Stranger and Self: Sartre's Jew

in The Figural Jew

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780226315119
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226315133 | DOI:
Stranger and Self: Sartre's Jew

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This chapter examines Jean-Paul Sartre's role in the history of the Jewish question in France. Despite not being an expert on Judaism and writing only occasionally on the topic, Sartre's 1946 phenomenological essay on the anti-Semite and the Jew, Réflexions sur la question juive, had a profound impact on discourse about Jews and Jewish identity after World War II. Réflexions links the representation of Judaism in France to the nation's stuggle to determine political identity between the poles of universalism and particularism. The chapter first considers Sartre's investment in this debate and the role of the figural Jew in his treatment of the issue to show how the situation of the Jew comes to appear to Sartre as an intensification of the human situation and, thus, as a window into the stakes of existentialism. It then traces Sartre's engagement with Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (particularly his philosophy of history) and how this influenced his representation of Judaism.

Keywords: Jean-Paul Sartre; France; Jews; figural Jew; Judaism; Réflexions; Hegel; philosophy of history; Jewish identity; political identity

Chapter.  24205 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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