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Hasidic myth-activism

  • Since the 1970s, Buber has often been suspected of being a Volkish thinker. This essay reconsiders the affinity of Buber's late writings with Volkish ideology. It examines the allegations against Buber's Volkish thought in light of his later biblical and Hasidic writings. By illuminating the ideological affinity between these two modes of thought, the essay explains how Buber aims to depart from the dangers of myth without rejecting myth as such. I argue that Buber's relationship to myth can help us to explain his critique of nationalism. My basic argument is that in his struggle with hyper-nationalism, Buber follows the Baal Shem Tov and his struggle against Sabbateanism. Like the Besht, Buber does not reject myth, but seeks instead to repair it from within. Whereas hyper-nationalism uses myth to advance its political goals, Buber seeks to reposition ethics within a mythic framework. I view Buber's exegesis and commentaries on biblical and Hasidic myths as myth-activism.

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Author:Yemima Hadad
Parent Title (German):Postprints der Universität Potsdam : Humanwissenschaftliche Reihe
Subtitle (English):Martin Buber's theopolitical revision of Volkish Nationalism
Series (Serial Number):Postprints der Universität Potsdam : Humanwissenschaftliche Reihe (642)
Document Type:Postprint
Date of first Publication:2020/06/26
Year of Completion:2019
Publishing Institution:Universität Potsdam
Release Date:2020/06/26
Tag:Hasidism; Judaism; Martin Buber; Myth-Activism; Volkism; Zionism; activism; myth; politics; theopolitics
Source:Religions 10 (2019) 2, 96 DOI:10.3390/rel10020096
Organizational units:Humanwissenschaftliche Fakultät
Dewey Decimal Classification:2 Religion / 20 Religion / 200 Religion
Peer Review:Referiert
Publication Way:Open Access
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung, 4.0 International