Jewish diaspora and the stakes of nationalism: Margarete Susman’s theodicy

  • 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.

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Author:Yael Almog
Parent Title (English):Religions
Place of publication:Basel
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2019
Year of first Publication:2019
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2019/10/23
Tag:German-Jewish history; Margarete Susman; Zionism; diaspora; modern Jewish history; theodicy
Institutes:Evangelische Theologie / Evangelische Theologie
Dewey Decimal Classification:2 Religion / 29 Andere Religionen / 296 Judentum
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0