The Angel of Jewish History: The Image of the Jewish Past in the Twentieth Century

The Angel of Jewish History: The Image of the Jewish Past in the Twentieth Century

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Ronny Miron

Series: Emunot: Jewish Philosophy and Kabbalah
ISBN: 9781618113481 (hardback)
Pages: 470 pp.
Publication Date: April 2014

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The Angel of Jewish History casts a philosophical gaze upon the relationship between the traditional Jewish past and the present through the metaphysical worldviews of five formative Jewish studies scholars: Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi, Amos Funkenstein, Gershom Scholem, Baruch Kurzweil, and Nathan Rotenstreich. Their hermeneutic worldviews and writings deal with the nature and formation of modern Judaism, the Wissenschaft des Judentums, historicism, the image of the Jewish past and tradition, secularization, and God’s status in present-day Jewish reality. In this volume, these issues are explored against the background of the tense discourse between the perception of modern Jewish reality as a break from the past and tradition and the argument for continuity despite the changes and developments of modernity.


Ronny Miron is professor of philosophy at Bar-Ilan University. Her research is focused on post-Kantian idealism, existentialism, phenomenology,and hermeneutics, as well as with current Jewish thought. She is the author of Karl Jaspers: From Selfhood to Being (Rodopi, 2012).


Ronny Miron’s brilliant new book is the first to address the philosophy of Jewish history as the interplay between immanence and transcendence, between what is exposed and what is hidden, between subjectivity and collective memory. In her close readings of Yerushalmi, Funkenstein, Scholem, Kurzweil, and Rotenstreich she explores the dialectics involved in their various attempts at coming to terms with the metaphysical dimensions of the Jewish past, whose transcendent elements cannot be made fully transparent by the subjective consciousness of the historian. Miron’s impressive work of synthesis will no doubt emerge as an indispensable addition to the fields of Jewish history and Jewish philosophy alike.
— Anthony Kauders, Keele University
Who is the Angel of Jewish History? God? Jews? Historian? Mystic? Poet? Practical Man? Doubtlessly all of them, including a philosopher like Ronny Miron, who seeks to interpret the views of Jewish thinkers in the hermeneutical way and discloses unavoidable tensions and bridges between immanence and transcendence, past and future, secularism and religion. This is a book not exclusively for the Jews who try to understand the enigma of their history, but it provides also the unique opportunity to grasp that Jewish history is a pattern of the history of any nation.
— Alfred Marek Wierzbicki, The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin