• Lionel Kochan


If the idée-maîtresse of Jewish historical thinking is concern not with the past but with the future; if it values the past merely for what it can convey of the future-then such thinking must be essentially an ambiguous undertaking. If, as Graetz argued, Judaism, on the model of the prophets, ‘struggles for a present that it lacks’,1 then it cannot interest itself in the world of history for that would be to deify the transient; yet it must, on the other hand, acknowledge that it is precisely in that transient historical world that God has made known His revelation, and from that world the messianic future is to be constructed or, at least, to emerge.


Jewish Community Historical World Jewish History Practical Factor Historical Setting 
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  1. 3.
    G. Scholem, Judaica (Frankfurt a. M., 1963pp. 73ff.Google Scholar
  2. Note also Scholem’s reference to ‘the deep, dangerous and destructive dialectic inherent in the messianic idea …’ (Sabbatai Sevi, The Mystical Messiah 1626–1676, London, 1973, preface, p. xii).Google Scholar
  3. There is a short critical discussion of these viewsby S. Schwarz schild in Judaism, x, no. 1 (1961) 72ff.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    J. Petuchowski, ‘Messianic Hope in Judaism’, Concilium, vii/viii, no. 10 (1974) 150–5.Google Scholar
  5. 9.
    Judith Shklar, ‘Political Theory of Utopia’, in F. E. Manuel F. E. Manuel, Utopias and Utopian Thought (London, 1973) p. 104; and the same author’s Men and Citizens (Cambridge, 1969) p. 2.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Lionel Kochan 1977

Authors and Affiliations

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

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