Modern French Jewish Thought

Writings on Religion and Politics

Edited by Sarah Hammerschlag

Modern French Jewish Thought

Edited by Sarah Hammerschlag

Distributed for Brandeis University Press

304 pages | 6 x 9
Paper $26.00 ISBN: 9781512601862 Published May 2018
Cloth $95.00 ISBN: 9781611685268 Published May 2018
“Modern Jewish thought” is often defined as a German affair, with interventions from Eastern European, American, and Israeli philosophers. The story of France’s development of its own schools of thought has not been substantially treated outside the French milieu. This anthology of modern French Jewish writing offers the first look at how this significant and diverse body of work developed within the historical and intellectual contexts of France and Europe. Translated into English, these documents speak to two critical axes—the first between Jewish universalism and particularism, and the second between the identification and disidentification of French Jews with France as a nation. Offering key works from Simone Weil, Vladimir Jankélévitch, Emmanuel Levinas, Albert Memmi, Hélène Cixous, Jacques Derrida, and many others, this volume is organized in roughly chronological order, to highlight the connections linking religion, politics, and history, as they coalesce around a Judaism that is unique to France.
Contents
Foreword • Introduction • I. THE ISRAELITE OF THE REPUBLIC • Joseph Salvador, The People • James Darmesteter, Preface, The Prophets of Israel • Zadoc Kahn, Speech on the acceptance of his position as chief rabbi of France • Bernard Lazare, Judaism’s Conception of the Social and the Jewish People; Jewish Capitalism and Democracy • André Spire, Preface (1959) to Jewish Poems; Prologue (1919) to Jewish Poems; Jewish Dreams • Sylvain Lévi, Alliance israélite universelle • Edmond Fleg, Why I Am a Jew • II. THE CATACLYSM AND THE AFTERMATH • Simone Weil, What Is a Jew? • Robert Gamzon, Tivliout: Harmony • Jacob Gordin, The Galuth • Emmanuel Levinas, The Jewish Experience of the Prisoner • Vladimir Jankélévitch, Judaism, an “Internal Problem” • Sarah Kofman, Smothered Words • III. UNIVERSAL AND PARTICULAR: THE JEW AND THE POLITICAL REALM • Albert Memmi, The Jew, the Nation, and History • Richard Marienstras, The Jews of the Diaspora, or the Vocation of a Minority • André Neher, The Jewish Dimension of Space: Zionism • Henri Atlan, Jerusalem: The Terrestrial, the Celestial • Shmuel Trigano, Klal Israel: The Totality minus One • IV. IDENTIFICATION, DISIDENTIFICATION • Jacqueline Mesnil-Amar, The Lost Children of Judaism • Léon Ashkénazi, Tradition and Modernity • Alain Finkielkraut, From the Novelesque to Memory • Hélène Cixous, Albums and Legends; The Dawn of Phallocentrism • Jacques Derrida, Avowing—the Impossible: “Returns,” Repentance, and Reconciliation, a Lesson • Stéphane Mosès, Normative Modernity and Critical Modernity • Acknowledgments • Suggestions for Further Reading • Index
Review Quotes
French Studies
"This is a wide-ranging, roughly chronological anthology, whose historical and disciplinary breadth, thorough and thoughtful introduction, and even-handed prefaces to its selections make it well suited to pedagogical purposes."
Vivian Liska, University of Antwerp

“This is much more than an anthology. Brilliantly composed and introduced by one of the most learned and astute scholars in the field, it is a treasure trove of insights into contemporary debates about identity and belonging, particularism and universality, and the intertwined fates of politics and religion.”

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