Chapter

Hannah Arendt's Jewish Identity

Elisabeth Young-Bruehl

in Thinking in Dark Times

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780823230754
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235858 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fso/9780823230754.003.0019
Hannah Arendt's Jewish Identity

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The topic of Hannah Arendt's Jewish identity can be approached from many directions. This chapter considers Arendt in the context of the vision of world history articulated by her teacher and mentor Karl Jaspers, in which her people, the Jews of Palestine, were considered as one of the “Axial Age” peoples. It argues that it is Arendt's Jewish identity—not just the identity she asserted in defending herself as a Jew when attacked as one, but more deeply her connection to the Axial Age prophetic tradition—that made her the cosmopolitan she was, while Jaspers's cosmopolitanism was more learned than inherited and reinforced by group experience.

Keywords: Hannah Arendt; Jewish writers; political writers; Jews; cosmopolitanism; Karl Jaspers; Axial Age; Jewish identity

Chapter.  1677 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

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