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Die Entdeckungsreise des Dr. Theodore Lessing...
[Polemic] Binjamin Segal
(Malley) - Hatikwa
This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Only edition. 74 pp., 230:155 mm., light age staining. A good copy bound in later wrappers.
"In 1909, Theodor Lessing published in the Allegemine Zeitung des Judentums what purported to be an account of his tour among the Jewish communities in Galicia, though in fact he only visited Crakow. He gives a very hostile and sensational description of the eastern Jews' squalor, their air of pereptual watchfulness in which everyone seemed to calculating his own advantage; 'their Jargondeutsch'; thier practive of prostitution, which Lessing alleges to be consistent with the low status assigned to women in Orthodox Judaism; their addiction to empty Talmudic disputation; and the fanatical 'ecstasy' of a Hasidic synagogue service."...
Segel produced a book-length attack (the current item) on Lessing in which he points out Lessing's errors in detail and charges him with absorbing and reproducing anti-semitic stereotypes.
Theodor Lessing (1872–1933)was a German philosopher. Born in Hanover, he was the son of a prosperous physician and took up history, philosophy, and medicine at Bonn and Munich. He converted to Lutheranism when a student at Freiburg. In 1908 he was appointed instructor at the Technische Hochschule in Hanover but soon became absorbed in the history of ideas. In the years that followed he produced such studies as Schopenhauer, Wagner, Nietzsche (1906), Philosophie als Tat (1914), Untergang der Erde am Geist (1915), and Geschichte als Sinngebung des Sinnlosen (1919). With the rise of Zionism, Lessing returned to Judaism and underwent a complete change of outlook. He expressed his views in Der juedische Selbsthass (1930), a clinical study of Jewish intellectuals who had succumbed to self-hatred, a malady which he had himself experienced. Lessing saw in the Jews an Asiatic people forced upon the European scene, and made to occupy a position between the cultures of two continents. He discovered the strength of the Jews in their closeness to nature and life's elemental roots: it was their tragedy that against their earthbound instincts history had cut them off from the soil, eventually causing a people of peasants to become over-spiritualized and decadent. In the minority that had begun to trickle back to the eroded soil of Palestine, he saw the eventual recovery of both land and people. In 1925 Lessing expressed opposition to Hindenburg's election as president of the Weimar Republic, was subjected to anti-Semitic attacks, and forced to suspend his lectures. He was living in Marienbad in 1933, and was assassinated by Nazis dispatched there for that purpose. His memoirs, Einmal und nie wieder, were published in 1935 and republished in 1970.
The Jewish Question in German literature , 1749-1939 by Ritchie Robertson(New York: Oxford University Press, 1999) // EJ
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