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Bidding Information
Lot #    13005
Auction End Date    1/24/2006 11:06:43 AM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Franz Rosenzweig
Title (Hebrew)    ein buch des gedenkens
Author    [Only & Limited Ed.] Gershon Shalom
City    Berlin
Publisher    Aldus Druck - Soncino Gesellschaft
Publication Date    1930
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   Only edition. 56, [3] pp., 295:205 mm., extra wide margins, printed on regal paper, usual age staining. A very good copy bound in the original boards, spine color faded, rubbed. Limited to 800 copies.
   Franz Rosenzweig (18861929), German Jewish theologian. Born in Kassel, Rosenzweig was the son of cultured parents whose adherence to Judaism was minimal and largely motivated by reactions to anti-Semitism. Rosenzweig entered university in 1905, studying a variety of disciplines, in a number of cities. Eventually he concentrated on philosophy, history, and classics. Friedrich Meinecke the historian had a great personal and intellectual influence on Rosenzweig. During this period, several of Rosenzweig's friends and relatives converted to Christianity, and he too contemplated conversion, arguing that he and his friends were Jews in name only - culturally, they were already Christians. However, he refrained from converting, because, like his parents, he regarded conversion as a socially cowardly act. In 1912, in Leipzig, he ran into a distant relative, Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, who was on his way to becoming an unconventional but significant Protestant theologian. Out of his own highly literate and passionate faith, Rosenstock urged Rosenzweig to defend his nominal Jewishness or convert. After an intensive discussion on the night of July 7, 1913, Rosenzweig decided to convert, making only the reservation that he would become a Christian not as "a pagan" but "as a Jew," i.e., not by rejecting his Jewish origin but by recapitulating the consummation of Judaism in Christianity. He enacted this resolution by attending High Holiday services in a small Orthodox synagogue in Berlin, and he came out of this experience reversing his decision: he now declared that he knew himself to be a Jew; that the Jew does not need to seek God, for he is already with God; and that he intended henceforth to recover Judaism for himself and, possibly, for others like him. The circumstances under which this "return" to Judaism occurred continued to influence Rosenzweig's life and religious views to the end. He conducted an erudite and lengthy correspondence on Judaism and Christianity with Rosenstock while the two were soldiers during World War II, stationed far away from one another (see his collected letters, Briefe, ed. by E. Rosenzweig and E. Simon (1935), and E. Rosenstock-Huessy (ed.), Judaism Despite Christianity, 1969). Rosenstock's central notion, that revelation, the incursion of the divine into history, is the point around which men organize their world and experiences, not only became the chief thesis of Rosenzweig's first Jewish theological essay, Atheistische Theologie ("Atheistic Theology," in Kleinere Schriften (1937); see Goldy and Hoch, in: Canadian Journal of Theology, 14 (1968), 79ff.) but also the cornerstone of his later theological magnum opus. The Jewish liturgy, the calendar of the Jewish year, etc., became the building blocks of his theological edifice. To intensify his knowledge of Judaism, Rosenzweig went to Berlin where he fell under the spell of Hermann Cohen, then teaching at the liberal rabbinical seminary, having retired from the University of Marburg. Here he also made his first acquaintance with, among others, Martin Buber, who was to become his close friend and colleague. In 1917 his Das aelteste Systemprogramm des deutschen Idealismus was published. In this work, Rosenzweig identifies as Schelling's a manuscript written in Hegel's hand, which constituted Schelling's only attempt to formulate a unified system of idealism. Out of his prewar doctoral dissertation grew the important two-volume study Hegel und der Staat, published in 1920. By this time, however, his interest in general philosophy and German history had taken second place to his Jewish concerns. As a soldier during the war he experienced some of the "Jewish authenticity" of the Eastern European Jewish populace; he studied a great deal and wrote essays about the needed reforms in general as well as Jewish education. He then also contracted an illness which is believed to have been the cause of his eventual fatal disease. During these years a close personal and intellectual relationship developed between him and Cohen, although their philosophical positions were far apart - Cohen being a classical neo-Kantian rationalist, and Rosenzweig being oriented toward "life-philosophy" and existentialism. Rosenzweig also differed sharply with Cohen's somewhat hyperbolic German patriotism.
   The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 7 (1967), 2123; Guttmann, Philosophies, 36798; EJ
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Listing Classification
20th Century:    Checked
Germany:    Checked
History:    Checked
First Editions:    Checked
Language:    German
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica