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Socrates and the JewsHellenism and Hebraism from Moses Mendelssohn to Sigmund Freud$
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Miriam Leonard

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780226472478

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226472492.001.0001

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Introduction Athens and Jerusalem

Introduction Athens and Jerusalem

(p.1) Introduction Athens and Jerusalem
Socrates and the Jews
University of Chicago Press

In the third century CE, the Christian moralist Tertullian posed a rhetorical question: “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?” His polarity between Athens and Jerusalem found a resonance in later Enlightenment debates about whether faith is compatible with reason. This book explores the conflict between “Hellenism” and “Hebraism,” and how the very urgent political debate about the treatment of the Jews gets transposed into the abstract formulation of the Greek/Jew antithesis. In particular, it examines the imbrication and mutually reinforcing nature of the philosophical and the political discourses surrounding Greeks and Jews. The book also considers how the Greek/Jew polarity played a key role in the transition from Christian anti-Judaism to secular anti-Semitism, as well as the narrative of the struggle between faith and reason from Immanuel Kant and Moses Mendelssohn to Sigmund Freud. It concludes with an analysis of Freud's Moses and Monotheism, written in 1938 under the shadow of Nazism, in order to demarcate a distinct historical period in which the Greek/Jew antithesis came to assume a particular resonance.

Keywords:   Greeks, Jews, Hellenism, Hebraism, anti-Judaism, anti-Semitism, faith, reason, Sigmund Freud, Immanuel Kant

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