History Denied: Rosenzweig

  • Lionel Kochan


History conceived as the history of the rabbinic Kabbalah did not survive the eighteenth century; history conceived as the identification of the messiah flourished, with all its protean changes of form, into the twentieth century. But the work of Franz Rosenzweig made a consistent attempt to identify Judaism, not with history, but with meta-history. Where previous Jewish thinkers sought for the messiah in and through the movement of history, to Rosenzweig this was a forlorn endeavour. The messiah, admittedly, had not come; yet the Jew already lived in the kingdom of heaven.


Jewish People Jewish History Worldly Affair Eternal Life Relative Time Scale 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    ‘To be a Jew means to be in Golus’ (Diaspora): F. Rosenzweig, Briefe, no. 36 (Berlin, 1935) 398. Zionism is ‘a diagnostician of genius but a very mediocre practitioner, recognized the evil but gave the wrong therapy’ (‘Bildung und kein Ende’, Kleinere Schriften (Berlin, 1937) p. 86, hereafter cited as K.S.).Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    For the family background see the article by Rivka Horwitz, ‘Judaism despite Christianity’, Judaism, xxiv, no. 3 (1975).Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    M. Schwartz, ‘Mkomo shel Franz Rosenzweig ba’filosofiya shel ha’Yahadut’, introduction to Hebrew translation of Der Stern der Erlösung (Jerusalem, 1970) p. 15.Google Scholar
  4. 7.
    A. Geiger, Nachgelassene Schriften, ii, ed. L. Geiger, Berlin, 1875, pp. 61–63Google Scholar
  5. R. Horwitz, ‘Tfisat Ha’Historiya Ha’Yehudit b’Mahashevet Rosenzweig’, Proceedings of the American Academy for Jewish Research (New York, 1969) 10.Google Scholar
  6. 16.
    The relevant documents are to be found in Judaism Despite Christianity, ed. Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, with essays by Alexander Altmann, Dorothy Emmet and H. Stahmer (Alabama, 1969).Google Scholar
  7. 17.
    This letter is not available in the published Briefe. It is here quoted from the English translation in N. Glatzer (ed.), Franz Rosenzweig, His Life and Thought (New York, 1961) pp. 94–8;Google Scholar
  8. H. Liebeschütz, Von Simmel zu Rosenzweig (Tübingen, 1970) pp. 152ff.Google Scholar
  9. 19.
    Cf. M. Schwarz, ‘Religious Currents and General Culture’, Leo Baeck Year Book, xvi (1971) pp. 14ff. See also the same author’s ‘Ha’Historiyosofiya Ha’Yehudit B’Mishnot Ranak Ve’Rosen- zweig’, Safa, Mythos, Amanut (Jerusalem, 1967) pp. 198ff.Google Scholar
  10. 21.
    See M. Schwarz, ‘Ha’Tfisa Ha’Realistit shel Ha’Mythos B’Mishnato shel F. Rosenzweig’, Safa, pp. 185–9. Schelling was the first of Rosenzweig’s guardian angels (Briefe, no. 221, p. 299). The others are given as Kant, Nietzsche, Feuerbach or Goethe (for references see Jacob Fleischmann, Bayat Ha’Notzrut Ba’ Mahashava Ha’Yehudit Mi’ Mendelssohn ad Rosenzweig, Jerusalem, 1964, p. 155).Google Scholar
  11. 29.
    Cf. A. Altmann, ‘Rosenzweig on History’, in A. Altmann (ed.), Between East and West (London, 1958) p. 210.Google Scholar
  12. 61.
    See also N. Rotenstreich, Ha’Mahashava Ha’Yehudit ba’Et Ha’Hadasha, ii (Tel Aviv, 1950) p. 237; this criticism is further developed in E. Berkowitz, Major Themes in Modern Philosophies of Judaism (New York, 1974) pp. 47ff, and in D. Clawson, ‘Rosenzweig on Judaism and Christianity’, Judaism, xix, no. 1 (1970) 90ff.Google Scholar
  13. E. Berkowitz, Major Themes in Modern Philosophies of Judaism (New York, 1974) pp. 47ffGoogle Scholar
  14. D. Clawson, ‘Rosenzweig on Judaism and Christianity’, Judaism, xix, no. 1 (1970) 90ff.Google Scholar
  15. 67.
    J. Fleischmann, ‘Rosenzweig as a Critic of Zionism’, Conservative Judaism, xxii, no. 1 (1967).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Lionel Kochan 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lionel Kochan
    • 1
  1. 1.University of WarwickUK

Personalised recommendations