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Etty Hillesum And Julius Spier: A "Spierituality" On The Fringe Of Religious Borders

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Chapter Summary

Although Etty Hillesum's writings are favorably received by those whose faith is aligned with a particular religious tradition, their "spiritual but not religious" outlook also makes them quite appealing to "spiritual wanderers" who may feel excluded by mainstream religious institutions. Hillesum had two great teachers: Rainer Maria Rilke and Julius Spier. This chapter demonstrates how great an influence Spier had on Hillesum's spirituality, to the point where it can be called her "spierituality". The author tackles Hillesum's writings chronologically in order to display how Spier introduced her to different sources of spiritual influence. The chapter concludes by questioning Hillesum's Jewish identity as well as her openness toward a large diversity of standpoints and the relevance of her writings for the contemporary spiritual quest.

Keywords: Etty Hillesum's writings; Hillesum's Jewish identity; Hillesum's spirituality; Julius Spier; spierituality



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