Courses of Study 2018-2019 
    Apr 19, 2024  
Courses of Study 2018-2019 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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ANTHR 7473 - Messiah and Modernity

(crosslisted) GERST 7473 JWST 7473 NES 7473    
Spring. 4 credits. Student option grading.

Co-meets with ANTHR 4473 /GERST 4473 /JWST 4473 /NES 4473 .    

J. Boyarin.

This course combines Jewish religious history with studies in the philosophy of modernity, focusing on changing conceptions of time and history.  We will interrogate possible or implicit connections between traditional Jewish notions of Messianic redemption on one hand, and post-Enlightenment conceptions of revolution and progress on the other (always bearing in mind that the dominant Christian ideology in the West also has Messianic content).  Some readings will provide historical background on Jewish Messianism.  We will explore aspects of the intellectual dialogue between Walter Benjamin, a leading European thinker on literature and the philosophy of history in the first decades of the twentieth century, and his lifelong friend Gershom Scholem, founder of the scholarly study of Jewish mysticism.  We will continue by considering how post-World War II thinkers, especially on the Continent, have responded to the critique of modern ideologies of progress inaugurated by Benjamin and his friends in the so-called “Frankfurt School.” 

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