Greeks, Jews, and the Death of God:

in Socrates and the Jews

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780226472478
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226472492 | DOI:
Greeks, Jews, and the Death of God:

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The specter of Christianity has haunted discussions about the antithesis between Greeks and Jews, from Moses Mendelssohn to Matthew Arnold. The Greek/Jew antithesis would persist in the age of the radical critique of religion that followed the philosophies of Immanuel Kant and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. The conflict took on a different flavor in the face of assaults launched by the so-called Young Hegelians against established religion. This chapter considers how the Greek/Jew antithesis provided a crucial context for the formulation of three of the most influential atheist writers in the nineteenth century: Ludwig Feuerbach, Karl Marx, and Friedrich Nietzsche. It argues that these writers' radical reevaluation of religion has important continuities with the philosophical explorations of Judaism and Hellenism but also orients the discussion toward a new secular discourse. While all three men have been instrumental in moving away from the Christian worldview, they share a much contested and ambivalent role in the rise of modern anti-Semitism.

Keywords: Greeks; Jews; Ludwig Feuerbach; Karl Marx; Friedrich Nietzsche; Judaism; Hellenism; anti-Semitism; religion; Christianity

Chapter.  15921 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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