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The Figural JewPolitics and Identity in Postwar French Thought$
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Sarah Hammerschlag

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780226315119

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226315133.001.0001

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Stranger and Self: Sartre's Jew

Stranger and Self: Sartre's Jew

(p.68) Two Stranger and Self: Sartre's Jew
The Figural Jew
University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines Jean-Paul Sartre's role in the history of the Jewish question in France. Despite not being an expert on Judaism and writing only occasionally on the topic, Sartre's 1946 phenomenological essay on the anti-Semite and the Jew, Réflexions sur la question juive, had a profound impact on discourse about Jews and Jewish identity after World War II. Réflexions links the representation of Judaism in France to the nation's stuggle to determine political identity between the poles of universalism and particularism. The chapter first considers Sartre's investment in this debate and the role of the figural Jew in his treatment of the issue to show how the situation of the Jew comes to appear to Sartre as an intensification of the human situation and, thus, as a window into the stakes of existentialism. It then traces Sartre's engagement with Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (particularly his philosophy of history) and how this influenced his representation of Judaism.

Keywords:   Jean-Paul Sartre, France, Jews, figural Jew, Judaism, Réflexions, Hegel, philosophy of history, Jewish identity, political identity

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