ONLINE - Cedric Cohen Skalli: “Between Yitzhak Baer and Leo Strauss: The Rediscovery of Isaac Abravanel’s Political Thought in the late 1930s”
July 06 | 10:00
Cedric Cohen Skalli (Bucerius Institute for Research of Contemporary German History and Society)
Kommentar: Elad Lapidot (Universität Bern)
My presentation will focus on the intellectual background of a major breakthrough in the modern Jewish Studies: the rediscovery of Don Isaac Abravanel’s political thought, especially of his republicanism, by German Jewish Scholars after the fall the Weimar Republic. This rediscovery during the first years of the Nazi Regime can be attributed to the commemoration of the 500 anniversary of Abravanel's birth in 1937. The articles of Yitzhak Baer and Leo Strauss are the best known contributions, and reflect opposing views on the subject. Divergence also featured in the path out of Germany these two intellectuals took: Baer immigrated to Palestine in 1930 and joined the Hebrew University while Strauss left Germany in 1932 for France and England and later immigrated to the US in 1937 and joined the New School. Baer and Strauss’ articles attest to a political shift in Jewish studies, which occurred in a context of Jewish emigration out of Europe, and of internal and external challenges of German and European models of Jewish civil emancipation. The intellectual background of Baer and Strauss' articles was also linked to the traumatic political experiences of the Weimar Republic and early Nazi period, and to the broader question of Jewish political destiny. My presentation will reconstruct the Baer-Strauss debate on Abravanel’s “republicanism” and its larger intellectual context.
Dr. Cedric Cohen Skalli teaches early modern and modern Jewish Philosophy at the University of Haifa. He is the director of the Bucerius Institute for the research of contemporary German History and Society. His research focuses on the relationship of Jewish thinkers to two main philosophical shifts: the shift from Medieval philosophy to early modern thought (14th-17thcentury), and the shift from early modern to modern thought (18th-20thcentury). He published three books and many articles on diverse aspects of Jewish thought and literature in the Renaissance and several essays on German 20th century philosophy. He is also translator of many works of Freud, Benjamin, Scholem, Idel and Abravanel.
berriane ( at ) cmb.hu-berlin.de