Yaniv Feller, "The Jewish Imperial Imagination: Leo Baeck and German-Jewish Thought" (Cambridge UP, 2023)


The Jewish Imperial Imagination: Leo Baeck and German-Jewish Thought (Cambridge UP, 2024) discusses the life and work of Leo Baeck (1873–1956) the rabbi, public intellectual, and the official leader of German Jewry during the Holocaust. The Jewish Imperial Imagination shows the myriad ways in which the German imperial enterprise left its imprint on his religious and political thought, and on modern Judaism more generally. This book is the first to explore Baeck's religious thought as political, and situate it within the imperial context of the period which is often ignored in discussions of modern Jewish thought. Baeck's work during the Holocaust is analysed in-depth, drawing on unpublished manuscripts written in Nazi Germany and in the Theresienstadt Ghetto. In the process, the book raises new questions about the nature of Jewish missionizing and the German-Jewish imagination of the East as a space for colonization. Feller thus develops the concept of the 'Jewish imperial imagination', moving beyond a simple dichotomy of ascribing to or resisting hegemonic narratives.

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Amir Engel

Amir Engel is currently a visiting professor at the faculty of theology at the Humboldt University in Berlin. He is also the chair at the German department at the Hebrew University.

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