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Jewish Diaspora and the Stakes of Nationalism: Margarete Susman’s Theodicy

Department of Evangelical Theology, Goethe University, 60323 Frankfurt, Germany
Religions 2019, 10(2), 103; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10020103
Received: 31 December 2018 / Revised: 31 January 2019 / Accepted: 11 February 2019 / Published: 12 February 2019
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Abstract

This article unpacks Margarete Susman’s political and theological arguments at the core of her reading of the Book of Job. As I show through a reading of her oeuvre, Susman rejects political projects that she takes to be based on eschatology such as political Zionism. However, Susman should not be viewed merely as a critic of Zionism. I argue that an analysis tuned to the historical circumstances of her writing should recognize her stance on the nation-building project in Palestine as ambivalent rather than antagonistic. Susman’s conception of the Jewish spirit as rooted in self-sacrifice allows her to appreciate the national aspirations at the core of the Zionist project while rejecting Zionism’s exclusion of other Jewish national projects. I contend that Susman’s understanding of Jewish messianism as immanent rather than teleological informs her ambivalence toward Zionism as well as her original vision of Jewish political action. I argue in closing that Susman’s theodicy offers a novel vision for Jewish ethics that is not limited to the historical moment of its formulation. Susman’s theodicy also resonates within contemporary debates on Jewish diaspora in providing a non-centralized vision of Jewish national projects. View Full-Text
Keywords: theodicy; Zionism; diaspora; modern Jewish history; Margarete Susman; German-Jewish history theodicy; Zionism; diaspora; modern Jewish history; Margarete Susman; German-Jewish history
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Almog, Y. Jewish Diaspora and the Stakes of Nationalism: Margarete Susman’s Theodicy. Religions 2019, 10, 103.

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