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Transcendence, Truth, and History in Modern Jewish Thought
HIST 307
Spring 2008 not offered
Crosslisting: COL 308

The goal of this course is to explore the rise of counterhistoricism (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 counterhistorical 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.

Essential Capabilities: None
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA PHIL
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Student Option
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None

Last Updated on JUN-17-2024
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