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Mixed FeelingsTropes of Love in German Jewish Culture$
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Katja Garloff

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501704963

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501704963.001.0001

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Revelatory Love, or the Dynamics of Dissimilation

Revelatory Love, or the Dynamics of Dissimilation

Franz Rosenzweig and Else Lasker-Schüler

(p.145) 6 Revelatory Love, or the Dynamics of Dissimilation
Mixed Feelings

Katja Garloff

Cornell University Press

This chapter turns to two German Jewish modernists who produced very emphatic visions of interreligious encounters in and through love. Around the First World War, the increase of antisemitism and the trend toward Jewish “dissimilation” reopened the debates about German Jewish identity. At this time Franz Rosenzweig and Else Lasker-Schüler define love as a quasi-religious event that ushers in the possibility of political renewal. In The Star of Redemption (1921), Rosenzweig develops a concept of revelatory love as the foundation of a new kind of universality. Revelatory love, which is modeled on divine love and experienced in erotic love, is conceived as an act of singularization that at the same time exposes the subject to others. As such it enables neighbor-love and a new form of community, the infinitely open neighborhood. The second half of the chapter shows that Lasker-Schüler's bold reinterpretation of biblical stories in Hebrew Ballads (1913) and other texts is a poetic performance of revelatory love. In contrast to earlier Romantic models, love is here a force of disjunction rather than unification, leading to a proliferation rather than a reduction of differences.

Keywords:   antisemitism, German Jewish identity, Franz Rosenzweig, Else Lasker-Schüler, revelatory love, Hebrew Ballads, The Star of Redemption

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