Daniel M. HerskowitzApr 28, 2021
Heidegger and His Jewish Reception
Cambridge University Press 2020
In this episode, I interview Daniel Herskowitz, Career Research Fellow at Wolfson College, University of Oxford, about his first book, Heidegger and His Jewish Reception (Cambridge University Press, 2020).
In the book, Herskowitz examines the rich, intense, and persistent Jewish engagement with one of the most important and controversial modern philosophers, Martin Heidegger. Contextualizing this encounter within wider intellectual, cultural, and political contexts, he outlines the main patterns and the diverse Jewish responses to Heidegger. Herskowitz shows that through a dialectic of attraction and repulsion, Jewish thinkers developed a version of Jewishness that sought to offer the way out of the overall crisis plaguing their world, which was embodied, as they saw it, in Heidegger's life and thought. Neither turning a blind eye to Heidegger's anti-Semitism nor using it as an excuse for ignoring his philosophy, they wrestled with his existential analytic and what they took to be its religious, ethical, and political failings. Ironically, Heidegger's thought proved itself to be fertile ground for re-conceptualizing what it means to be Jewish in the modern world.
Britt Edelen is a Ph.D. student in English at Duke University. He focuses on modernism and the relationship(s) between language, philosophy, and literature. You can find him on Twitter or send him an email.