Hermann Cohen and the Crisis of Liberalism
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180 pages

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Hermann Cohen (1842–1918) is often held to be one of the most important Jewish philosophers of the nineteenth century. Paul E. Nahme, in this new consideration of Cohen, liberalism, and religion, emphasizes the idea of enchantment, or the faith in and commitment to ideas, reason, and critique—the animating spirits that move society forward. Nahme views Cohen through the lenses of the crises of Imperial Germany—the rise of antisemitism, nationalism, and secularization—to come to a greater understanding of liberalism, its Protestant and Jewish roots, and the spirits of modernity and tradition that form its foundation. Nahme's philosophical and historical retelling of the story of Cohen and his spiritual investment in liberal theology present a strong argument for religious pluralism and public reason in a world rife with populism, identity politics, and conspiracy theories.


Introduction: Religion, Reason, and the Enchanted Public Sphere

1. Minor Protest(ant)s: Cohen and German-Jewish Liberalism

2. The Dialectic of Enchantment: Science, Religion, and Secular Reason-ing

3. Rights, Religion, and Race: Cohen's Ethical Socialism and the Specter of Anti-Semitism

4. Enchanted Reasoning: Self-Reflexive Religion and Minority

Conclusion: Some Minor Reflections of Enchantment




Publié par
Date de parution 28 mars 2019
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9780253039781
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,1250€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Zachary J. Braiterman
The Enchantment of the Public Sphere

This book is a publication of
Indiana University Press
Office of Scholarly Publishing
Herman B Wells Library 350
1320 East 10th Street
Bloomington, Indiana 47405 USA
2019 by Paul Egan Nahme
All rights reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the American National Standard for Information Sciences-Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48-1992.
Manufactured in the United States of America
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Names: Nahme, Paul E., author.
Title: Hermann Cohen and the crisis of liberalism : the enchantment of the public sphere / Paul E. Nahme.
Description: Bloomington : Indiana University Press, 2019. | Series: New Jewish philosophy and thought | Includes bibliographical references and index.
Identifiers: LCCN 2018049705 (print) | LCCN 2019005054 (ebook) | ISBN 9780253039767 (e-book) | ISBN 9780253039750 (cl : alk. paper)
Subjects: LCSH: Cohen, Hermann, 1842-1918.
Classification: LCC B3216.C74 (ebook) | LCC B3216.C74 N28 2019 (print) | DDC 193-dc23
LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2018049705
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List of Abbreviations for Frequently Cited Sources

