Arendt Conference — Wesleyan University

arendt conference

Alas, something’s missing here. The upcoming Arendt Eichmann in Jerusalem conference at Wesleyan promises to be nothing short of fabulous. It’s about as high powered a cocktail as it gets. I’m sorry, though, to see no Jewish Studies representation, and even sadder to realize that I’m not sure I can tell what such would even have looked like. It’s a sad statement about the current state of Jewish philosophy, as well a challenge to us all. This is what the field needs to look like, and these are the conversations. I’m going to try to make it out to the Friday sessions, and to get back home for Shabbat. I’m going to hope against hope that there’s not going to be too much philosophical hagiography. Check out the program here: From there, scroll around. The participants page is a revelation.

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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3 Responses to Arendt Conference — Wesleyan University

  1. Adam says:

    The participants list is incredible

  2. ej says:

    Jewish studies has yet to organize courses on post 1945 German-Jewish philosophy. If this period would be looked at more closely I think it would be easy to identify a group with many features in common, in particular anti-Zionism, an emphasis on ‘the book’ now understood as literature instead of Torah and its many commentaries, and an ambivalence about the idea of Jewish peoplehood. Arendt is a good example, and so is George Steiner and Reich-Ranicki, my favorite. Their opponents are people like Scholem and Strauss, one defending Zionism , the other defending the idea of Orthodoxy without the practice. There are other important personalities whose names escape me this moment who struggled with the place of Judaism within a German-Christian framework. These people all have students and are generally much admired, but they have yet to lead to any consequences in the life of the Jewish nation. They, like Steinschneider before them, are part of the chevra kadisha, the burial society of Judaism. Arendt is just one example of assimilated Jews who were caught inside the Jewish world because of Hitler, but remained ambivalent about their place inside the Jewish world. . The Times recent obituary on Reich Reinicki touches on some of these themes.

    • zjb says:

      yes, yes, and yes, ej! thanks so much for the brilliant comment, and the reference to Reinicki, with whom i have been heretofore unfamiiar.

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