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Zionism, The Holocaust, And Judaism In A Secular World: New Perspectives On Hans Jonas’s Friendship With Gershom Scholem And Hannah Arendt

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Chapter Summary

This chapter analyzes the character of Hans Jonas?s friendship with Gershom Scholem and Hannah Arendt, drawing upon a wealth of previously unpublished letters and texts that shed light on his relationship to Zionism, as well as on previously unknown facets of his life, including the debates which he conducted with his friends on such subjects as Zionism, the Holocaust, and the fate of Jewish life in the twentieth century. From the very beginning of that friendship, Jonas had felt that Arendt, despite her conscious Jewish identity, did not know too much about Judaism; he came to understand her as a basically apolitical person who had been forced to deal with politics by the events of the Nazi era. Apart from the scholarly controversies, the main issue separating Jonas and Scholem was how to define loyalty to Zionism and to the recently established Jewish state.

Keywords: Gershom Scholem; Hannah Arendt; Hans Jonas?s friendship; holocaust; Jewish life; Judaism; zionism



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