Discovering Franz Rosenzweig

Discovering Franz Rosenzweig

Tomorrow begins The Star of Redemption reading group at ICS. When Dean first suggested Franz Rosenzweig’s book, I was completely unfamiliar withP00417 the name. The short foreword to The Star by the translator, who was a student of Rosenzweig’s, presents the intriguing life story of this wonderful thinker.

Franz Rosenzweig was born December 25, 1886 in Cassel, Germany, as the only son of a well-to-do, assimilated Jewish family. It was during the war and his assignment to an anti-aircraft gun unit at the Balkan front, that Rosenzweig started to write The Star of Redemption, on army post cards (umm I’m struggling to write an MA thesis in the quiet of a library on a Macbook Pro, I can’t imagine attempting such a feat in the middle of a war using post cards and pencils).

Rosenzweig is another shining light in what seems to be an endless procession of German scholars clustered around the time of the World Wars. Reading his biography and introduction, which is really an autobiography of his philosophical thought, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Hannah Arendt, another Jewish German thinker whose life’s passion was sparked by the horrors of war, this time World War II.

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