For more thoughts on Benjamin, Scholem, the confusion of religion and politics, and the collision between dreams and violence, hope and disaster, recent posts at The Home of Schlemiel Theory are a must, must read.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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1 Response to

  1. evanstonjew says:

    The NYTimes this morning compares Yair Lapid, with Italy’s Beppe Grillo, who has been described as everything from a comedian to a jester to the next incarnation of Mussolini. Lapid convinced many when he gave a widely circulated faux schmazel speech that the charedim won the secular vs. religious war. Is there a relationship between this new breed of anti- authority ‘we must start over’ politicians, in Scholem’s jargon “messianic activist” and the hysterical politics and problematic futures facing these countries? Should Israel be compared to Italy?
    Scholem- Benjamin filters lead naturally to the idea radical politicians are bound to fail and cause great damage as a result. Should we be looking at Grillo, Lapid, the Tea Baggers or the anti- Euro politicians in Greece and elsewhere as dangerous anarchists ? My intuition is that this current wave of populism is something new and potentially valuable, and comparing it to the generational upheaval of the late ‘60s or the fascism and communism of the interwar period won’t be helpful.

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