Jewish and Israel Studies
The goal of this course is to explore the rise of counter-historicism (the claim that certain truths transcend time and are always accessible) in the work of several Jewish intellectuals in interwar and postwar Europe. In the years between the wars figures such as Franz Rosenzweig, Walter Benjamin, Gershom Scholem, and Leo Strauss all moved away from traditional philosophical investigations into history and meaning and toward a revised investigation based on the Jewish religion and sacred texts. Central to their work was the assumption that truth was not to be found in historical discourse or the Western metaphysical tradition (it was not evolutionary, progressive, or scientific) but instead could be found through the individual's engagement with sacred texts. This trend comes to a head with Emanuel Levinas' Talmudic lectures in Paris after World War II. As a group we will attempt to place the counter-historical movement within its historical context (the conflict between the Hegelian and Kierkegaardian understanding of truth and meaning, the conflict between assimilationism and particularism in Jewish thought and identity, the relationship between fascist/National Socialist thinkers and the concept of historicism, the rise of anti-Semitism) and in so doing we will engage the conflicting yet complementary constructs of religious and historical truth.
COURSE FORMAT: Seminar
Level: UGRD Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA PHIL Grading Mode: Student Option
Prerequisites: NONE Links to Web Resources For This Course.
Last Updated on MAR-30-2006
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