Journal Article

Making Room for the Hebrew: Luther, Dialectics, and the Shoah

Oona Eisenstadt

in Journal of the American Academy of Religion

Published on behalf of American Academy of Religion

Volume 69, issue 3, pages 551-576
Published in print September 2001 | ISSN: 0002-7189
Published online September 2001 | e-ISSN: 1477-4585 | DOI:
Making Room for the Hebrew: Luther, Dialectics, and the Shoah

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I draw from two works of art—Franz Rosenzweig's “Scripture and Luther” and Peter Kien and Victor Ullmann's The Emperor of Atlantis—a single critique of a dialectical form in which perfect conditions overcome present conditions. Rosenzweig suggests that the dialectic is characteristic of the Luther Bible and of modern German culture; Kien and Ullmann suggest that the dialectic—especially in its most notable form, “the death of death”—is characteristic of Christianity and modernity in general. Neither argument is overt, and both rely on caricature. They nevertheless raise a critical question: they ask us to consider whether such dialectics are not the basis of some of the great errors in the understandings prevalent today, errors connected to translation, to replacement or displacement, to globalization, and to murder.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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