Publication Year: 1990

Series Title: SUNY series in Modern Jewish Literature and Culture