Walter Benjamin and Gershom Scholem are regarded as two of the
most influential Jewish thinkers of the twentieth century. Together
they produced a dynamic body of ideas that has had a lasting impact
on the study of religion, philosophy, and literary criticism.
Drawing from Benjamin's and Scholem's ideas on messianism,
language, and divine justice, this book traces the intellectual
exchange through the early decades of the twentieth century -- from
Berlin, Bern, and Munich in the throws of war and revolution to
Scholem's departure for Palestine in 1923. It begins with a close
reading of Benjamin's early writings and a study of Scholem's
theological politics, followed by an examination of Benjamin's
proposals on language and the influence these ideas had on
Scholem's scholarship on Jewish mysticism. From there the book
turns to their ideas on divine justice -- from Benjamin's critique
of original sin and violence to Scholem's application of the
categories to the prophets and Bolshevism. Metaphysics of the
Profane is the first book to make this early period available
to a wider audience, revealing the intricate structure of this
early intellectual partnership on politics and theology.
Subjects: Religion, Philosophy
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