Journal Article

Etty Hillesum: A Theological Hermeneutic in the Midst of Evil

Alexandra Pleshoyano

in Literature and Theology

Volume 19, issue 3, pages 221-237
Published in print September 2005 | ISSN: 0269-1205
Published online September 2005 | e-ISSN: 1477-4623 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/litthe/fri027
Etty Hillesum: A Theological Hermeneutic in the Midst of Evil

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Etty Hillesum, a young Jewish woman from the Netherlands, died on 30 November 1943 in Auschwitz at the age of 29. She left behind an extensive diary and many letters. Passionate and unstable, Hillesum started therapy with Julius Spier, a former colleague of C.G. Jung, who helped her to recognize a presence within herself which she chose to call God. In the midst of radical evil, Hillesum still finds a meaning and purpose to God. The plurality of Hillesum's influences, whether it be through her personal encounters, family background or her interpretation of numerous readings, forbids any kind of recuperation of her writings within a specific confession or belief system. Nevertheless, this paper will show how the diversity of these influences might become a legitimate voice for a theology after Auschwitz.

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Subjects: Literature ; Religion and Art, Literature, and Music

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