Judisk Kultur

J! Seminar
Franz Rosenzweig

Franz Rosenzweig
Måndag, 4 september, kl. 19:00 Konstakademien


Franz Rosenzweig (1886–1929) ranks as one of the most original Jewish thinkers of the modern period. His major work, The Star of Redemption (Der Stern der Erlösung, 1921) is a description of the relationships between God, humanity, and the world, as they are connected by creation, revelation and redemption. If one makes a diagram with God at the top, and the World and the Self below, the inter-relationships generate a Star of David map. Rosenzweig was critical of any attempt to replace actual human existence with an ideal. In his scheme, revelation arises not in metaphysics but in the here and now. We are called to love God, and to do so is to return to the world, and that is redemption.

Benjamin Pollock is the Sol Rosenbloom Associate Professor of Jewish Philosophy at the Hebrew University, where he has taught in the Department of Jewish Thought since 2015. He became director of the Franz Rosenzweig Minerva Center in the fall of 2017. Since fall 2020 he serves also as the chair of the Department of Jewish Thought.

Hans Ruin is professor of Philosophy, Södertörn University (Stockholm)

In depth

Franz Rosenzweig first played a brief but noteworthy role as philosopher in the neo-Hegelian revival on the German intellectual scene of the 1910s. But in the years immediately following the First World War, he sought to bring about a renewal of thinking through a novel synthesis of philosophy and theology that he named the “new thinking.” Together with Martin Buber, he also engaged himself in a new German translation of the Bible. Furthermore, he founded a center for Jewish adult education in Frankfurt — Freie Jüdische Lehrhaus—which attracted many of the most important young German-Jewish intellectuals of its time, and which is still held up today as a model for educational programs of its type. His account of revelation as a call from the Absolute other helped shape the course of early 20th-century Jewish and Christian theology. His reflections on human finitude and on the temporal contours of human experience made a lasting impact on 20th-century existentialism and on the ethical thinking of Emmanuel Levinas not least. Rosenzweig’s renown also stems from his compelling biography, that included a near-conversion to Christianity, an inspired return to Judaism, the composition of the beginning of his magnum opus on military postcards sent home from the Balkan front, the abandonment of a promising academic career in order to live and teach in the Frankfurt Jewish community, and his heroic efforts to continue his thinking, writing, and communal work after succumbing to the paralysis brought on by ALS. But Rosenzweig’s singular philosophical importance rests on having written what is arguably the greatest work of modern Jewish philosophy: The Star of Redemption. The Star is a system of philosophy that seeks to give a comprehensive and ramified account of “All” that is, and of the human being’s place within it. It is a system in which “revelation” plays a vital conceptual and methodological role, and in which Judaism and Christianity are claimed to offer glimpses, each through the course of its liturgical calendar, of the redemptive unity of the “All” which the philosopher seeks to know. 

J! Talks
Franz Kafka Centennial
Cecilia Hansson och Maria Stepanova
Moderator: Malin Ullgren, författare och journalist, DN
24 september, kl. 19.00 Konstakademien
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