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The Anthology and the Jewish Renaissance

The Anthology and the Jewish Renaissance

(p.29) Chapter Two The Anthology and the Jewish Renaissance
Aesthetics of Renewal
University of Chicago Press

Buber put together his early anthologies at a time when the anthology itself was a topic of interest in Zionist circles. His use of the anthology differed from that of the German Romantic renaissance in that he redefined the genre, and, along with it the meaning of representation, his main concern being how best to create engaged readers who would turn into active advocates of the Jewish Renaissance. Yet Buber's intellectual origins are to be located in nineteenth-century Romantic discontent with the regnant philosophical claims to epistemological certainty and the attendant crisis of representation. Through the mediation of Nietzsche and the critique of language, Buber assimilated Romantic skepticism and refracted it through his program of a Jewish Renaissance. His early anthologies of Hasidism were central to this program, but the vision inspiring these works was primed neither by nostalgia for an irretrievable ideal past nor by a desire to appropriate an exotic otherness. Hasidism, or rather the mystical aesthetics of this movement, exemplified the spiritual parameters of the envisioned cultural renaissance-cum-renewal.

Keywords:   Martin Buber, anthologies, Zionism, German Romantic renaissance, meaning of representation, Nietzsche, Romantic skepticism, Hasidism

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