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Socrates and the Jews: Hellenism And Hebraism From Moses Mendelssohn To Sigmund Freud Paperback – 15 Jun 2012


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"In "Socrates and the Jews", Leonard compellingly retraces the mutual imbrications of Greek-Jew figurations and post-Enlightenment philosophical and political discourses, resulting in an extraordinarily rich and multilayered book that is at once intellectual history, reception study, and philosophical-"cum"-philological inquiry. Leonard's mastery of the myriad literatures she engages is stunning. A remarkable achievement."--Elizabeth Wingrove, University of Michigan

"Modernity as the site of our present predicament demands to be thought and rethought. The question is how? The argument of Miriam Leonard's profound and important book is that central to that project has to be an understanding of the way the opposition between Athens and Jerusalem works to structure the ways modernity has been thought and continues to be thought. Her book makes it clear that terms such as 'secularism, ' 'Christianity, ' 'philosophy, ' even 'Judaism' demand reconsideration. What drives that demand is the complex set of interrelationships that are already there constructing the presence of the modern, a presence which once analyzed indicates the naivety of the assumption that modernity occurs at the end of religion. Recalling and working through the opposition between Athens and Jerusalem works beyond the disavowal of religion in the name of an affirmation of the Enlightenment by noting their already present imbrication. Leonard's book demands urgent consideration by anyone interested in understanding the quality of the 'day' in which thinking today has to occur."
--Andrew Benjamin, Monash University

""Socrates and the Jews" is a triumph of critical scholarship. With this book, Leonard throws new light on the troubled inheritance of the Enlightenment, which bequeathed to modernity a series of ways of working through its own contorted rupture from the past. No one who reads this study will ever again be able to think of the category 'Greek'--that prototype and anti-type of modernity--without simultaneously calling to mind its inextricable but neglected congener, 'Jew.' Leonard convincingly demonstrates how these notions, paired together, have served as problematic and contested sites, both imaginary and real, in the emerging and evolving conceptions of race, nation, culture, and modernity in European thought, from Moses Mendelsohn, the 'Jewish Socrates, ' to Sigmund Freud, who could recast Moses as either quasi-Greek or Egyptian. The intervening chapters on Kant, Hegel, Arnold, and Marx are as illuminating as they are disturbing to read."
--James Porter, University of California, Irvine

"In "Socrates and the Jews," Leonard compellingly retraces the mutual imbrications of Greek-Jew figurations and post-Enlightenment philosophical and political discourses, resulting in an extraordinarily rich and multilayered book that is at once intellectual history, reception study, and philosophical-"cum"-philological inquiry. Leonard's mastery of the myriad literatures she engages is stunning. A remarkable achievement."
--Elizabeth Wingrove, University of Michigan

"Socrates and the Jews"is a triumph of critical scholarship. With this book, Leonard throws new light on the troubled inheritance of the Enlightenment, which bequeathed to modernity a series of ways of working through its own contorted rupture from the past. No one who reads this study will ever again be able to think of the category Greek that prototype and anti-type of modernity without simultaneously calling to mind its inextricable but neglected congener, Jew. Leonard convincingly demonstrates how these notions, paired together, have served as problematic andcontested sites, both imaginary and real, in the emerging and evolving conceptions ofrace, nation, culture, and modernity in European thought, from Moses Mendelsohn, the Jewish Socrates, to Sigmund Freud, who could recast Moses as either quasi-Greek or Egyptian. The intervening chapters on Kant, Hegel, Arnold, and Marx are as illuminating as they are disturbing to read.
--James Porter, University of California, Irvine"

In "Socrates and the Jews," Leonard compellingly retraces the mutual imbrications of Greek-Jew figurations and post-Enlightenment philosophical and political discourses, resulting in an extraordinarily rich and multilayered book that is at once intellectual history, reception study, and philosophical-"cum"-philological inquiry. Leonard s mastery of the myriad literatures she engages is stunning. A remarkable achievement.
--Elizabeth Wingrove, University of Michigan"

Modernity as the site of our present predicament demands to be thought and rethought. The question is how? The argument of Miriam Leonard s profound and important book is that central to that project has to be an understanding of the way the opposition between Athens and Jerusalem works to structure the ways modernity has been thought and continues to be thought. Her book makes it clear that terms such as secularism, Christianity, philosophy, even Judaism demand reconsideration. What drives that demand is the complex set of interrelationships that are already there constructing the presence of the modern, a presence which once analyzed indicates the naivety of the assumption that modernity occurs at the end of religion. Recalling and working through the opposition between Athens and Jerusalem works beyond the disavowal of religion in the name of an affirmation of the Enlightenment by noting their already present imbrication. Leonard s book demands urgent consideration by anyone interested in understanding the quality of the day in which thinking today has to occur.
--Andrew Benjamin, Monash University"

About the Author

Miriam Leonard is professor of Greek literature and its reception at University College London. She is the author of Athens in Paris and How to Read Ancient Philosophy.

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best account of Biblical-Classical tug of war 22 Jun. 2012
By Harriet Nethery - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is a learned, but highly readable--and fascinating--account of the great tug-of-war in modern intellectual history between pagan, classical knowledge, and the Bible. In other words, how to reconcile classical learning and philosophy--the Greek way--with Hebraic teaching? (Especially hard if you were German) That was a gigantic problem starting in the Enlightenment, and it carried through well into the 20th century. Leonard is a wonderful writer, and she explores the stakes of this struggle in clean, vivid prose. Who would have thought intellectual history could be such a pleasure to read?
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