Chapter

Arthur Cohen and the Holocaust as Tremendum

Michael L. Morgan

in Beyond Auschwitz

Published in print October 2001 | ISBN: 9780195148626
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199870011 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195148622.003.0010
Arthur Cohen and the Holocaust as Tremendum

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In this chapter, and in Chs. 6–8, and 10, an analysis and examination is made of the writings of the major American Jewish thinkers/theologians. The thinker addressed in this chapter is Arthur Cohen, a prominent Jewish theologian, but not institutionally tied to one of the denominations of American Judaism; he was an editor and a novelist. Citations of each thinker's work earlier in the book are capitalized on in order to explore the theme of history and identity as it occurs in their work, and it is shown that these figures struggled with very deep and pressing problems not only about God and the Jewish people, and about human nature and moral purpose but also about the very nature of Jewish belief and its understanding of the world, history, God, and much else. They realized the dangers that accompanied their sensitivity to the Holocaust and their unconditional commitment to an honest and probing encounter with the death camps, and at the same time, they refused to abandon Judaism. In some ways, they appear like other intellectuals of the current era, who realize that we cannot transcend history nor can we be overwhelmed by it, but in other ways, they appear unlike them, for their sense of value and purpose arises out of the horror of the death camps.

Keywords: American Jews; American writers; Arthur Cohen; death camps; history; Holocaust; Jewish history; Jewish theologians; Jewish thinkers

Chapter.  7421 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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