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“God’S Adventure With The World” And “Sanctity Of Life”: Theological Speculations And Ethical Reflections In Jonas’s Philosophy After Auschwitz

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Chapter Summary

Hans Jonas?s own definition of his relation to Judaism, formulated in a conversation with Herlinde Koelbl, provides a most impressive description of the intense, ambiguous interaction between Jewish identity and his search for universal validity as a historian of religion and philosopher. The question of God, however, must be accounted for in the face of the modern undermining of all metaphysics and in the face of Auschwitz, which seems to relegate all reflection on the divine to the realm of the ineffable and inconceivable. It is true that Jonas did with some justification emphasize the ruptures between his activity as a historian of religion during the Weimar republic and his philosophy after 1945. The language of religion which Jonas drew upon in his theologically-inspired writings, and which provided the metaphors by which he invested his ethical philosophy with utmost urgency did not appear only late in life.

Keywords: Auschwitz; God; Hans Jonas; Jewish tradition; Judaism; metaphysics; Weimar republic



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