Beyond the Contractions of Religion and Nationalism: On the Enduring Relevance of Hermann Cohen's Criticism of Zionism and Its Unholy Alliance with Orthodoxy

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Abstract

This essay presents Hermann Cohen's critique of Zionism as a national contraction of Jewish ethical monotheism. Against all national, social or political transformations of the monotheistic God into a mythological god, Cohen takes prophetic messianism as a point of departure for a critique of the dialectics of enlightenment. The Jewish nation beyond sovereignty symbolizes the messianic aim of a history beyond domination. The present paper first summarizes the main points of Cohen's essay, then unfolds his theology of exile in the spirit of the religion of reason as a dialectic of enlightenment, with the latter largely guiding his understanding of German-Jewish cultural affinities as well. This will be capped off with a discussion of Cohen's theopolitics in the context of his debate with Martin Buber, who was critical of Cohen's stance. In a final section he question will be raised of whether that debate might have been rooted in a misunderstanding of how close Cohen's dialogical theopolitics, as framed within German-Jewish culture beyond Jewish statehood, actually is to Buber's later anarchic binational dialogics between Jews and Arabs, which would find its theopolitical foundation in his 'Kingdom of God' of 1932.
Translated title of the contributionמעבר לצמצום של הדת והלאומיות: על הרלוונטיות המתמשכת של ביקורתו של הרמן כהן על הציונות והברית הלא קדושה שלה עם האורתודוקסיה
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23*- 2*
Number of pages22
Journalראשית עיונים ביהדות
Volume5
StatePublished - 2021

IHP publications

  • IHP publications
  • Buber, Martin -- 1878-1965
  • Germany -- Culture
  • Jewish diaspora
  • Jewish nationalism
  • Jewish philosophy, Modern
  • Jews -- Relations with Germans
  • Judaism and culture
  • Messianism
  • Orthodox Judaism
  • Political theology
  • Religion -- Philosophy
  • Religions -- Philosophy
  • Zionism -- Philosophy
  • Zionism and Judaism

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