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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
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
MDPI and ACS Style

Almog, Y. Jewish Diaspora and the Stakes of Nationalism: Margarete Susman’s Theodicy. Religions 2019, 10, 103. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10020103

AMA Style

Almog Y. Jewish Diaspora and the Stakes of Nationalism: Margarete Susman’s Theodicy. Religions. 2019; 10(2):103. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10020103

Chicago/Turabian Style

Almog, Yael. 2019. "Jewish Diaspora and the Stakes of Nationalism: Margarete Susman’s Theodicy" Religions 10, no. 2: 103. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10020103

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