Language and Jewish renewal: Franz Rosenzweig's hermeneutic of citation
Modem German-Jewish thinkers in the early twentieth century grappled with the dialectical tension between religious tradition and secularity and how this tension related to the phenomenology of tradition. In my dissertation, I examine how one of these thinkers, Franz Rosenzweig, spearheaded a movement, known as the New Thinking, that wanted to reintegrate divinity into Jewish culture. Rosenzweig understood Judaism to be a tradition built largely on unmarked, silent citation. For the second edition of his magnum opus, the Star of Redemption, he asked his research assistant, Nahum Glatzer, to prepare a list of Judaic sources that are woven, without quotation marks, into the book. Rosenzweig called this method of citation Musivstil and traced it to the medieval Jewish poet Jehuda Halevi, whom Rosenzweig had translated into German. In fact, Rosenzweig stated that the notes to his translation contained instructive examples of the practical application of his so-called New Thinking. I contend that Rosenzweig's philosophy of dialogue is based on this hermeneutical methodology. My overall goal is to understand the relation between what I have defined as Rosenzweig's hermeneutic of citation and his revalorizing of Jewish tradition, and how language—more specifically, how people quote—plays a role in shaping religious traditions.
0751: Judaic studies