Religion, Reason, and the Enchanted Public Sphere

1. Minor Protest(ant)s
Cohen and German-Jewish Liberalism

2. The Dialectic of Enchantment
Science, Religion, and Secular Reasoning

3. Rights, Religion, and Race
Cohen s Ethical Socialism and the Specter of Anti-Semitism

4. Enchanted Reasoning
Self-Reflexive Religion and Minority

Some Minor Reflections of Enchantment

THIS WAS NOT AN EASY book to write, and its author was not a particularly easy person to be around while doing so. Yet writing this book has been an emphatically social endeavor. It has been isolating and lonely at times but also provided the basis for cultivating meaningful friendships through intense conversation and thoughtful critique. Much like reading Cohen, therefore, it has been a frustratingly difficult and infinitely rewarding experience.
I owe thanks to so many more people than I could name here, but I want to express heartfelt gratitude to my friends and family-it is difficult to express in writing how much I owe to you and to those not listed here, so I hope this serves as a shortened list of folks to whom hugs are due.
First and foremost, I owe everything to the only legitimate Sovereign, the Holy One, who is blessed and merciful.
My love and appreciation to the friends I ve made along the way who have inspired and challenged me to think ever more deeply: Rebecca Bartal, Shira Billet, Fannie Bialik, Sam Brody, Yoni Brafman, Sarah Imhoff, Matt King, Tim Langille, Ari Linden, Hannah Polin-Galay, and Justin Stein.
The Department of Religious Studies at the University of Kansas provided me with an incredibly warm and welcoming home when I first began this project. I am grateful to the colleagues and friends I made while there. Thanks to Jacquelene Brinton, Bill Lindsey, Tim Miller, Paul Mirecki, Hamsa Stainton, Dan Stevenson, Molly Zahn, and Michael Zogry for being wonderful colleagues.
Since coming to Brown, my colleagues in Religion and Critical Thought have been incredible conversation partners. I have learned an immense amount from Steve Bush, Mark Cladis, Tal Lewis, and Andre Willis, and their intellectual community has been indispensable. Thanks to Nancy Khalek for her mentorship and friendship; to Saul Olyan for his wisdom, support, and encouragement. To Dan Vaca for conversation and friendship. Thanks to my wonderful colleagues, who have helped make Brown an intellectual home: Rutie Adler Ben-Yehuda, Shahzad Bashir, Nathaniel Berman, Mary Gluck, Susan Harvey, Bonnie Honig, David Jacobson, Maud Mandel, Jason Protass, Rachel Rojanski, Michael Satlow, Adam Teller, Janine Sawada, Hal Roth, and Larry Wills.
Various chapters were presented in different venues. My thanks to the wonderful conversation partners I have had over the years I was writing this book, including James Diamond, John Efron, and Daniel Weiss. I am grateful for the number of opportunities to present chapters and pieces of this project in workshops, conferences, and public lectures. In particular, I want to thank Adam Shear, who hosted me at the University of Pittsburgh; Leora Batnitzky and Shira Billet for inviting me to a conference on Spinoza and Cohen at Princeton; Mark Roseman for inviting me to Indiana; and Elli Stern for inviting me to present some work at Yale, as well as to all those who participated and provided helpful feedback.
This book began as a dissertation project and probably would never have been completed were it not for the guidance, support, and direction of my teacher, David Novak. For taking a chance on a kid who shouldn t have made it to university and for encouraging me to flourish in the pursuit of difficult thinking, my unending thanks are due to him. He has been a true model of Menschlichkeit. My deepest thanks go to Bob Gibbs for introducing me to Cohen s system and for doing so with both philosophical rigor and humanity and for inspiring me to find in Cohen s thought a guide to understanding ethical and political problems of today; to Paul Franks for his precise reading and encouragement; to Ken Green for helping me sharpen my arguments about Cohen and liberalism. To Benjamin Pollock for pushing me to provide a broader contextual account of what was at stake in Cohen s thought.
I owe a great deal to my teachers at the University of Toronto in the Department for the Study of Religion, who taught me how to balance a commitment to concepts and to the people on whose lives those concepts have an impact, to balance the theoretical, the historical, and the anthropological. My sincere thanks to Joseph Bryant, Anver Emon, Pamela Klassen, Ruth Marshall, and Amira Mittermaier.
Many thanks to Eli Sacks for patiently reading multiple drafts of the book in various manifestations and for being a constant source of inspiration, critique, and encouragement. My deepest thanks to Fannie Bialek for being a true friend, always present philosophically and who helped me reimagine the opening chapters. Thanks to Molly Farneth for helpful comments and suggestions on an early version of chapter 1 . Thanks to Elli Stern who read and commented on a draft of chapter 3 . Ari Linden helped me rethink some translations and did so at the drop of a hat. My deepest thanks; all mistakes that remain are my own. Thanks to Elizabeth Berman for indispensable research assistance. My sincere thanks to Josh Kurtz for his keen sense of the written word, careful eye, and soulful insight; his assistance in the later stages of this book was invaluable.
My thanks to Aubrey Pomerance and to the Akademie of the Jewish Museum of Berlin for allowing me access to their library and rare books collection. Portions from early drafts of the introduction and chapter 4 appeared in a different form in the journal Modern Theology.
Martin Kavka and Randi Rashkover have been incomparable mentors, whose insight has helped me see this project through to its present form. Martin s mentorship and willingness to read, think, and give of his time, intellectual, and emotional support in such selfless ways has made me a better thinker and a more responsible pedagogue. Randi s penetrating and masterful command of the life of the concept has pushed me to be more explicit and to make thinking more ethical.
Shaul Magid has been a source of support and encouragement. With great wit and soul, he has helped me think deeper about what Jewish identity can and cannot mean.
Zak Braiterman has been an incredible supporter of this project, and my thanks are due to him for conversations that helped finesse the final manuscript. Dee Mortensen has been an incredible guide through the publication process and her patience, insight, and encouragement have been incomparable. Thank you.
Brauna, absolutely everything that I am today, without you I could never have become. My infinite thanks for your patience, wisdom, insight, guidance, and love. I just don t have the words to say all that needs to be said.
To my dearest Elias, Benjamin, and Clara: I can t tell you how happy I am to be able to play Legos, read books, and hang out now that this book is finished. My endless love to you. Nothing else in this world matters more than you.
Hermann Cohen, Hermann Cohens Werke , ed. H. Holzhey, 17 vols. (New York: G. Olms, 1978-).
KS 1-6
Hermann Cohen, Hermann Cohens Werke , Kleinere Schriften , vols. 12-17 of Werke , 6 vols.
Hermann Cohen, Kants Begrundung der Ethik (Berlin: F. D mmler, 1877; repr. in Werke 2).
Hermann Cohen, System der Philosophie, Erster Teil: Logik der reinen Erkenntnis (Berlin: Bruno Cassirer, 1902; repr. in Werke 6).
Hermann Cohen, System der Philosophie, Zweiter Teil: Ethik des reinen Willens (Berlin: Bruno Cassirer, 1904; repr. in Werke 7).
JS 1-3
Hermann Cohen, Hermann

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